Interview by Ed MacLaren
In the European metal scene, Liv Kristine is an icon. From her years with the seminal gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy to her current success with Leaves’ Eyes, she is the archetype to which all female metal singers are compared and measured against. With their fourth full-length album, “Meredead”, Leaves’ Eyes have created their magnum opus – a brilliant fusion of music, melody, rhythm and language that transcends categorization and redefines the definition of metal. After finishing a spring tour with Midnattsol and Tarja, Liv took some time to talk with Femme Metal about her creative process and the creation of “Meredead”.Since our last interview for your solo album, “Skintight”, you’ve returned once again with your fourth Leaves’ Eyes album – the brilliant “Meredead”. Could you actually get any busier without having to clone yourself? (Laughs) True, we’ve been very busy the last six years! However, I was born with a hyperactive artistic mind, so being creative – composing, writing lyrics, recording and performing – is something I really enjoy doing. It’s all a part of me and experience has made me become the person and artist I am. Concerning our latest production, we needed about one and a half years for the complete production of “Meredead”, which is only possible because we do have our own studio – Mastersound Studio. The composing process went overwhelmingly fast. It was one great pleasure writing and recording the album together with Thorsten and Alex. We actually just arrived back from tour, and I’m now looking forward to further shows and tours. In April we toured with my sister Carmen‘s band Midnattsol, and then in May we joined Tarja. Wow! Both tours were full of magic moments when the ladies got together! Busy, for sure, but very happy!
“Meredead” sounds fantastic – a full, rich musical experience from beginning to end. It has everything fans love about the band but expands the Leaves’ Eyes sound in some interesting ways. With each album your music becomes more progressively intricate and layered – complex and elaborate. Was “Meredead” a deliberate direction or an organic outgrowth of the writing and recording process?
I’d say it was an organic outgrowth of the process. We just started composing with an open mind. “Meredead” is our fourth album, and in my opinion there is no need to reduce ourselves to a certain style. The artistic development is the basic energy for the survival of an artist, and art as such. The press, fans and friends say that “Meredead” is “the most diverse, emotional and best-sounding production” by Leaves’ Eyes so far, moreover, “Leaves’ Eyes have created their own genre”. Believe me, this warms my heart! We never go with the commercial flow; we only go with the creative flow of the band! I prefer not to force Leaves’ Eyes into a specific already settled musical genre. I would rather say that Leaves’ Eyes’ music combines elements of gothic metal, classical music, folk music, with history and mythology.
True, Alexander, Thorsten and I are the songwriting and production team. Most of the time, music comes first, then vocal lines and words and then we work even more on the instruments until the three of us have a good feeling about it. Thorsten is our main composer, whereas words, concept and vocal lines are my area. Alexander is our producer meaning he’s the person in the band that gets only half of the sleep compared to Thorsten and myself. There is always a strict deadline, there a tons of different instruments in our music to take care of in the mix. Everything is recorded live in our studio except for the Lingua Mortis Orchestra from Minsk. Moreover, Alex is a perfectionist. I am really happy my husband didn’t suffer from a heart-attack yet – he’s incredible! Seeing that “Skintight” was such a departure from your band material, did it take you and the guys some time to switch gears and get into a Leaves’ Eyes groove for recording the new album? No, not at all. We compose and record in two different recording rooms. However, normally there is only one production going on at the time. Anyway, the mental “switch” is no problem at all. After all these years, doing everything by ourselves, there are enough reasons to call us professionals. I know very well that I’m surrounded by first-class musicians. You’ve also added some new members since “Njord”. How are their contributions adding to the core trio? The feeling within the band and between the band members has never ever been as positive, strong and inspiring as it is now since the latest line-up changes. That’s utterly important for the existence and the creativity of the band. I am so, so proud of my guys! It’s such a pleasure composing, recording and touring with them. We already knew Sander van der Meer and Roland Navratil for a long time before they joined the band. Sander replaced Matze on guitars, who quit because of family growth, whereas Roland replaced Chris Antonopoulus, who had different plans for his future. J.B. is our session player on bass, joining in after Alla Fedynitsch decided to pay more attention to her 9 to 5 job. After joining in, Sander and Roland were immediately members of the Leaves’ Eyes family. They travel from Holland and Austria to stay and work at Mastersound Studio as often as possible. We often hang out at my house after work, as I love cooking spicy Indian food and baking my special “Norwegian” cakes, moreover, sharing some bottles of wine.
