For the release of the new album « The Bitter Truth » Evanescence-France had the chance to chat with the band members via Zoom. This interview with Jen Majura was made on march 17.
[Unfortunately we had to do the interview without Jen’s camera. After multiple attempts, it still didn’t work, so we continued. She suggested we post the interview with a picture of her, and add a moving mouth to give the illusion of a video hahaha]
My name is Cindy, and this is Maïda from the website Evanescence France
Hello, hi, hi
You know, I love your accent when you say, EVANESCENCE [she pronounces in French]. It’s so pleasant, nice. EVANESCENCE [in French, she repeats]
But I don’t speak French, I’m completely lost with this language [she says this sentence in French] but I understand you girls perfectly [in English, she refers to the fact that at the beginning of the interview we told her that if she didn’t understand us, we could repeat without any problem or even send her the questions by messages]
How are you? How’s your family? How’s Cookie? [ED. her bird, who has an instagram account]
[laughs] Cookie is a little bit angry right now. I did an interview just before, he kept flying around and making a lot of noise, I had to put him in his cage but then he doesn’t understand why, he’s looking at me like ‘WHY? Why do I have to be in my cage now, it’s the middle of the day’. So yes, he is not happy. But otherwise he is fine! Right now I’m trying to teach him to say ‘Evanescence is the shit’ I think it’s so funny to make him say that ‘Evanescence is the shit
Otherwise in my family everyone is healthy, and I try not to lose my mind. laughs]
Yes like us
Yes, everyone I think [laughs] That’s what’s fantastic, well that’s not really the best term but it’s more in the sense that, the year 2020, has been the same for everyone. Whether you’re a woman, a man, rich, poor, tall, short… it doesn’t matter who you are, we’re all in the same situation, and it’s really a feeling of togetherness. Why am I talking about this again? [laughs]
I mean it doesn’t matter! I think there’s a lot of people who are trying not to lose their minds, just like me [laughs]
Yes like us you know, you’re not alone!
Yeah that’s right, we all have our struggles, with social distancing, midlife, confinements, and dealing with different information, what to believe or not to believe, with all that I feel less alone, I feel connected to others, because we’re all going through the same thing. It’s so weird because you feel isolated, and at the same time you feel close, it’s crazy.
I had the chance to have an interview with you in 2016, you had just joined the band. At this time, you told me that you wish to participate at the future new album adding more guitar. Does your wish come true ?
Okay, let’s talk about « The Bitter Truth », I think the sound of the album, and actually a lot of people refer to it as ‘Oh it’s back to the roots’. But personally I think it’s an evolution. With the pandemic, being around the whole band, you know, I love Amy, and the boys. We’re really friends. That’s precious and beautiful. I think each person in the band brings a little bit of spice to the dish [reference to the TBT album]. And the combination of all those spices, makes « The Bitter Truth » what it is today. I could agree that the album is the heaviest of all the previous ones, but I don’t know, I can’t say that, because I wasn’t in the band in the past. But just by listening, I totally agree. At first we didn’t intend to do it so heavy at all [laughs], I was even surprised that Amy wanted to go in that direction, with so much guitar.
But we did the « Synthesis Tour » for a year. We were totally immersed in this wonderful world that was completely different. We were on stage as a band, but we had a huge orchestra with us every night, I get chills everywhere. [laughs]
Same here [laughs]
And having that experience with « Synthesis » might have put it ahead of having such a heavy album. Because it’s just the opposite, I think, « The Bitter Truth » is for me personally, the perfect evolution of the band. Because it’s a combination of the modern, that’s how an evolution should be.
Yes we agree
You know I spent the morning watching videos of fan reactions to the single « Better Without You » [she actually made an instagram post about it on the same day of this interview]
My god, we just have the best fans on the planet [laughs] I was laughing my ass off watching those videos ‘oh my god this sound is amazing’ [laughs]
How did you live the process of the album with the pandemic?
To begin, I played at NAMM [National Association of Music Merchants] in January 2020 in Los Angeles, and then I flew straight to Nashville. We went straight to the studio with Nick Raskulinecz [the producer], for the first 4 songs, and I remember, we were all at the airport, ‘Ok see you later, see you next month, see you soon’ and then it all happened, if someone would have said to me [she laughs] like ‘hey Jen, for the rest of the year you won’t be able to see your friends, you won’t be able to travel all the way to the US’ I would have said ‘yeah of course’ [laughs]
The early recording session was great, I loved working with Nick, he’s a fabulous producer and a totally amazing human being. He visualized everything before you even saw it, it’s amazing to work with a producer like him.
All this was far away from me when I went back to Germany. The guys had the opportunity to work together in the studio and then send me the parts they had made. It wasn’t what I expected for my first album with Evanescence [laughs] I would be lying if I said otherwise, nobody could know. What I missed the most, because I can be an insecure person, no matter what I play, is the feedback from other people, that they tell me what they think, I really need that. And without that feedback from Nick or Amy, I would record the songs one by one, and each one maybe two thousand times each time [laughs] and I’d be like ‘come on Jen, send what you did! I was always second guessing myself, that was the hardest part of the whole process.
And I remember one song, it was « Better Without You », I listened to it on my headphones in my studio, over and over again, and I texted Amy and said « Ok I have a problem, I feel like the song, the way you did it, is just perfect, I don’t know what else I can add ». She said ‘well, sing it’ so I sang it. And I couldn’t be more proud of the fact that this is the first Evanescence album where there’s another woman in the chorus singing, and I’m so proud. I’m very happy about that.
Which song are you the proudest of.. [she doesn’t wait for the full question].
I hate that f**king question. No no no I hate that question [laughs] Everybody asks that question, I understand you ask it but I hate it [laughs] it’s horrible.
It’s like if you have more than one child and they ask you which one you like best.
Maybe the second part of the question will be better, which one are you most looking forward to playing live?
But it’s the same question [laughs] it’s impossible [laughs]
Seriously, I went through all the songs, and I love this album. Normally I don’t like to listen to the songs I collaborated on, I never listen to my InZenity album (2017) or what I’m doing for Something On 11 for example, but this album is great because it makes me feel with Amy and the boys. Every song is different, they have a unique charm, a power. I can’t pick just one, it’s impossible. What I can say is that there is a song in the album where Amy wrote the lyrics, where I was emotionally touched. I cried for days, because that song is so intimate and personal to me. I had sent a message back and I said ‘I don’t know how I’m going to play this song live because I’m just going to cry’ [she makes crying noises and then laughs] It’s « Broken Pieces Shine » that is sublime, for me personally, as a human being.
But every song on the album is unique and powerful.
The vibes on this album make this world a better place, fighting for what’s right, having your voice heard, and having it count [« Use My Voice »]. Facing reality, in relation to the title of the album, « The Bitter Truth » is about the fact that we are humans and we are not perfect Instagram filters. We don’t just live amazing things. We’re humans like you. We’re weak sometimes, and that’s okay. And sometimes we’re broken too, we have to accept it, we shouldn’t be afraid, or try to hide it, just be real, and accept our being, ourselves.
That’s what this album is about, and I love love love this message.
What can we expect from the band after the release of the album?
That’s a question for my boss, [Amy] not for me. [laughs]
Well we know a few things already, like the fact that you’re working on a virtual concert
You know that already [laughs] I don’t know what to say or not [laughs]
Amy talked about it in an interview very recently
She said that?! I’m not kept informed [laughs]
Yes, and we also know that you’re shooting the video for « Better Without You » at the end of the month
She said that too?
No, that information came from Will and Troy haha
[laughs] you guys are really on all fronts [laughs]
Well, let’s say there are things planned as a band, moving forward this year 2021? I’m really hoping that the tour in September is going to happen.
The last show we did with Evanescence was September 26, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Russia. And then everything happened. It’s been way too long [laughs] I hope it can be done. We really miss that connection with the fans, it’s really hard not to be able to go on tour and not see you [she has a nostalgic voice].
No virtual concert can replace the feeling of being united by the music. That energy that we have, that you give us, it can’t be replaced but on the other hand we are grateful for what technology can give us. We can always give you something in the meantime, it’s gratifying and important especially at this moment. I hope that soon we will be able to go back to the full experience of touring.
