Simone Simons’ scene is at home singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to her son. “Whenever I start to sing some opera stuff or Epica songs, he tells me ‘no no!’, because he relates that to me being gone and working.”
Nursery rhymes might not be what you’d expect from the lead singer of Epica, a symphonic metal band heading down under in just over a week.
Simone describes her band as “a very good Indian curry. Very spicy, a little bit exotic and an epic explosion in your mouth!” Formed in 2002, Epica have been unleashing their unique blend of metal, with Mark Jansen’s demonic growls and Simone’s angelic melodies for over 14 years. Having already toured the country in 2013, the band is “super stoked to go back to Australia… The first time we were there we had a great time and worked very hard to make sure we could come back.”
“I felt very at home,” Simone added. “I just like the vibe overall, the people, the places. It really felt European to me, but a little bit more relaxed.” She’s confident that she’ll have a great time with the fans, and hopes to see how much Epica has grown in the scene since her last visit.
While most of her experiences with fans have been great, especially meeting them face to face, there have been some strange incidents over the years. “Recently, we were in Turkey and we were about to go to our hotel. While we were loading the van, I looked in the back and saw a guy sitting there.” Originally Simone thought he was a part of the crew, but when he started jumping up and down and asking for some photos, she realised he was just a fan. She remembers thinking to herself, “S***, how did he get into the van without anyone noticing?” The apparent ninja was promptly escorted out.
One of Simone’s favourite songs to perform live is ‘Unchain Utopia’ from their Quantum Enigma album. “I love the song from beginning to end. I love the groove, the melodies and how the audience responds to it. It’s a great interaction between the song, the music and the fans.”
Inspiration-wise, Simone tries to stay true to her sound. “ I find it very important to try to be myself, because there are already others out there. In the beginning I found I was struggling with what my sound was… but I think I’ve found it now. I have huge respect for other singers but they don’t inspire me to be the same, because I want to be myself.”
Her favourite records and songs “all mark a certain period of my life.” One of these albums is In a Reverie by Lacuna Coil. “Christina (lead singer) is a friend of mine, so I connect their music to the friendship that has grown out of it.” Recently she’s been listening to Mandylion from The Gathering, which was one of the first albums she listened to when she started getting into the metal scene.
The person who gave her that initial push into metal was a friend of her ex-boyfriend when she was 14. “He was a metal head, and I loved to listen to rock. I was into Radiohead, Silverchair, Deftones, but he was really into black and symphonic metal.” When he introduced her to the music, she “loved it right away, and that’s how the ball started rolling for me.”
The band has plenty of plans for the future. “After the tour I will be heading to record my vocals for the seventh studio album we’re working on,” Simone announced. “We have some festivals coming up and hopefully by the end of autumn we will release the album and start touring again. The train keeps on going!”
Epica will be performing shows in Auckland Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne before heading over to China for their Asia tour. Catch Epica alongside Aussie band Voyager on their upcoming tour.
Australian Tour Dates
Friday March 18th– Max Watts, Brisbane
Saturday March 19th – Max Watts, Sydney
Sunday March 20th – 170 Russell, Melbourne