“Meredead” integrates much more folk elements and melodies than previous albums. The pipes, fiddles, flutes – the more diverse instrumentation on “Meredead” really expands your musical palette.
For the production of “Meredead” it was highly important to us that each song had its own “face”, individuality and perfect, crystal clear sound to strengthen the emotional effect. We just let the music inspire us to add new and interesting “spices” to our music, like pipes, the nyckelharpa – a Swedish folk instrument – the fiddle, cello, classical orchestra or the flute. That’s what makes the album that diverse and exciting as you discover a different story, different instrumental combinations, different ways of singing even in various languages in each song. “Meredead” or “deadly sea” is the underlying theme of the album. How does that concept of death by water thread through the songs on the album? It’s an interesting contrast as water is also looked at as a giver of life.
The title is my own word-creation: To my grammatical knowledge, “Meredead” could mean ‘dead by the sea’, ‘or the deadly sea’. Poetically, we could add some imagination and lyrical sound and say “Sea of Death”. Secondly, the word “Meredead” sums up some of the themes rooted in my lyrics on the album. I grew up by the fjords, and I sense pure luck every time I return to my birth-place. Yes, you are so right, water is the giver of life. Again you find a whole palette of contrasts in our music, which has always been a feature for both Leaves’ Eyes and Theatre of Tragedy, my ex-band, that actually founded the “beauty and the beast” concept in metal back in 1995. Your lyrics generally look to the epic history of Norse literature and mythology for inspiration but on “Meredead” you’ve gravitated towards other cultures for inspiration. What was the genesis of that expanded outlook? I just let the music itself inspire me. If I chose a theme from Nordic mythology, I would include Norwegian lyrics. It was very intimate to sing in my mother tongue Norwegian, it makes the lyrics even more emotional and personal. Singing in Old-English meant digging my nose in my Old-English grammar books once again, however, I am very interested in historical languages, which I also studied. I think that Old-English has a very special “sound” phonetically. You’ll find Froeya, three-headed trolls, vampires, ghosts, witches, Vikings travelling on sea, Viking ladies mourning and of course many images from the Norwegian harsh weather and wild nature landscapes. I guess there is some homesickness towards Norway in my lyrics actually, it’s more than obvious that I miss my home country.
You’ve also expanding your use of language on “Meredead”. You obviously spend a long time working on your lyrics and the meaning and symbolism of the songs. Given your affinity for language are you taking the opportunity to experiment with phonetics to provide a different listening experience?
Yes, phonetics is a great help for me. I studied Old-English, Gothic, Middle-High German, phonetics, phonology, language acquisition, next to Modern English and Modern German at the university in Stavanger, Norway, and then following up at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. Sometimes I use lyrics existing only in the form of a phonetic string of sounds. Such a phonetic sequence has an important meaning: it conveys an emotional state provoked by that particular sound of my singing. My acoustic aim is not the words and a certain thematic content; it is the sound and the emotional effect of it in the listening experience.
