Written by Jessica Santiago Lopez at 2012-06-10 13:39:13
Interviews :: Interview with Amy Lee from Evanescence
Evanescence is finally back with their new album 'Evanescence' and it was obvious that fans couldn't wait for the band's return.The album went all the way up to number 1 positions in different places and many sold out shows, including tonight's show in the 013 in Tilburg in the Netherlands, followed during the long world tour which the band is currently on. Clubshows and festival performances with fans waiting since early in the morning, like today in front of the 013 was the case as well. Evanescence hasn't been in The Netherlands since 2007, so it wasn't really a surprise that the show had sold out. Metalkrant was there for a live review, which can be found here, but I also got the chance to do an interview before the show with the one and only Amy Lee! Check it out!
Q: First of all thank you for this interview. It’s really cool to meet you. So, how are you?
Amy: I’m really good. It’s been a great tour, we’ve been going for quite a while now. We’ve been going full on since October so, it’s been going great. It’s been different sized venues tours. This one is the big one. This is the one with all the giant masses. We just did Rock am Ring and Rock Im Park, which were like, 85.000 people or something. So you know, it’s cool. We’re just in full on, heavy set, festival mode right now. So it’s nice to have today, which is our own show for the first time in a few shows.
Q: Fans have been waiting a long time for you to come back to the Netherlands. The show tonight is sold out…
Amy: Yes! It’s awesome!
Q: I’m sure people can’t wait to see you perform tonight. Are you excited to be back?
Amy: It’s great! You know, it’s the road.. so there are times when it’s exhausting, but this has been a really nice tour. I think along the way I’ve kind of learned how to pace myself to some degree. I mean, there’s no way to ever really control the pace of this life..but I think it’s been really good. We’ve had some nice days off. We had a day off yesterday and I just got to enjoy Amsterdam. We love it there, everybody does. And we had some nice time in Morocco this tour. It’s been cool. We’ve been exploring, seeing the world, seeing some places we’ve never seen before and also visiting old friends like this you know. It’s going to be cool. I know we’re going to see people that we recognize at the show tonight and that is such a great feeling. To have such dedicated fans who have been with us for so long.
Q: You just mentioned you’ve been to Morocco. How was it to play there for the first time?
Amy: It was really cool! None of us knew what to expect. None of us had been there in any band, in any time. And the people were so nice and so warm and like excited to have us. There’s something really magic in general about going somewhere for the first time because, especially now you know, since we’ve been doing this for almost a decade since our first real record came out…There are places that, if we haven’t been there by now and you’ve been a fan for almost a decade, and you’re finally getting to see the band…there’s this real special energy of like yeah! And there is for us too. It feels like the same thing for us, it feels like the first time that we’re doing something. So there’s definitely a special energy there. But Morocco was absolute magic. And we had some time to actually stay there for a couple of days and enjoy it. I really hope to go back there again.
Q: That’s great, cool! And what about tonight’s show, what can fans expect to see this time around?
Amy: Well, I know our fans are on the internet watching what we do every night and seeing our set list. I think they pretty well know, basically, the set list that we’re doing right now. It’s a mixture of all three of our records. Naturally we love playing the new songs and that’s a little bit of a focus right now, this is their time, but of course we’re going to play ‘Bring Me To Life’, and ‘My Immortal’..Unless it’s a heavy metal festival. We’ll be hopefully playing all the songs that they want to hear.
Q: You’ve been playing festivals and club shows, is there any you prefer more?
Amy: I think what’s important really is to break it up. I think it’s important to have some of both because no matter what, you’re going to get sick if you only do one type of thing. So, just like I said, we’ve been doing quite a few in a row and the last ones were this big festivals, which is fun and exciting and it’s a different amount of time that you have to play every time. So you have to change your set. I’ve been looking forward to today, because I knew we would have a sound check and would be able to get everything perfect. You know, just take our time. I know that everybody here is here to see Evanescence, so I don’t have to feel like I have to rush through the songs that weren’t hits..you know. I can just go like, you know what? Everybody here wants to hear this. We’ll play a nice long set and just enjoy ourselves. So I don’t know what I prefer. Usually I would say I prefer this, just because it’s our fanbase, they know us and we can be ourselves and have them like it..hopefully, haha.
Q: With such a long going tour..Are there any interesting stories?
