Interview with Renate and Robert from Epinikion and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
E: My band was founded on a project basis, so I think it’s better to say something about myself. As a keyboardist/composer I am the one who creates the concept of an album and with it the songs. Creative brain, stubborn, driven, social and sensitive, I think the words that essentially describe me best.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
E: I am originally from a small village around Amsterdam and was involved with music from an early age. Around the age of 18 I started playing in a big band as a pianist and that’s how I ended up on stage, where I played happily for seven years. Only much later it was my current partner Robert who invited me to make music together and from this sympho metal band Epinikion was born. Because we come from the sports world and had no connection whatsoever with musicians, we asked musicians to participate in project ‘Inquisition’ and that resulted in a beautiful album.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
E: The ‘instigator’ of all this is of course Robert, thanks to him I picked up music again. I write about people, love, respect and freedom of choice. Those are themes that keep coming back. My own musical taste is very broad, so there is not a specific band or artist that is a source of inspiration for me to make music. Composing music feels like a child in a candy store to me, like Alice in Wonderland: I have made all kinds of discoveries in my creativity and can make choices myself to express that in a song. Playing music is like giving a present to the audience: entertaining and making people happy with music, with an underlying message that they may or may not pick up on.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
E: I think that’s a difficult question. I move in the moment and go with the flow. I can’t tell you where that is going. As long as I can keep making beautiful music and do that with people who work from sincerity and teamwork, it’s fine for me.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
E: The proudest moment for myself was when I wrote a song for someone that referred to his deceased daughter. The arrangement touched him and he indicated that I could not have expressed it better in terms of text. Following on from that are the very positive reviews we’ve had about the album ‘Inquisition’ so far. People love the magic world we have created and the bombastic epic songs that lead you through this world.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
E: Competition is good for achieving better results, on certain fronts. You can only learn from that. As for the kind of music we make and the way we play it, we’re not concerned with others at all. We do our own thing and follow current marketing laws to get as much exposure as possible. Those are preconditions that you have to meet in this world.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
E: Since we are still a young band, the promotion and booking of performances can still go through me. I am actively working on that, but I also have to work on the stability of the tyre. That is our focus at the moment. Once people know that you can have a great party with Epinikion, we will be asked to perform more often.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
E: These are all aspects of the musical landscape that as an artist you have to take into account. You cannot ignore it and have to work with it, whether you think it is a good aspect or a bad one. So I think we can say a lot about it, but this is what it is. Deal with it.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
E: I don’t think that way at all, so I can’t answer that either. I love that some songs have brought people success and I’m always interested in how they’ve done it. How did they get there and how did they work it out? I especially enjoy the success of others, it makes me happy that other people are happy. I am so empathetic again.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
E: What I sometimes think I see is people denying themselves and their music in order to generate commercial success. That doesn’t seem healthy to me, because it creates skewed relationships and they lose themselves as artists. My job is to make people aware of themselves, in daily life I work as a psychologist. Maybe I could play a role in raising awareness, if people need it. That would be a role that suits me: being supportive in finding your path as a musician and discovering what really makes you happy as an artist.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
E: We are currently making the step from project to permanent band. This will take years and is one of the most difficult aspects of making music, in my opinion. There are so many influences that make this difficult that it takes a great effort to achieve it. We are currently investing a lot of time and energy in this. In addition, we will continue to write, which is always going on.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
Album on spotify:
YouTube: https:// www.youtube.com/epinikion