Singer, artist and blogger Simone Simons was catapulted from unknown vocalist to Epica’s leading lady and symphonic metal pin-up in the early 00s. She’s sung on every one of the Dutch band’s album, has guested for Kamelot and Leaves’ Eyes and today balances life as a musician and a mother. As Epica prepare to release their seventh album, The Holographic Principle, Simone took some time out to discuss her guide to life.
“I’ve always liked melancholic metal but my musical tastes are very wide. I go from Nina Simone, Adele and Beyonce to Opeth and Lacuna Coil and I like movie soundtracks too – Gladiator, John Williams, all the Danny Elfman stuff especially the Big Fish album. When I hear a melody or a voice, I fall in love with that and I don’t think, ‘Ooh, it’s not metal – I can’t like it!’ To me, that’s very immature. I’ve also only just discovered Ghost. I’d heard a lot about them and when my manager played them to me, I was like, ‘What the hell?’ I thought the music would be totally different but it’s really catchy.”
“My husband [Kamelot keyboard player Oliver Palotai] always reads the news but I try to stay away from it because it’s quite depressing. What’s going on around the world now is scary. Wherever you go, there’s the risk of a terrorist attack. I read about the Bataclan attacks – we’d played there and it didn’t feel real. We had a show ourselves the next day and we held a minute’s silence for the victims. We shouldn’t let our fears stop us from enjoying life. Music is such a strong tool, it’s like a guide for life so I think that as long as there’s music, there’s hope.”
“There’s this old German crime series I enjoy called Tatort. It’s broadcast every Sunday evening here. I watch Netflix too, Penny Dreadful, Orange Is The New Black and Game Of Thrones – I like the outfits and the story. Also the soundtrack is amazing! Would I like a cameo role? I don’t think acting is in my future because I can’t keep a straight face, but playing Melisandre would be cool because she has this very strong poker face.”
“I was baptised in the Catholic church although I’m not religious. In a way, music is like a religion because it unites people but I don’t like it when a religion becomes extreme. That’s not enriching your life, it’s dangerous. The extremities of religion have been topics in our lyrics but I respect everyone who has a religion as long as they respect me for not having one.
“Of course, when you’re a teenager, you rebel by listening to certain bands and you think religion is shit. When I was about 13 or 14, I was into black metal and wearing inverted crucifixes. I dyed my hair blue, purple, all that stuff, and I had extreme eyeliner. I was searching for who I wanted to be but it was a very short phase and it ended in a funny way. I used to wear those Morticia dresses with the long sleeves and one day I was flushing the toilet and the sleeve went in the bowl! I thought, This is not for me!”
“I do weight lifting and a little bit of cardio whenever I can but nothing extreme. I live in a nature region, near the Black Forest, so I do hiking also, but I’m not interested in watching sport. When I was younger, I loved watching ice skating but that has become boring to me.”
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“I think I’m quite healthy now but I have had problems in the past. My immune system was pretty hammered a couple of years back from not enough rest between touring and taking too much medicine to compensate. I eventually got back on track through a healthy diet, exercise, enough rest and a good state of mind. I eat really healthy but I love baked goods, chocolate and coffee. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, I don’t smoke and I don’t do any other drugs, except chocolate!”
“We have a really loyal fanbase and we stay in touch with them through social media. We’re always asking our fans which songs they’d like to hear in our shows and we value their opinions. We get lots of fan mail too but what I love the most is fan art. I’m an artist as well as a singer so I really like it when people get creative. I like it when they take our art and put their own ideas into it. Through the internet, I’ve made contact with some great artists who were fans and are now working with Epica.”
The Holographic Principle is out on September 30 via Nuclear Blast