Evanescence’s Amy Lee on making music and ‘The Bitter Truth’

EVANESCENCE. The Grammy Award-winning rock band is set to release a new album in 2020. Photo by PR Brown via Sony Music

MANILA, Philippines – Most of us know Evanescence for bringing gothic rock to our young ears in the early 2000s particularly with songs like “Bring Me to Life” and “My Immortal” off their debut album Fallen.

Now it’s been over 17 years since that album was released, and 9 years since the band came out with their last studio album – but we still sing their songs and they haven’t stopped making music.

The band is set to release a new studio album, The Bitter Truth, dropping their first single from that album, “Wasted on You” in April, while under quarantine.

Frontwoman Amy Lee said that they were recording the music for “Wasted on You” until they couldn’t go into the studio anymore, and continued to work on it remotely through file sharing and phone calls – which seems to be how many musicians have been working these days. Even the song’s music video was filmed while the band was in quarantine.

Amy said that working on the song “has been like water in the desert” for her, a light in the darkness of the pandemic.

Evanescence has said that it will be releasing new songs from The Bitter Truth little by little this year, culminating with the release of the full album – though no dates have been set yet. It may be a little too much to hope for, but they also plan on going back on tour as soon as conditions permit.

As the band continues to work on the new album, Amy tells Rappler a little bit about how the album came about, and how she’s keeping creative under quarantine.

What led up to the making of The Bitter Truth? When did you first decide to release a new album?

We decided when we were making Synthesis that making a new album would be next. After we finished the orchestral touring we got back into rock mode and started playing lots of shows- getting into the spirit and loving it. We started getting together to intentionally write together in between the tours in the spring of 2019. Touring can get monotonous, and make you crave new material, writing can drive you insane, and make you crave touring. We started this process of inserting writing between the tours to keep it all fresh and exciting.

What was it like to work on the album remotely? Was it a big adjustment for the band? Did you have to compromise on anything because of the technical constraints?

We’re still not done! We had to finish the recording and mixing of the first batch of songs remotely — nearly all the recording was done but I had to finish the vocals on a song so Nick Raskulinecz, our producer, sent me home with the microphone, preamp and compressor we had been using in his studio. I dropped it back off to him along with the hard drive in the parking lot of the studio. Crazy times.

How are you staying creative while in lockdown? Do you have any tips for other creatives – musicians or otherwise – for keeping the ideas flowing even in quarantine?

I’ve been cooking more, making my own bread, and pulling out old recipes from my grandmothers. Doing things the long way because I can, hunting for frogs and doing science experiments with my son, I spent one day making about 50 of my own tiny samples from different keyboards and then built a little song out of it that I’m not going to use for anything. Allowing this time to be a free pass for creative experimentation, and also taking days where I don’t try to make anything. Just let my brain and heart rest, because there is unavoidable stress and anxiety that goes along with this moment in time.

What can we expect from this album as a whole?

I think whatever you’re expecting, you will both get it and not get it. The songs are all different. I want this album to show all of our sides, really, but most importantly I want to create without thinking too much about what I want it to be, and just let it be what it is. There’s definitely a little bit of a 90s, grungy alternative thing emerging which is lovely, that’s a return to roots for me in the most honest sense since that’s the music that inspired me so much in my formative years.

I’m having fun with keyboards and sound effects and haven’t wanted any real strings yet. We’re all feeling a lot of feelings right now so I’m looking forward to seeing what this next batch will become. – Rappler.com

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