Epica will be playing their first show in Lebanon on August 2nd at the Byblos International Festival, a year after Nightwish played there. Lebanese metallers Blaakyum will be opening up at the show. Our Editor-in-Chief, Kareem C caught up with Guitarist and backing vocalist Mark Jansen, and talked to him about their latest album The Quantum Enigma, playing Lebanon for the first time (and their previous shows in Dubai and Tunisia), and moving forward with Epica's long and lasting career. 

Hi Mark! How’s your tour going so far?

Mark: Very well, we play a lot and the responses on the new songs are overwhelming. So needless to say that we are very happy about all of that.

Your upcoming show at the Byblos Festival in Lebanon will be your third show in the Arab world, having played in Tunis and Dubai before! What are some of Epica’s memorable experiences being there?

Mark: Our show in Tunis I remember as if it was yesterday. We were the first international metal band to play in Tunis and many of the fans who attended the show were crying of happiness. It was avery special occasion for fans of heavy music and us. In Dubai we played at a metal festival, very well organised and I remember that I went out jogging but that it was extremely hot haha.

Tell us about the writing and recording process for your latest album, The Quantum Enigma. While it’s certainly well-received, what were some of the new approaches and differences that were taken with this album?

Mark: We started writing about 2 years before the recordings took place. Some of us started writing a little later. When we had enough songs we started to work on each others tracks in small groups and short sessions, that's when we made the final selection. When we were satisfied we started rehearsing the tracks with the band and worked on the little details. Right after that we experimented with the sound, different amps, drum kits, microphones to see what were the best combinations for the best possible sound. When that was done we started recording. The producer is Joost van den Broek, in the past he played keyboards in After Forever. He played an important role in all this as supervisor, creative ideas and work/team spirit builder. The mix and mastering were done by Jacob Hansen, Joost van den Broek and our input. Jacob did put a great basic sound which we all loved right away. From there on we only needed to fine-tune the rest. The differences compared to the previous album are that the guitars sound heavier than before. When we play a heavy riff it does sound very heavy now.

In a previous interview with Epica, Simone said that she currently has been living in Germany. Does having one or members in a different location make things more difficult for the band?

Mark: It's more complicated but not impossible. I live in Sicily (Italy), Simone in Germany, Isaac in Belgium and the others in the Netherlands. However it's only a 2 hour flight away from each other so nothing is impossible :)

What have you been listening to lately? Does what you listen to impact the material you release? Would this apply to The Quantum Engima?

Mark: Lately I haven't been listening much music. I spend a lot of time on my hobby, cycling. It's been a very hectic period with releases of Epica (DVD and TQE) and my other band MaYaN, so I needed some rest, also from listening music. But from what I've heard I like the new 'Stream of Passion' album.

Do you have a favorite song off The Quantum Enigma?

Mark: Not really, I like the album as a whole. It differs day by day which ones are my favourites.

What’s your favorite metal festival to play in?

Mark: Graspop - Belgium. Very well organised, good food, great crowd and cool bands.

What are some of the things you love and hate about touring?

Mark: I love meeting new people, experience different cultures and habits and escaping from daily routines. I dislike when there are stressful moments like a bad organised show or missing my home, my girlfriend and my cats and dogs.

What have you heard about Lebanon, and is there anything you’re looking forward to doing there during your stay?

Mark: In the Netherlands or Italy Lebanon is mainly in the news about conflicts in the Middle East. That's sad because this way people get a one-way view and get scared to travel to Lebanon. As I travel a lot I know how to interpret those news items and I know that reality is often very different from what's been shown on tv.  I look forward to see Lebanon the way it is and meet its people.

Any final words for and its readers?

Mark: Thanks for reading this article and for the support for our band Epica!

Thanks for your time, Mark! Looking forward to catching your show in Byblos!

Mark: See you there!

Stay connected with Mark Jansen and Epica:

Leave a comment