Amy: Uhm..yes.. plenty..wow, haha. I just wrote a blog on EvClub, like I was journaling to myself just in the back launch on my computer about the Rock am Ring/ Rock Im Park experience and then I read and was like, “this is kind of like a story. I think I’ll put it out there”. And I put it up, so people have been reading that and I don’t want to tell the same story twice haha. But I have most recently felt a cool, remembering that I belong here thing. Like when we go to some of these places, like the other day when we had both of those shows.. it was like Machine Head and Motörhead..Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage.. all these bands are on our stage. That’s our day. And then there is Evanescence plopped in the middle of it. It’s like.. Where do we fit in? Sometimes I feel conflicted about exactly where we fit. I mean, it’s not like there wasn’t Soundgarden and other stuff that maybe makes more sense on other stages. I don’t know, I ended up feeling like a little bit overwhelmed. Like “Why am I here, feeling so sensitive” you know. Playing emotional songs, when all people want to do is head bang..or more like pound their heads into each other..Anyway.. haha. But I don’t know. I ran into all these people that I knew and remember from doing this before. I think this was our fourth or fifth time doing Rock am Ring/ Rock Im Park. I felt so much love from my peers. Like I went in there and suddenly realized how many of those guys I know and how many of them respect me. And that meant so much and made me feel like “you know what, I totally do belong here”. And we went on stage and had the best show! Both of them were so good. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever had a better time at Rock am Ring/ Rock Im park. So I think, more than anything, I’ve learned a little lesson. It’s like “oh yeah, I have been doing this for a long time, I know what I’m doing and there’s nothing to be afraid of”. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like we’ve changed a lot. You know, like, when I write music it’s not all me trying to fit in some anxiety, gothy thing. I’m just being myself and I’m not exactly the same as I was when I was fifteen and doing some of that stuff. So I don’t know. There are times when you feel like “where do I belong?”. But I feel like a new sense of “I totally belong here”. If that makes any sense. Haha.
Q: Haha, it actually does make sense! Well, it’s been quiet around you guys for a while. How is it to be back and to see this massive response from the fans? I mean the album went to #1 position, I’m seeing a lot of sold out shows etc?
Amy: I just feel like in this day in age more than ever, it’s always been the case, but it’s clear now more than ever, the fans are everything. Like word of mouth, Facebook, YouTube use, that’s what it’s actually about now. You can actually see how many people are actually listening to your music. You don’t need MTV to tell you what’s popular because that’s what the top 20 is. It’s really not true anymore. I feel like what people really love and are listening to, they’re listening on their own. They’re listening to it on their iPods, on Pandora, on Spotify or whatever. And I am able to see how many fans we have and how amazing they are. It blows my mind. We have like 13 million Facebook followers or something. I didn’t even have a Facebook a couple of years ago. It’s important to remember, because everything has changed so much. It’s not about the mainstream; it’s about the people you know. And they’re massive. I love our fans so much. I owe everything to them. We wouldn’t have been able to come around again after being gone..out of the light or whatever, for three or four years, if it wasn’t for them. Like remembering us and having a real place in their heart that is Evanescence. And I can feel that love and it totally fuels my performances nowadays. It’s all about the fans and the music.
Q: About the new record, it sounds more united again.. compared to ‘The Open Door’, which is great. Can you tell us a bit more about what the creative process was like this time?
Amy: Yeah. It went on for a long time. I mean I started out writing without intentions for a new Evanescence record. I was just writing because I love to write. I was writing in different ways and I was writing by myself a lot. I always write by myself a lot and then get together with the guys and it’s always like that. This time I really didn’t know what we were going to do, I wasn’t sure if we we’re going to make another record. And then I started hearing similarities in everything that I did and realizing that I’m still the same person, I still want the same things and my heart still sort of speaks the same way. So I didn’t feel like I needed to put some entire new label on it because to me it still was Evanescence, and that was coming back alive in my heart. For a while I needed a big break from it but then I started missing the aggression from the guitars and the drums. Will is such a powerful drummer as well. There’s so much rhythm in this album that just breaths a new life in to the songs for me. And a lot of times when we write, it still was the case on this record but less, lots of times when we write it starts with.. I’ll find some kind of a rhythm pattern on a drum machine or something on the computer, and then we’ll start writing over that. This time, while that still existed and there’s a lot of programming elements like they always are with us, there were other times when we sat with Will and he’d come up with a beat and the song would be written around some of those rhythm patterns and we’d start working together. And I feel like the vocal and the drum..There’s a lot of cool stuff happening there. You said unified and that’s absolutely true. Every single guy in the band put something in to it from their heart and they played their parts like them. You can actually hear everyone’s personality coming through, instead of just a couple of people writing it and then we give the songs to the live guys to just play. Instead it’s everybody’s real heart. I think that passion in there plus the fact that their all great musicians, that definitely helps. Everybody had something good to contribute. I just think that it meant more to all of us at the end and it means more to all of us being up there on stage together, because it’s not like anybody up there is playing someone else his part. It’s theirs and there’s a great sense of pride in that.