What a wonderful idea! This would be fantastic! Let’s hope the universe hears this! I would love to do it. I have seen Elfenthal‘s “The Blue Elf’s Dream” and I am stunned. What an amazing show. Maite Itoiz and John Kelly are outstanding composers, musicians and performers. You’ve had much ongoing success in music appearing in two big bands – first Theatre of Tragedy and now Leaves’ Eyes. Does success with Leaves’ Eyes feel any different than what you achieved with Theatre of Tragedy? I always wanted to become a singer. Singing is a part of my nature. When I was little, I thought everybody was able to understand music and control their vocal chords. The fact that my parents were interested in music – listening to it – plays an important role: I grew up with Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Edvard Grieg and Tschaikowsky, and female singers like Enya, Madonna, Kate Bush, Abba, Tori Amos and Monserrat Caballe. From the very beginning, I’ve followed my musical instinct: I wanted to combine a romantic, female, angelic voice with powerful, impressive music. Then suddenly, when I was 18 years old, I found myself in the middle of writing music history with Theatre of Tragedy, being one of the founders of “gothic metal with female voices” and “the beauty and the beast concept”! I am first of all grateful to our fans and friends all over the world, who have been there for me throughout all these years! This feeling has remained the same – my gratefulness towards my fans. Being thrown out of Theatre of Tragedy was perhaps bad luck; however, sometimes bad luck leads to good luck. Today I have Leaves’ Eyes; it’s like having a family, next to my own family. For me two dreams have come true: I am a full-time singer, and I am a mother. How do you manage such a busy career as well as being a parent? Do you have any advice for women in the business that are hoping to have children one day and still pursue a music career? You need a good plan in your daily life, you need your own studio not far away from your home, moreover, a family who is there for you. My plan is strict however, and effective: when I work I am working my ass off; when my family is around and needs me, I am only there for my family, keeping our rituals. In between work and family I do a lot of sports, sauna and yoga, which is my way to recharge my battery if necessary. And then, from the business point of view, find the right people to support you, honest people. And speak out if you have an opinion. Money can be such an evil means to make you forget about your inner voice.
You’ve recently finished a tour with Midnattsol and Tarja. When do you hit the road again and where will your travels take you? We do have a few festivals this summer, then hopefully a North American and an Asian tour, including India. Your music is reaching more and more people internationally – you even toured India recently. How are you enjoying your progression towards becoming a truly global band? There is this special feeling that gives me the energy and the inspiration to travel the world – I get caught up in every moment that I am able to share with my audience. Every performance is one process of giving, and receiving, I call it “exchange of positive energy” between the band and the audience. I really have to say that we do have fantastic fans. I am looking so much forward to every gig, and to meet our fans after the show! (Famous) Last words?
Give a little bit love, and you’ll get it back. My mother taught me that. Thank you, mother.
Photos by Stefan Heilemann
Interview by Erwin van Dijk
An interview with Liv Kristine from Leaves’ Eyes. This interview is all dedicated to the forthcoming album “Njord”.
“Njord” is the third full length Leaves’ Eyes album. (the other two were “Lovelorn” and “Vinland Saga”).
I am absolutely happy and satisfied with the album. We’ve never worked this hard before with a production, but we’ve reached our goal. I would even say, we even went further than we thought was possible, technically seen. It has always been important to me that our sound and art is authentic, i.e. that you can hear from the very first tunes that this is Leaves’ Eyes! We also want that our audience really get the feeling of being on a wonderful journey. I feel that our music needs a special well-written and interesting concept which is just as important as the sound, and “Njord” gives you all this.
“Vinland Saga” introduced the Viking elements in Leaves’Eyes. But “Njord” also seems to have some Irish themes, like the songs “Emerald Island” and “Irish Rain” . With “Njord” comes the EP “My Destiny”, which contains besides the song “My Destiny” in two versons also an acoustic version of “Scarborough Fair” and two non album tracks.
“My Destiny” is a song you can easily “tune into”. It’s a good way to introduce the album (out 28.08.), although you will of course have less commercial songs on the record, too. On “My Destiny” is actually an EP, for the price of a single, with four non-album tracks, and one extra album song.
“Vinland Saga” was a concept album. Is “Njord” written with the idea to tell a story or are it twelve individual songs?
