Through the official facebook of the band Amy Lee is doing a track-by-track of the album Synthesis. Read the second part with four more songs here:
“The original was based on Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ and the movie Amadeus, which is why it was a natural choice to include. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time before we did it on The Open Door album. ‘Lacrymosa’ is one of my favorite pieces of classical music. I’ve always been proud of the song. To do it now, and get to pump up the orchestra and classical music aspect of it, feels really good. I threw in a little bit of opera in there instead of the choir in the original. I feel like it’s a cool piece of who I am. Not on a corny level, just a teeny-tiny taste.”
Amy Lee of Evanescence has sold over 20 million albums worldwide, sells out arenas throughout the world, and has had radio hit after hit in multiple countries, and for some reason decided to sit down with Jay and Jacob to chat about it all. In Episode 15, the fellas dig deep with Amy about all things music including working on her new album “Synthesis” (which debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 20 charts) with David Campbell (Beck’s dad). Post-show, she also sent along her own quick hits with descriptions of why she likes the tunes she picked. And Jay & Jacob included their own Best of 2017 playlists.
Evanescence‘s “Synthesis” sold 34,000 equivalent album units in the week ending November 16, according to Nielsen Music, to land at position No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart. Of that sum, 30,000 were in traditional album sales. The set is a reimagining of some of Evanescence‘s best-loved songs — as well as a couple of new ones. “Synthesis” is Evanescence‘s first album since its 2011 self-titled release, which debuted at No. 1. The new album is the group’s fourth top 10 effort, following “Evanescence”, “The Open Door” (No. 1 in 2006) and “Fallen” (No. 3, 2003).
We asked Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee all about the band’s new album Synthesis – a collection of re-recordings (and two new tracks) of some of the alt-rock group’s most treasured songs, rearranged with full orchestra.
It’s amazing how so many of the orchestral instruments sound like they were always supposed to be there, and the electronic beats you’ve chosen have a very industrial feel, which fits the Evanescence style beautifully. Were many of these elements already imagined in your mind before you started this project?
Thank you! Yes, actually. I didn’t know what the whole thing would sound like when we were done; there is so much detail that was created as we went. But honestly, this is more like the way I hear our music in my head.
Some of the decisions you’ve made here with arrangements, do they reflect ways that you’ve developed the tracks during their lives as part of your live setlist?
Yes. Not in the obvious ways. Our usual live show is very much about amplifying and energizing things to make a non-stop, heavy rock show. We add parts to build drama, make four bars into eight and add a drum solo, go straight from one song to the next. But this project isn’t feeding that need – it’s meant to be experienced in a different way. The things that I was able to add into these new versions that stemmed from the songs’ live growth over time is mainly about vocal performance. That little extra note in the bridge of Bring Me To Life(“only you…”) is a good example. That’s been something I do live when I’m really enjoying the moment and want to push further. Continue reading Q&A with Amy Lee on Stack: “I wanted to flip the script and challenge myself [about vocal rhythms on new track Imperfection]”
Evanescence at Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Photo by Brian Hineline
It’s the day after Halloween and Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee is in between shows during possibly the band’s most ambitious tour to date. Out in support of their new Synthesisalbum, a collection that finds the group reworking signature songs like “Bring Me To Life” and “My Immortal” into orchestral versions, the band is playing on a nightly basis during the limited tour with orchestras.
Lee has also her three-year-old son Jack and husband Josh Hartzler on tour with her. It’s a lot to balance, as she says, “I feel like I’m the busiest I’ve ever been.” But it’s also clear talking to her it’s one of the most gratifying times in her life.
The ease and calmness in her voice as she talks about perspective and the joy she found at being on stage but still having Josh being able to take Jack trick or treating in the arena is very clear. It’s a prosperous and creative time for Lee and Evanescence.
Even she is not sure where this orchestral period will lead for the band. But as she also tells me, “I’m absolutely positive I’m gonna remember these performances and this very special experience for the rest of my life.”
Steve Baltin: How was your Halloween?
Amy Lee: I didn’t dress up, I was on stage. I was working, but I love my job so it was good. Jack, my son, is three and he and my husband Josh are actually out on the tour with me, so they dressed up. And we did go around to band and crew right before the show and all put candy in all their pockets and asked them for candy, which was very cute, funny and different. But he had a blast. Halloween was always my favorite holiday in a lot of ways, so I felt happy again cause I wasn’t expecting to be able to celebrate at all. But it kind of all came together. Thank god for three A.M. Walmart runs to find last-minute costumes.
“As to the songs they selected to give the orchestral treatment, there are some of the hits from their three albums, but they are not one I wish they would have done is”Going Under.” It’s interesting to hear “Bring Me to Life”as a classical track without the male rap parts.” “My Immortal” and “Lost in Paradise” are a couple of their well-known songs that are included in this set.
“Some of the songs that work best in this format are lesser-known tracks like the heartfelt “Imaginary” from Fallen and The Open Door‘s “Lacrymosa,” which features a great performance from Lee that goes from reserved to all out belting. Her performance is outstanding, with her powerful pipes never overshadowed by the orchestra.
“The two new songs are the subdued “Hi-Lo” that features a guest appearance from violinist Lindsey Stirling and the album closer “Imperfection.” The latter has been released as a single, and its classical base has a lot of EDM and hip -hop influences.
“The production on the album (handled by Lee and Will Hunt) is excellent. It’s great and bombastic in parts, quiet and subdued in others, and working with so many instruments when recording and mixing an album is tricky Evanescence are currently on tour playing the album with an orchestra, and having had the chance to see them, this reviewer highly recommended checking it out. As dynamic and compelling as Synthesisis on record, it’s even more so live, especially with Lee‘s charismatic performance”.
On the other hand Maddy Glenn of Noizze UK anticipates that “the live performance of this epic album is going to be an opportunity not to miss”, giving 9 of the total of 10:
“Synthesis is the first studio album Evanescence have released in the last 7 years and they are undoubtedly back with a bang. The quintet are well known for their impressive soundscapes and big numbers, but this new album redefines the term ‘epic’. The record sees the band collaborating with a full orchestra. With only 2 new songs on the album (Imperfection and Hi-Lo), they have taken old songs from their four studio albums and reworked them. They will be touring the new album in March and April 2018, accompanied by a full orchestra.
In a new interview with Amy Lee for TeamRock she talks about growing up, being cool, and sexuality in music. Check it out:
Synthesis revisits the old songs. Do you remember how it felt to be twenty years old and working on Fallen?
Unfortunately yes [laughs]. How would I describe myself back then? Wide-eyed, full of huge dreams, fairly insecure. But I think that’s pretty common. When we’re young we feel like we’re the only ones that kinda hate ourselves. I remember struggling with feeling like I didn’t deserve to be where I was. So definitely an emotional, hormonal moment. I still have a lot of big feelings, but it seems like the whole world is falling down around you sometimes when you’re a kid.
Didn’t being hugely successful make the problems go away?
No! Having lots of people all over the world touched by our music was a dream come true. But to have thousands, even millions, of people feel like they know you in an intimate way, it was difficult. I’m at a place in my life now where I think I’m pretty good at dealing with it. That whole thing, it’s not so scary any more. But it was scary in the beginning, for sure.