Enclave Interview 1998This was from the fall of 1998, a few months before the first EP was issued. Gabe interviewed Ben & Amy for Enclave.
Gabe: Who are you guys? Where are you from? How'd you meet? you know, bio stuff...
Ben: Evanescence consists of two people; Amy Lee and myself, Ben Moody I was born in Arkansas and Amy was born in Florida. Several years ago Amy and myself were attending a youth camp. I was playingwith the praise and worship group and Amy was a camper. During some kind of break/recreation time I was sitting in the gym watching a basketball game. On the other side of the court was a stage for plays and a piano. I was just sitting there bored to tears when all of the sudden I was given a quick jolt as my ears were filled with the sound of the piano intro to Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love." I looked over at the piano and there was this girl effortlessly displaying emmence amounts of talent. After my initial envious rage subsided I hopped to my feet and ranright through the basketball game straight to the piano and introduced myself. She then impressed me further with songs that she had written. I thought I was in heaven. But then she sang. I nearly died. coming from this tiny little youth camp reject was one of the most powerful, beautiful voices I'd ever heard. So I somehow convinced her to never play with anyone else again and she's been mine ever since. We've had the same dream from the beginning; to write with everything in us and totally do the music we love while at the same time using that as a tool to share with others what Christ has done in our lives.
Gabe: Who are your influences musically, lyrically and otherwise?
Ben: We have a huge list of influences. Musically we've been influenced greatly all the way from Living Sacrifice and Type O Negative to Portishead, Counting Crows, and Sarah McLachlan. One of our biggest influences (and one of our favorite bands) is Garbage. We try to take a little something from everthing that we get in to. Believe it or not, we're HEAVILY influenced by stuff we loved in the eighties. Lyrically, though, we're more influenced by authors and poets that we like. Alot of our lyrics stem from short stories that we've written or books that we've read or movies we've seen. We try to put originality and meaning first when when writing lyrics.
Gabe: How do you feel being Christian musicians when Christian music is sooo dominated by talentless hacks who provide no challenge in their music? (CCM)
Ben: It's not like it was a concious choice, actually. We're musicians who write about things that affect our life. If I was taking the trash out and was suddenly struck with the inspiration to write a song about it, I'd probably do it. Our relationship with Christ is one of the biggest parts of our lives so of course we tend to be heavily lyrically influenced by that. We didn't just decide to become "Christian musicians", it just happened that way.
Gabe: So far Arkansas' contributions to the Christian Music scene have been darker types of bands (Living Sacrifice, Mindrage, Eso Charis) and you obviously fit into dark, but far from metal. How did you get interested in goth music?
Ben: It's funny you should ask that. We happen to know all those bands personally. Alot of our musical background is rooted in metal. The majority of my inspiration to use the style of music you love to glorify God comes from Living Sacrifice. I've Loved them for years and so has Amy. They have one of the most incredible ministries I've ever seen. At the moment I happen to be going to Bible college with the bass player from Living Sacrifice. So I wouldn't really say that we're far from metal, we just desguise it. We kind of took what we felt were the best parts. We blended what's pretty close to the structure of traditional pop songs, the dark, melodic chord structure and agression of metal, threw in catchy melodies and an occasional catchy rock riff, and then we sat back and thought of all the ways to make it scary and we pretty much had our style. Although almost of our songs include all these things but one particular style normally dominates the others and the dominate style varies with every song so there's kind of something for every mood.
That's really all we try to do is make music that magnifies whatever mood your in.
There's nothing more iritating than turning on the radio right after you've just been hurt or betrayed and hearing some stupid pop song about standing by you or sunny days or some crap like that. When you're sad, you wanna hear from someone who's been there and understands. And you certainly can't turn to Christian music. We want people to know that your salvation is not going to keep people from hurting you and it's not going to stop you from feeling pain. But you are not alone. God made you the way you are for a reason. There are other people who think, feel, and dream the same way you do and Christ will never abandon you whether you go through trials or not. I think that's why we fell into the "goth" category. We're just emotional and we find that embracing your "dark emotions" and not denying them brings you one step closer to happiness. You'll never be able to love other people and share the love of Christ with others until you look at yourself through Christ's eyes and aceept yourself they way He accepts you.
Gabe: When's the album coming out and can you tell us who the label is yet?
Ben: I can't tell you the label yet but I can tell you that the album will be done through ABC Productions and will be produced by Michael Tate (of dc Talk) and Chad Chapen. Our goal is to release it in the summer.
Gabe: I've heard you've added some more people to the band. Who are they and how does this change the band's sound?
Ben: Actually, we lost a few people. Amy and I have spend endless hours triyng to put bands together so that we could play big shows but it has been borderline impossible. So we decided it would be best to stop trying and we decided to go back to just the two of us until we signed to a label and could hire a band.
Gabe: How do you describe the band's sound or what genre would you say it is?
Ben: refer to # 4 (sorry, i guessed I gave you more info than you wanted on 4)
Gabe: What bands do you listen to now, both Christian and secular?
Ben: We listen to the same old stuff really. Sarah McLachlan, Sacrifice, Mindrage, Portishead, Type O Negative, alot of classical music, alot of Garbage. I really like Savage Garden, Tonic, and Tool.
Gabe: It's 2am. You're hungry, what do you snack on?
Amy: Bread w/ honey, hot cocoa
Ben: Cereal. Love cereal, and anything with caffiene
Gabe: Where do you see the band going in the future? How do you think the sound will evolve?
Ben: Being that this will be our first cd on a major label, we're going to have to pay our dues before we can do everything we want. This first album is going to have a little more structure. We'll have to stray a little from the "rock opera" stuff where there's "movements" in the song and countless riffs and lots of theatrics. However, we eventually would like to perfect the art of portraying the entire human emotional process in one album. We see ourselves still being radio friendly, but continually growing in creativity. We are always searching for new ways to make people feel our music instead of just listening to it. As time goes by our style will evolve and though we can't predict how at this time, we can tell you that we will always retain the sincerity and emotion in every song we write.
Gabe: Okay, standard question. It's your fantasy dinner what four guests (dead or alive) do you invite?
Amy: Janis Joplin, Ben Moody, Bjork, and Beth Gibbens
Ben: The Mendoza's, Amy Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Weird Al Yankovich
Gabe: Do you have a website?
Ben: I'm pretty good with computers but unfortunately I haven't had enough time to get even the slightest bit good at making websites so we don't have one as of yet.