Evanescence will be hitting the east coast of Australia in February with their Synthesis – Live With Orchestra tour. We were lucky enough to chat with frontwoman Amy Lee ahead of the tour.
Performing with an orchestra that you can’t have multiple rehearsals with is no simple feat- what’s behind the decision to tour the upcoming album with local orchestras in each city?
It’s an incredible and intimidating thing. With 28 musicians being added to the band, I can’t really imagine how we would take them all on the road with us! Before we began the tour I was more than a little curious as to how well it would work, but it’s been working beautifully. We owe a lot of that to Susie Seiter, our touring conductor. She spends 2 hours with the orchestra every day going over the whole show and working through the hard parts, teaching them the music. We actually only get 30 minutes with band and orchestra together every day before the show that night, so most of our performance is being done for the very first time as a group in front of the audience. It creates this very raw energy during the show that I love.
David Campbell contributed to what is arguably your biggest commercial single (Bring Me To Life) – what was it like working with him in a more involved capacity on Synthesis?
Yes, David arranged all the strings for all 3 of our albums, so it was really essential to the whole idea of this project that we do it together. It was a homecoming, a reinvention, and a moment of full realization for the two of us to be able to do fully what we’d been tapping at for years. We always wanted to collaborate on a more intricate level and this album was us finally seizing that.
What’s the new music industry landscape like for an established career artist like yourself?
Everyone’s experience is different. There is more music out there available to everyone than ever before, and we all have much more independently and uniquely customized feeds into or consciousness- that is awesome but also potentially limiting and isolating. If you only listen to one type of music, you will keep being fed similar music based on the machines reading what you’ve liked previously. So we’re all sort of in these little customized bubbles. There are artists out there you may never hear of with millions of followers just because it doesn’t fit into the format of what you’ve liked so far. But my taste has changed constantly throughout my life- depending on what I’m going through, what I’m moved by. And we are also complex. We have aspects to ourselves that take many formats, genres, media, forms of expression, to touch. I don’t miss radio stations only playing 40 songs on repeat being all most people knew about, but there is something awesome about great curation. I wish there was a PURE, un-buyable platform for music that we were all plugged into.
Synthesis will be taking a look at and reimagining a whole lot of fan-favourite songs. What is behind that decision?
I just followed a craving in my heart until it snowballed into one of my biggest challenges yet. Truth is, if I’m not being challenged, I’m not inspired. And sometimes less really is more. At some point you have to take something away to hear more of the raw power of a song, to expose its fragile but courageous heart. The decision on what songs we would redo wasn’t too much about the fans, it was more about what I wanted. I wanted to re-record The End of the Dream in a way that exposed the completely post traumatic healing of a survivor- taking the time to focus on the pain, and then look up and past it, gathering the strength to live on, better. Stronger. With a new understanding of the beauty of pain and the heartbreak of real life, not fly away from it, but carry it. Carry it all and feel grateful for it. Even proud.
Synthesis is said to merge orchestral elements and electronic elements- what is the weirdest instrument/ object that you used in the reimagining of the tracks?
Will was using a vintage Roland vocoder (SVC- 350) for some beat processing and it accidentally began picking up some distorted and very otherworldly sounding Mexican radio station’s frequency at the end of “Your Star”. It added a subtle level of authentic creepiness to the song that we couldn’t have if we had been trying to. Some mistakes are my favourite parts.
Which artists were you listening to around the time of writing Imperfection?
Needed Me – Rihanna, I Am Dust – Gary Numan, Blood In The Cut – K. Flay, Apply-Glasser, An Echo, A Stain – Bjork, Head Like A Hole – Nine Inch Nails
There’s a huge, beautiful piano intro in the video- why was that cut from the single version?
I see it as an intro into the song, but also as a segway between two songs. It never really mattered too much to me where people identified the beginnings and endings to be, since i hear the whole album as one piece flowing together. Naturally when you service a song to radio, if you want to to have any chance of getting played, it makes sense to leave out the 2 minutes of piano solo before the vocal comes in. I think this song belongs on the radio. Whether it’s universally perceived that way or not, who knows. But i can totally visualize it. So if that means making an edit that only gets most of the vision across, to help that possibility, ill do it. It would still be a major victory for music that’s so far outside the mainstream box.
You’ve had a lot of intense experiences with fans- what is the most intense experience you’ve had with a fan?
I met someone recently, who told us her story of being a victim of a home invasion when she was young. The intruders killed her husband and brother, but she and her baby survived. Her life’s path after that was marked with different points all along the way that were represented by our songs. The pain, the healing, the life beyond… and we were able to celebrate their lives together as mother and daughter (who’s now a teenager), lifelong Evanescence fans, who were there to attend their first show that night.
You became a role model very early on in life- was that a lot of pressure?
Yes. But I felt somewhat prepared for the job because I was the eldest of 4 siblings and was always trying to help guide my little sisters and bro down the right path. I loved them so much, I didn’t see it as pressure with them- so I guess I carried over the same feelings to my audience of youth. The pressure comes when you feel like you can’t be yourself, or that there’s a side of you that no one can ever know. I don’t want to act. I want to be the real me. And I’m not perfect, and I have to be brutally honest in my writing. So that true self can be uncontrollable. She can say things I don’t really want to admit. She could also open us all to a deeper honesty. That I would be proud of.
Evanescence will be touring Australia early next year, for more information click here
SUN 11 FEB | BRISBANE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
W/ QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
TUES 13 & WED 14 FEB | SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
W/ SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
FRI 16 FEB | ROD LAVER ARENA
W/ MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA