Epica recently released another fine album in a line of fine albums. Their new "Requiem For The Indifferent" is, as expected, a dynamic journey through various landscapes in the vein of Epica. Some may raise questions on the length of the album, but Isaac Delahaye begs to differ. Do also notice that the question on the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Brevik was replied to prior to the trial that began in Norway on Monday, 16.04.12
...read the former interview here...
Now two and a half year have passed since the former full-lenght. But let me first ask you how people took on the "Design Your Universe"? Normally one would ask of positive response, but did you really get any negative response, and if so, what kind of?
" "Design Your Universe" definitely was a huge step forward for Epica, and it sure put the band on the map among other top metal acts. We quite often heard the word ‘masterpiece’ and it brought us all over the world as a headlining band. Of course there are people who think that the first album is the only good one, and that everything after that is part of a downward spiral, but I guess every band has fans like these. I actually see that as a compliment, as it means that first album was good enough to be influential for everything which came after it."
Then you released "The Classical Conspiracy" prior to the “The Divine Conspiracy”. I guess all Epica fans listened to it, and liked it for sure. How do you look upon the experience of performing with an orchestra and choir? I am sure it was a dream come through, but what has made the biggest impact on Epica?
" "The Classical Conspiracy" actually came after "The Divine Conspiracy". It might sound cheesy, but also for this live album people where really praiseful, calling it one of the best live captures since a long time. It sure was a huge piece of work, as there were over 100 musicians involved. Over 6 months of preparation, 10 days of rehearsing, making sure everything is recorded properly. Epica’s music really comes to life with a real orchestra, so it is definitely something we wanna do again. The biggest impact was the reaction of the people who came to the show and never heard a single Epica song, let alone a metal band playing along with an orchestra. It was recorded during a festival for classical music, so obviously you get a pretty different audience. We always like these kinda challenges!"
How do you choose which songs to play live now? I mean, you’ve a few albums in store now, so the choice is perhaps harder and harder?
"On every album there are songs which work better live than on the album, and songs which work good on the album but don’t have a huge impact live. So this is a decision which basically makes itself. On top of that we also need to take the production into consideration. Some special effects only work on a certain song, or a certain light color works best with this or that song. With the new album we’re putting a lot of effort in the live show, so these details are very important for us. But just like on the albums, we like to have a nice flow in the show. Create tension and dynamics throughout the show."
What is most important to you when you perform the music – how you perform as a band or how the audience (re)act? In what way do the audience affect your performance?
"People pay good money to come to a show, so you better give them something memorable. I’ve learned that you should always give all you’ve got, even if you think people don’t appreciate what you’re doing. Every audience is different, and there are huge cultural differences between audiences in different countries and continents. Some people scream from the moment you go on that stage until you leave, other stand still and only clap their hands in between songs, even if they think it’s the most brilliant thing they’ve ever seen.
Though I surely admit the band gets a lot of energy from an audience which is going totally wild."
You have played in Norway several times, though not in 2011. Will we see you here this year? I see from your Upcoming Shows-list that you’re going to play in Sweden in August, so let’s hope there’s some room for you in Norway as well… What are your best memories from our country?
"The first leg of the European tour is booked now, but we’re still working on other regions. We wanna have a separate Scandinavian leg so we don’t have to stress about the distances and stuff like that. So that will be for later this year. I still have a very nice memory about the Inferno Fest I played with my former band God Dethroned. The atmosphere there was really awesome and I saw some killer bands there."
Being on Norway, you have this song “Internal Warfare”, which I take for granted that every Norwegian journalist will ask about. I really love the way Simone sings on this one. It’s desperate and different. How did you work with this song to make the singing different from the rest?
"Well, basically this whole song is different from the rest, having a sort of demonic vibe. To me it’s like prog and black metal combined, with a symphonic sauce. Or something, hagh! The guitar solo is also pretty different from what I usually do. So the topic is also perfect for a song like this, and I agree with you that Simone expresses her emotions appropriately in this song."
On the topic of Anders Behring Breivik's victims at Utøya and in Oslo. You played at Tuska festival 23rd of July 2011. What did you think when the news began to spread all over the world? And when you began to write the new album, what made you dedicate “Internal Warfare” to the victims of his insanity?
"There are more stories like this, and he isn’t the first to kill so many people. However, the circumstances were so intriguing: his uniform, the manifest, the bomb attack, but also the fact it took so long for the police to get on the island. It’s the kind of event which makes you think about the world we live in. It’s much more than just killing people."
Why is it so that the albums have to be so long? Haven’t you realized that our attention span has been reduced to a minimum the last few years due to the fact that we need everything once it’s written, or even before, if possible…? You’re not afraid that the listener will loose his/her attention here and there?
"First of all Epica is a band which has very long songs, so it comes naturally. We even had to skip some songs. Like I said before, we like dynamics in our albums, and use this to keep grabbing the attention.
In addition, being a leading band in the genre, it can also be seen as a statement. Why would we follow ‘the rules’ and make a 45-minutes album? Because kids can’t concentrate any longer? If we would do that, we’d be part of the reason why they can’t concentrate much longer, and that would be sad."
My favourite lyric is for the song “Anima”. Seriously, it’s “Monopoly On Truth”. This can be in a relationship where one is claiming to know the better…, but I think it has more to do with society and how someone else always tells us what we should and must think. As it says “Can we trust all the facts and believe that the fancied wise are just and needed?”. How can people trust each other when it takes more than 10 truths over 1 lie? And people do lie all the time, it seems… Politicians, parents, brothers, sisters, the media, TV, bandmembers, kids… Would we be able to handle a world where people actually were honest to the bone?
"It can indeed refer to every aspect of life. Relations, or society in general. The fact we have consciousness and an own opinion makes us human beings. But it also makes us use this against each other, or even against ourselves. It’s human nature, so I’m sure you can’t erase that, and I’m even sure we shouldn’t. However, it seems like nowadays there is a very select group of people who have all the power, and who do everything to hide the truth from the people. And that’s a dangerous thing, because there’s nothing more powerful than a nation which feels betrayed. The Arab Spring is just 1 example of that.
Anyway, "Monopoly on Truth" is indeed about these people who think they have the whole truth, and therefore don’t even take other opinions into consideration. It makes them narrow-minded, and mostly it’s no fun to have a conversation with them. Put someone like that in a leading position, and you call this person a dictator."
The closer of the album has probably the best chorus that Epica have ever done, and you’ve done plenty. “Serenade Of Self-Destruction” is a song that doesn’t exactly give me much hope for the Earth, or to be precise, that’s exactly what it does. The music is superb and the lyrics make me think of an Earth without its plague, namely humans… Is our self-destruction inevitable?
"Not if we care a little more, if we are less indifferent. However, this song is about different aspects of suicide. It could be an act of religious sacrifice, it could be for honor (samurai), or just because you don’t see another way out. The result is the same, the reasons are different."
And finally we’re at the title track. Is there any hope for the Indifferent? You have maybe answered this previously, but why do you think that those who in fact are able to change the world into a better play remain indifferent? When they have a million Euros, they must have one more and so on…
"There’s always hope! The world will never be a place full of peace, love and happiness and we would be naive to believe so. But it seems like the balance is gone at the moment, and if we all stay indifferent for that, it will only get worse. People are greedy, we always want more and more. So if we don’t stop people who lost their balance, they could just go on getting more. A lot of people think that all these problems are far from their beds, or that they are insignificant in a certain matter and think they can’t make a difference. Well, once again the Arab Spring is the most clear example. If you scream loud enough, your voice will be heard. And that’s exactly what we should do."
Composed by Roy Kristensen