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Five Points of the Pentagram: An Interview with Epica Keyboardist and Pianist Coen Janssen

We recently reached out to Coen Jannsen, keyboard player and pianist for the Nuclear Blast symphonic metal band Epica, to give us the skinny on their collection of coiffures (except his…), the Danish diet, and the color Orange.



Did you know that Epica have fans that range from 7 to 70 years old? Neither did we! With their latest release, The Holographic Principle (release September 30, 2016 via Nuclear Blast), it’s totally possible since the offering crosses the realm of symphonic metal into that of classical music. Kids love metal and old folks love classical music, well there you go! All joking aside, we recently reached out to Epica’s keyboard player and pianist, Coen Jannsen, to give us the skinny on Epica’s collection of coiffures (except his…), the Danish diet, and the color Orange.

Via your biography sheet, I read that Epica was made into the following acronym: Excellence. Power. Intelligence. Creativity. Ambition. Let’s get nerdy for this first question. Please create a backronym for Epica. What’s a backronym? In short, a backronym is when you treat a word that is not an acronym as if it was an acronym, constructing a phrase out of the word. For example: Delta – Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport. Backronyms are often used for humorous effect.
Coen: A challenge accepted! Epica Plays It’s Concerts Always. Well… only if; Epica, (is) Payed In Currency Adequately! Please remember that Every Pint Is Considered Arien’s. Every Person Is Coen Applauding, which is sometimes an Enormous Pain In Coen’s Ass.

I watched the video for “Edge of the Blade” off The Holographic Principle and I couldn’t help but notice that every one of you guys, except for you (keyboardist Coen Janssen0, have beautiful, flowing locks. Do you all share the same hair products? And, does Coen embrace the “Bald is Beautiful” mantra?
Coen: Yeah, they all do and told me to use the same… “Here Coen, try some of this… *giggle* It will do miracles on your hair… *giggle* You’ll look even better *haha*…” But they won’t know what’s coming… You’ll see in the next video!

Being from the Netherlands, you guys are known for having the healthiest diet in the world trumping both France and Switzerland (Who knew???). Epica in an international touring band so you’ve probably seen your share of crappy food during your travels. What countries are most guilty of this and tell us why you say that?
Coen: That is probably the U.S.A. It’s the only place that has restaurants were you can’t get any vegetables no matter how hard you try… Luckily for us, in the Netherlands a potato is a vegetable and thus fries are too. I say that because you asked me….

You guys played on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise earlier this year. I’ve been on that cruise several times and know how crazy it can get. Which member/s of Epica went to the after-hours metal karaoke the most often and partook in the debauchery? Let’s hear a story!
Coen: We take this job very seriously and went to bed early to give the best possible show we could. We would never hang out at the bar all night and drink gin-tonics of off poor fans who spent their last money on drinks just to hang with us. Of course, Simone was dancing all night and smoking everything she could get her hands on. But she is the tough one anyway.

One of your guitarists, Mark Jansen, has his master’s degree in psychology. I’m trying to wrap my head around trying to figure out if this is “Metal!” or not. When you guys are on the road, does he become your personal Dr. Phil? Does he stop band fights?
Coen: It’s not Metal, it’s Mental… All the other guys studied music so consider how he feels…. Luckily, he can probably see everything in perspective because of his studies. The only Dr. Fill in our bus is our drummer. And since when does talking stop band fights? I trained in martial arts, I stop band fights!

BONUS 666 Question! I have one more question regarding the Netherlands. Orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family and is the color the soccer team and was prominent throughout the Dutch Olympics Team’s uniforms. Which member of Epica wears the most orange and how often do they wear it?
Coen: It is not only the color, it is their actual last name! The one wearing the most orange is of course, Simone. It’s not because she looks great with that hair color, but only because she is secretly in love with our King (google him, he is handsome) and because she doesn’t want to cut her hair, maybe….

Check out the song “Edge of the Blade”