In a new episode of “Inside Synthesis”, where Evanescence shows us how the new album was made, we can see the famous violinist Lindsey Stirling participate in one of the two new Synthesis songs, “Hi-Lo”.
We meet the rock icon to talk about the band’s new album, working with women and the beast that is fame
For those among us who were watching Kerrang! religiously in 2003, there likely isn’t a more memorable image than that of Evanescence’s Amy Lee scaling a giant building in a flimsy nightie while screaming save me from the nothing I’ve become into the night. “Bring Me to Life”, with its huge chorus, guitars, and rock-rap went quickly platinum, brought Evanescence to global relevance, and ensured that they wouldn’t ever be forgotten. Even if that’s the only song of theirs you know, the opening piano is probably more than enough to get you amped up enough to start screaming (badly) along.
Evanescence followed 2003’s Fallen, their most commercially successful album, with The Open Door in 2006. After a hiatus and another change in line-up, the band returned in 2011 with Evanescence before going back on hiatus. Now, in 2017, the band are very much back – and while their continued legacy is thanks in part to their huge, dramatic sound and that one, timeless banger, it’s more than anything thanks to their one remaining original member: Amy Lee. In a scene and genre full to the brim with men, Amy Lee, with her outrageously impressive voice and dramatic gothic decadence, was instantly iconic.
Amy Lee has been busy in the last few years with solo work including film scores and a children’s album. But now, Evanescence, with new guitarist Jen Majura, are well and truly back. This November they’ll release Synthesis, a reworking and re-recording of some of their biggest hits (yes, including “Bring Me To Life”) with a full orchestra and electronics. It also includes brand new songs, and is the precursor to more new music and a full tour from the band. We spoke to Amy Lee, eternal alt icon, about Synthesis, why it was the right time to revisit their old work, and being a very famous woman in music since she was just 21.
The new album sounds and feels very Björk-esque, that mix of electronic with strings. Not identical, it’s your own thing, but similar.
Amy Lee: I’m a huge Björk fan, I’ll take that as a huge compliment. I think the difference might be taking that traditional Evanescence sound which has those indulgently dramatic and epic moments. Going full on with them, sometimes I feel like the drama is all a little bit too much these days. I guess part of that’s just growing up as your tastes change. This album was an outlet to go, ‘You know what, we’re just going to go completely nuts with it and let the orchestra do all of that stuff we were hinting at before and go ahead and be a little bit more classical and dramatic and make the piano parts even more Mozart inspired. Just kind of tricky crazy old school.’ It was just really fun, it’s a fun project. I’m looking forward to doing it live. I’m a little bit nervous, it’s definitely different and asking a little bit more of myself and everyone. But I’m excited.
Why did you decide to rework your old songs on Synthesis?
Amy Lee: Our music from the beginning has always had the elements of very intricate and beautiful arrangements by David Campbell, but it also has this other side of the electronic programming that I really love. In fact, most of what I listen to is in that world. Once we put everything on there; the guitars, the big rock drums, you go through all the different levels of production to the point that you have the finished product of the song but a lot of that beautiful intricate stuff gets kind of buried. Many times I’ve left the studio and wished I had a mix just of the string arrangements and the programming together with vocals because there’s something really beautiful about that. I think that was my initial thought but that snowballed into something a lot bigger, because going back in with David Campbell he completely rearranged these songs in a way that takes the whole orchestra and lets it fill in all this space that isn’t taken up by the full band at full power all the time.
“First of all, thank you for the outstanding, splendid review of the album. I read this, I held my breath, and I was… I can’t believe… that was so good. You so got the idea of the whole thing, it was perfect.”
Well, with that out of the way, knowing I had properly wrapped my head around the concept of Jen Majura’s upcoming solo album, InZENity (Out November 24th), I managed to pry a very busy Jen away from practicing her newest instrument, the theremin, for a bit of a chat about everything going on in her world. But first, allow me to back track for a minute.
“Jen who?” You ask? Bassist, guitarist, singer, music school founder and rat mum, Jen is known for her work in the bands Black Thunder Ladies, Equilibrium, and Knorkator, but most recently, since 2015, solo artist and lead guitarist of the rock band Evanescence. Overdrive sat down with her to chat all things InZENity, Evanescence, and more.
We began by speaking about life following the small-town musician’s addition to Evanescence back in August 2015. Majura described it as being “a trip,” adding that “life has changed drastically, but if you think about it as a musician, who wouldn’t want to experience a beautiful adventure like this? I mean, I get to see places I’ve never been before. I’m so excited to go to Australia next year for the first time. (With Evanescence, performing Synthesis Live in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in February 2018.) Mainly of course, it’s work, but I’ve found not only a great work environment, I’ve found like a new family, and great, great friendship.”
Jen likens her relationship with lead vocalist, Amy Lee as being “soul twins,” and went on to reiterate the importance of band members having these strong friendships by saying,
“You can have the greatest guitar player and the fastest drummer or whatever, but when that person sucks as a human being, you don’t want to tour with that person because it’s the human relationship that’s so important. It’s only maximum two hours on stage each night, but what about the other 22 hours of the day?”
Amy Lee of US band Evanescence is touring Australia — with a full orchestra — next year. Picture: Sony Source: Supplied
Re-recording their biggest hits with an orchestra means Evanescence’s Amy Lee has been able to remove *that* rap from Bring Me to Life
EVANESCENCE’S Amy Lee is rewriting history on the band’s new album.
Their fourth release Synthesis is the opposite of an unplugged effort — rather Lee has re-recorded the band’s old material an even more dramatic and bombastic manner, with a full orchestra and heavy electronics.
That includes their breakthrough 2003 hit Bring Me To Life. And there’s something missing from the version you know — that rap, by guest vocalist Paul McCoy.
“God bless the rap, it’s part of what got us on the radio I guess,” Lee says. “At least according to all the rules of radio that I don’t agree with or understand. The rap wasn’t part of our original idea or sound, it was a compromise in many ways. So to be able to go back to the original vision for the song was great.”
Here’s Evanescence looking moody, with singer Amy Lee far left. Picture: Sony Music Source: Supplied
It’s not uncommon for an artist to go back and record their songs — Lee embraced being to able to revisit the band’s signature hit after performing it live at every concert they’ve played since it was release.
“The recording of a song that ends being the one you hear the most through history is usually when the song was just freshly written. You’re still learning it yourself and getting used to what the notes are and how the parts go. That’s true for Bring Me to Life for sure. After doing it live for so long there’s different vocal choices I’ve made and different things we got to use in this version.”
And no rap.
“I forget the rap’s there now to be honest,” Lee says. “At the time it was a big issue, it was our first single. I wanted people to understand who we were. That’s a struggle you always fight as an artist. If we only had the one hit, if no one ever heard from us again then nobody would understand who we were. We’ve made it past that point so the rap doesn’t make me angry any more. I’m so glad to put a new version out there without the rap though.”
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