Legendary Dutch Symphonic metallers EPICA are just about to drop "The Holographic Principle", their seventh studio album on September 30th.
Rogue Inc's Martin Michea caught up with bass player extraordinaire Robert van der Loo to discuss the new album, touring and Pokemon!
You have a new album coming out soon. First of all, congratulations on another great
release! Can you just describe the recording a process a bit?
"Let’s start with the writing process! Of course we were quite blown away by the response of
The Quantum Enigma. You always have to make plans for the next record. This time we started
writing pretty early, about six months after the release of The Quantum Enigma we started working
on new material. We started with 27 concepts for new songs of which about 20 were already almost
finished. So we started to rehearse the songs to see which ones that felt the best and which ones
that were already playable. Then we made a choice from about 18 tracks, and then we went back to
the same studio where we recorded The Quantum Enigma with the same producing team. First we
recorded everything, I believe we started recording almost a year ago. It was a pretty tough schedule
but things went pretty smoothly. That’s something we learned with The Quantum Enigma, if you
want to do a big production you have to make a decent plan of course. We had so much to record. I
believe in the end we needed four different Mac computers to make it work! It was crazy! But it
went pretty smoothly. The only difference from The Quantum Enigma is that we didn’t have a break,
we were still touring in-between. It was pretty weird actually. I was happy for myself because I
finished my bass part just in time for a tour!"
Were there any songs that got left out that you would really want to be on the album?
"That’s a tough question, I must say that it was very hard to make a choice, also for the songs
that would eventually end up on the album, because the quality was pretty high. Everybody has to
make a list of their favorite songs, in the end you will see that the first ten tracks overlap. So there
aren’t really any fights about that. But I wouldn’t worry too much about the songs that didn’t make
it, I think we’re going to use them on the next album."
The Holographic Principle is obviously a continuation on The Quantum Enigma, do you think
you’ll continue down the same path with your next album as well?
"For now, this feels pretty good to be honest. We made a little shift, sound-wise, I don’t want
to say that it’s more metal, but Isaac wrote a lot of the material and he’s the kind of guitar player
that needs to be entertained! <laughs> If you listen to Universal Death Squad, structure-wise it’s
almost a pop song, but all the parts are different, you can’t copy paste them even if you wanted to,
and that’s typical Isaac. But so far, it feels really good, I like the new fresh, bit heavier sound. It feels
great to everyone."
UNIVERSAL DEATH SQUAD
This is your second studio album. Did your approach change at all?
"The approach was similar, but the first time around I really liked the sound but I didn’t
recognize my bass sound. So that was something that I wanted to change, I wanted it to sound how I
sound live. So what we did, we stripped down the sound. For The Quantum Enigma I think I used like
ten amps, and this time we used maybe three, we really stripped down the sound. So I started
playing heavier and heavier, and I think you can hear that."
Dancing In A Hurricane has a very Middle Eastern feel to it, where did that inspiration come
"That’s a good question! A lot of people ask if we already had a plan or a concept. The answer
is no, we just started writing. That’s the cool thing with having six different song writers, everybody
have different inspirations of course. Dancing In A Hurricane came from Coen, at the time he was
already messing around with some software which was more oriental and African instruments. So
that came from his point of view. I focused more on the heavier stuff this time. We just write and
see what works out of course. If you come up with 27 songs you have to be careful not to make
them all sound the same. That’s a problem a lot of bands have and Epica have had that in the past as
well. If you look at that list of 27 tracks, there are 5 that sound quite similar, so you pick one or two
and that’s it!"
You visited Australia earlier this year. How was the tour? And how was your first ever show in
"It was a pretty long trip to New Zealand! It was the first show, I think we travelled 30 hours
to get there. Of course it wasn’t a huge show, but every time I come to a country like Australia or
New Zealand, I really like the people over there. They are so relaxed and enthusiastic about
everything. And according to the promoter we sold more tickets in Australia this time than the last
And Voyager joined you on that tour as well, did you have a chance to check them out?
"Yeah, sure! The first time I saw them was on ProgPower USA in 2011. That’s quite a while
ago, something like that. We were really happy to hear when we went to Australia that the
promoter wanted to put them as our support act, we were like, “yeah, of course!” Because they’re
great! They’re also really cool people, they’re funny but down-to- earth as well. We like them, they
have a good sense of humour. They are great musicians, they deserve way more touring!"
"They should come over to Europe!"
Will you bring them along on one of your European tours?
"I really hope so! Let’s keep our fingers crossed!"
I have a couple of random questions to finish off this interview! If you could play one single
gig with another band, which band and why?
"I wish I could play in Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. I’m a real old school Deep
If you could travel back in time to create the soundtrack for any movie, which movie would
"That’s a good question! I’d probably go for The Dark Knight! I’m a huge fan of Hans Zimmer
and I’m really into synthesizers and to be honest I would still like to do a score for a movie one day
anyway! I’m already working on some stuff for a computer game right now. It’s a guy who lives in
Israel who’s creating it, story-wise I think it’s comparable to Bioshock and Bloodborne."
Are you a gamer then?
"I’m not a typical 8-9 hours a day kind of guy. But I have a PS4 at home. Our drummer is
worse, he always bring his gaming laptop on tour, and sometimes you have to wake him up right
before the show!"
Do you have any Pokemon Go players in the band?
"Thank god, no! *laughs* Only in the crew!
Two more questions to go! You’re on death row, what would your last ever meal be?
"Probably Indonesian food. There’s a great restaurant here in Rotterdam, I would go there! I
could eat it every day, you could wake me up in the middle of the night for it!"
Okay, one last question. You find out that you are going to spend a very long on a deserted
island. You get to bring one bottomless bottle of any beverage to that island, what would your pick
"I’d probably go for a good red wine! I’m sure I’ll dry out of course, but it would be worth it!"
The Holographic Principle is available worldwide from September 30th via
Nuclear Blast Store : http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/shop/71061.epica.html
JB Hi Fi : https://www.jbhifi.com.au/Search/results/?keywords=holographic%20principle