“When I’ve gone into all these different projects, I’ve always tried to be the chameleon. I feel like… I’ve actually conformed to the music,” Evanescence‘s longest standing drummer Will Hunt admits, struggling for the right phrase. “Whereas in Evanescence, I’m encouraged to be myself, and be okay with that.”
He’s talking from the perspective of having played with bands from Black Label Society, to Device and Crossfade. But by the time he joined the group – fronted by iconic vocalist Amy Lee and formed back in 1995 – for third album Evanescence, he was ready to dive into the inherent challenges: complex rhythms, classically-based composition, and Lee’s penchant for originality.
The band’s latest release Synthesis from November, a masterpiece re-configuration of past classics with orchestral and electronic composition, is no different.
Ahead of the quintet’s nearly sold-out Australian tour in four days, Hunt sat down to chat about being thrown into the deep end with these orchestral shows, relating to rhythm guitarist Jen Majura‘s initial struggles after joining in 2015, and embracing his imperfections.
Amy’s described getting to play the Opera House as a dream come true for her. Do you feel the same way?
“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Australia, if you’ve ever been there or it’s something you’ve seen in person. I think as a musician and performer… Even in America, I grew up seeing pictures of that place and knew what it was from a very young age. I remember being in Australia back in 2012, and we were staying across the street from there [the Opera House]… I saw it and was just like, ‘Wow, man! What an incredible-looking building’.
“I was never thinking in the back of my head that in four or five years I’d be playing there… I was thinking about everything that’s happened and the people who’ve performed there. Now we’re doing it. I remember when our manager said that we have sold-out nights at the Sydney Opera House, and I was like, ‘Hold on a second, you said what?’. It’s very surreal (laughs).”
There’s this raw live energy created from you guys only having 30 minutes with the band and orchestra before a show, which is awesome! Was it more invigorating or challenging?
“Yeah the orchestra thing is very different for us, and no-one’s really doing this the way that we are. Therefore there’s not really a road map where we can take cues from other bands and make it ours. So for us, going into this initially, it was – I don’t want to say scary – exciting, but also like, ‘Whoa, what do we do here?’.
“We’ve had a lot of shows with orchestras now. We’re in a really good place where we’re happy and comfortable with the show, and having a lot of fun with it. It is very cinematic, but we’re having a good time. It’s a cool thing. [Source]