Fireworks Magazine Online 61 - Interview with Epysode

EPYSODE


Epysode, who are the brainchild of Samuel Arkan, are an exciting new progressive metal band who have so far written two albums that are based on a complex story about the supernatural, serial killers and the damage they cause. Samuel’s words and music have brought these intertwining stories to life and Ian Johnson talks with him and asks about how he came up with the albums’ themes and what is going to happen to the characters that encompass the world of Epysode.

I’d like to ask you Samuel, what came first, the story or the music… Or did both elements come to fruition at the same time?

The very first thing that comes Ian is the storyline, creating the characters, because I need the story as a spark to compose the music. After that it is finally on to writing the lyrics.

With such a complex story did having so many vocal parts on both the albums pose any problems when it came to choosing the cast of singers who would play them?

I think the fact that during the recording sessions everything’s still very open, so I can move things to create new lines, change parts as we feel we need to at the right moment… makes it easier maybe, because we are not stuck into just one man’s vision. So it’s always that I have an idea of each voice in my head. The main job then is to go out and try to find them all!

As the story is so involved could you sum up ‘Fantasmagoria’ for our readers please?

Well, ‘Fantasmagoria’ is a completely new story that takes place some years after the first album. For weeks a serial killer taunted the police with weird ciphers and cryptic messages. Bodies were found roped to a chair, pierced by hundreds of thorns coming from roses, letting the blood drip slowly to death.
In terms of characters you have a profiler, Shawn  he was the 9 years old kid that was kidnapped by the murderer of the first album. Jordane, a young female journalist thirsty for vengeance after the death of her father, who was a victim of the “Thorns Killer”. Ione and Amy, brother and sister, neurotic people, presenting signs of intense insanity and psycho-mania and also Jarno, a priest convinced that he can help, but between angels and demons there is only one step and this tormented priest is going to make it! And of course you still have all these supernatural elements coming through the all of story…

Have you ever thought of expanding the two albums, or maybe more, into a book because reading the story and lyrics in the CD booklet, it is obvious you’re a fan of crime/thriller/horror and supernatural fiction?

Yes, you are right I am a big fan. I have also received so many messages from fans asking me “to make the Epysode stories into books”. I finally decided a few months ago to make a try at doing just that and I can say today that I’m writing my very first supernatural thriller novel of Epysode. I don’t really know when it will come out, time will tell.

How did you choose the singers for the new album? Tom S. Englund is especially an inspired choice for Ione, I love the emotion he puts into his performance.

I did it the same way as we did it on the first release. I have an idea of the all the character’s voices in my head, it’s really like I could hear them. From that point, the job is to listen to a lot of artists, waiting for this magical moment where you have goose-bumps and you say, “Damn that is Ione or Amy. That is him or her!”

Also how did you go about choosing the band? You have Mike LePond, Simone Mularoni, Leo Margarit and your musical partner Julian Spreutels all helping out but how did you get them on board? Was it a case of just asking them?

Mainly yes it was. It’s the easiest way. Some of them have been good friends for years, like my brother in crime Julien, or Léo who worked on the first album. For the new members I reached them by internet, exchanging mails, sharing the songs and asking them to play and then waiting for their answer…

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You handled the production on the new album yourself and it is wonderful. You must be very pleased with how it turned out. Was having each guest musician and singer with you in the studio a great help in getting the sound you wanted?

Yes 100%! I wanted to have them all inside the studio with me to work on the songs and have that real band feeling and not a cold internet collaboration. I decided also to work with one of the best producer’s working today, Jacob Hansen. The way he mixed the album is just “big”! Epysode though is the work of us all, not only one guy, it’s like a real band.

Talking of having the musicians and singers in the studio with you, this doesn’t usually happen on this type of album, not with the availability of the Internet. How then did you persuade everyone to turn up at your studio?

I don’t really know how Ian, it was always my wish to do it like that, everyone in the studio together like a real band, everyone working together. Also they were all enthusiastic about making it to the studio after they listened to the demos of the songs. So when everyone agreed to come everything just fitted into place.

Will Epysode ever be able to tour as a live band because with having a cast from so many different countries I’d imagine that it would be logistically very hard to put something like that together?

We will make it out on tour.In fact a world premiere of Epysode’s music will be heard in April in Belgium at the PPM Festival, a very big European festival. So I’m real proud to be hitting the stage with Epysode, which will be a real pleasure, a need maybe also. We are very happy to do it, to live it up with the fans! We are also talking about having some more dates, it’s very positive right now and we wish for the best for the band’s future.

Where will the story take you and Epysode next? What does the future hold for the band or is the continuing story a closely guarded secret?

Right now, I will focus on the shows, writing the book and then I will probably be back with a third album later on. And of course the storyline is a very well-guarded secret!

Epysode-Interview

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