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Metal Maven Podcast Transcript: Episode 5

The Power of Confidence with Simone Simons


Welcome to the Metal Maven Podcast, where we explore and discover the process and passions of artists in the metal music and art community.

Metal Maven: We have arrived at the fifth episode of Metal Maven Podcast and today I’m joined by Metal goddess, Simone Simons of Epica. Welcome Simone, how are you?

Simone Simons: I’m doing great. Excited for the podcast.

Metal Maven: Thank you. I’m super excited as well. I was actually quite nervous to do this and I was like, how am I going to begin this? What are we going to talk about? This one’s a little more personal for me I guess because you are the reason why I am doing this in a way. You gave me that first opportunity. It was what, seven years ago? We started working with each other. Which when you think about it is quite crazy.

Maybe we should talk about how we first started out with this? I think I found you. I found Epica on Spotify. I think there was a “Goddesses of Metal” or “Women in Metal” playlist and after that, I was like, “I absolutely love this band.” So at some point, I think it was 2012, I reached out to you with a design for SmoonStyle on Twitter. I think it was on Twitter, and you responded and it ended up being, I was designing your blog and then I ended up designing for Epica and that has not stopped.

Simone Simons: That’s correct. Yeah, I remember that you sent me like four drafts of how you could make my blog prettier, and since I had no clue of how to do it myself, I would just using templates. I was very thankful for the help that you offered me. So yeah, I’m happy I’ve got you on board on the blog. Because of you, the blog looks more professional, so thank you.

Metal Maven: Yeah, you’re welcome. Well, I remember we first met – October is kind of a fun month for us too because I mean that’s when I first met you guys, that was the first show that I saw you. I was in Worcester Palladium in Massachusetts.

Simone Simons: Yeah, I remember – with your sister.

Metal Maven: Yes, with my sister, yup. That was super fun. I know. It’s funny because like all those important moments with you guys, or just in my life, has been October. And it’s funny because, you know, we both have little boys born in October and it’s funny how that works out.

But I was driving home and wondering, “What should I open this podcast with?” And I felt that I should have to just go for it and be confident. And that is kind of what this whole podcast is going to be about today. So it was inspired by your “Metal Mother” HuffPost interview. And you were describing yourself and there’s a moment where you say that you know, you were the example of a high school dropout, not studying and then playing in a band. And then you also said, “I’m very lucky the path was laid out for me and I felt confident enough to walk on it.” So I just kind of took your own advice and I was like, “You know, let’s kind of get into that with Simone,” and see how you went from baby Smoon to who you are right now.

Metal Maven: When you were first starting out, what reassured your decision and gave you the confidence to move forward with what most would view as an unconventional life, being a musician?

Simone Simons: Well, I got the chance, or the possibility to be, the Epica singer back in 2002, but I was very young, still in high school and I thought, “Nah, I don’t know if I should do it.” I was very hesitant and I actually helped the guys find other singers. My vocal teacher back in the day, I asked him if he knew any girls that would be into singing in a band. And I was actually like Mark’s assistant, trying to find a singer for the band, but it didn’t work out with any of the singers, I think – not many auditioned, but then we kind of knew it was meant to be that I was supposed to be the singer, but I was not confident back in the day. But I just had this gut feeling, I guess, to just do it. And there’s so many things we are afraid of in life – and I was actually also afraid of it – but that made me more intrigued by being in a band. As a 12-year-old, I had my first performance – I hated it. I was so nervous. I thought, “I don’t want to have that feeling ever again in my life.” But it was a gut feeling or like, I don’t know, call of destiny. I just decided to go with the flow and I haven’t regretted it.

Metal Maven: In another interview, you had said you didn’t tell your family you were doing this, or it was a night of one of your concerts – I think it was like a choral group you were in – but it was also the same night as the first Epica show and you hadn’t told them yet.

