Epica is the biggest things going in the world Symphonic Metal. With singer Simone Simons and her beautiful voice backed by fiv amazingly talented guys, Epica brings total joy to metal audience. Although they are one of the most popular bands in Europe, they also have been growing a great audience here in U.S. They released their sixth studio album late 2014 and took a heavier direction. With this dramatic change in band’s sound , Blast Magazine wanted to sit down with them during their show in Boston and get some more insight. Guitarist Isaac Delahaye was kind enough to sit down with us.
BLAST MAGAZINE: Let’s start with Epic Metal Fest that is going on for the first time this year. Did you have that idea for a long time ? Now that a lot of bands are doing their own festivals. Or are you thinking about expanding it to different locations like KnotFest of Slipknot?
ISAAC DELAHAYE: Oh maybe. It is the first time. Let’s see what happens and then we can look at how things move on from there. We had the idea for, you did retrospect in the same venue, the live DVD and that one was sold out with orchestra and choir. That is basically where the whole idea started, where we wanted to do our own festival. Because pretty much, it is Holland, we played almost all of the venues and sold them out so we were looking for the next step and the retrospect was 10th anniversary special edition show. We have special things planned out, so we will just have to see what happens.
BLAST MAGAZINE: Going back to the recording process of Quantum Enigma, what would you say your best memory was ?
Being a band again haha. In the past we would individually write songs and when we go into the studio and record whatever. This time we moved to a studio in Holland and not in Germany so that was way closer to us. We could just go there, have some rehearsals, record them. We still write songs individually but now we put everything in a pile, go into the studio and kind of dot the eyes and make it more interesting. I don’t know if you could say it when you listened to the album but all the details were how and where they supposed to be. Just the whole process of being together, being there when the drums are tracked being able to say I meant this and that. The kick has to be here, the snare has to be there. These little details just made the whole album more interesting for us and I think it also reflects how people reacted to the album.
BLAST MAGAZINE: You guys tour all over the world, how would you compare US to Europe? The reason I ask this question is, you guys do symphonic metal. And Europe when through the classical music era which formed the basis for Metal, where as a US crowd expects more heavy stuff.
Well you obviously have that in Europe too. We are still growing in US. There are more people coming to the shows. It is not as big as in Europe or South American but we are getting there. And in general, US has a generous market. They buy the albums during/after the show, they buy the merch. They are not all over you. Sometimes in South America it can be hard. That is just their culture and who they are, so you can’t blame them for it. It is more reserved here in US. People talk face to face. We just played our first show, and the response of the audience was really cool. People used to stand there and watch and now maybe because the new album has heavier production, song are more heavy… We are getting there.
BLAST MAGAZINE: Going back to the very beginning, who were your influences? What dragged you to Metal Music?
I remember my first album was, Use Your Illusion II, Guns and Roses. I love all their albums. Maybe except for the last one. And the second one was Suffocation, Effigy of the Forgotten. That was a little too extreme. I have couple of brothers and one was always listening to techno music and pink Floyd stuff like that. Another one was into hard core/metal core. My step sister was more into more commercial stuff, radio music. My parents were musical too. Classical music, Dire Strains all these bands. Also at home, I heard so much music. Then as far as metal goes, I grew up in a time with band like, Rage Against The Machine, Machine Head, Pantera and all these kind of bands. Up until now, I had my prog metal period. As a guitarist I wanted to fool around as much as possible. I left that behind me years ago. For me it doesn’t matter how many notes you play, melody is the most important thing. Now a days, as long as metal goes, Soil Work, Arcane Order had a great album. Yeah so whenever I write music I tend to… Because if you are touring all the time, once you are at home, you want more silent environment, you don’t want that much music, but when I am writing I start listening to all these bands, put some influences here and there. I really love the modern trash metal bands. Lamb of God.
BLAST MAGAZINE: Is there any artist you would want to feature or work with?
You know I mentioned Soilwork. So one of those guys, I would love to record with. As far as guitar goes, Peter Wichers. As far as projects go, I wouldn’t really know. We are too busy with this band. I have my own acoustic guitar thing. I want to make my own album, just one guitar, nothing else. I am working on that. In that direction, Tommy Emmanuel would be a guy to work with. The plan is to record on my own so no projects involved. Maybe for the second album.
BLAST MAGAZINE: If we compare today’s metal scene to back then. We can say it has been losing some power. Up until this year. A lot of bands released great stuff, crushing the carts world wide. Would you have any suggestion to the bands who are just getting started?
Don’t bullshit around. Of course there is so many bands but there is so much crap. You know, you have to be honest to your self. Whenever I write something, I don’t like it, I throw it into garbage. I can emails, facebook messages from people. Sending stuff over. And recently someone sent me something which was actually not bad, but they stayed in the same vibe for the whole song, same kind of melodies. It wasn’t bad but after 4-5 minutes you are like oh come on. No modulation, no chord changes. So I just answered them. It is good but it is not great. I played in bands, as a teenager where the drummer would suck, the bass player wouldn’t show up. If it a sign you know, you need to have some dedication from the people you work with. Don’t loose time with the people who don’t have the same course.
BLAST MAGAZINE: Skipping the cooking and make up questions haha.
I can cook too.
BLAST MAGAZINE: Is it like a big hobby for you ?
Yeah, I like cooking.
BLAST MAGAZINE: One thing that wasn’t really common with Epica was cover songs. Have you ever thought about taking a song and maybe changing it into more of a symphonic metal sound?
We did a few covers, like Fear Factory. We did Death. Writing and recording an album is a huge process, because there is so much stuff involved, and we would rather take the time to that rather than covers. And as we are writing for the next album. We already have 25 songs. So we already have plenty of stuff to choose from.
BLAST MAGAZINE: Thank you so much for your time.