“I don’t even know how to go down that list, it’s so big,” the singer said.
During an appearance on Lazer 103.3, Evanescence singer Amy Lee looked back on the massive success of the band’s 2003 debut album “Fallen,” and some of the regrets she has from that era.
Amy also discussed the band’s upcoming album “The Bitter Truth,” tentatively due later this year as the band’s fourth full-length studio album and the follow-up to 2011’s self-titled.
When asked about the “Fallen” era, the regrets she might have from that period and the lessons she learned, Lee replied (transcribed by UG):
“I don’t even know how to go down that list, it’s so big. More than anything, I was really young when we started and just unsure of myself as a person, as a musician – as anything.
“And things really did rocket-launch for us quickly when we made that album. To be in that spot and to have people looking at you, talking at you about you all of that becoming famous like that – that was hard for me.
“I didn’t start out on this path because I wanted fame. I was a pretty introverted person naturally, and that might have been a lot easier for me if I knew from the outside, from my future self that it was just OK to be myself and what other people think.
“As much as I felt like I would have said that to you back then, that this what was important, it was really hard to put into action, especially when you’re young.
“So just be confident and truly believe – I belong to where I was because, for the first few years of being in this business, it was a constant fight with myself to feel worthy and to feel like I was good enough to be standing on the stage that I was standing on.
“The perspective of just making it through all those concerts and also seeing the much more important, deeper aspect, which was the connection made with people along the way – that music can touch people, and inspire people, and move people in a positive way, even when it’s born out of pain – especially when it’s born out of pain.
“Because they had that pain too, making that connection so much more powerful than if I messed up a note on the piano. I think that that perspective would have been good to me, for sure.
“There’s so much more. I’ve learned a ton about the business – a ton! More than I want to know….”
The forthcoming album is ‘The Bitter Truth,’ coming nine years after the release of the last album of your original material. What sort of projects have you lent your talents to since 2011? And while on the subject of Evanescence, I also want to hear about ‘Synthesis’ [the 2017 compilation of reworked versions of the band’s classic tracks] and how that came to pass?
“I did a little bit of solo stuff, just covers by myself. I rent a rig at home and when we were writing, I’m the one who records the demos and makes things as good as they can get at home and kind of put that to the next pieces of home recording stuff I put out with solo work.
“In that way, I did three different things for the film. I did a couple of independent films that I loved working on and after collaborating work in the music style, it was completely different from what I’ve usually done before.
“And then I worked on the [2017 movie] ‘Voice From the Stone,’ which led me to work with [director] Eric Howell, who directed my voice and all these things just come around, just like, ‘Let yourself go and let those clicks happen.’
“f you get inspired and have collaborative magic with somebody, only good things will come of it because you’re going to learn a bit about yourself. And then maybe make a connection, make sense to come back to it, use it in the future, you know?
“After [Amy‘s son] Jack was born it was totally different, something I will never forget and always cherish. I’m missing something major here. I know it.
“‘Synthesis‘ with the band was really awesome and fulfilling too. David Campbell is a string arranger, he’s just a legend. He’s done everything awesome you can think of. I’ve been with him for a very long time. He has done all of the Evanescence albums to date.
“And the idea about ‘Synthesis‘ – there is so much about our music. It’s like a 3D picture to me anyway.
“You hear what you hear and when you hear it – the master the version of the song, but the way it ends up in the mix, there are always so many choices because there are so many different elements in there between the power of the band and the incredible string and orchestral arrangement of what David Campbell has done.
“The programming world – there’s a whole world over there. I’m a huge fan of the background vocals writing. I would go nuts with background vocals and create the whole landscape of that.
“So by the time you get down to the mix and get a song that you heard a million times like ‘Bring Me Back to Life,’ there are things in there that all these years I’ve been hearing in my head. There’s plenty of people that didn’t even notice it because it’s just tiny little things.
“So the idea about Synthesis is I always wish that at the end of every cycle I could go home with the mix and I could make an alternate mix for myself. That is just like strings programming, background vocals, like all the soundscaping stuff without the band on top of it, just that.
