The “Requiem For The Indifferent European tour” included two dates in Portugal and Heaven Is Not Too Far stole a few minutes from guitarist/singer Mark Jansen before the show in Porto, to know a bit about the new album and the band in general.
HINTF: Hello, Mark. Thank you so much for talking to us.
The title of the new album, “Requiem For The Indifferent”, is a bit hard, a little bit harsh – and also the concept of the album. How did you think about the title? Whose idea was it? And also the cover art, which is something “dark”. Who had all those ideas?
Mark Jansen: Not one person had all the ideas. Simone (Simons, singer) has worked with Heile (Stefan Heilemann, visual artist) on the art for the cover and the booklet and I made the title for the album… and the inspiration for that is all around us.
HINTF: Yes, I’ve read about the culture issues and the wars… Was it something that you’d already planned on doing? Or was there any specific event that triggered that will of alerting people to all this?
Mark: Yes, the specific event was the financial crisis we are in now. People are really suffering from it. The gap between rich and poor is getting only bigger. Two things can happen then: some eye-opener and people start being there for each other, or the other way, that rich people want even more for themselves, even in a crisis situation. And that’s what I see happening. But the big reason I see for that is that all the big companies in the world are ruled by cold-hearted people. They’ve got these positions because in this world we’re living in the system supports being greedy. So the greediest people have the highest positions and you can’t expect them to be there for the others in a time of crisis. So there’s a need for a big change and it won’t come automatically. The only thing I see that could really make a change would be, for example, the money getting valueless from one day to the other. If that happens, people would have to start from the beginning again and build up something new. I can not really hope for that because it would be a really dramatic event, but something like is needed to reset the whole system.
HINTF: “Storm The Sorrow” was chosen as the first single because you believed it was the best song to promote the whole album. But is that your favourite song? To play live?
Mark: My favourite song to play live is “Serenade Of Self-Destruction”. Because this song has all the elements that EPICA represent. I also like songs like “Consign To Oblivion”, “Cry For The Moon”… But from the new album is definitely “Serenade Of Self-Destruction”.
HINTF: And since you’ve talked about it… What was your reaction when you found out that the first physical release of “Requiem For The Indifferent” by Nuclear Blast included an only instrumental version of “Serenade Of Self-Destruction”?
Mark: My stomach turned around, to be honest (laughs). It’s the worst thing that can happen to a musician. You work two years on an album and then somebody fucks it up. But we’re all humans and we forgave the person who made the mistake. We didn’t want to start any more problems. The error was made, you can’t change anything, you only have to find the best possible solution for it. All the fans who wanted the new album could still get the new album from Nuclear Blast and as soon as possible the new cds in the shops had the right version.
HINTF: And the right song was also available for download.
HINTF: When Yves (Huts, bass player) left the band and Rob (van der Loo) came in, did you even make an audition? Because you announced it almost immediately! You just thought “let’s ask him if he’s interested” or did you audition some other people?
Mark: No. When Yves announced he would leave, the same day I called Rob, because I know him from MAYAN (Mark’s other band). I like Rob a lot, he’s a great guy and also a very talented musician. So there was a consensus right away that he would be the perfect guy to replace Yves. So we called him, he said yes, and there was no need to audition anyone else.
HINTF: It’s been a while since you’ve played indoors in Portugal. How was the concert yesterday in Lisbon and what are your expectations for tonight here in Porto?
Mark: For some reason in this whole tour we are suffering from technical problems – yesterday as well. But we keep on going. Even if someone “up there” (points to the sky) is teasing us for whatever reason, we keep on going. And I think the crowd really appreciated that. And from the half of the set on, the crowd got wilder and wilder and in the end it turned out to be a great show. And I think that’s the right thing to do. If we had got sad by these little technical problems we had then the whole concert would be a waste. But you can always say that it went well from half of the set on, and I think that nobody noticed most of the little technical problems. But this tour, for some reason… everything goes wrong. Let’s see what happens tonight (laughs).
HINTF: Well, I read some comments from people in Lisbon saying the concert yesterday was awesome, so…
Mark: Yeah, and the people really thanked us and I was also really happy with the crowd reaction, really warm and wild. So it was great!
HINTF: The show here isn’t sold out, but it was close (some 700 tickets sold out of 800). So what do you think, it’s going to be good?
Mark: I think yes! Despite whatever technical problems there might be (laughs).
HINTF: Once again thank you and good luck!
Note of the author: if there was any technical problem in the EPICA concert after this interview, I didn’t notice.