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Drummer Will Hunt looks back on the band's first album in 10 years!
DARIALYS - 19.03.2021 -
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They rocked the adolescence of the young people born in the 90s with their hits 'Bring Me To Life', 'My Immortal' or 'Going Under'. Evanescence, a figurehead of the gothic/alternative FM metal scene, had not released an album since 2011, with their third self-titled album. The release of their new album, "The Bitter Truth" is a small event in the metal scene, the rebirth of the American band, a rebirth that is told today by Will Hunt, drummer of the band.

Hello Will! We'd like to start this interview with our favorite question: what is the one question you've been asked too many times and are tired of answering?

Will Hunt (drummer): (Laughs) "What's it like to record an album during the pandemic? ".

Yes, it's logical because it's the news. Especially since you started releasing singles from your new album "The Bitter Truth" from March 2020. I imagine this wait has been a source of frustration?

Will: Well... In any case, the plan was to release 5 or 6 songs as singles every 6 or 8 weeks starting in March 2020. We were going to record the first singles first, release them, and then continue recording the album little by little until March 2021 when the album was released. In the end, we postponed the release of the album by only one month. The most problematic thing is that we can't tour to promote the album, that's the frustrating part.

Right and the concerts are not ready to start again. You were still able to do some promotion on the Jimmy Kimmel show in the United States for example. But is it enough as long as it's a virtual performance? How does the band live this, is it a period of doubt?

Will: I don't think it's a period of doubt. We all know that life will return to its (almost) normal course one day. The problem is that we don't know when it will be possible again. So for example, we were supposed to do a tour in September 2021 in Europe with Within Temptation, but it's very hard to know if it will happen. It will also depend on the progress of the vaccination calendar in the different countries. So it's not a question of if it will be like before, it's a question of when. It's frustrating because a tour always accompanies an album release. We don't do what we normally do and we don't know what to do with ourselves! (Laughs).

This album is the real fourth album of Evanescence, ten years after your third self-titled album released in 2011. How do you explain this long period without an album? Did you need to take some time for yourself? To cut yourself off from the music business?

Will: I think there were many reasons. Label stuff, management changes, business stuff. When we finished our last tour, Amy (Lee, the singer) wanted to have a child with her husband. So they had a child, all that took time. In the end, it took a few years, and in 2015, Amy launched the idea of playing a few more shows just to take the temperature. We had new management at the time. There was no particular pressure to make a new album. Things went back to normal until we released the "Synthesis" album in 2017 (it's more of a compilation with old and new tracks, ed. note). We weren't absent for 10 years but indeed we didn't release a real whole album with new songs for 10 years, which is unusual, for sure. But we had good reasons. I hope it won't happen again anyway.

And at the same time, it's a luxury for you to take such a long break. Newer or less established bands wouldn't be able to function like that. With you, it worked because you have an established fanbase that responded positively to each album. Do you see it that way, as a luxury you've allowed yourself?

Will: I think it's good that we took our time, but it's special, I don't know why it took so long. I don't know why it took so long. What I do know is that no one gets tired of playing in this band. I don't know what the right answer is. On the one hand, we're really into the band, so this ten-year break works in a way. On the other hand, having been away for so long, we wondered if it made sense to come back without having released an album for ten years... This formula worked for us. It's hard to say what's going to happen to the band in the future. As for me, I'm always working. I like to keep creating and playing. If I'm not playing with Evanescence, I'm playing with other bands. I like to stay busy. There's something special about the band Evanescence that happened while writing and recording this album. I'd like to experience that again with the band without waiting all that time again. The five of us really discovered each other on this record. Troy (McLawhorn, the guitarist) and I joined the band in 2007. It's been 14 years, and we've only been working as a band for 5 years. There is a special chemistry.

Are you guys a kind of family?

Will : Yes of course! Evanescence is our home!

When you listen to the new album "The Bitter Truth", there is a soaring side to tracks like 'Artifact/The Turn', 'Broken Pieces Shine', 'Feeding In The Dark' or 'Take Cover'. You have evolved, it's not just a metal record. There is a little trip-hop side a bit like Massive Attack or Portishead. What do you think about it?