Simone Simons: Yeah, that’s correct. Yeah, I didn’t tell my parents up until the moment where I had a double booking and I had to let them know. And my mom was kind of cool with it and my dad was, of course, not that happy about it because I was still in high school back then, but I quit afterward. And then like every other parent, you are worried about the future of your child because like you say, it’s an unconventional life. But I think if you’re really determined and work hard and believe in yourself, you can get really far in life. You know, you just have to go for it.

Metal Maven: Did your father discourage you in any from this pursue or warn you to have a backup plan should the endeavor fail?

Simone Simons: No, not really. But I guess he made me realize really quickly that I was not studying, so I was in a band and even though we were not making money, he saw it kind of as my job. Yeah, with the age of – I think I was 18 when I quit school because I was allowed to quit school, and then they couldn’t, you know, my parents had nothing to say anymore, so they just had to also go with the flow. And I think now my parents are very proud of me, seeing what I’ve achieved in life, and that you can make a living out of being in a band and then, you know, specifically in a Metal band.

Metal Maven: Just takes a lot of hard work and persistence and luck, yes.

Simone Simons: Luck, definitely also luck. You have to be at the right place at the right time. You have to have the right mindset. You have to be the right person for it because it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle and it’s not all glitter, glamor, and beers and stuff.

Metal Maven: A lot of sweat, tears, and smelly trailers.

Simone Simons: Yeah, smelly butts and tour bus toilets as well. Yeah, you can’t imagine how stinky they are.

Metal Maven: I know, right? Ooh! But you’re not just a musician though. You’re also now an online influencer, a lifestyle blogger, makeup artist, and photographer. So you have a lot of things that you’re currently doing. And for a moment I did want to talk about your website because it is quite a large part of your life that came to fruition as you started touring with Epica and sharing your travels and stage looks. It currently has over 10 million views and has created some really amazing opportunities for you. With that amount of exposure and accolades comes just as many unwanted opinions and judgments of you personally as well as of your work. So in the Metal world, how do you deal with criticism from people that undermine your hobbies and criticize you for being according to them into more superficial, girly stuff?

Simone Simons: Well, I think a lot of people forget that the reason why I started the blog was actually for the fans, back in the day. Mainly, the female fans because I got so many questions about my makeup, and hair, and the clothes that I wore. And before I had the blog, I was writing tour diaries on the Epica website – many years ago, because my blog is going to be nine years old this year. Started in 2010 I believe, I could be wrong by one year, I’m bad with remembering dates, but you know.

Metal Maven: I checked. It’s 2010. You’re right.

Simone Simons: So, yeah, I always had a weakness for the visual side of being in Epica, and was involved in photo shoots, and video shoots. And I always enjoyed that as much as also the live singing, and being in the studio, and writing songs. So that’s always been a part of it. And I’ve styled myself since day one, sometimes with the help of other people, but a lot of it is just my own personal taste.

And a couple of days ago, I was digging through a box filled with Epica stuff and I found this folder with drawings of me, drawing my catsuits back in the day when I was wearing a black and white catsuit with the white corset and, you know, my boobs were hanging out. If you Google me on the Internet, those were the first photos you see. They’re ancient, but they’re the most popular, I guess. So, I designed those outfits myself. I always loved doing that, and I think that that is a big part of Epica as well. Not only how you dress the stage, but also how you dress and present yourself. So, working with a lot of other makeup artists, photographers, and videographers, I started to really get into it more and more.

And I started the blog because I thought, you know, this could be a cool way to bundle everything that I love and take photos of it. The first years, I did not make any money with it. I put so many hours into the blog, so much money I invested in my equipment and also buying products, which I could show on the blog as well. And only since a couple of years I’ve been earning a little bit of money for the hours that I put into creating blog posts, photographing – and I have my own photo studio at home now as well and I’m working part-time as a photographer besides Epica. I think it’s great that if I can make some money with it, why not, you know, I’m doing what I love and I’m finally getting paid for it as well.

The same with Epica. The first couple of years – we were not making any money. I use my allowance money to buy a battery, nine-volt battery, for my in-ear belt-pack and, always with everything you do in life, it takes hard work in the beginning and it will pay off in the end and that’s the same thing with my blog, and I will not let any other people tear me down as long as I still have fun at doing what I’m doing. And of course, also make money. I got to pay the bills, I’m not living with my parents anymore, then I will continue to do it, you know? But, of course, everybody has an opinion. Everybody has the Internet. But my personal opinion, if you don’t like something, swipe to the left, you know? There’s other stuff on the Internet. If you don’t like it then you can just not look at it – it’s as easy as that.

Metal Maven: Just quiet the noise and continue doing what you do that makes you happy.

Simone Simons: Yeah. Maybe putting the phone aside for a couple of hours a day would be good advice I can give everybody. Let’s live life offline and not online all the time.

Metal Maven: Definitely. So, speaking of photography, your blog has beautiful imagery, and that’s not from a hired photographer, but you’re the one behind the camera. And in regards to that, it’s interesting that your passion work is quite the transition from being in the spotlight, onstage in front of hundreds of people, to being behind a camera with the focus on others, or still lifes if you’re taking photos of products. Is photography a way, not to hide but perhaps deflect attention from yourself and have a moment of anonymity and meditation for you?

Simone Simons: I like both sides, to be in front of the camera and to be behind the camera, and I know both sides as well, so I can put myself in whatever position I am in or the other person is in. If I’m taking a photo or a photo is being taken, I know how both sides look like. And this might sound really weird, but I talked to one of my bandmates about this as well. I like to be onstage and though the people are watching me I’m okay with that, but when I’m not on stage, I sometimes would like to be invisible, you know, to have, I guess, privacy or just be like everybody else, which is hard because a lot of people put you on this pedestal and think you’re otherworldly, but I’m just another normal human being with emotions, good and bad days, like anybody else.

With photography, for me, I guess I started to notice I have this photographer’s disease. That wherever you walk around, you’ll always see photos. You’re like, “Oh, this could be a great photo. Oh, where’s my camera?” and like, “I have to take a photo,” or I wish I could take photos by blinking my eyes, you know, to freeze the moment. And it’s hard because I guess half of my head is filled with melodies and the other is with photographs. So, I also often don’t just say that I’m a singer, I consider myself an artist and I’ve always enjoyed arts when I was younger, not only music. Music is a big part of me, it’s in my blood I guess, but I always loved movies as well. That’s where I draw a lot of inspiration from for my lyrics.

But nowadays, I look at movies also from a photographer’s point of view. You know, how they compose a shot, how they light the scenery, all that stuff goes through my mind in a millisecond. So, I don’t watch movies anymore like anybody else. And then I’m kind of a perfectionist, I can always tell the person with whom I’m watching a movie like, “Oh, they made a mistake,” you know, when they have to reshoot a scene or that the hair is wrong or the makeup is wrong. I see those and it’s annoying – I wish I could unsee it, but I see those things really quickly.

And when it comes to photography, I love portraiture because I love people. I think people are very interesting. And not just classical beauty, you know, but people whom everybody says, “Oh, they’re beautiful.” But I think everybody has something beautiful in their face and it’s just a way, the art and photography is of how to catch it, and of portraiture photography.

Metal Maven: So it seems that photography has always been just this natural art form that you’ve done, but did you ever study photography formally or take, you know, just some small classes to refine your skills?

Simone Simons: I’ve taken a couple of classes and a lot of self-taught books, online and by just trying because the thing is you can watch as many tutorials, read books – the best way to learn is by just taking a lot of photos. That’s what a lot of photographers say. You just have to get out there and get a feeling for it. Practice makes perfect. And also the best camera you can have is the one that you have in your hands. Not necessarily the most expensive camera. Of course, the quality of the photos will improve, but not the quality of the photograph, if that makes any sense, you know? You have to have an eye for composition and I try to make the emotions transcend from a photograph, that you feel something when you see a photo and not just like, “Ooh that’s a pretty picture,” – to make somebody look at it longer than a millisecond.

