Making the jump from grunge-rock gigs to theatrical arena shows, Evanescence are back in Australia ahead of their ‘Synthesis’ tour. With their brand-new concept in tow, I sat down with guitarist and female front-girl, Jen Majura, to discuss the evolution of Evanescence, their upcoming Australian tour and being a woman in music.
Since blowing up in 2003 with award-winning, goth-rock album, ‘Fallen,’ Evanescence has encapsulated the begrudged alternative teen inside us all. Years of success and four more studio-albums later, they’ve returned to the scene with ‘Synthesis’. A stark deviation from their previous, more instrumental albums, ‘Synthesis’ combines Orchestral compositions and electronic elements with the strength of Amy Lee’s piano and vocals.
“The concept of ‘Synthesis’ is [that] we as a band are merging our sound into the orchestra, it’s not just rock band plus orchestra, its electronic elements inside the acoustics of a symphony orchestra, layered with instrumentals.”
With the completion of their North-American tour, the band has already been met with wild praise, as concert-goers succumb to the transcendence of a sound-spectacular.
“You play a show with 40 to 50 people on your stage every night and the warmth and the mighty colour of a live symphony orchestra, I swear, nothing in the world can replace that. It’s beautiful, it’s really beautiful. Especially because we stripped down the rock drums and heavy distorted guitars because otherwise there would be so much going on. So, we just add whatever the song or the sound demands in that moment… It’s been really vibrant and dynamic to play these shows with these different orchestras. Because each orchestra sounds a little bit different, you know? So, it’s as live as it can get.”
Known for her brassy, metal-esque guitar techniques, Majura explains how she and the band navigate their intrinsic rock sensibilities with the composition of an orchestral backing.
“When we announced that we were going to be on tour with the orchestra we all thought, ‘Oh, yeah, we got this, it’s like rock band, plus orchestra. And then we were like oh, this is not what’s happening. We had to become one production.”
“I mean, I’m an old school AC/DC girl, so all our programmed delayed sounds are very new to me and I learned a lot on this tour and recording ‘Synthesis’ and using the guitar in a different way because its more about the sound, than the riff playing, it’s larger. Everything is very new for me.”
Since the 90’s grunge wave that facilitated Evanescence’s conception, their frontwoman, Amy Lee has been acknowledged as one of the trailblazers for female-fronted music. What was once a genre of music that completely lacked female representation, it’s inhabitants are now known as some of the most successful rock musicians in the world. However, as Majura explains, the pool is still small.
“For female guitar players, it’s such a small pond… it’s not even a pond it’s a puddle. And I’m so glad to call people like Nita Strauss [of the Alice Cooper tour] and Gretchen Menn and all those fabulous guitar players my friends. It’s not a competitive thing, it’s a supportive thing because we’re all female guitar players and female musicians and yes, gender should never matter, but it’s so great to see more and more females coming into this business.”
As their evolution continues, Evanescence take their time to ebb and flow between musical sound-scapes. While the ‘Synthesis’ tour may be a new endeavour for them, it’s easy to see how they’re innovative thinking and loyal-fan base have taken them this far already.