Evanescence (Amy Lee)
SpazioRock met a very talkative Amy Lee, who shared her opinions on the new Evanescence self-titled album. The interview took place in Milan at EMI Music's headquarter. Follow the link on the top of the page to watch the video of the press conference or visit our YouTube channel. Also, if you want to read the uncut version, just scroll down to the article below and enjoy it!
Article by Marco Belafatti - Publish on: 11/10/11

Article written by Marco Belafatti and Alessandra Leoni
Translated by Marco Belafatti
Some of the questions were asked by other medias during the press conference

How was working with Steve Lillywhite? Did he guide you or influence you during the creative process or did he let you free to express yourself?

Well, actually the producer we ended up making the record with was Nick Raskulinecz. He produced Deftones' last record, he produced Foo Fighters records and a lot of really cool stuff (Rush and Alice In Chains too), and he absolutely did! Totally creating, passionate music fan. It was cool because in the studio, really, the energy never fell. He was always ready to keep going, keep rocking out and getting excited and dancing around playing air guitar. He had a lot of really good ideas too. Definitely I would love to work with him anytime again!

To what extent is “Evanescence” different from previous works and what should we expect from it?

I think it's different, yeah. I think that it has some groove, it's interesting. I really wanted to make a little bit of a departure, you know, and we experimented with a lot of different things. When writing the record, we went through kind of a lot of phases before finding the sound for the new thing. But, at the end of the day, especially since it had been so long, you know, I had the chance to really remember and appreciate and find my home again within the band that I've always been a part of. So I think that this record is a departure, is a little bit different, it's a new attitude, it's uptempo, it's rocking and it's kinda bad ass (laughs, ndr), but at the same time it's absolutely an Evanescence record and I think it wouldn't be right, especially for the fans, to call it “Evanescence”, if it wasn't a true Evanescence record.

I think that this new album is very groove-oriented and the rhythm is one of the key elements. I think, you said it right, it's an Evanescence album, but I think it's definitely different compared to “The Open Door” and “Fallen”.

I think (actually I know you didn't really ask a question), but you're right on! I think that part of the reason the rhythm and the drums really were such a big part of the record is that we have a wonderful drummer. This is the first record that we've made with Will; he's been in the band for a while, when we toured and everything together, but this is the first time he's playing on a record. He's an incredible drummer, but also all the songs were formed as a band. You know, with the drummer and the guitar player in the band, and the bass, all working together creating the feel of the song at the same time rather than just sort of, you know, the chord progression of the piano with keyboards or whatever, really it was driven more by the band. So, yeah, you're right, thank you!

evanescence_intervista_2011_03_600Your videos and your music are always so dark... Nothing to say about the power of the music, but what makes this darkness? Sadness?

Well, Evanescence are sort of my place to put my biggest feelings, my diary. So it's not that at all sad, I wouldn't want it all to come across that way, for sure. But so many times, you know, these are the biggest feelings that you have when you're going through something that's hard, and our music has definitely had a lot of that. It has been the center of a lot of that, kind of therapeutic outpouring of emotions, you know, it's just passionate so... I'm not a sad person, I'm a happy person, I have a good life and I still want our music to still maintain hope so I hope that that comes through as well.

You said the single “What You Want” is different from how the others sound. What kind of freedom are you talking about, if the lyrics talk about freedom?

Yeah, for me, the better way to say it, it's about overcoming fear. It's about don't be afraid to go, live your life, because life doesn't last forever and you shouldn't waste it being afraid to try because you are afraid to feel! So do what you what you want! (laughs, ndr)

Is it true that you used to write down some of the new songs on the harp and which ones?

Yeah, there's not harp all over the album, just a little bit. On the deluxe edition with all the songs, which are sixteen, there are three with a little bit of harp on them, but on the regular cd it's actually only one. One song, “My Heart Is Broken” (have you heard the music?), that piano part... Actually I wrote that on my harp but the song was much slower when we first wrote it. It was me and Terry and Tim sitting around with their guitars and I was playing harp. It was really fun to write that way cause it's new for me, it kinda makes you create in a different way, because it plays differently! So that's how that part was written but then, when we got to making the record and working on the songs as a whole band, with the drummer and everything else, the song got faster and faster and faster as we did it and then by the time we got into the studio I was like “Right, let's do this! Got the harp, here we go!”... Way too fast! It was very very hard to play, like impossible for me, so now it's a piano part (laughs, ndr). But, yeah, I think that, if I hadn't written it on the harp, it wouldn't be that part because I wouldn't made all the notes going up like that.

In 1998 you released an EP called “Evanescence” and now a new album with the same name. Does it mean something? Is it like going back to the origin?

I think what you are talking about is probably something put together by fans. There's a lot of little CDs and things out there in the universe that are really compilations that the fans put together and put a cover on. They're really just old demos from when the band was first starting out, so I think that there's just a coincidence there.

You started writing new material not little time ago, but few years ago and the album is just out now. So what did you do in the meantime, what happened?

In the meantime between tour or in the meantime between...?

No, between you started writing new material and now...

I've just been writing the entire time, every single day pretty much. Haven't taken a vacation in years (laughs, ndr)! Honestly, once I got to the point where I felt like I had the mission and I knew that I wanted to make a record of some kind. I just started really really focusing on that and writing all the time. We really have been working on the songs for this album for two years (laughs, ndr). Definitely some of the songs on the record are that old, which is really cool because I think it's very dynamic, you know. A lot goes on in your life in two years or three years, so there's a lot of different things to talk about and a lot of different elements to use in the music taken from experimentation.

And how is an Evanescence album created? Where do you start from?

evanescence_intervista_2011_02bEvery time's different. Sometimes I just sit at the piano by myself and just start coming up with ideas. That's where a lot of my rude ideas come from. Then I would come and share them with the band and we would create the full song together; but it's good for me sometimes to just start by myself so I can get the idea of the song and then we can make it full. But other times I would come from a guitar part that somebody wrote or even just drums, honestly. Some of the songs on this record we really sat as a band and then “Who has an idea? Ok, check this out! What do you think?” and then, you know, it becomes what it is from everyone putting a little bit of input. I think that collaboration is something that is new for this band, to work that way. That's part of the reason of the self-titled album, it's a little bit more band-driven like that. I think that's really cool, I think it really gives it a special energy. But I do write a lot by myself as well, especially the lyrics. Lyrics always come at the very end, almost always, when I'm by myself. So we write the music and the melodies and then “Ok, bye”! Lock myself in the room and get serious.

There's a song in the album, “Swimming Home”, that reminded me of Björk...

Thank you!

Yeah, and also, I see you like electronic music and that genre, did it inspire you that much for the album?

Yeah, actually there was a phase that I went through, I didn't know really if it was an Evanescence record yet or if it was solo or what it was going to be and that song came from that time. You know, I really like to be able to create without any rules. I don't wanna make a plan like “Ok, we're gonna make an Evanescence record, it's gonna sound like this and bla bla bla”... I don't like to make a plan. I like to just write and see what happens and see what is inspiring and then... I kept saying everyone who was asking me for a while “What is this? Is it a solo? Is it Evanescence or what?” and I was like “I don't know, don't push me! I'm gonna write the music and then let the music tell us what it's supposed to be”. So for a while there was a lot of music that was sort of in the same between world. I really love that song, I'm really proud of it and for a while I thought that it wasn't going to be on the record because it didn't fit. I loved it, but I thought that it was maybe too different. But then the more that I've gotten re-familiarized with what I believe Evanescence is and all the things that it can be, it's a very big canvas. It doesn't have to be only one way, our music has always been a little bit dynamic. So I thought that it was cool to be able to use that song as sort of the ending because the song before, “Never Go Back”, is a big epic finale. We're imagining that at the end and then to drift into like the calm after the storm, you know. Like that peaceful, kind of bittersweet goodbye. I think it's really great, it works really well, actually.

How has the relationship with the fans changed all over the years?

How has it changed? Like since records or just over time?

Since the beginning of Evanescence...

Yeah, I remember when we were first touring, our first record and our first going to other countries and meeting our fans over the places and, you know, it's cool because it's a new experience but we didn't know them yet, you don't know what that really means. I feel now that I really have learned that we have fans that are fans for life, that are true fans of this music and of this idea, and of this band, not just one song for one year and then after it something else. They really really truly care about the whole work and follow us and support us and it's an amazing thing to be coming back now the third time and feel like we have a core group of supporters that are really for us. That's not about judgment, they'd better "Live up to our expectations and give us the record we love". And... It’s all over the world, but especially I feel that love with our fans in Italy and we’re going to see some of them at the end of the day. I remember them as a group of friends from oversea and we come to see them everytime we’re here. The fans are a huge part of the reason that we're able to still do this. So I feel like our relationship with our fans, at least for me, is just better than ever. It feels like an old strong relationship.

Someone wrote that “What You Want” has a new sound and we think that it's more commercial compared to what you've done before. What do you think about this?

evanescence_intervista_2011_05_600I don't know, I think that in some ways absolutely because the vocals are sort of more sassy and pop like it sometimes but, on the other hand, the music itself is heavier to me. I think the easiest bridge that I can make from the last record to this one would be like “Call Me When You're Sober” to “What You Want”, you know. It's got some of that same flavour, but the difference is that “What You Want” is a lot heavier. So, I don't know, on the one hand yes and on the other no.

Evanescence as a band has gone through quite a lot of line up changes. How are you getting on with the current band members and how is it working together with them?

The other guys are awesome. This is the first time that we've all really been able to collaborate as a group and it's awesome. This is the same band that we had on tour the last time that we were out with “The Open Door” and I remember by the end of touring and everything just feeling like “Wow, this is the best live band we've ever been”. This is the strongest we've been as a band and when we were pulling back together “Ok, this is an Evanescence record, we're doing this”, I more than anyone else in the world wanted that exact group to be who made this record. I'm so glad that it worked out and that everyone's still on board and that we're able to just have that same team. I just feel like it's gonna be great playing shows and everybody in it is a real musician who brings something truly meaningful and unique to the table. So when we sit in the room and work together, like we're all able to play off each other... You know, sometimes in the past for me the most common way of writing was sort of between me and one other member. So for this time we've had all of that: the drums, the bass, the guitars, the piano and the voice all working as one thing and it's a great feeling, it's a really really good felling. It feels like a band!

Did this major line up change effect the creativity and the songwriting of the band?

Yeah, I mean, like I was just saying, I really think that it makes the difference when everybody's working as a unit. Sometimes that works and sometimes not, and that's totally fine. This album was written between Tim, Terry and I. It's really cool having Tim being part of the writing team. I think he really really brought a lot to the table that wasn't there before.

Ok, this was the last question. Thank you, Amy!

Thank you!

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