Metal Maven: Well, that’s what I was wondering if there was a deeper appeal to you as an artist for specializing in portrait photography? Because I know it’s kind of the go-to style for like shooting makeup and promotion images – it’s that very up close and intimate setting. Yeah, I was just wondering what the deeper appeal was to you?

Simone Simons: Yeah, I guess I also started more with portraiture because of my son. When he was a baby, you know – and there you see the value of the photograph – especially with some someone that’s growing and changing almost every day. And those photos become a bigger treasure than any other expensive piece of equipment. I sometimes say, “If my house would burn down, the things that I’ll save are my photo books and drawings that my son made for me. You know, all the stuff can go up in flames.”

Metal Maven: You must have so many photo books though.

Simone Simons: I am behind on doing photo books. I don’t have enough hours in a day to do everything that I like.

Metal Maven: Don’t feel bad. I have not made one photo book. I have so many photos and I’ve yet to actually print them and put them in a book, so don’t feel bad.

Simone Simons: I need to be on tour again in order to do photo books. Then I have more free time. Too many photos!

Metal Maven: How is Prince Vincent by the way? Because I remember running down the halls backstage with him at Epic Metal Fest a few years ago, playing hide and seek. I remember Oli, he was just exhausted with his amount of energy. I remember him just bouncing around everywhere. I think he was maybe three or four?

Simone Simons: I think he was three back then. Yeah, because it was April.

Metal Maven: Oh my goodness, they have so much energy. My son right now is almost two, and I definitely understand where Oli was at. He was just like, “Oh,” just closing his eyes as he’s bouncing around all over him.

Simone Simons: Yeah, they’re just a big ball of energy. He’s doing great. He’s going to enter school after summer, so it’s a new phase of our lives. And he got his backpack, which in Germany it’s a big thing getting that specific backpack, which is totally overpriced, but yeah.

Metal Maven: Oh, is it like a school standard? Like everyone has to have the same thing?

Simone Simons: Kind of, yeah. Here in Germany, it’s different than in Holland. My mom’s jaw dropped on the floor when she heard how expensive it was and I thought, “You know, okay. It’s like a really ergonomically designed backpack that looks twice as big as my son.” It’s like, all you see when these kids are walking around in my town, you see the backpacks with a little kid attached to it. It’s hilarious.

Metal Maven: It just overpowers their figure.

Simone Simons: Yeah, especially when they’re starting out – they’re still tiny humans.

Metal Maven: That’s exciting, but it’s also sad, and it’s happy, because he’s not little anymore, but he’s growing up and becoming a man. So cherishing every little moment you can in the present.

Simone Simons: They grew up really fast.

Metal Maven: Well, confidence is a huge deal when being a mom, especially a first-time mom, because every aspect of your life becomes about your child. If there’s anything that makes you kind of question your worth more it’s your own judgments in regards to how good of a mother you’re being. With the intensity of your career – I know you guys are on break right now – but with the normal intensity of your career, how do you maintain your balance and happiness?

Simone Simons: It’s really hard because it’s two different worlds that you’re kind of constantly living in and they’re kind of clashing big time – different routines. At home. I wake up early, I go to bed early. On tour, I have to be at my fittest where I normally would be in bed after a long day of, you know, being mama, housewife, cook.

Metal Maven: All the jobs.

Simone Simons: All the jobs, except for standing on stage. And sometimes, when my son was really little, I would be changing diapers in the morning and then the evening, I would be standing on stage and being a Metal singer again. I talked to Mikael Åkerfeldt about this, that you’re a mother, or in his case, a father, until the plane lands at your destination and then boom, you’re the rock star again. That’s so accurate. And then, when you’re home again, I sometimes forget that I’m actually a Metal singer or that I stand onstage, especially now after enjoying a little break from the stage.

