Evanescence's Amy Lee talks hmv.com through the making of new album Synthesis...
It's been a long time since we've heard anything new from gothic rockers Evanescence.
They've never been fast workers. It took them three years to follow-up their hugely successful, 17 million selling debut album Fallen, and a further five to release another record. Now they've made it a six-year-gap, but it ends today with the release of new album Synthesis.
Their previous efforts have been conventional studio albums, but Synthesis is a very different beast.
Their new album sees the band reworking 11 of their earlier songs, including UK Number One single ‘Bring Me To Life’, ‘My Immortal’ and ‘My Heart Is Broken’, with an orchestral arrangement and electronica music elements, in addition to a series of new songs.
As the album comes to shelves, we spoke to singer and key songwriter Amy Lee about why she decided to give many of the band's biggest hits such a distinctive re-skin...
Where did the inspiration for Synthesis come from? Why did you decide to go back and re-work some older songs?
"A big aspect of our sound is inspired by the symphonic, classical, and soundtrack world. I’ve always loved and felt really close to the arrangements that David Campbell puts into the songs, as well as my piano parts, and the programming part of our sound is something that I really gravitate towards as well. Those elements spend a lot of time playing a background role in our music normally. I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on another side to our music, and really run wild with it."
How did you decide which songs you wanted to work on?
"Certain songs were just begging to be played up this way. 'Lacrymosa' was an obvious choice, being rooted in the classic Mozart piece and always having all that programming at its heart. 'The End of the Dream' was another one that I knew I really wanted to show a different side of, it’s more like the way I originally heard the song in my head. Diving deeper into all of the emotions. And that’s the case for the whole album. 'Bring Me To Life' and 'My Immortal' have a lot more weight for me than they did 15 years ago, I perform them now from a wider perspective, encompassing our history, our fans, our survival."
You worked with David Campbell on the album, what did he bring to the process?
"His collaboration was absolutely key in this thing. David arranged all three of our albums, so this was a chance for both of us to go back and accentuate our favourite parts of the originals, and there was so much new space to go nuts in with the full orchestra. I’m such a huge fan of his work. He’s extremely creative, doesn’t take the obvious path, but still leads your heart home in all the right moments."
Which of the songs was the most difficult to re-work?
"Well, we really only went for songs that I had specific ideas for in the first place, so there wasn’t ever really a total “oh how do we do this??” moment. It was mainly just fun- picking and choosing between too many ideas. But I definitely felt a special pressure on 'Bring Me To Life', just because so many people are so familiar with the Fallen recording. I love the Synthesis version, it was worth the effort. The song became new to me again."
You’re on tour at the moment, how are audiences responding to the new configurations of the songs?
"I’ve been loving these concerts. Every night feels like a very special, one time event. And it is! We have a different 28 piece orchestra playing onstage with us every night, and it’s always unique. I’ve gotten to focus more on my piano, intensifying my parts, and it’s felt so good to sing these songs this way too. I can sing more like I do in the studio, not fighting over so much distortion, or running across the stage yelling at the audience to put their hands up. I feel like I’m getting the chance to use more of my ability. And there’s definitely a new intimacy between me and the audience."
"I have nowhere to hide! I think it’s probably a real shock to a lot of people in the audience when our conductor Susie Seiter comes out and leads the orchestra in a classical set as the opener for our show. It’s totally different and yet makes total sense. We’ve been getting a lot of love at the shows, I think it’s refreshing for all of us to do something different with this music."
When did you settle on the title of Synthesis?
"That word kept coming into my mind as I defined the theme of this album and its process, it's all about separate people, contrasting sounds, different moments in time, all coming together to make a new thing."
When you finish touring, what’s coming up next for you?
"More touring! We are looking at more opportunities to put on this show later next year. Right now we are just really focused on Synthesis. I hope you love it!"