Good evening to you Mark. How are things at the moment? Is it getting busy?
Well, yes, it is quite busy. This is my fourth interview today while I was wondering wheather there would be any interest. Besides that, they all want to speak to me, while we decided to spread the interviews among other members too. I just had a talk with Playboy Mexico! Really strange, but metal is more socially accepted there I guess. To be honest, I am quite amazed by the all the attention we get.
Well, I think you should count you blessings. What can you tell us about the founding of the band Mayan?
Well, I have had the idea to create an act next to Epica, something heavier, for some years already. I have been jamming a few times, but that never really resulted into something serious. Then I met Jack Driessen (After Forever) and we wrote some parts, which turned out to be quite good. Later on Sander Gommans (After Forever) got involded too, but he got too busy and suffered from a burn-out, so he discontinued. Eventually Frank Schiphorst got involved and from that point there was no turning back! He really wanted to do something with the material. In fact, because of his enthusiasm Frank is the engine of Mayan, not me!
When did all this happen? I mean, for six months ago, no one had ever heard of Mayan.
It all happened within a year before we recorded the album, so it all happened in a relatively short period of time.
Did other members actually wrote songs for the album?
Yes, many of them perticipated in writing. It was very usefull to come together, there was a very good and nice atmosphere. That is why it sounds different from my other (former) bands. We deliberately made the songs sound brutal and heavy, so that this was not to become a clone of other well known acts.
Who did actually write the material?
In the beginning Frank, Jack and me wrote the music, later on Ariën got along in the process. Jeroen wrote his own basslines however.
What about the vocal melodies?
We wrote the vocal melodies as well, but we did so in cooperation with Sascha Peath who produced the album. Vocal melodies are his specialty.
He produced the album? I never guessed!
Yes he did, and I am glad you did not notice, because we and Sascha wanted to create a totally different sound than he usually puts up. We wanted to create a more rugged kind of sound. So, it worked out! But in the end, the vocalists were given room to add their lines to their benefits of course. We just tried different options and chose the best one without any one getting upset because of a hurt ego haha.
How did you manage to get the other members prepared to work with you?
Well, we didn't ask Ariën (van Weesenbeek), we just presented it to him as fact that he was a member! He had no choice at all hahah. We did ask Jeroen Paul (Thesseling) because Rob vd Loo (Delain) wrote the bass lines for the fretless bass. Rob is one of the few who can do this on this level. But the music as a whole wasn't easy to play, I have never heard Isaac that upset, he once said: “Do you want to make an John Petrucci out of me?”. In the end we did a lot in little time and I am very pleased that it all went as smoothly as it did.
What about the ladies?
Of course I have known Floor (Jansen) and Simone (Simons) for a long time, so it was really easy to get them involved, they even offfered to perform on a voluntary basis, but I didn't want that, I wanted them to get paid just as every one else. But, you can imagine their enthusiasm. The Italian lady (Laura Macrì) I already knew as well, I however, didn't even know she could actually sing! But when I heard her I thought: “Wow, what a voice”. I knew then that I had to do something with her voice. In that time she was quite unknown, but the in world of opera she is getting more famous now.
Don't you fear conflicts in interest because all the other members are occupied with their own bands?
Well, when things are getting succesfull, we have to make choices. We have had a lot of fun untill now and I am not really worried, we'll see how it comes and goes.
Is there a musical theme you wanted to see as a basis for Mayan's music?
No, not really, we only had three demands: it should be heavy, we should be ably to give it all our energy and it was not to sound as After Forever of Epica.
Where are the songs about, lyrically I mean?
In general the songs about the misuse of power by governments, politicians and the church and religion. 'Celibate Aphrodite' for instance, is about all the sexual scandalls in the catholic church. I am very happy that these people are going to be punished now, they seemed to get away with it for a long time.
What about the theme 'In The Eyes Of The Law'?
It turns up three times on the album and is about the way justice functions or disfunctions.
You said earlier that you did not want Mayan to become a clone of After Forever and Epica. Aren't you afraid that that is just what many people might think when they see who are involved?
O yes, I am sure that will happen. But I do hope that they will read the reviews and are convinced to try it it, to give it a fair chance.
Which brings me to another question. What people are going to buy this album? For death metal fans it is probably too progessive, for prog fans it might be too heavy etc. To be honest, I have been waiting for an act to combine it all as you do.
To be honest, I don't give a shit who likes it or not! Haha. We were banging our heads and concluded that this was very good. So at least, we, the members, like it! Haha. Because I am quite succesfull with Epica it is no desaster when Mayan is not a big succes. But I really do hope people decide to check it out descently. It takes more than once to understand this album and people need to listen to it several times before they can really judge it. It gets better every time I listen to the album and I never have listened to my own music this often. Just like you I have been searching for an act that combines different metal styles like we do, and I have heard more people are also wondering if these acts exist. So, the time to do so is now I think.
Why does the world need Mayan? Why should we buy your album and not the new Nightwish album?
Yee, what a question! You ask me to sell my own work!
Yes I do.
Well, because Nightwish' album is issued next year and our album is issued next month! Haha.
Seriously, I think when you need a challange, musically, this album is for you.
Are you tired with this interview?
Hahaha, well actually, I am done with all the email interviews, the interviews on the phone are better because of the actual conversation.
What can we expect from Mayan in the coming six months?
We will do two try-out gigs, one in De Baroeg in Rotterdam and one in The Escape in Veenendaal. After that we will do a tour in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
If you want to be succesfull you have to be succesfull in Germany. What about the reactions from there untill now?
None actually. We only have two requests for interviews, but magazines such as Rock Hard or Metal Hammer haven't showed any interest so far. Germany is a difficult country for me traditionally, with Epica it took a long time to create a fan base. In France things were a lot easiers, it is the best country for Epica.
Any festivals you are going to attend as a band?
Yes, we are to play at De Zwarte Cross!! But I have been there already, so I know what to expect when we arrive there.
Your last words please...
Always difficult to formulate those... Well, I am happy that Lords Of Metal is present again, they are very loyal to me and I will make sure that there are press tickets for our gig in Paradiso for you guys. Next to that I hope many people will come and check us out. Dutch people are always really critical. It is hard to get a packed venue. Some gigs are selling out, but some gigs have hardly sold any tickes, Doornroosje in Nijmegen for instance. But still, we sincerely hope to attract many new fans.