United Rock Nations recently conducted an interview with vocalist Simone Simons and guitarist Mark Jansen of Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether EPICA felt any pressure following up 2014's "The Quantum Enigma" album:
Simone: "Only a little bit, but more in a positive way. We were so happy with the response 'The Quantum Enigma' received worldwide. We felt really motivated to keep on going. We have five guys in the band that were writing songs. We had a big selection of songs to choose from. We were very confident that we had some really unique songs that were going to make it to the record, and, that they would make the record good."
On using a "real" orchestra versus samples on "The Holographic Principle":
Mark: "When 'The Quantum Enigma' was finished and we started thinking about the next album, we thought about which things we can improve on over 'The Quantum Enigma'. It was received so well and the fans were very happy with it. But, what can we do better? That was to record everything live with real people, using as little samples as possible. Basically, everything you hear is played by human beings. That's a difference you hear. Also, we experimented with the guitar sound. It's a little more up front in the mix. Every time you try some things to make it sound different, even though we wanted to keep the basic sound of 'The Quantum Enigma'."
On the heavier sound of "The Holographic Principle":
Mark: "It's a development. Personally, I try to challenge myself with my songwriting. In the past, I often started playing piano, then that transformed into a song. Now, I intentionally pick up the guitar way more often to start with riffs instead of a keyboard or piano. That resulted in heavier stuff. I know Isaac [Delahaye, guitars] also starts with the guitars. We have five songwriters and they all wrote quite heavy stuff. Rob [Van Der Loo, bass], has one of the heaviest tracks on the album. It was not really something we consciously decided, but it happened and we felt comfortable with it. We always follow our feelings. This is what happened and it works well."
On the lyrical approach on "The Holographic Principle":
Mark: "We're always looking for interesting topics to write about. This one, we went really wild on and you can pick many sides. You can include dreams, reality, and parallel universes. The idea is about this virtual reality thing is that techniques develop really fast and sooner or later, you are so good that you put on this virtual reality mask and you find yourself in a world comparable to ours. You cannot notice the difference anymore. That might make you wonder about this world, that if it's a virtual reality on its own. If that would be the case and life and the whole universe is one big hologram, it's fascinating and scary at the same time. Some guy told me that soon, you will be able to put on a mask and you will find yourself laying on a beach and you will feel the sun on your skin. You lay there for one hour and take off the mask, and you feel relaxed. That saves you a two-hour drive!"
"The Holographic Principle" will be released on September 30 via Nuclear Blast.