It’s weird that the stage is like my second home, but it’s also not connected to my real home. It’s two different worlds. It’s day and night. I like both of them, but it’s hard to keep a balance. I have to admit, our touring life was becoming – it was getting out of balance with my family life, so I had to cut back on the touring a little bit in the future because it was just too much being away from my child, my husband doing the family work. Besides that, he’s also a touring musician, so when I would be home he would often leave. It requires good organization, family helping out as well. As I said before, I’m a perfectionist, and never think I’m doing it good enough. So being a mother or being a singer, I always think there’s stuff to improve.

But on the other hand, nowadays, we’re too harsh on ourselves – focusing too much on the things we can’t do or we don’t have, except focusing on what we have and what we’ve achieved. When you’re a mom and your time is limited to do things –like before you had all day to do whatever you want or work on whatever you want. And now you have to be more efficient with your time. But when you have to be creative within a certain time span and you have this creative block, then it sucks. Because I find myself useful if I created something. It has to be something simple, even like baking a cake. If I have not done anything creative during a day, for me, the day feels kind of wasted. And that is also a little bit of artist’s dilemma that a lot of people have. You have to take it one day at a time and there’s always going to be good and bad days and wise words, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Metal Maven: I feel like you also have to, you know – it can be a bit overwhelming and you just kind of dedicate yourself fully to the job – but you have to carve out some time for yourself as well. You know, some self-care moments where you’re not just mom, you’re just you – for at least a half hour maybe, if you can get it.

Simone Simons: Yeah, that’s important. And another thing that’s important is to not feel selfish about it as well because if you don’t do that for yourself, you cannot be a good mom, a good wife, or a good colleague. It’s all connected and it starts with yourself, so you have to take good care of yourself. That’s why I try to eat healthy, I work out a lot, I keep alcohol beverages to a minimum. But I have to say, since a couple of years, I drink coffee and I drink alcohol, but I always work out between 1-1.5 hours, a couple days a week if my schedule allows it.

Metal Maven: Well, I figure you have to be always in good shape because if you’re not able to run around onstage and you’re out of breath, you’re really not going to have a good performance.

Simone Simons: Yeah, but now that I’m not playing a lot, I have to work out more, because when I’m on the touring schedule, the shows are almost like working out because it’s 1.5 hours of jumping around, singing, banging your head. You burn a lot of calories during a show and that’s something I’m missing now. And I try to compensate with working out more – of course, to stay healthy and fit, but also as a way of channeling frustration, aggression, or whatever. It’s great to work out because you get the natural drug, you get the endorphins, and you get like a natural high from it, and it’s me time. And it’s also not just body, but it’s also for the soul to work out. It’s really good.

Metal Maven: Well, speaking of Epica, we’ve arrived at the headliner of this little podcast and I know that’s what most people have been waiting to hear about. It’s been quiet lately as the band has been on hiatus, and it’s a well-deserved break since you’ve all been going non-stop since before I even started working with you guys, and that was seven years ago, so a bit of rest was definitely in order. But Epica is always creating something behind the scenes and at the start of May, pre-orders were announced for “Essence of Epica” – your 208-page, tell-all book. What can fans expect from this artifact of Epica history?

Simone Simons: Well, we spend a lot of time doing interviews with the main, I would say, writer of the book. Everybody in the band had a couple of sessions with the writer to kind of chronologically go through Epica’s discography from The Phantom Agony up until The Holographic Principle, or even Attack on Titan, and tried to recollect as many memories our brains, that got damaged from all the headbanging, still had. We all had to dig through our own personal archives of whatever we accumulated through the years. And also our family photo books to see if we have some embarrassing childhood photos ourselves.

Metal Maven: I’m sure there were many.

