DATE OF INTERVIEW:
11th March 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: When Ad left the band in 2008 and Isaac joined in 2009, has that changed the dynamic of the band at all?
COEN JANSSEN: Yeah, of course.
(Coen Janssen on gifts from fans)
"People make a lot of drawings of Simone. Some of those are so well drawn it makes you want to ask to draw every band member and then we can use it as artwork!"
Coen Janssen backstage at the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK, 11th March 2011
Photograph copyright © 2011 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Epica Official Website:
The Phantom Agony (2003)
Thanks to Markus Wosgien at Nuclear Blast for arranging the interview
Consign To Oblivion (2005)
The Divine Conspiracy (2007)
Epica Official MySpace:
Design Your Universe (2009)
MD: And what’s he brought to the band as a musician and person?
CJ: Well, as a person he brought a lot of happiness! He’s a great guy and we love having him around because he makes a lot of jokes, and he’s a really talented musician. He brings a lot more to the stage. Ad was a very good guitar player but that resulted in him standing very still but Isaac is as good as Ad but bangs his head off all the time. That’s great because people want to see something. And he brought the guitar solos on the latest album. But, on the last album, he wasn’t there to participate in the writing process yet.
MD: Maybe on the next album.
CJ: Yeah, definitely on the next album.
MD: You had the ‘This is the Time’ EP in 2009 and I gather all profits went to the World Wildlife Fund – is that a charity all band members support?
CJ: Yeah. Well, of course, it’s not something I’m dealing with every day but you should consider what you’re doing on Earth and to your surroundings.
MD: Of course, that's a very secular mindset. You had ‘The Road To Paradiso’ book in 2006 – I’m guessing that was so called because it measured the pinnacle of your success at that point…
CJ: Yeah, at the time.
MD: What aspirations do you have now, beyond that…the road to the Heineken Music Hall perhaps? The road to Wembley Stadium?!
CJ: [laughs] Well, we’re still waiting for that DVD to be released. We had big troubles with the record label but it’s all been said and done.
MD: Was that pre-Nuclear Blast; were you still on Transmission then?
CJ: Yeah, that’s why it’s never been released because it was the build up to that DVD which has never been released.
MD: Is that ever likely to see the light of day?
CJ: Maybe someday but now it’s not relevant anymore because we have two or three albums further. But what’s the goal? The goal is to keep growing and keep touring, and keep playing the festivals we want to, and maybe work towards something bigger like…I don’t know…the Heineken Music Hall would be absolutely awesome. Next year we’re ten years around so maybe something special then.
MD: And you’re doing another Paradiso show in May this year…
MD: Is that going to be filmed?
CJ: No, I don’t think so. That’s going to be the album release of Mayan.
MD: I read you’re having pyros, and guest vocalists, and generally a special evening planned.
CJ: Yeah, of course. Well, it’s Mark’s band but he booked Epica so that he has a bigger turnout for Mayan and can do the CD release in such a big venue as the Paradiso.
MD: So he’s using Epica to promote his other band!
CJ: Yeah, of course.
MD: And why not!
CJ: Ariën and Isaac are also in the band, and Simone’s doing vocals, and I wrote some stuff also.
MD: Right, yeah, so it’s all related anyway. I was going to ask about the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise but you didn’t play it, of course…
CJ: No, but I heard all the stories.
MD: It seems like a really bizarre concept having a metal festival on a cruise ship.
CJ: Yeah, but it worked out very well because it was nearly sold out and I think the cruise ship company was very happy as well because people drank a lot of alcohol so they made a lot of money. I guess, next year, they’re gonna try to do it again. But I think, for the band, it was a bit strange because you’re in daylight on a boat with people relaxing and sitting on these lying chairs.
MD: I saw something on your blog where you tattooed all your signatures on a guy’s back. Is that the weirdest thing you’ve ever signed?
CJ: Yeah, it is. The guys from ReVamp, they did it too on the same guy, a few months later. He was a big fan and he had this terrible accident and was in a coma for five years or something…so he totally lost his mind and got our tattoos! [laughs] No, I don’t know, it was some healing process and our music was a support for him so he wanted us to do it. There was this tattooist there who told us how to do it but it was strange. Normally when you write signatures, you do it very fast and trying to do your own signature very slow and then break half way to have more ink, it’s really ugly! [laughs]
MD: Did it look like your signature at the end?
CJ: Yeah, in the end.
MD: What’s the weirdest gift a fan’s ever given to you or a member of the band?
CJ: People make a lot of drawings of Simone. Some of those are so well drawn it makes you want to ask to draw every band member and then we can use it as artwork! Yeah, people make a lot of stuff. In South America, it’s bigger with the gift thing but you cannot take anything home because you have to fly it over.
MD: What’s the most disastrous Spinal Tap moment you’ve ever had on stage?
CJ: Me? I’m not gonna tell that as it’s really embarrassing! But yesterday, during the first song there were no choirs and everyone was like, “what the fuck?” I don’t know if the crowd noticed. I hope not!
MD: Depends how drunk they were, maybe!
CJ: Yeah, they seemed to get more drunk earlier in the evening!
MD: You kind of mentioned this already but I was going to ask as my final question that it’s a decade next year since Epica began, so do you have any plans or ideas at all to celebrate the occasion?
CJ: Well, we haven’t talked about it yet. Our first live show was 15th December…so we have two years to plan. We have talked about we should do something. Maybe, coincidentally, it will be the same show as our 666th show because that’s coming up, I think.
MD: That’d be very metal!
CJ: Yeah! [laughs]
MD: Okay, thank you very much for your time.
CJ: Thank you.