Q: Since it’s been a while since ‘The Open Door’… Where there any new challenges for you as a band during the writing and recording process?
Amy: Sure. It’s hard to say new because there are always challenges. Always challenges with the label, always parts… It felt like this time it was so hard just to break through, just to prove even to the label that we were worth bothering with. That’s a crappy feeling, especially when you know better. When you know our fans and everything. There’s always a hill to climb, I’m going to go in to specifics right now, it’s not worth it. But yeah when we actually finished it and actually had the record recorded and were able to listen to it, it felt like we’ve just been climbing up hill for a long time and it was this big release in our hearts. You know like “Ah..it’s done! It’s perfect, they can’t change it, and nobody can mess with it. No matter what happens, nobody can change these songs...it’s printed!” That was a very good feeling haha. Yes.
Q: What part of Evanescence would you say has grown the most since ‘Fallen’ and ‘The Open Door’ until now with ‘Evanescence’? There have obviously been some line-up changes and all, but you know?
Amy: I can only speak for myself personally, because I am the last original remaining member or something, I don’t even know how much that stuff is worth because it’s been so long now. But to me I’ve gotten to where I feel completely comfortable being myself. Within the writing space. It’s not that it was ever a lie but there were times when I couldn’t be my whole self, like I was holding back. Like I could sing the anxty songs about how hard things where, but then when it came to the vulnerability of admitting I’m human or admitting I made a mistake, even admitting that I could actually be happy, that used to be hard. And now..it’s funny, I feel this awesome a little rebellious feelings when the music lightens up because I know that’s not what people expect. So when we have a song like ‘Good Enough’ or ‘Swimming Home’, I take a special confident pride in that because I know I wouldn’t have allowed myself to be that vulnerable before.
Q: If I’m correct ‘Lost In Paradise’ will be the next single.
Amy: It will be yes.
Q: Can you tell us anything more already about what the video will be like, if you know anything about it already?
Amy: Well, we haven’t come up with a scheme for the video; we’re still working on it. Right now the single in the US is still ‘The Other Side’. ‘Lost In Paradise’, we’re going to have a real unified international release later on. So I guess over here it’s a little bit of waiting. As far as what the video will be like I don’t know, but I will say that we’re definitely filming a video and like always, I’ll be totally driving myself to make the best thing we’ve ever done or I won’t be satisfied with it haha.
Q: I was wondering if you could pick out two of your favorite songs of the new album and tell a bit more about the story behind them?
Amy: ‘The Change’ is one of my first little favorites. It’s hard to pick a favorite because I love them all and they’re all very different. They all consumed different spaces emotionally for me. But when I’m listening to the record just for fun I really do love ‘The Change’, I get that one in my head a lot. I always kind of hope that will be a single. I think it could be but I don’t know. After ‘Lost in Paradise’…yeah right. Having five singles of an album these days, it’s hard to imagine haha. I don’t know. I love it. It came out really fast. I remember when we wrote it, the lyrics all came forward like in a day. It usually takes me a long time of over thinking. That one just came out of all of us really quickly. And I love that the chorus has no words, it’s just an outpour of emotions.
One other one I will pick..uhm.. it’s a tough one..I really do love ‘Lost In Paradise’. It was that sneaky song that almost didn’t make the record and then it ended up being everybody’s favorite as far as what could have potential as a single. I feel like that’s one of those songs for me that was an emotional “say anything and not care what anybody thinks about it” moment, where I was completely exposing myself to a situation where I felt totally stuck. It was like an identity crisis. And when it all turned around it was like ‘I’m going to do this, we’re going to make an Evanescence record” kind of feeling in the moment of writing it. It means a lot to me so I guess I’ll pick that one as my other favorite.
Q: Personally I really like the song ‘Sick’. Can you tell me more about the inspiration behind it?
Amy: That was when..Ok, we’d been writing for a long time and we we’re getting really frustrated with the record label and I was actually singing out of that frustration.
Q: Amy, a lot of people, a lot of girls really look up to you and see you as a role model. What is that like for you?
Amy: I’m a big sister, I’m the oldest of four kids and I’m used to having people look up to me? I don’t know..I feel sometimes that same feeling I feel towards my younger sisters and brother with our younger fans. I always want the main message to everybody to be that I’m human and that that’s what’s cool. Just be yourself, don’t be us, don’t be anybody but you. I think truly, more than anything, you’re never going to be happy until you finally just accept who you are, and that’s imperfect. Nobody is perfect. I feel like I want to say whatever magical thing will heal somebody at the moment when they tell me they idolize me, but they are having a really hard time. And there are no magic words I guess. That’s something…it’s a beautiful thing but it’s also kind of a painful thing. You really can’t change until you motivate yourself to change. So more than anything I’m always telling people that they have to love themselves and if they’re not happy, they’re going to be the ones to have to stand up and make a change.