Simone Simons: Yeah, I guess I have a couple, but since I’m the most active on Instagram, I already put some on the Internet, but I found a couple of – my mom actually helped and then dug through her photos to see if she had photos of me being a teenager, because I had a lot of baby photos, but the teenage years were somehow – I was shy of the camera. And yeah, so we all had these interviews and so many memories. Everything we’ve done from the beginning up until now, and it’s quite a lot. And we’ve been going so fast, touring so much, that sometimes you don’t have time to reflect on everything you have already experienced in the life of a musician. And for me, this book also shows anniversary shows like Retrospect or the 1000th Anniversary Show we did recently. Those are moments where you’re like, “Sit back and stop that high-speed train,” and just look back on everything you’ve achieved already and how special it is. And writing, creating this book kind of put a pause on us going super fast, and even though we had a break from touring, we’ve been writing the book and, of course, we had to read it, we had to correct it, and change some stuff here and there. We’re still working on the artwork at the moment – yeah, it’s great, I’m looking forward to it. I know we have another book, “The Road to Paradiso” but that is so old, it’s vintage, and I’m looking forward to this, for “The Essence of Epica” to see the light of day and to have the fans read a little bit more of what it’s like being in a band, the good and the bad. So… and the good and the bad photos as well.

Metal Maven: And a little bit of ugly, maybe, from childhood photos. We’ll see.

Simone Simons: Yeah. I think everybody was – all the guys were really cute when they were little boys.

Metal Maven: I can’t wait to see their photos. Where did the name, “The Essence of Epica,” the title of this book, come from?

Simone Simons: We had a couple of names, and of course it’s a little bit of “The Essence of Silence” – “The Essence of Epica” – it was kind of a no-brainer to take that name because it sums up everything really well, because we’re describing what Epica is for us as individuals, as a band, and what it’s like being in a band touring. Everybody always just sees the success and the great things, but we’ve been through some hard times as well. And that’s also details that will appear in the book. Well, I think it’s going to be a very interesting read and people will get to know us better – get to know the essence of Epica. I’m very curious to find out what people think about the book. So, just a couple more months and then it’s out.

Metal Maven: Yay! That’s going to be fun. I can’t wait to see it – I’m excited for that. There’s also the main event of 2019 for you guys – the “Design Your Universe” 10th Anniversary Tour starting in October. I saw on Epica’s Instagram story that there’s a Design Your Universe surprise in the works. Is there anything you can share with Epicans about these exclusive shows or what you guys have in store for everyone?

Simone Simons: Good question…

Metal Maven: I don’t want to get you in trouble.

Simone Simons: I’m also – I don’t want my management to call me in a couple of days, like, “What did you just say?” I cannot lift the veil of the surprise. Just, I can only say that it’s a really nice treat that the Epica fans are in for. I’m very happy with the surprise and I’m sure that the Epica fans will love it. I know the majority of our fans, and I know that this is something they will absolutely love, and I’m very excited myself to play many songs from Design Your Universe again for this. It is one of my favorite Epica albums and for example, “Tides of Time” is one of my all-time favorite Epica ballads, and I have not performed it in so many years. It remains a classic – it’s still a great song and one of the songs that, after all those years, I still think I would not change a thing about it. And with other songs, after a couple of years, especially the ones you perform live, you think, “I could have changed this or that,” but, “Tides of Time” is times perfect, I think.

Metal Maven: “Tides of Time” – it’s a total Epica classic. I can’t wait to hear it again. I will try. I want to really go to the Paris show if I can get there. I know it’s sold out.

Simone Simons: Yeah, you can do a holiday.

Metal Maven: I know…

Simone Simons: There might always be a guest list spot for you. We can arrange that.

Metal Maven: We’ll see what’s going on. But, Paris is sold out and the Netherlands is sold out as well so, so far so good. And then you’ve expanded the tour dates in South America. They needed you more, they needed you to stay there longer. They’re very passionate about Epica in South America.

Simone Simons: That’s correct. Yeah. And I think it proves that Design Your Universe is a special album, that a lot of people would like to hear these songs again. I’m very curious to see how things will go. I started listening to Design Your Universe again, the album, and of course, the songs that we’ve been playing live all those years, I remembered. But then I thought, “Hey, there’s quite a lot of other great songs on there and why aren’t they how they were in my brain?” I could still sing along pretty well to them. And Design Your Universe is just one of those albums I connect with and think it will always be an Epica classic album and the message that’s behind Design Your Universe, the fans know, and it’s a little bit symbolic as well for what we’ve been doing, you know, doing what we love and, and designing our own universe.

