“We Instantly Connected In A Beautiful Way”: An Epic Conversation With Amy Lee And Sharon Den Adel
They’re two of the biggest rock and metal bands of this century, but Evanescence and Within Temptation have never shared a stage before. Until last year, in fact, their paths had never even crossed. All that is set to change as the two have lined up a huge European co-headlining tour next April.
Dubbed the Worlds Collide Tour, it will kick off at Brussels’ Palais 12 on April 4 and finish at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome on the 21st. There will also be a UK date at London’s O2 Arena – the biggest non-festival show either band will have played on these shores.
Within Temptation released their seventh album Resist back in February of this year, while Evanescence have spent much of the past two years supporting Synthesis, which saw the band rework some of their best-known songs with more electronic and orchestral elements. Both groups say that the Worlds Collide Tour will be a wholly new experience, however, with newly-designed stage sets and a unique atmosphere.
Kerrang! caught up with Evanescence’s Amy Lee and Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel – two of the most creative and influential women in rock – to find out what to expect…
At the risk of being obvious, are you both excited for this tour?
Sharon: “Of course! It’s a different thing for us because we’ve played big shows and venues in some countries, but to do a whole tour like this is something new. And with the two bands, we’re in the same scene and we have some similarities. We also have some differences in the music, of course, but I think the combination makes this tour really strong.”
Amy: “Yes, very much. It’s interesting, I’ve known for a long time that we share fans because I’ve heard of this band through the internet talking and our fans talking about them. The offer came up for us to do this tour together and we’re very excited about it. It just seems to make perfect sense, and we’re all really looking forward to it.”
It’s called the Worlds Collide Tour, but, like you say, there are some similarities. Do you think Within Temptation and Evanescence complement each other well?
Amy: “I really do. We collaboratively chose that name. We feel like we have our two separate worlds, separate lives across the ocean, but in a lot of ways there are some major similarities. And to be able to bring these two worlds together for the first time just seems like a perfect match for both of us. Obviously there are differences, but you want that. You want contrast in the show but it’s cool to be able to see the similarities and embrace those, too.”
Have you had requests to tour together from fans?
Sharon: “Of course, but that often happens with bands who have that overlap in fans. They always ask to do something together but maybe they don’t think it would ever come true. It’s a special one. In the past I remember a lot of my friends getting very excited when Megadeth and Metallica did that tour together many years ago. I remember everyone was very hyped up to see two of their favourite bands together, and it’s a similar sort of thing.”
To put you on the spot, are you fans of each other’s music?
Amy: “I hadn’t ever really dug deep into their music until meeting Sharon for the first time last year when they came to one of our concerts during our orchestral tour. We just instantly really connected in a beautiful way and I was like, ‘You know what, I’ve got to go back and listen to their music now.’ I started finding all these beautiful songs and these melodies that I really liked. It was like I had found something new that had been waiting for me all along.”
Sharon: “I do enjoy their music very much. When Fallen came out [in 2003], it was very important that something new was happening. It was a bit more in the nu-metal corner maybe, while we were doing more of the symphonic stuff and nu-metal was like a new impulse to the whole music industry. It was exciting, it was refreshing and it was something inspirational for a lot of people.”
READ THIS: How Fallen made Evanescence superstars
On the subject of inspiration, it shouldn’t be an issue these days but women are still underrepresented in rock and metal. Do you think it’s an inspirational thing touring together in that respect?
Amy: “I hope so. I’ve made efforts and had awesome opportunities to tour with strong, talented women a lot, over the past few years in particular. You know, there are more and more of us in the hard rock world that are being accepted. It makes me feel really happy to see women in the hard rock world especially getting all this respect and revealing themselves and their power onstage. It feels right and it feels overdue. When we were first starting out it was definitely less common to see women in every element of the show-day. And now, more and more, I’m never the only one. I hope that it’s empowering to everyone: men, women, everyone.”
Sharon: “Hopefully it can plant a seed in someone’s heart or mind to think, ‘Okay, it’s possible to go onstage and make music.’ I agree that women are not as represented as men, but it’s not a competition – it’s just about good music. It shouldn’t matter if it’s a guy or a girl, but every time young girls see female musicians and singers up there onstage, then it can be inspirational for other generations.”
