The world is grappling with the impact of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and tensions are running high. Musicians from around the world have already come up with various songs to rally people to unite, keep hope alive, and survive this crisis together. But what we need is an anthem that reflects the heaviness of the situation we all found ourselves in. And that's what Evanescence delivered.
In late April, the band ended a nine-year drought with the release of the first single "Wasted On You" from The Bitter Truth—their first album in nine years—and fans couldn't be happier. According to frontwoman Amy Lee, the track "wasn't the song we were planning to release first, but when the whole world went into indefinite lockdown and everything changed, so did the feeling and meaning of what we wanted to say right now. I didn't write these lyrics about what we're all now going through, but somehow that's exactly what they are."
Nearly a month after the release of "Wasted On You", MYX caught up with Amy through an email interview about the struggles of releasing new music amid a pandemic, a vast diversity of songs in their upcoming album, and more.
MYX: Why did it take nine years for the band to release an album?
Amy Lee: There's a lot that goes on in our lives and in our jobs beyond making albums. I let myself go down some creative roads outside the band that were really fulfilling for me. I made music for a few films, made a children's album (Dream Too Much) with my family, recorded some solo covers, and became a mom in 2014. As a band we have been focused more on playing shows around the world and had our first experience touring with live orchestra for our Synthesis tour. When it's time to make new music, you just feel it. A lot has happened in my life that has given me new fuel and desire to create Evanescence music again, and it feels really good to finally be releasing it.
MYX: You said so yourself that it's a terrible time to release music and shared about continuing the album process in the comfort of your homes. What are the limitations and challenges you have been encountering in the making of this album while in quarantine?
Amy: The biggest challenge for us right now is not being together in a room. My band all live far away from each other, and it's going to be difficult to travel to reunite and record the rest of the album. We will find a way, though. Right now we are writing and self-recording ideas separately and sending them to each other. This may be a challenging time for artists to release music logistically and financially, but I think as humans all over the world we deeply need to be uplifted and inspired during this time. To connect to each other. It has been very inspiring to see so many artists finding a way around it and sharing their art in different ways, despite the situation.
MYX: You also said: “…We believe that people need music now more than ever. We do, and we’re not going to wait to share it because who knows what tomorrow brings. Who knows if it even comes?” What were the fears you have for yourself, for your family and friends during this entire coronavirus ordeal? And how have you coped with these feelings?
Amy: More than anything it hurts to think of all the losses happening in families around the world. I get anxiety thinking about the future for my child and wonder when he will get to be with friends again. We miss our friends, family and teachers. I'm grateful for our health, the health of our closest family and friends. I cope with my anxiety and fears by pouring myself into music. Making it and listening to it. I think about all this extra time I am getting with my son, instead of us being apart with me on tour and I am grateful for that too. It also feels good to try and find the fun. Do things we don't always have time to - watch old movies and make forts out of blankets and chairs, use the record player, or make dumplings from scratch.
MYX: Are there plans or shows of yours that have been canceled due to the ongoing health crisis that you're still bummed about?
Amy: Oh definitely. Last week marked the end of our big European tour that we never actually got to embark on. We just created a big new stage production, have new songs to play, and were all really looking forward to it. It will happen - eventually!
MYX: Can you tell us more about that feeling you had when you wrote “Wasted On You” and how it somehow mirrored what the world is going through today?
Amy: Sometimes it just feels like your mind tunes into the right frequency and you catch a song. This idea started forming in my head in the last days of 2019. I was feeling frustrated and a bit like an animal in a cage, ready to break up with my own toxic cycle and feeling the passage of time like a weight. Only a couple of months later those lyrics starting holding a more literal and universal meaning because of what is now going on all around us. I couldn't tell you why... I think it was just meant to be.
MYX: What about the music video for the track? How fun and/or reflective has it been?
Amy: I was so happy when I saw the finished video. We were all very proud to have found a way to press on and make something we really love, feel closer to than any other video even though things were so different.
MYX: Why was the album named The Bitter Truth? What is the bitter truth you're pertaining to?
Amy: Even though the truth can be incredibly difficult and painful, it's still better than living a lie.
MYX: Can you share more about the album? Like how many tracks will be in it and if there will be collaborations?
Amy: We're still writing the album so we aren't sure yet how many tracks it will be, but it's been really interesting to see how many different sides and colors we can be. So far all the songs are pretty unique to each other. You'll see!
MYX: Are there any plans for Evanescence to visit the Philippines after this is all over?
Amy: Once we can pick up touring again, we want to go everywhere with our new music. Hopefully it's not too long till we see you!
MYX: Do you have a message for your Filipino fans?
Amy: We love you! Stay well!