Will: Yes, I do. It's very exciting for us to release an album like this when Evanescence is known for its historical orchestral character. It's great to be known for that. But personally, I've been a big fan of electro music for a long time with bands like Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails, Buzzcocks, Ministry... I love that industrial electro side. It's great to bring an evolution in this direction with this album. There is a very heavy electronic side. It's something that speaks to us as a band. It's an exciting new sound for us. That's why I want to continue in this way.

There's more melancholy I think, it's a new color.

Will: I think it's a heavier and darker album. There is a fusion of sounds that work together. The whole thing is very coherent. We recorded 4 songs in February and we didn't do anything else until August. Yet, when you listen to the album, it forms a coherent whole.


The strength of this album also comes from Amy's voice, both strong and fragile as it has been since the beginning of the band. There are a lot of emotions when she sings. I imagine a lot of work on her side to achieve this balance?

Will : In many musicians I admire, there is a part of talent that seems to come directly from God. Then it's up to you if you want to develop that talent. She's worked on this to make it her own, and yes, she can put a rich emotional touch on it if she wants to, or do funk like Michael Jackson or Janet Jackson. She can sing many styles. She has built her way of singing and the group has been structured around that. There is a tension between her voice and the music we play that is heavy and that is the basis of our identity.

We will also speak a little about the drums on this album and that stands out a lot in the mix. There are very varied passages like on 'Blind Belief' and a real musicality like on the final of 'The Game Is Over' with a real cymbal play on the final. What do you think about it?

Will: I don't play drums as a drummer but rather as a composer or producer. I'm not really a technical drummer. For as long as I've been playing drums, I've had an acoustic kit. I've never had an electronic kit. When we started writing this album, I wanted to have half acoustic and half electronic kit. It adds color to the spectrum. A good example is our track 'Wasted On You' where Amy starts on the piano and I put an electronic beat on it. It helps me develop my creativity. On an acoustic kit, I wouldn't have been able to do that.

We were talking about a trip-hop influence earlier, but not only. There are also more pop influences like 'Yeah Right' and 'Wasted On You' which can be reminiscent of Katy Perry in a more powerful way. Is it difficult for you to write songs like this without it sounding like music for marketing purposes? Is it hard to find a balance between authentic music and commercial music?

Will: It all comes naturally. We all listen to a lot of different music and different genres. Pop is part of the music we listen to, especially 80's pop like Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, or the more recent pop of Bruno Mars for example. It's not a forced evolution, it's something natural. 'Yeah Right' was very electro at the beginning. It still has that aspect in the final version, but we made it an Evanescence song. When we started writing this album, we wanted to write an album that we would be proud of and that we would want to listen to.


Do you feel the same excitement about the release of this album as if it was your first with Evanescence?

Will: Yes of course! We've put a lot of work into this album and we hope people like it, so yeah, we're very excited. We feel privileged to have a big community waiting for our album even 10 years after our last real album. It's great to have the privilege to do that. Of course, the business has changed in many ways. We don't make money from albums anymore, but on the other hand, we make a living from our art and we are proud of it. I can't wait to see the reaction of people.

We started this interview by asking you what was the question you were asked too often. Instead, what would you like me to ask you?

Will: (Laughs). Oh, let's see... You're catching me off guard! The best question might be... (Thinking). One question I don't get asked very often is, "What is your favorite song on the album? ". But at the same time, I don't have a real answer! (Laughs). Usually my favorites are the ones I like to play live the most, and since we didn't get to play live, it's hard. If I had to pick two, I would choose 'Better Without You' and 'Broken Pieces Shine'.

Why these songs in particular?

Will: 'Better Without You' is a very heavy, groovy song with a beautiful chorus. That's what I would like modern rock'n'roll to sound like. Broken Pieces Shine' is the first song on the album if you put the intro aside, and when this song starts, you're like "wow! It's a way of saying that we're back, and we're in good shape.

We wish you the best for the future, with a return on stage soon, and maybe in France?

Will: Hopefully in September!

We're keeping our fingers crossed! Take care, see you soon!

Will: Ciao!

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EVANESCENCE: The Bitter Truth (2021)

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