Within Temptation’s Resist tour has been very visual with costumes and sci-fi themed stage sets. Do you think this is going to be a continuation of that, or something entirely different?
Sharon: “We’re going to make a new stage set especially for this tour, because the venues are a bit bigger. Most of the time what we brought was too big for the venues we played. But there are people who came to see us already on the Resist tour, so we want to make something special for those people as well. We try to make it so that the visuals support the music, but the music is the most essential thing, of course. You want to have the whole experience and that’s what we’re trying to do with the live show. It’s a whole experience built around the songs and the music.”
The Resist album brought in some different musical elements, with more electronica, pop and industrial sounds. Did that change the experience of the live show?
Sharon: “No, because live you play things differently again. But for us those elements have been very important on the last album. It’s more of a modern sound and we embrace development. It’s the next step in the evolution of the band I think, to explore new things that are going on. We do bring that to the live stage, but in a different way than how it is on the record.”
And Amy, what can we expect from Evanescence on this forthcoming tour?
Amy: “We’re definitely going to get creative with our production. I feel like this is something that will enable us, we’re going to be playing some very big venues and I think just the whole image of the two bands together could be something just… bigger. I want it to look special. We’re just now in the phase of having creative conversations about what to do that can be new, interesting, creative and exciting for everyone.”
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Did the Synthesis tour change the way you view or approach some of the songs?
Amy: “Yes. This isn’t a continuation of that tour, by the way – we’re back to the rock show! But that whole experience of doing the orchestra tour was really mind-opening. It made us work outside of our comfort zone; the band had to sit down, I wore high heels (laughs). It was all very strange, but more seriously it was about interpreting these songs differently and looking at them in a different way. You had to be brave because there’s no hiding in the strobe lights, or making your hair go over your face when you’re not feeling confident! You are literally on display with all your vulnerability, and that’s what I wanted to capture. That tightrope vulnerability mixed with the incredible strength of when it all lines up right with the orchestra. That experience was really special, and it has given us new inspiration now we’re back on the rock tour and also writing a new album – taking that chapter and putting it in our back pockets as something new that we can apply to our music. I’m not talking about pouring an orchestra into the music – we’ve always done that. I mean as a sense of emotion and raw exposure. That’s something that I’ve come to really embrace, rather than be afraid of like I used to be.”
Is there any timeframe for the album, and are you likely to have any new music for this tour?
Amy: “I don’t know. We definitely have a great start and we’re planning on having the album done at some point next year. We don’t have it down to a month, but we’re working on it, we’re writing and touring and it feels good to have multiple things going on at once. We have these shows, and we have a cool cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain that we got the chance to do for the new Gears Of War game. So we’re going to rush on and finish recording that and then go into more writing. It’s fun. You’ve got to keep it fresh: don’t let your mind get stale or bored.”
Sharon, after the Hydra world tour you were burned out and had personal issues to deal with. Did you discuss this and change the way you tour as a band?
Sharon: “Yes, very much so. It’s finding a balance between two different worlds in my professional life and being on tour and my family life. We’ve been doing it so we’re on tour for two weeks then at home for two weeks. We have a real break in between, even though that will make the tour stretch out longer in the end. We’ll still play the same amount of shows but it’s important to have that time at home in between, so you’re not just away for months at a time. You can combine those two worlds that you’re living in.”
And, finally, will there be any friendly rivalry between your two bands?
Sharon: “I don’t think there will be rivalry. We’ve said that there are some similarities, but you just go and do your own thing. I’m just looking forward to it in a very positive way and I’m sure both bands will do our best.”
Amy: “Yeah, I don’t think so. We have a lot of respect for each other and we’re all just very excited to do this. Sharon is a very lovely and down-to-earth person. I haven’t spent as much time with all the guys, but they seem to be as well. I think we’re just going to have fun. I don’t like touring with people I don’t like to be around. I generally just don’t do that, so we’re all very excited to spend some time together and be around each other.”
Evanescence and Within Temptation will play the O2 Arena in London on April 7, 2020, as part of the Worlds Collide tour. Get your tickets here.
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