Chicks in metal – what's new there? Well, a lot, when you encounter Epica's Simone Simons. When Noisecreep grabbed some time with the Dutch chanteuse, she was quite candid about her perception of her own voice.

Simone's grown to love her singing voice after a two album period of not being too hot about it. She also revealed her passion for the Samurai culture, which informs a song on the symphonic metal band's latest, 'Requiem for the Indifferent,' which drops this month.

You have lots of non-metal influences, like Tori Amos. Do you incorporate that into your singing style or do they just inspire you as artists?

I try to be myself and to always have examples that inspire you, literally and figuratively. I had to work on my voice until I could find what comes naturally and what sounds like myself. I want to encourage everyone to not be afraid of how your own voice sounds. Be yourself and unique, and not force yourself to sound like someone else who is popular. There already is someone like that.

How do you make yourself stand out?

It took me a while to like my own voice. I said I don't think my voice is that special, but my boyfriend who is a great musician whose opinion I value said it is very special! For this record, I am very content with my vocals and actually like my vocals now. It took me a while to get there, before I found that.

Is this actually the first time you've liked vocals you've done?

For the last three albums, I did. But the first two? I was so young back then. My vocals now are much better and I would like to listen it myself, as well. I don't listen to the first two. I don't like how I sound.

Watch Epica's 'Storm the Sorrow' Lyric Video

Did you get better with practice?

Yes, and live experience of course. My voice changed and me as a person, I changed. My voice was closed in the beginning, since I was afraid to show more. Nowadays, I am more open and confident.

Do you have any non-music skills or hobbies?

I am a great cook, my boyfriend can confirm that. I am a girly girl. I love fashion and makeup, and I have a couple of cameras, and I love photography. I love Ray Ban sunglasses and collect them. I don't drink beer.

Are you able to score makeup endorsements being in a band?

I do get a 30 percent discount on MAC. I use lots of MAC, so it's great.

Can you put us inside one song on 'Requiem for the Indifferent?'

Yes, 'Serenade of Self-Destruction.' I am a movie freak and I saw this movie. It's called 'Shogun,' and I like the Japanese culture and the samurai and the suicide ritual. The song has a Japanese feeling. I wanted to write about it, it's about suicide seen through different perspectives of culture, like for samurai, it's about preserving honor, or it can be about tan individual who is not happy with life anymore.

There is also 'Storm the Sorrow,' which was written by our keyboardist for our bass player, since he has a certain rhythm and we wanted to write a song about it.

Heilemania (Stefan Heilemann)
Heilemania (Stefan Heilemann)

What's on the docket for Epica in 2012?

We are coming to Atlanta in September and then for a full North American tour in the fall. October or November.

So I have to ask. Do you have any advice for girls hoping to follow the same career path?

Guys will never fully understand women and the other way around is true. Just try and live in peace. Guys get angry and yell, but girls are angry for weeks, so think like a man on the road.

Guys will not think like women. It's up to us to make it simpler and break it down to the core and not be so emotional. Grow a beard and get some balls.

Epica's 'Requiem for the Indifferent' will be out in North America on March 13 via Nuclear Blast.

Watch Epica's 'Requiem for the Indifferent' Album Teaser

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