Tuned into Asia's beat
Gothic rock band' and 'bubbly' lead singer don't sound like they should go together - especially when their songs tend to be on the darker and sadder side of things. However, Amy Lee of the American rock band Evanescence was all pep during a recent interview with Young Post.
Chatting from Yokohama, Japan, before a show, Lee laughed throughout the conversation about the band's current tour, which takes them to several Asian cities outside Japan for the first time. They play at Hong Kong's AsiaWorld-Expo with British alternative band Bush on Tuesday.
'I was determined to go to more Asian countries,' she said. 'On the internet, there's this one particularly loud cry for Indonesia and some other countries, so I said: 'You know what? I'm doing it this time. I'm not going to let this person down.''
And lo, the band has a show in Jakarta this week, as well as five other Asian cities.
Evanescence was formed in 1995 in Little Rock, Arkansas, but they didn't release their debut studio album until eight years later. The album, Fallen, garnered a lot of airplay on American radio and went on to sell 15 million copies worldwide.
Lee's distinctive vocals set Evanescence apart among rock bands: her angel-like vocals pierce through the band's hard sound. The Open Door followed in 2006, and their latest album, Evanescence, was released in October.
Over the years, the band has seen several line-up changes, including the departure of founding member and guitarist Ben Moody in late 2003.
Lee likened the exit to a heart-breaking divorce, but not exactly a bad one.
It's common for bands to go through changes, she said.
'Inevitably people grow and change and want different things from their lives,' she said. 'I just feel happy that we've survived it. There are definitely obstacles to being in a band - and things to survive and overcome - and I feel very proud of having made it this far.'
As the band changed, so did Lee. On the first two albums, she co-wrote most of the songs with a main collaborator. But for Evanescence, the entire band was involved in the process.
'It takes a lot more courage for me to bare my heart for the first time in front of a group of people,' she said.
But self-confidence played a big role - something she has learned in her years as a musician.
'Just getting older and singing a lot of concerts and writing a lot of music, I've gained some confidence as a grown-up,' Lee said.
The collaborative album also benefited from the band's close bond.
'You have to click, you have to be able to trust each other and there has to be a vibe. We got really lucky this time,' Lee said.
For Lee, her music is her outlet. It's where she releases her emotions, which is why the songs tend to be dark.
'It's my place to pour out all my big emotions,' she said. 'For me, the emotions that stick in my heart and I can't get rid of are the sad and painful ones.'
It's therapeutic to write songs 'when my heart is broken, when I feel like something's wrong within me', she added. 'I've always needed that place.'
Tuesday's Hong Kong concert will be Evanescence's longest to date.
'I can't sing for two hours, but it's just too hard to say no to some of the songs,' she said with a laugh. 'We couldn't play a show without Bring Me to Life, we can't play a show without My Immortal and we can't play a show without the new singles - there's just so much music that we have to do.'
Along with those Evanescence standards, fans can also expect quieter moments during the concert.
'It's definitely hard-hitting with moments of intimacy in between. There are a couple of different segments during the show where we bring the piano out. You do get a chance to catch your breath,' she said.
Here's hoping that she'll take our breath away.