Evanescence fronted by one of rock’s most recognizable female voices, Amy Lee have sold more than 20-million records world-wide and have amassed multiple music awards. Their 2003 debut studio album, Fallen, produced the global hit “Bring Me To Life,” while its follow up 2006’s The Open Door, spawned the hit “Call Me When You’re Sober.” Now five years since their last album, Evanescence, will release their highly anticipated third studio album, the self-titled Evanescence, in October. Recorded in Nashville, the 12 track album was produced by Grammy winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Rush) and shows a clear evolution in the band’s writing while maintaining their signature sound.
The album’s first single titled “What You Want
,” was released in August and encompasses what the direction on the rest of the album takes. “It’s about freedom,
” Lee revealed in a recent interview with MTV. Other tracks on the album include “Lost In Paradise
” which Lee says is “probably the most intimate song on the album
”, and “Oceans
” and clearly showcase Lee’s growth and range as a songwriter. “The music and the lyrics have gone more aggressive than they ever have before too,
” added Lee. “We are so excited to release this thing. We've been working on this music for a very long time, and seeing it all finally come together is a really amazing feeling. This album is about us and also our fans - we're combining the best of Evanescence with some new attitude and we’re just dying to share it.
” On the eve of the album release, Evanescence guitarist Terry Balsamo
took time out from the band’s upcoming tour rehearsals to speak to Joe Matera about the new album, why it took five years to make and the group’s new found lease on life.
UG: It’s taken five years for this new album to appear…
Terry Balsamo: Yeah there was a lot of down time.
And originally the group had Steve Lilywhite producing it, but then sessions halted and later recommenced with producer Nic Raskulinecz firmly at the helm.
The thing with Steve Lilywhite was that it was just wrong timing and it just wasn’t right. It just didn’t have enough of…. it was trying to become something that it wasn’t. And so we just started over again from scratch and reworked just a couple of the songs from those recording sessions we did with Steve and then we started over and looked for some other producers and found Nick.
Why did you decide to go with Nick?
We are fans of his work especially with The Deftones and Alice In Chains and the Foo Fighters records that he did. He’s just a great guy and it really worked out with us. It worked really well and we didn’t want to put something out just for the sake of putting it out.
The impression I get from the album is that musically it is less angst-y in nature and has a lot more loose and free spirit running through it.
Yeah lyrically I think Amy is sick and tired of singing the whole being sad all of the time type stuff, so she is singing now about the heart and things like that, which is not necessarily sad all the time. So it kind of changed due to what she wants to do musically. I don’t think we’ve ever been tied down to one thing anyway. It has kind of been all over the place.
In that five year period that it took for the album to come together, you also briefly rejoined Cold?
"I think Amy is sick and tired of singing the whole being sad all of the time type stuff, so she is singing now about the heart and things like that."
Yeah I did a little run with them and that was really fun. We wrote a little bit of material and they actually released the record, so it is out now. But then it all seemed to happen at the same time when Amy and I and the band were getting back together again so I wasn’t able to move forward with the Cold thing.
Did you play on the Cold album at all?
No, I didn’t record any of it whatsoever.
How did the writing and recording process for this new Evanescence album differ from the previous album The Open Door?
This time the recording was very similar but just the process to get to the recording was very different. This time around, we set up in a rehearsal room first and actually worked out all of the songs as an actual band instead of just going in and recording whatever we did with the writing on a computer. So because of this, the record definitely has more of a live feel to it all. Amy and I would still write on the computer and stuff like that, but once we had the songs together, and they were ready for recording, we would then go into the rehearsal room with Will our drummer and do it that way instead of doing it all on a computer.
Were there any extra songs recorded during the sessions that didn’t make the final cut on the album?
Yes, but everything that was left over, we have included it on the deluxe edition of the album. So everything will be released and there may even be some songs that could end on some soundtracks and stuff like that but we’re not sure yet.
When it came to guitars and amps, what did you use for the new album?
I used Mesa Boogie and Diezel amps mostly for everything. Guitar wise, I used my Ibanez but I also switched it up this time, as I have been playing a lot of Gibson guitars lately
What made you decide to start playing Gibson guitars as well?
It was really about the sound as you can’t beat the Gibson sound. Our producer, he was big on Gibson and he was like, “man you got to use Gibsons”. So I did. I also used a seven string Gibson Explorer for a lot of it and a couple of Les Pauls.
What about tunings, did you experiment with any new ones?
No we used the same kind of tunings as we did last time on The Open Door, like drop A sharp, drop D and some standard tunings as well so it was the same stuff as last time.
When it comes to performing live shows, what will you be using in that department?
I will be using everything that I used on the album, my Gibson and Ibanez guitars and the same amps.
Rhythm guitarist Troy McLawhorn has rejoined the band recently too?
Yes he did, he came in right before we entered the studio. He plays on the tracks as well.
A few years ago rumors were circulating about a supposedly Metallica and Evanescence collaboration?
I haven’t heard that one before. That was definitely a rumor because we never heard about it.
You suffered a stroke about six years ago now, how has that changed your onstage movements and in regards to taking care of your health?
Yeah it definitely has changed the way I do things and my approach. And with my hands, the more that time goes by, the better it gets so it is definitely heading in the direction for the better. Thank God.
Any plans to do a solo album or under any side projects?
My self, Sam Rivers and John Otto from Limp Bizkit and another friend of ours, we started doing a side thing when we were off on all this time and we have a ton of material that we’re kind of sitting on and when the time is right, we definitely want to do something with it. But the other guys then got busy with Limp Bizkit again and then I started getting busy with Evanescence so we now sitting on the material, but we do have a bunch of stuff written.
What can we expect from it musically?
"I don’t think we’ve ever been tied down to one thing anyway."
It is kind of different, but it is really kind of hard to exactly say what kind of style it is. It definitely has an electronic vibe to it and with a James Addiction kind of sound with a rock element to it and some heavy stuff as well. It is bit of everything really.
Why do you think Evanescence is still here today while some of the other bands that came out around the same period have gone by the way side?
It is because our fans are the most loyal fans you could ask for. And they’re very patient.
What is it like working with Amy Lee?
Working with Amy is great. It is awesome and it’s been almost ten years now.
You have surpassed Ben Moody’s time in the band so you are firmly entrenched now in the band’s history.
Absolutely, I guess so. It’s been awhile since I last saw Ben too.
You’re currently rehearsing for an upcoming tour, what can fans expect?
We’re going out with a cool light show and we will play the songs as tight as can be.
Are there any plans to record any of the live shows?
I think that is definitely something we want to do somewhere down the line but we’re just taking it as it goes for now. If all goes well and we’re able to tour on this for a long time we’ll definitely do something. Right now we’re trying to get back into the swing of things as it has been a long time that we have been out of the loop so we have to get everything back in place basically. And then we’ll start doing some production and bring that back and put on a real good show.
What is your favorite song on the new album and why?
The song ‘Never Go Back’ is definitely a favorite of mine as it is, I guess, one of the most, heaviest songs I’ve ever written for this band. And it has a good groove and all the good things that I like about rock music. And good riffs. I think riffs are kind of what is lacking in rock music nowadays. When you listen to the radio nowadays, and you hear a rock song come on, other than maybe the Foo Fighters or The Deftones, you don’t really hear any good riffs anymore. You know the kind of riff that just sticks in your head, and is timeless. That new Foo Fighters’ album is chock full of riffs. But today, a lot of stuff is like single note melody which has kind of taken over where the riffs should be. When you hear fuckin’ ‘Back In Black’ or ‘Highway To Hell’ they’re good riffs they are timeless. We need more of those.
Interview by Joe Matera
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