Q: That’s a great message!
I remember the impact ‘Bring Me To Life’ had when it came out. How do you look back at that song and that impact now?
Amy: It means so many things to me because I think about, when we of course play that song every night… I think about that time in my life. When we were writing that song and of course when it was blowing up. And we were playing shows around the world and going outside of the United States for the first time ever. Playing in front of thousands of people every night and it was more and more and more. It was crazy. And we were so busy. It wasn’t like you were flying first class or anything back then either, it was all like fully road warrior life you know. No showers for four days and just tour life. I don’t know. It’s a happy thing. Every time we get to that part of our set it’s a celebration with the fans because I know that that was our first big hit. And maybe without that song all of our history would be different. So we play all of our new songs, I know the fans love the new songs, we play some from ‘The Open Door’ and that’s special too, but then we get to ‘Bring Me To Life’ and ‘My Immortal’ as well; both of those songs are like this moment where we remember that this is who we are too. It sort of sums up all of it and I’m grateful that we have those songs and that we were able to reach so many people at the beginning and that they can be around for us now, and be here at tonight’s show.
Q: Usually when single’s got released on a disc we would get like some awesome b-sides with it. It seems like that’s getting less and less now in this digital era. Yet you did put 4 awesome bonus tracks on the record. Do you see yourselves ever releasing a special record full of b-sides, demo tracks, tracks that didn’t make a record etc, especially for the fans?
Amy: This is what happened. We recorded 16 tracks for this album and that’s normally right, 16 or 17. And we’re only supposed to have 12 or 13 on the record, the rest would be b-sides, so you have them exactly for that purpose. And we loved all the songs so much that we couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t stand that we weren’t going to release them all, so we made a deluxe edition that was released at the same time and we already gave them all away, haha. So we have nothing left because I so badly wanted everybody to hear ‘Say You Will’, ‘Disappear’, ‘Secret Door’. I felt that we had so many songs. And then there are the ones that we didn’t record of course, we had more than 17 songs. But we never recorded them the full way, they’re just bad demo’s at home. So without having to go in to a studio really quick we don’t have anything to put on that’s brand new. I think for us for a b-side for like ‘Lost In Paradise’, it’s going to have to be something that we find magical time to record or it’s going to be some cool live performance or something. I don’t know what we’re going to do about that yet, we’re going to get our thoughts together over the next couple of months about it.
Q: You did an acoustic set in Germany a few days ago. Any plans to do more of those shows?
Amy: We loved it and we’ve talked about doing some kind of a short acoustic tour in the future. Maybe some kind of recording. Just because it’s really nice. I think that our songs can handle that. It doesn’t have to have all that production to still be a good song. And it’s really cool to hear all the music that you may be missing. Sometimes when you twist something and just put it in a more simple way, everybody can hear the basics of the song in the first place and just the vocals and the lyrics shine, and there’s something really nice about that. It’s not that it’s easier for me, but it is in that I don’t have to completely concentrate on projecting over the wall of guitars and drums behind me. I can actually just relax and sing normal, like in a studio a little bit more. That was a really enjoyable experience and we were definitely talking about it afterwards like “When can we do this again? Maybe we can put together a short little tour or something?” So our minds are working, no firm plans yet, but I did enjoy that a lot. We all did.
Q: So what more is in store for Evanescence in 2012?
Amy: Tour! We have a lot of that. The tour is still being booked as we go. We’re going to be out on this run until..I’m not even sure when I go home, July or something. And then we go out on a short US run. I know we have a big South American tour ahead of us this year and also an UK tour. There might be something else that I’m forgetting, haha. We’ve been all over the place haha. We’re booked I think until November. Then I don’t know what, we’re going to take a second and think about what next, I’m not sure what that is. Usually I’ve got kind of a one track mind, like ok we’re working on this record right now, then we’ll rest, and then we’ll work on the next thing.
Q: And my last question, do you have any message for your fans and the people who read our magazine?
Amy: We’re so grateful to be here. We wouldn’t have been able to book a show if there weren’t any people to buy the tickets. I think about that every night. I really am so grateful to be here. We have very fond memories of being here in the Netherlands and with our fans here. It is such an honor to be able to still come back after having so much history. And I’m looking forward to giving it all I’ve got tonight.
I would like to thank Amy Lee from Evanescence for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions.