SO THERE we were, waiting for the phone call from Amy Lee, she of Evanescence fame; you know, the guys who did Bring Me To Life, My Immortal, Sweet Sacrifice and What You Want. The band will hit our shores on Monday, and this is what Amy had to say…
Hi Amy! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview!
Hello! So sorry we’re so late! It took 30 minutes to figure out how to get phone service in this place. So… really apologise! I’m in Osaka, so there’s really no excuse, there’s great technology here. But I’m at the venue, and it’s a little bit out of the way, and everybody was trying to… we thought we could do it on the cell, but there was no cell service, so everybody was scrambling to find a landline. It was quite kinda funny. But here I am!
So how’s the tour been so far?
It’s been awesome! I’ve been loving the Japanese portion of this tour. It’s interesting, the way we arrived, because we were in America for a few dates – for just a couple of weeks – then we went straight to Mexico for a week and did some shows. And then we came straight to Japan! So we’re like all over the place. And next, we’re going over there.
We’re really really looking forward to coming over new countries, because we’ve toured Japan before but no other Asian countries at all. So we’re really excited to be coming to Singapore and Korea and Malaysia for the first time! The shows have been going awesome by the way. I’m distracted because in Japan there’s so much going on, there’s so much culture to take in, but on top of that, the shows have been some of the best we’ve had. I think they’re my favourite shows of the year so far, of 2012.
Well, the third album was No 1 in the US and the UK. Did you expect that?
No, not at all. We went for this in a pretty humble way in terms of public acceptance. We knew we’d been gone for a long time, and you know, I think that in a lot of ways, the mainstream is constantly changing. I remember when we first came out, we didn’t really fit in then. And then when it was the second record, the music industry, the landscape had changed. The things that were on the radio had changed. And we were able to find out place, somehow, magically. And this time, I know that we sound vastly different from a lot of the stuff that’s on the radio. But I think that there’s something to be said for being yourself. Don’t follow the trends. I never have and never will. In fact, my flaw would be that I tend to go for the opposite. I’m attracted to be unique. And something that I’ve really loved about this band is that it isn’t like anything else. I’m just combining all my favourite things and not thinking of the consequences. We did not have big expectations for fame, and when it went to No 1, we were all beyond happy. To us it still meant something, you know? You work your heart out for two years on something that you listen to and it’s only an hour long, ha ha, and you’re like, “wow, I hope that was worth it” and it’s really cool that people appreciate it.
Did you have any pressure in trying to make Evanescence better than The Open Door?
There’s pressure for sure. It’s interesting though, but – and this is really true – there is no pressure like the pressure I put on myself. I just have this thing in me, where I’m determined that whatever I do has to be better than the last thing I did. I don’t want to put anything out that’s not as good as what I did before. And at least to me. And so far I’ve been able accomplish that. I absolutely loved The Open Door. To me, I thought it was such a great step forward in musicianship. And in honesty too, lyrically. And it took a while to do the next one partially because I was so happy with The Open Door, like, “you know what, I thought that was really great, I don’t know how to make Evanescence better than that”. And then, you know, after all, I’d gotten married and I just wanted to be normal and not be a rock star, and do stuff like work on my house, yeah, just be in New York, watch other people’s shows. But then I don’t know, there’s something in me. I guess I’m can’t be satisfied if I’m not creating stuff. And I was writing more and more and I started to get all sorts of new inspiration and ideas and we ended writing some of my favourite songs. And I think part of what really cool about the album is that it really is a true step forward. Everyone’s working together. We didn’t all the songs as a complete team. Some were written by just me. Some were written by me and Tim, and some were written by the whole band. But even songs that didn’t start with us writing together, everyone came in on and added something, their own style, and made it better than it was before. I can sometimes feel like everybody’s pulling in a different direction. That never works and that’s when I go, “you know what, I’m just going to with Terry or whoever. But now we have such a strong group of musicians in the band. And for me, I think my confidence has grown over the years that I’m not afraid to write in front of people. We’d sit in a circle and say, “let’s make something great together”. There’s a new element of… I love the band’s energy on the record.
So what was the fastest song you guys wrote for this then?
I wish I had the album in front of me so that I could… You know what, it has to be The Change! It started as an idea that Tim had. And it was a completely sounding song at first. We all work from home and make demo recordings and then we bring them together. And Tim had this demo idea that was slow but it was like that verse. We were living in an apartment in Nashville at the time – Tim and I were in one apartment and the other three guys were in another apartment next door. And we all said, let’s just go home tonight and everybody take home the same guitar tuning, so that when we show up tomorrow, you know, maybe whatever we’ve been working on will all be in the same key and turn out to be the same song. It’d be funny if that happened. So they wrote in their room and Tim and I wrote in our room. And I loved the idea that he had for the verse and I wrote the chorus’ chord progression. And so we brought it the next day and the other guys had written this chord progression that totally went – it was different, but it totally went with what we had. So the verse guitar parts are actually the two songs on top of each other. That was really inspiring. That whole song I think came together in a day, and then I went home and wrote all the lyrics all in one day. And that usually doesn’t happen. I usually spend a week or two on the lyrics. So that was a fast one.
You were voted Hottest Female, Kerrang! called you Sexiest Female, what do you and the other guys make of it?
I usually think, “Yeah, more people are going to know about our album and buy it!” Ha ha! I mean, you have to look at all of that as just press. I’m not the hottest chick in blah blah blah or whatever. I’m a normal girl and it takes a lot of makeup and retouching to make that cover look good. I try to be as honest and real as possible and not want to make some false image. I actually think it’s quite powerful and cool that particular thing happened, because there are plenty of girls who are hotter than me. I think people- at least far as the standard, the American standard of the skinny model chick – I don’t look like that. And I think it was really cool that I got that attention because I don’t think of myself that way. And certainly don’t rely on my looks to get where I’ve gotten. And I thought that it was cool that they were listing somebody that doesn’t weigh you know 100 pounds and dying of starvation. But all that said, we’re way past any kind of jealousy about that stuff. The guys are like, you know, the band needs a front woman, the band needs a face. And people know my face, as far as the band is, and it’s cool. I’m the one who does most of the press and all that, and I mean, I’m the one who started the band when I was 14 years old. So it makes sense and I think as long as people are pointed in the direction of our music, I’m happy.
Your first single, Bring Me To Life was such a massive hit, but do you find it an albatross around your neck? Because everything you’ve done or will do, people will inevitably compare it to that one…
I think there’s something to be said for a first time. Like, people are never going to hear our sound, for the first time, again. And that impacts people. It doesn’t mean that Bring Me To Life was our best song. It’s not. But it’s just the one that people remember from hearing us for the first time and going, wow I like that band. I can appreciate that now, more than I could five years ago. I remember that when Bring Me To Life first reached the top I was concerned. I was worried because of the rap in it and that’s something that doesn’t represent our sound at all. That’s something that the label forced us to do. And I always hated it. I was so worried that people wouldn’t like our music after that because they wouldn’t understand who we were. But Going Under was the next single – and that was the song that I really wanted for the first single – and that came out two months later or something and it was a hit too. And so was My Immortal. And we were able to get past that. Pretty qyuckly I felt relieved that we had overcome that moment. But I get the whole thing. I get the hearing a song for the first time, hearing a band for the first time and being impacted in a way that will never have that same impact again to some degree.
Do you get any Spinal Tap moments?
Oh yeah, totally! I got stopped for my pass once. The one time I tried to get into the venue from the bus without my security pass and the security guard saw me walk out from the bus but he was like, Nope, you gotta have your pass, and I was like come on man, I’m the lead singer of the band, playing in front of 10,000 people tonight, it’s me. And he was like, Nope, it’s not going to work. So I go, okay fine! So I went back to the bus, and the bus has a keypad where you have to type the code to open the doors, and I forgot the code! And I couldn’t get on the bus either! And I had my cell phone on the bus so I couldn’t call anybody! I was stuck with the other band’s crew and I was like, “Well, I guess I’m not cool enough to be in my own show”. But then they saved me so that was fine. That stuff happens all the time. But it’s good, because it keeps you grounded.
Okay, thanks for talking! We’ll see you when you get here!
We’re really excited. We’re looking forward to going there!
Evanescence performs Feb 27, 8pm, Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets from Sistic.