Today is a momentous day for Evanescence fans. Amy Lee's band finally dropped The Bitter Truth, their first album of original material in a decade, at the end of a long breadcrumb trail of tantalizing singles. Ahead of the highly anticipated release, we enlisted Spiritbox singer and lifelong Evanescence fan Courtney LaPlante to interview Lee, whose music she's been listening to since she was 12 years old. The full interview is coming soon — along with other big news — but in the meantime, we have an excerpt for you below in which the two artists discuss the magic of music and the power in invulnerability.
COURTNEY LAPLANTE My husband's in my band [Spiritbox], too. So we're out in Joshua Tree recording. And I was like, "Everyone leave me alone. I got to go listen to [The Bitter Truth] again." And [on] iPod headphones instead of just out on the speakers. He came in there and he was just like, "Are you OK?" And I was listening. I got to "The Game Is Over." He came in when I was listening to that one and your voice just keeps soaring and soaring and soaring. It made me so emotional, but I wasn't even focused on what you were singing about. Even if someone can't understand your language, they can still get across the pain or the sorrow.
AMY LEE That's what's cool about music is it's speaking a broader language than language. To get to connect with people that don't speak the same language and to see that have a real emotional impact on somebody. It's one of the coolest things about getting to do what we do is feeling like you're tapped into something that's bigger than yourself. It's such a beautiful thing to be able to connect to people, especially when I think back to, well, every writing moment, really, but especially in the very beginning, when I was just a weird, lonely kid in high school writing in my room by myself. For that to turn into such a connection point between people. Between people that I am not a part of that triangle and that are just for the music to be part of something that we've tapped into that's connected souls. It's the coolest part of all of it.
LAPLANTE I think the reason that people connect with you so much is the same thing with me listening to Bitter Truth. I think it's because your music … the aggressive stuff, it's heavy, and it's strong, but I feel like rock music is lacking so much vulnerability, and your music has, in my opinion, a lot of vulnerability in it. I think that's why people connect to it so much.
Do you think you feel like that? Do you feel vulnerable or do I have that wrong? Are you like, "No, I'm the power bitch in this thing"?
LEE It's weird. It's become a personal challenge. The more raw and the more honest, the more I can really share of the real truth, which isn't always strong. I mostly don't feel strong.
The music makes me feel that way. When I listen to our album, I come away from it feeling empowered and like anything is possible, but to go through what it takes to write and do all those things all along the way, I'm really trying to sort through and work through a lot of those feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability and just the everyday struggles too, the biggest events in my life. And I think that if we're really being honest, that's the thing. That's what's going to connect us. Nobody really just wakes up feeling like a hero every day. If they do, that's awesome, good for you.
There are good days, but I feel so much better when I can unload in the music, just the reality of stuff. And it's not that it's all negative, but it's definitely born out of a place of pain and longing and wanting something. So, to pour that out and to express that and to admit like, "Yeah, I'm not perfect." It's such a release, especially when it is like, "I'm in the rock & roll genre and I'm supposed to be cool and good-looking, and smart and strong and know the right answer to every turn." I totally don't. It really pulls the anxiety away just to be honest about that and be like, "No, actually I'm totally human."
LAPLANTE It would be so easy for you to just write beautiful-sounding songs and hide in them. … But I think that you don't hide behind that stuff. And I felt a lot of vulnerable parts [in] these songs, a lot of longing for people that you love and that you miss. It feels like you were able to take something that feels like it's something that you've had to deal with, but you've lifted it up so that even those of us that don't know what you went through, we can understand it, too. I find that, like, punk as shit.
LEE Thank you. … I've tried to push myself that way more and more because it really does feel more satisfying. And like I'm doing something that means something. And when you do experience, especially great loss to be able to take that and find a way to make something good out of it, for something to be learned or something to be gained or something that you can share with somebody else, anything that you can take out of it and go, "OK, well, this now exists because of that."
[It] goes back to a deep, lifelong mantra of mine, which is, basically, we can't control what happens to us. Everybody gets dealt a different hand, but we can't control what our life is. All we can control is what we do with it. How we handle that. How we process that and where we take it from there. So, that sounds easier than it is, and just processing that and trying to make that real is part of lyric writing for me. But any time that a song comes out of it, especially when it's born out of something that was really hard, it makes me feel a sense of like, "OK, I can put that to bed a little bit with that." That feels good to do.