“And instead of taking that idea and just literally stripping the music way, with how much we involved since that stuff, we went in and picked songs, lengthen ourselves more to like epic drama orchestra and the creepiness of programming.
“And some things would sound like we just picked songs from our catalog. And we did music from the ground up and went in to collaborate with David Campbell who again just created this world. And it was kind of pulling the band down.
“It was a big part of it, but what they were doing was kind of learning how to play their instruments in a new way, just anything different from what we were comfortable with and it was really uncomfortable for them and I loved it so much.”
Back to ‘The Bitter Truth,’ first the title – is that one of your most or least-favorite things – titling albums and songs?
“It’s something that usually comes surprisingly quickly and easily. And for me, it was never like let’s pick a name and write songs. Let the music happen and at some point, during that journey, you’re gonna know what the title is.
“It’s been that way every time. This was the same pretty early on. ‘The bitter truth’ is a lyric in ‘Wasted on You‘ and just feels like such a hard theme that keeps recurring in this body of work, which is, ‘I don’t care if it’s not the pretty side of me, I don’t care if it’s not what I want to hear or what I want to believe. I want the truth.’
“I want to wake up and know what’s really going on so that I can create change and move forward in the real world. I don’t want to be in a bubble even if it hurts.
“That’s not a completely new theme for me. But at this moment, it just feels really relevant and important in my life and in the world around me.”
Obviously, the process of making these songs has been anything but business as usual since the current state of the things. Is there a silver lining do you supposed to be forced out of your comfort zone and approaching the process differently, then you might have normal circumstances?
“There is. It’s weird to say that but it’s really true. A couple of things – one is there’s so much wrong. There is so much to feel about, around us in the world right now. There’s a lot to say, if nothing else the hardship of this moment has been inspiration itself.
“Having to kind of push back against something and wanting something, longing for something that isn’t here in front of us. That is fuel for creating music for me and for writing words.
“The other thing is the fact that we had to think outside the box – logistically on how do we make a music video right now? How do we continue with this? We decided that this was going to be the year when we were going to release the music and we were ready.
“We’ve got songs in a can like how do we do this now? We can’t move and we are all stuck home, apart from each other, and we found a way – we keep having the kind of work of, ‘How do we do this?’
“And we rediscovered that it actually makes me remember when we first started out, when we were first learning how to play an instrument, first learning how to write a song, first learning how to break on the scene and connect with fans, how to make a connection with another human in the world.
“Having to think about that is a new idea again that has been really good. We made our first video, we decided to go for it and not wait. And we released the ‘Wasted on You,’ which wasn’t supposed to be the first single.
“But then the world put upside down and we needed a new meaning at that moment that spoke to of what we were feeling then and really wanted our first thing to have a visual and we figured out a way to get the emotion and the feelings and expression across with our song.”
You put out a few songs from ‘The Bitter Truth’ including the new single ‘Use My Voice.’ I wanted to touch on the fact that this collection of songs is still a work in progress, right?
“Yeah, I’m home today to work on more lyrics, but it’s been different as well.
“We wanted to go ahead and start recording at the beginning of the year before it was any of this actually, just because even if we didn’t have the whole body of work, we just liked the idea, I liked the idea of that.
“And instead of taking it all of and by – this is what we’re going to do: put the drum tracks of the songs, and everything is like finished, let’s go. It just feels better to live in a moment and like – go, now.
“Let’s record a little bit now, we have this many songs, let’s just record these four, and just focus on them.
“By focusing kind of one step at a time, one piece at a time, I feel like maybe I’m being better at my life, like maybe being better as a mom, think about the tours, think about the music on the album, everything, all at the same time by just taking it into pieces.
“But also just the creativity that opens up when you have the time to think and to listen and to be inspired in a new way and add things.
“It’s also been really cool to share this with the fans piece by piece and I don’t know, get a feel for what this album and what this moment and what this sound right now is.
We loved what we’ve heard about ‘The Bitter Truth.’ From what I’ve heard – is it later this year or early next year?
“Yeah, I don’t have a specific date stamp on it because I’m still writing words, but we are getting there. We are getting close. We are releasing as we go but we’ll drag the back half soon. It will be a matter of months.”