Epica are road warriors on tour whether they’re traveling across Europe or the States. We caught up with vocalist Simone Simons and guitarist Mark Jansen on the 2016 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise. They both spoke about the progression of their upcoming seventh studio album and balancing recording with touring. They also talked about their upcoming plans and the dangers of koala bears. Check out our interview with Mark Jansen and Simone Simons of Epica below:

With so many bands on the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise, what is one band other than Epica that you would like to be in?

Simone Simons: I’ve watched Moonspell and Lacuna Coil and they are friends and bands I’ve loved since as long as I like metal, which is like 16 years now? They’re just lovely people and great performers.

Mark Jansen: For me it would be Iced Earth, I listened to them when I was young with the fast riffs of Jon Schaffer.

Is there any progression of the new album that you can talk about?

SS: The seventh studio album is being recorded now, so far the drums, guitars and bass have been recorded. After touring, the strings and choirs are going to start in April when we come back from our Asian and Australian tours

What can fans expect from the new material?

MJ: It’s along the same line of The Quantum Enigma. We experimented a lot with that album so that was a big step for our career. So it will be in the same line, we always search for perfection and making things better than before. Hopefully we will succeed again but it’s up to the fans to decide.

SS: Bigger choir, bigger orchestras, we have a brass section now. We’re going for the American style, the bigger the better. [Laughs] It will definitely be like the big sister of The Quantum Enigma.

There are so many great Dutch bands. What do you think it is about the Netherlands that causes so much talent to erupt from there.

MJ: In some countries, guys want to play metal, in some countries, people don’t. In the Netherlands there are a lot of metal bands. I don’t know how it is now but there was also a lot of support from the government for tour support of coming for the first time to the United States and that makes a difference for a band otherwise we would not have been able to come over for the first time. It’s a huge amount of money that you have to invest.

SS: It’s not that much nowadays. Same with small clubs -- they were all closed down because they weren’t subsidized by the state or the providence anymore. We played all of those smaller clubs before they were torn down.

MJ: We were one of the last lucky ones.

What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you and the rest of the band?

SS: With the seventh studio album, for me the vocal recordings and going to Asia and Australia and New Zealand which will be a new country, I’m very much looking forward to that. We’ve been to so many countries already, I don’t know what the list is now, 56 or so? Now New Zealand is added to that. I like Australia a lot and Asia, as well. It’s so different from Europe, I like the culture and the food. I did see kangaroos and koalas in Australia, we did the tourist-y thing. [Laughs]

MJ: What some people don’t know, in Australia when you hug a koala, they’re not as soft as they look. They’re very heavy and it feels like you’re holding a stone and they have quite big nails. [Laughs] We thought we were going to hug such a fluffy animal.

Our thanks to Mark Jansen and Simone Simons of Epica for the interview. Go here to see the band's upcoming tour dates.

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