That does come through on the album. The music complements your strong, passionate vocals. They seem to belong together.

Well I think it makes sense for me to have big noise, big guitars, tribal drums in my music because the words are so passionate and the topics are so heavy and deep. I need to be able to go back and forth between screaming guitars and then silence and nothing but a piano playing. It really whips you around a lot.

I’d like to ask about one song on The Open Door in particular because I think it goes along with what you’re saying. Your bio says about the song ‘Lithium’ that it ‘embraces feeling over numbness,’ and that’s something I feel is in your music as well, that it addresses a lot of complicated emotions. How does it feel when something so personal—your writing—goes on an album and is sent out to the public?

It feels so good. I never feel afraid that somebody’s going to judge me or hear my words and think it’s too deep and too personal. Those are little consequences that I forget about and will read bits of later and think, ‘Oh well, forget about it. It was worth it.’

I feel like the whole point of writing, to me, the whole goal isn’t to make the structure that I think is going to play on the radio, and it isn’t doing what I think is going to work for my fans; it’s being as literal and real about the emotions I’m having. I don’t feel like emotions are a describable thing, really, at least not easily and not in just words. The only thing that really gets feelings across is sound—music without words—like trying to make the sounds that your heart makes when it’s breaking. And the words help because you know what you’re talking about. You have to find a way to write your own language. When I’ve finished, whether it’s a song or a verse, it’s the most satisfying feeling ever because then it’s almost like [my] feelings are validated.

It’s sort of like a transcription of what you’re thinking or feeling into music. Inevitably people are going to go, ‘That’s exactly what that feels like. And you’re talking about this.’ And a lot of times you’re not, but it’s so hard to describe, and it’s so hard for people to find something that makes sense to them, musically, and the pride and satisfaction I get out of that is more than anywhere else in my career, I think.

Mostly out of curiosity I want to ask about your influences. I heard you were influenced by death metal, then I heard you were influenced by heavy metal. In my mind those could be two very different things.

I almost feel misquoted. I think saying ‘Amy likes death metal’ is just not a good sentence to describe what I like. I’ve never been really into death metal. Where I lived, there were a lot of local concerts and that was really all there was, was death metal. Of course I got into it every now and then when something original was happening, but that’s never been my favorite kind of music. I was definitely more into bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Portishead.

Ah, Portishead. Dummy’s such a great album.

I know. Why can’t they just keep making music? Their second, self-titled album is just awesome. There are a couple of tracks that are just mind blowing. [Beth Gibbons’] voice and her lyrics and the way that the music goes is so, so…it’s like she’s holding herself back from screaming out like she really wants to. You can tell she wants to cry or scream, and she holds it, teetering, on the edge.

It’s so muted at times, too.

Yeah, but it makes you feel like you want to scream. I don’t know if I’m answering your question but I wasn’t really influenced by death metal. Really any album I liked like that when I was a teenager I’ve grown far, far out of.

It’s a hard question to answer since influence comes from so many different places, not just other music but experiences, everything, and the music becomes its own entity from there.

Right! Everybody has to find a way to say, ‘Well, they’re like this and this, plus this.’ I guess that makes it easy for others to understand, but it’s a little more complicated than that. I feel like mostly I’m not influenced by other music but only by the events of my life. But, musically, yeah, it’s all over the map for me. I’m influenced by Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye as much as I am by death metal. [laughs] It’s all over.

Evanescence are still touring in support of their second album, The Open Door, which was released last year. The tour ends Dec. 10. Before then, catch them at Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA, Dec. 2, at Wachovia Arena, Wilkes Barre, PA and Dec. 4 at the Izod Center, E. Rutherford, NJ. For more info visit evanescence.com

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