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An Epic{a} Day

An Epic{a} Day

On certain days, life can be surprising. October 27, 2012 would become one of those days in my life and it all began with music. Being a music lover, I grew up expressing this passion through singing; performing in musicals, talent shows and choirs gave me a deep appreciation and respect of this oral tradition, particularly those of the classical variety. At the same time, my household listened to Rock and Metal so by day I sang Medieval madrigals while by night completed homework to Metallica’s Black Album. Now imagine my reaction, at age 27, hearing Symphonic Metal for the first time… I know, quite sad. I wondered where these voices and sounds had been my entire life and more importantly, looked around to find the rock I’d been under.

Eventually, I discovered Epica and never looked back – they are my perfect music hybrid: classical compositions, plenty of metal fury and clean, female operatic vocals with a dash of man growls. Specifically, I love the concept and philosophy of Epica’s music, which promotes peace, equality and a deeper understanding of our place in the universe. I never imagined my love of symphonic metal would collide with my passion for graphic design, but it did, and this is how it happened.

Being a fan of Epica brought me to SmoonStyle, the beauty blog of leader singer, Simone Simons. To keep myself in good practice, I redesign websites and decided to recreate SmoonStyle. The final result turned out nice so I posted it on Twitter and tagged Simone. At this time, Epica was touring Latin America and I wasn’t sure she’d see my tweet, but to my surprise she responded!

The complete design wasn’t posted to Twitter, so I sent Simone the entire piece. Worse case scenario, she wouldn’t like it, but why not try? A response arrived soon after and the reaction was positive; a few emails back and forth decided our collaboration and meeting before Epica’s performance at The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts. Not only was I attending my first Epica show, but would go backstage, meet the band and personally speak with Simone. I felt completely honored and amazed that a bit of fearlessness afforded me an opportunity to experience the world differently.

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THE BIG DAY
2pm outside the Palladium was where we met, crew busily moving equipment into the venue. I stood against the building, a bit out of my element until Simone popped open the tour bus door to greet me with a smile. For the record, photos do her no justice. Once inside, she made tea and we introduced ourselves. Rob van der Loo, Epica bassist, lounged across from me and I greeted him with an excited wave. People were still asleep inside so we moved to the Palladium’s backstage dressing rooms where I met guitarist, Isaac Delahaye, and drummer, Ariën van Weesenbeek. As I spoke with them, my experience began to feel surreal; even now this day feels like only a dream. Eventually, Simone and I discussed potential website designs. I won’t go into detail about our conversation because all will be revealed in 2013! The chosen concept is perfect, I can’t wait for everyone to see it!

I was then afforded the pleasure of watching an Epica sound check. I haven’t set foot on a stage in a long time and just to be there, to hear and see Epica play from this perspective, felt beautiful and nostalgic… made me realize how much I missed performing. To balance the pain of days gone by, I watched guitarist and vocalist, Mark Jansen eat, drink and play his instrument at the same time; he is a man of many talents. He soon introduced himself and was kind enough to take a photo of myself, Simone and my sister, a trio of lovely redheads. If he posts the photo, I promise to add it to this blog post.

With sound check complete, I went to lunch and didn’t see Epica again until the 6pm Meet & Greet. I’d never been to a M&G before so it felt strange not having anything for the band to sign. I received a lovely signed poster, a photo with Epica, plus purchased a “Design Your Universe” keychain. At the merch booth, pianist, Coen Janssen introduced himself and we chatted for a bit and joked about Epica selling baby merchandise – onesies that said: My dad is in a metal band.

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THE SHOW
After watching performances from Blackguard, Insomnium, System Divide and Alestorm, Epica took the stage around 10pm. “Karma,” the introduction to Requiem for the Indifferent, filled the air and the crowd went crazy. The calm and collected persona I’d maintained all day quickly left, replaced by my inner metal-loving self. The concert was perfection; Simone sounded spot on, the guys were full of energy and the light show, paired with their performance, was beautiful and immersive. I sang every song and loved every minute in that musical space with Epica, though I paid for it the next day with a sore neck from excessive windmilling. If there’s ever an opportunity to see Epica perform live, go because they will not disappoint!

October 27, 2012 was an amazing day for me, not only as a music lover, but also as a designer. It’s serendipitous when two passions eclipse, so I wrote this blog post to retain my happy memory. More fun and opportunities will surely come and when they do, I hope to share them here.

– Rebecca

Special thanks to Epica tour manager, Rory Romano for being so accommodating when very busy, my sister, Amanda for her lovely photos and to Simone Simons and Epica for allowing me this wonderful opportunity.

1 Comment
  • Sondra
    December 31, 2012

    I am very impressed, and very proud for you, and of you. Now, remember your reading, and get back to singing girl!!

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