In the last few years, EVANESCENCE [with a strong French accent]…
EVANESCENCE, [repeats in French accent] oh my god I love it so much! EVANESCEEENNNCE [laughs]
EVANESCENCE only came to do some concert dates in Paris. Would you like other cities than Paris to be added in your next tours? For example… [she answers right away]
YES YES YES! Stop the question right now! laughs] Absolutely! I would like to go back to MARSEILLE [she says it with a French accent]. I went there once with another band, it was one of those tours where you come, you do the show, and you leave. And I thought this place is so beautiful! I would love to go back there, and also… there are so many places…
Bordeaux! Come to Bordeaux!
Yes Bordeaux too! You have so much good wine! [laughs] I love that region too. France is so diverse, and I’ve toured with many bands before Evanescence in France. It’s so beautiful, and I think it’s kind of sad that every time we plan only Paris. I have nothing against Paris of course, it’s great there! But it’s always just Paris! I wish we could go to smaller cities, explore the whole coast. France is so much more than Paris. And honestly I would love to do a tour only in France with the band. Just France, I would love to do that.
That would be so cool for us
Do you have any upcoming solo projects?
Well, we released our project with Alen Brentini for Something On 11 not long ago, it was in… November? Oh this is going by so fast! To be honest I only wrote one song in 2020, I tried to be inspired but I couldn’t. Because when your life is all about planes, you can’t do anything else. Because when your life is all about planes, hotels, tours, commuting, jet lag, etc., and suddenly it’s all about being in your living room, on the couch, the inspiration is gone. As I said, I wrote only one song, which will be in my next album for sure, and that will come too. But I don’t force myself. The process of an album can be a help, and a way to feel better. Because you create something that didn’t exist before, like cooking for example, painting, whatever it is. When you create something, and it’s important, it’s like a healing process. It’s just saying that I haven’t been very inspired to write music the last few months. I wrote this song, and it’s going to be fabulous because it’s fun, funny [laughs]. It’s going to be on my third solo album but I don’t have any plans yet for an upcoming release.
Theater/Cinema are closed. Gigs/tours are cancelled. As a musician how do you feel about the last year?
Are you asking me how I feel as a musician with my job, our way of life with touring being… dead? [laughs]
Yes, when you say it like that it’s terrible
It is. Honestly, there are a lot of colleagues that I talk to, from very famous bands, and I talk to my guitar colleagues, and . [she thinks] whoever tells you that they feel very inspired, very active, very productive, he or she is lying. Because that can’t be the truth. What happens is literally like an amputation to what our lives were. And especially the relationship with the fans, that’s one of the biggest parts that we miss.
When that’s not part of your life anymore, I’ll write about that by the way, the couch blues. It’s just food and the couch. That’s what our lives come down to. It’s horrible.
And I talk to a lot of my colleagues, and they all feel the same way. Ok I’ll tell you the name of one of them Gus G from the band… He’s also Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist and his last gig with Ozzy Osbourne was my first big gig with Evanescence. We’ve become good friends over the years. I sent him a message ‘so how are you blah blah blah’ he said ‘Ohhh I’m doing so good it’s great!’ and he asked me ‘and you how are you?’ I was like ’Not good, I’m bored to death, I miss touring, seeing the fans, playing music, yes I’m not doing so good’ and he said ‘Yes, forget what I said before, I’m the same’
It’s just more proof that people are trying to, again, « The Bitter Truth », talking truthfully with others, it’s all about honesty. People are trying to cover their faces. To be perfect, to be happy with others, but that’s not human. It’s okay to have scars, bruises, whatever, it’s human. And if you try to pretend that you are this perfect image of yourself, of what you would like to be, but you don’t realize that the reality is less beautiful. That’s lying to yourself. What was the question again? I talk too much every time.
It’s important what you say, it’s good to hear.
Yes, people have to heal themselves before they can heal the planet.
With the pandemic, have you tried or started anything new?
YES YES YES YES. I cooked like crazy. I think in another life I should have been a chef. [laughs]
I also took drum lessons. I’m still learning and it’s very exciting! I always played for fun, without any idea of what I was doing, but now with the lessons it’s more concrete.
I also learned to play the saxophone better. I have one but I had never taken the time to play it, and with all the time I had it was the right time.
I also knitted socks, scarves, a blanket while I was watching Netflix obviously. [laughs]
And the last thing I did was paint. It’s a breath of fresh air, for stress it’s really great especially in the situation we’re in right now. I sit down and paint.
