MetalKings.com: Hi! What is the weather in Holland? We have complete hellish rain!

Simona Simons: Oh, it's sunny here and a little bit windy too. But meteorologists say that tomorrow it must be even better.

MetalKings.com: I know that you've worked hard during the record-session of EPICA's new album. What are your impressions? What are you expecting from your new release?

SS: Yes, you're right, the work was very hard. It was so because we took a break in five months. I was getting a driving license (in was really terrible!), then we've changed our record label - it's our first work with Nuclear Blast. I like new songs from our album, and I suppose it will be world-wide adored. Wholly our expectations connected with new release are quite good!

MetalKings.com: And what can you tell about lyrics on new album and it's conception?

SS: So It's about many things. Directly it's a tale about a God, which is living and ruling all over the Universe. But here, on the Earth, there are many different religions, and people think, that each of them is poled apart to another. And we're trying to help people realize that we are living in a global world, and all religions are about one God. It is about we all are similar and must live in peace.

MetalKings.com: Rather humanistic...And pacifistic. Isn't it?

SS: Yes, I think, it was finally the main aim of conception.

MetalKings.com: O'K. And what about music? Who'd composed it?

SS: The main part of music was composed, as usually, by Mark (Mark Jansen - guitars). Coen (Coen Janssen - synths and piano) also composed an intro and outro - they both are played on synths. Yves (Yves Huts - bass guitar) made and played some bass parties (more infos about recording session you can read here).

MetalKings.com: Is it hard to be a frontwoman in such band? It's truly not the easiest work even for a man!

SS: (laughing) Thank you for a question. But sincerely to say I don't think that it is so hard. It delivers more privacy. It's normally, when journalist during tours or press-sessions are paying more attention to your person because you're a woman. And it's not difficult psychologically - I've used to work in a studio and on tours and I don't think it's something incredible for me.

MetalKings.com: And what about a solo career? Have you yet think about it?

SS: I think it's real for future, but not right at the moment. I always dreamed to have a classical album, because I am first of all an opera singer. I think there would be no rock or metal, it will be just mild classical work with great vocals and melodic songs. So, in the future it can be realized - and now I am fully satisfied with work in EPICA.

MetalKings.com: You have very good vocal

SS: Thank you!

MetalKings.com: Oh, it was just the first part of the question! (both laughing) So, have you passed any special institutions like conservatory vocal courses?

SS: No. My only great teacher is EPICA. But some time ago I was taking four-years classical singing lessons from one guy - he was very nice, and working with him was a real pleasure. But I think that five years of classical singing education will be too boring for me.

MetalKings.com: I've heard that in the 2007 September you were touring across America. Where else have you been yet? What can you tell me about it?

SS: Yes, it's true. We were with our good friends - guys from Kamelot. It was really great; we surprisingly discovered that almost every fan there has a licensed CD or DVD of our albums. All concerts were very successful and we were enjoyed with this tour. Next year we are planning to visit Canada with a few concerts, and I suppose that they will pass no worthier than the previous ones! We've also played many times in Holland, mainly in Amsterdam. Our fans here are very grateful and they really love or music.

MetalKings.com: I know that you took part in recording of Ayreon's new album. How it happened?

SS: Actually, it was very funny story. One time Ayreon's manager came to the live show of EPICA. He was strong impressed by our music and after the concert he met me at the backstage and suggested me to record with Ayreon. As you can get, I immediately said "yes". Next day we went to his studio, that was situated in country cottage. There we drunk some tea, had very nice talk and finally recorded this song. He was a great guy, even Mark signed that! (laughing)

MetalKings.com: In 2005 you've recorded an album The Score: An Epic Journey. It was rather outstanding work with mighty orchestral arrangements and without almost any vocal and metal parts. Do you have any further plans to record something alike it?

SS: Yes, you are right. It was very unusual project. I actually haven't sing on it. I think we'll record something like The Score in the future, because we really love such kind of music. I'd like to practice my vocals in the music I really like - classical vocals are my main passion.

MetalKings.com: I know that many journalist have compared you with Nightwish when you'd just released your debut album. Do you think that it is inevitable compare to any young symphonic female-vocal band?

SS: I must mention that it's a common problem to every young band. Not even female - but for them especially. It's usual perform in the beginning. But further fate of the band depends wholly on it's members - if they are able to create anything special and really great, they must do it. Sincere work will be always mentioned. What about Nightwish - certainly, when you hear a band with a female vocals and, moreover, full of orchestral arrangements, you will compare it with Nightwish. But we have many differences from them: for the first, Mark composes merely another kind of music. It is more symphonic than metal.

MetalKings.com: And now a question on a private topic - aren't you a relative of Gene Simmons from cult glam-rock band KISS?

SS: (laughing) I'm always asked about my surname. But most of journalists ask about Hugo Simons - it's first time when I'm compared with Gene. You know, Simons (Simmons) is very popular surname in Holland - like Janssen or Petersen.

MetalKings.com: Janssens are also wide-spread in Belarus!

SS: Really?

MetalKings.com: Yes, I'm not joking. My vocal teacher had such surname.

SS: (laughing) Rather funny! If speaking about names, you know, I also know one interesting Russian fairytale about a poor man - his name was also Nicolai, like you - who fell in love with a tsar's daughter. And when tsar discovered this, he declaimed, that only those man could marry the princess, who will build a flying ship. Do you know it?

MetalKings.com: Sure! It's named accordingly - " The flying ship". We also have an amazing soviet cartoon corresponding to the tale.

SS: Yes! I even have it on the DVD!

MetalKings.com: Incredible! Holland is occupied by Russian cartoons!

SS: (laughing) Oh, the world is narrow!

MetalKings.com: Don't even mention! So, lets talk about few last questions. The first: what can you tell about you tours, your fans and your plans?

SS: A rhyme! (both laughing) As you know, we've toured in many countries. Especially in Latin countries. We were playing in Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Columbia, Venezuela

MetalKings.com: Is it true, that in Latin countries fans are more numerous and grateful?

SS: Yes, it's merely true. I think it happens because they don't have such a great access to metal scene as European fans do, and they are "hungry" for a real live shows. Moreover, we are frequently playing in Holland. Mostly in clubs and concert halls.

MetalKings.com: Are Holland fans different from Latinos?

SS: Yes, they are a bit another. But they are very-very nice!

MetalKings.com: Have you visited Russia anytime? If not, do you have any plans to do it?

SS: Mark had visited Russia 5 (! - author's mark) times - with Kamelot and After Forever. But we will be pleased to visit this country. Actually, we hope to do it next year. Anytime, please, e-mail to any member of the band or to our label - and we will soon come to Russian with a big joy!!!

MetalKings.com: In the end - some greeting to your Russian fans.

SS: Be strong! We will soon meet on one of our concerts!

Nicolai "Harald" Andreev
(October, 2007)

The interview was made with the informational support of Irond ltd.

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