With just a week to go until Evanescence kick off the Australian leg of their Synthesis: Live world tour, their first visit to our shores in six years, the anticipation of Australian fans has no doubt hit an all-time high. Following some time off after wrapping up the two U.S. Synthesis: Live tours, Overdrive sat down with guitarist, and more recently, theremin player, Jen Majura to chat all things Synthesis.
While the rest of the band (made up of vocalist Amy Lee, guitarist Troy McLawhorn, bassist Tim McCord, and drummer Will Hunt) have toured Australia in the past, this will be Jen’s first visit to our shores and she couldn’t be more excited. “Woohoo! I’m so looking forward to that trip. I’ve never been to Australia and I’ve always, always wanted to go and now thanks to Amy and Evanescence I finally get the chance to see Australia – and eat some Vegemite.” This excitement is a feeling mutually shared among the rest of the band, with Jen describing the tour as more like a big vacation-style trip with good friends.
Jen went on to explain that the reaction to the first few Synthesis: Live shows was mixed as people walked in and saw a totally different show to what they were expecting. “The people expected something different when Evanescence announced ‘Evanescence plus Orchestra’, everybody expected, oh, rock band plus Symphony Orchestra, but then we go ahead and go like, ‘no, no, no, no, no, we do it different. We are like the band merging into the Orchestra, which is new. It has never been the way we do it, so people were first like, ‘Oh wait, it’s not a rock show. What is that?’ And after, I can see people’s reactions in the audience and they are like, confused a little bit because it’s not the rock band, but then they go like, ‘oh my god, this is stunning. This is beautiful. This is big, and I see people singing along, closing their eyes and crying out of emotions and that’s beautiful. It’s really, really beautiful.”
So what can we expect from the upcoming Australian leg? “I think we will pretty much keep to the same concept of how we did the songs and the setlists and everything like we did in the two U.S. tours, it’s just that we’re going to be on the other side of the world. Oh god, we’re hanging from the ceiling, we’re going to be playing upside down!”
Playing the Sydney Opera House for two sold out shows is a lifelong dream come true for vocalist Amy Lee, and this is a sentiment reflected by Jen as well. When asked how she felt about playing the iconic Australian venue, Jen could barely comprehend that these upcoming shows were really happening. “I would have been blessed and glad just to sit there and watch a show, you know what I mean? It’s Sydney Opera House, oh my God! And we get to play there twice! And not just to sit there in the audience, but to play a show at the Sydney Opera House, I am so stoked about this fact that we get to do that, it’s just fabulous to get a chance to play Sydney Opera House. That is something not everybody is glad enough to enjoy and experience, you know? That is something really very special and I’m really looking forward to it.
Jen tells us that her favourite song to play in the Synthesis setting is without a doubt “My Heart Is Broken“, saying “I totally love “My Heart Is Broken” because that version is so fragile and so mighty and powerful, that for me, it feels like that song has gained dynamics and emotions for me personally. I don’t know why, but I really also enjoy singing with Amy. That is mainly what I’m focusing on this tour, not the guitar playing. I don’t play as much guitar as I usually do during the rock shows, but I focus on the vocals, and it’s really beautiful to not be running around the stage like a maniac and then have to run back to your microphone and breathe in and sing. I can just focus on my vocals and make them be 100 percent be under Amy’s vocals to give her the best support with her main vocals, and that’s something I really enjoy. That’s something that gets closer the more shows we play, it’s really beautiful because I’m sitting there and I’m watching her body language, the way she breathes and I can tell, okay, now she’s going more dynamic, now she goes a little bit mellow and I just add the same emotion to the vocals and it’s beautiful and really enjoyable to sing with Amy on this tour.
Some keen-eyed fans noticed during Evanescence’s second leg of their U.S. Synthesis: Live tour that a ‘Synthesis’ version of the song Weight Of The World appeared in the setlists, despite not being released on the album. While Amy has stated that a studio recording of the new version of this song does not exist, there are no plans to record one in the foreseeable future. Due to Weight of the World’s unexpected appearance during the shows, many fans have been wondering if there are other songs that have received the ‘Synthesis treatment,’ whether recorded in the studio or not. Sadly the short answer to that is no. Jen explains where a non-studio Synthesis version of Weight Of The World came from. “So we did two U.S. tours and in between there was a little break where we were like ‘okay, let’s see, what can we improve, what can we add and what can we change for the second tour to make the show more powerful, or maybe add another song’ and so we all came up with Weight Of The World. I was intrigued because it’s got that oriental kind of, I don’t know why, but it’s got a different flavour. So we added that song and everybody at home prepared some sounds and thoughts about how to do that, and so we met up before the second tour and we tried it in rehearsals and worked on it for like two hours and it turned out to be this rad version. Play-wise, on guitar, it’s one of my favourite songs in the Synthesis set, because it’s really fun to play.”
Before she jets over to kick off the tour next Saturday in Brisbane, Jen has a short message for Australian fans in the form of a brief love letter. “Dear Australia, I can’t wait to finally come to Australia with Evanescence and play those rad shows and eat Vegemite. I’m looking forward to coming and meeting all the Australian fans.”
Well, if we weren’t excited for the Australian tour kick off before, we certainly are now! Evanescence play The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra on Feb 10th (New date and venue), two sold out shows at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on Feb 13th and 14th, before wrapping up the tour in Melbourne at Rod Laver Arena with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on Feb 16th.