And you’re good at it!
Did you see the pictures? Awesome!
Of course, it’s amazing what you do!
Oh thank you [laughs] I do my best. I think Cookie’s was really good. [laughs]
Yes I agree
Do you have something that you always take on tour?
To be honest, I have this beautiful unicorn [laughs] and it says ‘Jen’ on it
Yes, a fan gave it to you
Yes it is, [emotional voice] and it’s so touching, I love it so much. So that’s what I always take in my suitcase, I take it everywhere I go.
Most of the time I always have my ‘Line 6 Helix Stomp’ (ED.guitar pedal) with me, in case we have to work on the tour, or if we have to add sounds during the live shows.
And I always take candles. It makes me feel a little more at home in the hotel rooms. It brings comfort.
Do you think it’s possible to have a special anniversary tour for the 20 years of Fallen?
This is a great idea! I love it! Let’s do it! [laughs] Amy, if you’re listening to this, let’s do it! [laughs]
If there’s one thing we learned in 2020, it’s that as humans, we can’t always control everything. We have to deal with what’s going on. So one of the biggest questions I’m asking myself these days, because I have so many questions right now, is the September tour going to happen?
Of course we want it to, it’s not just our job, it’s our life. Everybody wants to go on tour again, and reconnect with fans and stuff.
But it’s not up to us, we can’t say ‘hey we’re going to do this tour’ because we don’t know. Everything is so unpredictable. I could book a flight to Sweden right away and a day before the flight ‘hey, we’re confined, you can’t take this flight’.
What I mean is that it’s important to keep hope, because that’s what this tour is, hope. Not just for us as a band, but for everybody, the fans, the staff, everybody.
We really hope.
Keep your fingers crossed!
The next question is a little strange…
If I can just say, I love you guys! You are both adorable and so cute. No really!
And I love your sweater that was knitted! I’ve been looking at it since the beginning and I love it [laughs] I would love to make that one day.
Thank you Jen, you are so sweet, kind and we are so happy for this sharing
Ok sorry I literally interrupted the question [laughs] let’s get back to being professionals. [laughs]
You know that Amy’s nickname was « Snow White »
God, what kind of question is that? [laughs]
So I asked her in 2011, which dwarf each members’s personality was most like. At that time, you weren’t in the band..
If you ask me which cartoon I am, SpongeBob! Really I would be Sponge Bob! I am Sponge Bob, I really am!
Now you have a whole collection with the fans
Snow White is great but I play guitar, and Bob plays guitar and I really like Sponge Bob too much. I have everything from SpongeBob in my apartment. It’s embarrassing [laughs] I have towels, I have gloves, I have a toaster to make sandwiches, I have so much stuff. [laughs]
So you’re none of the seven dwarfs?
No, SpongeBob! [laughs]
I was wondering if you remembered in 2017, you were in London, and we were a few French fans. We sent you…
Yes, that’s right!
Yes we exchanged and then I posted it on Instagram [laughs] of course I remember!
I was there!
[laughs] My goodness. You know one thing, a lot of people think that when you see a lot of people, when you do a lot of shows, you don’t remember them. And that’s completely wrong! It’s not the case for me. I remember so many special moments during the tours. Especially this moment, I laughed so much when I saw the picture, [laughs] So yes, I remember.
To finish, do you have some words for you french fans from Evanescence-France?
Of course! We can’t wait to come see you. [she says in a jerky way]
Because you have the best red wine, fabulous food, you are generous, great, loving, supportive. It’s so annoying to be disconnected from you physically. We can’t wait, and like I said before, I can push for a tour in France! Like not just Paris. All of France. I would love to! Explore all the beautiful regions. It’s sad that people think France is only Paris. You have so much to offer. I would love to do a full tour. For the food, the cheese, the wine, EVERYTHING [laughs].
Hopefully for « The Bitter Truth tour »!
Yeaaahhhhhhhhhh [very excited] absolutely yes.
Thank you Jen for your time, for your kindness. We hope to see you soon.
Thank you girls for a really nice exchange. I hope you have a great day. Take care of yourself, be happy, healthy and I hope to see you soon.
Thanks JenJen, same to you