Interview by Tony Cannella
It’s always difficult to replace a long-time member of a band that you. It’s even harder when the person being replaced is the lead singer that has been there since day one. That is what EnkeliNation vocalist Elina Siirala was stepping into when she was chosen as the replacement for Liv Kristine in Leaves’ Eyes. Sure, it was a tough transition (for the fans, too) but Elina has pulled through with flying colors and removed any doubt that she was an excellent choice. The band has just released their new EP (and Elina‘s debut with LE) called “Fires in the North” and has been touring North America with Sonata Arctica and this was good enough reason to check in with band, more specifically Elina Siirala to see how things have been going.
Leaves’ Eyes are a few show into this North American tour with Sonata Arctica. How has it been going so far?
Yeah, it’s been great. Despite the fact that our bus broke down, and there were some technical issues in the first show, but other than that it’s been great.
You’ve already done some shows with Leaves’ Eyes in Europe. How did those go?
We’ve played over in Indonesia and then Europe quite a lot. All of the shows have been really great.
You just released a brand-new EP, “Fires in the North”. What can you tell us about that?
Well, it was kind of like a process we thought would be good to release something new. And also, people were requesting some of the songs that we play live, that maybe they could buy. We thought, let’s make an EP it was originally supposed to be just a single, but now it has one new song and some songs from “King of Kings”. The song itself (“Fire in the North”), I really like it. It has a bit of a more rock vibe to it and I think it fits my voice quite well.
Was the song “Fires in the North” already written when you joined the band?
It was mostly written already when I heard the demo. We worked on some little bits in the melody to fit me a little bit better; but mostly the guys already did a great job.
What was it like working with Leaves’ Eyes for the first time in the studio?
We’ve been working quite a lot in the studio already before this, doing other kinds of stuff and everything. It’s always good. To be honest, studio work is not my favorite thing, I prefer singing live, but when people make you feel comfortable and you can try out things, it’s great.
When can we expect a new full-length from Leaves’ Eyes?
The way things are going now; I think we have to push it back to probably early 2018. There are still some tour offers coming in and to have the time to finish the songs and record them, it’s going to take a little bit of time.
I think Leaves’ Eyes made a fantastic choice for new lead singer. What was the process like when you were chosen to join Leaves’ Eyes?
We originally met very briefly. I met Alex Krull when we supported them back in November of 2015 with my band EnkeliNation. In March, I just got a call from him and he invited me to come to Germany, I didn’t know what it was about, so I just flew there I thought maybe it was some kind of collaboration thing and they explained it to me. I sang a few songs. They had heard me before, so it wasn’t a long process.
Do you feel like you’ve been accepted by the fans during the European and now the U.S. tour?
I think when we play live, people are always very supportive. I haven’t really had any negative comments. I’ve been saying from the beginning, it’s completely normal for people. It’s a huge change to the band, and some will always prefer Liv Kristine over me and thats also completely fine. We have very different kind of voices, so I don’t mind that at all.
I only ask that question, because Liv Kristine was a long-time member of Leaves’ Eyes and sometimes it can be difficult to fill the shoes of a popular ex-member. But I think you have done a great job and from my perspective you have totally handled the transition seamlessly.
Thank you. For me, I am just trying on doing my job. Because it was so fast, I needed to learn the songs in a week, and I couldn’t really concentrate on anything else.
Following this tour with Sonata Arctica, what is on Leaves’ Eyes agenda?
The plan was to go into the studio and start really working on the album. Now there is some other things coming up, so I think were probably going to be doing some other tours and then it is going to be summer, so well summer festivals, I think. Of course, long term it is going to be the album.
Are you still a member of EnkeliNation?
Yeah, that’s my band. I basically started it and I write the music, so yeah. Now we have changed the name to Angel Nation.
What singers do you admire?
I’ve always admired Freddy Mercury a lot. I would say in this scene female singers I really like Sharon from Within Temptation. I like strong singers like Whitney Houston. I like all kinds of styles.
We’ve come to the end of this interview, Elina. Do you have any final words for the fans to close this out?
Of course, a huge thank you to everyone who has been very supportive and given me a chance and come to the shows. It’s always nice to meet people and hear that they have enjoyed the show. It’s really why we do it. I enjoy it and I hope they enjoy it too.