Metal Maven: Yeah. So, as a singer too, you have evolved greatly, vocally, since Design Your Universe came out. And I was just wondering – I know online there’s always been Metal fans who prefer your more classical singing style in the earlier days of Epica versus the latest albums. You know, there’s always going to be resistance to an artist evolution, and I was wondering, are you currently satisfied with the power, and flexibility, and control you have of your voice, your instrument, and how will that translate into your performance of these older songs? Are you going to kind of breathe new life into them, or do you feel you’re going to just sing them as you always have?

Simone Simons: Design Your Universe is the first album in the discography that I like to listen to because I’m happy with how my voice sounds. The first two albums, all three maybe, I don’t like so much, or I think, you know, I improved a lot over the years. I sing with what the songs need, and which style I sing in – certain style – that the songs need, or that it calls for. And just the classical singing everywhere becomes boring in my opinion. And I think it was one of my strengths that I can sing in different styles nowadays, and I enjoy doing that as well, but I still love classical singing a lot – that’s how I started out with classical singing lessons.

And the file that I recently found with my drawings of my early Epica outfit – the black catsuit with the corset – I also had the scores for my singing lessons, when I was having classical singing lessons, and brought back great memories. So, I don’t know if I will bring that back to Epica, like big time, or if I’ll just do something in a classical solo album one day. Still so many plans and so little time. I like to be able to do a lot of different styles and I think, especially with Attack on Titan, the latest release that we’ve created, was proof that I can sing in different styles and I was very happy with how my vocals turned out.

Metal Maven: Well, it seems too that transition from recording in the studio to stage – I don’t know, I just feel like the transition is smoother and I don’t know if that was something that you had wanted to improve on for yourself.

Simone Simons: I guess also the technique – I’ve improved my technique, so that’s a big part. And when it comes to the Design Your Universe songs, depending on which ones we will sing live, or we perform live, I will adapt my technique on the melodies, but I will not – I don’t want to try to alter it. Only the parts that could be done better or would work better live. That’s also a thing, you know, when you’re in the studio you’re very comfortable and you can get a couple of tries to sing a song. When you’re onstage you’re sometimes extremely tired, you might be sick, you might be sweating your ass off, you might not be able to hear yourself correctly, and you have one shot – and sometimes you’re not that happy with that one shot. Especially when you get a brain fart and you forget the lyrics. Stuff like that happens, but we’ll see. Next week is our first show since I think half a year. That half a year flew by…

Metal Maven: Well, it’s good to – I mean it’s been a bit, so Download should be very fun for you guys to just kind of get back a little bit into the groove and just have a good time.

Simone Simons: Yeah, and to have a great festival like Download as well.

Metal Maven: That’s awesome. So, that is all the questions I have for you today Simone. Thank you for chitchatting with me today. This is something I’ve always wanted to do with you since we first met, so I really appreciate you sharing your time, energy, and wisdom with me.

Simone Simons: Yeah, you’re very welcome. I had a good time chitchatting with you as well.

To view Simone’s portrait photography, visit simonesimons.com. And if you’re interested in all things beauty, fashion, travel, and food, check out her lifestyle blog at smoonstyle.com.

“The Essence of Epica” is currently available for pre-order. With over 200 pages, this fully illustrated book tells the story of the band’s history through intimate accounts and rare photos – so be sure to reserve your copy and go to epicabook.com. Epica will also kick off their “Design Your Universe” 10th Anniversary Tour this October and tickets are currently on sale. You can purchase them, and join in on the celebration, at epica.nl/tour.

Visit metalmavenpodcast.com for links to Simone’s social profiles, photos, videos, and read the full transcript of this interview. Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to subscribe to Metal Maven Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play.