Exclusive Interview with Mark Jansen, June 2007

This interview was answered by Mark Jansen, guitar and grunts of Epica on June 12th, 2007. We were supposed to do this interview with Mark when they came to Buenos Aires last April 30th, but unfortunately, because of time problems -the band arrived that same day and had to leave the day after- we couldn't. So we did a shorter and different interview... hope you like it!
Also we want to specially thank to ARIEL from Volumen 4 who gave us the opportunity to do the interview. Thanks Ariel!!

We will start with the new album: tell us about the composition and recording of it.
Mark: We worked for two and a half years on the compositions, half a year longer as we worked on Consign to Oblivion.
The recordings went very well, we started with a pre production for the vocal lines and after that Ariën started with the drums (Arien van Weesenbeek - session drummer), he's a killer drummer and I think this made the album much more powerful.

Which differences do you find between this album and the previous ones? (on the recording process and on the album in itself)
Mark: Much heavier, longer songs, better drum work, more worked out details, more variation in singing of Simone, more grunts, guitar more in front of the mix where it was needed. The recording process was pretty much the same - just the fact that we did a pre production this time was different.

Why did you choose the title "The Divine Conspiracy" for the new album?
Mark: It's a concept album and the Divine Conspiracy is the core of the concept, which means that as a test, God created all kinds of different religions and released those upon humanity to see if they would be able to find the true nature of them, realizing that in all religions it is actually the same.

Why did you choose Argentina and Uruguay to play the new songs? (Though this was your first time in Uruguay...)
Mark: We were invited by the company “Katoen Natie” to play in Uruguay, they were going to open a new gate at the harbor and so organized a festival to celebrate it. Argentina was very close, so it was a small step to pass by and play also an argentinian gig :)

How do you see the evolution of Epica since it was "Sahara Dust" until now, in Studio and on stage?
Mark: We became mature. In the beginning it was very innocent but now it's a job with many responsibilities - But I still don't see it as work, it's still the best job in the world and I love to do it :)

And now, how do you see YOUR evolution since you were the guitar player of After Forever until being leader of a band that’s getting more and more important in this music scene?
Mark: After my departure from After Forever I had to make a few steps behind in order to make possible to make some new steps ahead pretty soon. I'm very happy that we achieved this with Epica and I can only hope that it's possible for us to keep on developing and playing in many countries all over the world.

How did you decide to do the riding in benefit for WWF? What about that, how is it going?
Mark: The idea started previous year when I saw cyclist riding the very difficult Marmotte race in the French mountains. It is 174 km long and leads over the biggest French mountains in one day. I saw these people suffering and I thought I want to do that as well. But as I don't have that much time to train I thought when I do it for charity it gives an extra impulse to don't give up the trainings: An extra goal to realize this dream. So I contacted WWF and they were enthusiastic right away :)
The 7th of July the race will take place and people can sponsor me by filling in a form on (you can also find more info about the race and charity goal there).

Which things do you enjoy the most and which ones bother you the most when you´re on stage or on tour?
Mark: The thing I enjoy the most on tour are the reactions of the audience and the shower after a concert.
But what bothers me is traveling by airplane: it's very boring, tiring and most of the time a band has problems with the gear.

After the sound check in Buenos Aires, we had the opportunity to give you some presents: some messages we’ve received for you and a book about Buenos Aires; and at the end of the concert we gave a flag with the name of the fansite to Simone. Since we couldn’t talk about this with you, we wanted to ask you: Did you like them?
Mark: we are very thankful for all the gifts, and liked them a lot :)

How was your second experience in Argentina? Did you find some difference between this visit with the first one?
Mark: The crowd was wilder, compared to the first time - so I like it a lot; and I cannot wait to come back :)

This is the end of the interview. Please, can you say some words to the Argentian fans? =)
Mark: Viva Argentina!