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Epica have just released their new album, The Quantum Enigma. SHANE PINNEGAR chats with vocalist, Simone Simons.

Having a newborn baby in the studio was hard work, Epica’s Simone Simons, says, but in a situation when most new mothers take time off, the singer stepped right back into the fray to record a new album, The Quantum Enigma.

“I took him with me during vocal recordings in the studio last December,” she says, “because he was only two months old and I didn’t want to stop breastfeeding.

“That was really heavy to have him with me in the studio, breastfeeding and then doing vocal recordings. Vocal recordings are already so super-demanding on your body and soul, but then having a little baby there, it’s like… whew.

“It was one of the hardest jobs ever, but I managed.”

Simons, who describes motherhood as “beautifully life-changing,” asserts that The Quantum Enigma – Epica’s sixth studio album – is their best yet.

“It’s the most diverse, heavy, catchy Epica record to date. All of our guys wrote songs for the record. There’s been extreme, tight teamwork going on. We had a new producer, we had a new studio. We still kept the Epica sounds, the choirs, the orchestra and made it super heavy. The guitars are definitely very prominent this time. We wrote for the bigger choir, with the string ensemble, so everything is bigger and better!”

Epica’s records can get quite philosophical lyrically, and The Quantum Enigma is no exception.

The Quantum Enigma is basically standing for our search of reality,” Simons explains, “because when quantum physicists were observing particles they found out that when we directly look at them, they take a shape. When you look away, they change their shape. So does that mean that when we don’t look the reality’s changing? So through our observation we determine our reality and that’s very cool. The power of the human mind, the circle of life, those are all topics in our lyrics. So it’s very philosophical, very spiritual, very scientific.”

Epica have tackled a lot of philosophical, socio-political and religious themes on their six albums – it’s a long way from ‘rock and roll all night and party every day’. Does Simons ever wish that she could just go on stage in jeans and a t-shirt and sing a party song?

“Well, I think that for the guys they can do that in the karaoke bars,” she says in all seriousness. “I mean, we’re also having a good time. Our lyrics do have a deeper meaning to them, but it’s still for everybody to have a good time and to be happy and enjoy music. But the lyrics definitely have a deeper meaning to them. The music takes you away on the journey and makes you forget about daily life and the lyrics makes you reflect on daily life.”

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