The lyrics mainly deal with characters from northern mythology (e.g. “Njord”, “Fröya’s Theme”, “Nine Wave Maidens”, “Ragnarok”), or with places and historical happenings (e.g. “Scarborough Fair”, “The Battle of Maldon”, “Emerald Island“,“Irish Rain”, “Les Champs de Lavande”). This is why I found it necessary to deal with all these different languages. “Vinland Saga” is based on Leif Eirikssons discovery of America, even the EP, “Legend Land”, which followed soon thereafter. “Njord” has a much broader concept, travelling through history, and into Nordic mythology. It has always been important to me that our sound and art is authentic, and that our audience really get the feeling of being on a wonderful journey.The lyrics are written in 8 languages (english, middle-high german, old-english, gaelic, norwegian, icelandic, french and one “self-made” linguistic fictional phonetic sequence)… I even sat down to study a bit French to be able to write one French lyric. I did study Old-English and Middle-high German, so it was really nice to be able to use this knowledge. Gaelic is completely new to me, though, but fortunately I found a wonderful person who helped me. “Njord” is an album that demands an expansion in linguistic terms.
This is your third album. What are the differences between “Njord” and “Lovelorn” and “Vinland Saga”?
Our debut “Lovelorn” was very refreshing and a wonderful start for the band, also the press and the audience were surprised. However, you shouldn’t forget that we all have a huge experience and knowledge as musicians of Atrocity and former ToT (Theatre of Tragedy) to rely on. This brings Leaves’ Eyes a wide step forward, so we were really no newcomers in our genre. Moreover, I really have to say that Atrocity + Liv Kristine is a magic formula! I took my experience from my favourite ToT releases “Velvet Darkness They Fear” and “Aegis” as a basis for Leaves’ Eyes music. Our second album “Vinland Saga” was a manifistation of the music of Leaves’ Eyes – we had “settled” in the genre gothic metal with female vocals. “Njord” is the perfection of both our 2 former albums. Since the first demo recordings for “Njord” we have been able to achieve goals that we thought back in 2007 after the “Vinland Saga” release would be quite impossible. I am so proud of my band members – “Njord” is a dream coming true, and all the hundreds of sleepless nights were worth it. We all have developed as musicians and technicians and this is experience that is unpayable. “Njord” (producer: my husband Alexander Krull) has a power to it that even is more intense than any previous production I’ve been part of. Technically, we constantly have new ideas and aims. We have our own studio and therefore we have the opurtunity to specialize in technical tasks concerning album and DVD productions. “Njord” has even a more bombastic but delicate sound that “Vinland Saga”, because techniques allows it. We recorded the classical parts in Minsk (Lingua Mortis, supervised by Victor Smolski), we had a complete local choir (Al Dente) singing the choir parts, moreover, a special artist playing solos on special instruments like the uillian pipe and the whistle. All this makes this album a multilayered and highly interesting experience for our listeners, for your ears, hearts and minds. If I should describe “Njord” in four words I would say bombastic, emotional, contrastive, and pure.
Where do you get the inspiration for the songs. Some sources are clear, like Ireland and the Norse mythology but what really inspires you to write a song?
It’s first of all my love for my homecountry, the Norwegian Nature, history, my family, the culture – everything I grew up with! I feel that our music needs a special well-written and interesting concept, and I want to travel through time and space. For me history has always been extremely interesting, and even when I left my homecountry Norway and moved to Germany 12 years ago, I had more books about the Vikings with me than clothes and shoes. I have travelled a lot and been able to see a lot of the world. History, languages, and geography has always interested me. Thorsten is the main composer of Leaves’ Eyes, he works out his ideas on his guitar. “Irish Rain”, however, was an idea I had one early morning. I hurried to the studio and worked out the tunes with him. Sometimes, ideas just appear to my mind, like a complete “song”.
And can you tell us something about the songs on “Njord” and “My Destiny”?
We recorded 18 (eighteen!) songs, and all of them are placed on the single “My Destiny” (out now) or the album “Njord” (out late August). Our listeners will get a lot for the money. That’s a way for us saying “thankyou” to our fans and friends all over the world. To mention a few examples, “Fröya’s Theme” is one of my favourites on the album, too, next to “Irish Rain”. “Fröya’s Theme” is about eight minutes long, it includes five languages, inclusive two “speaking” parts done by Alex and myself respectively. It tells the story about Fröya, the Goddess of sex with her extreme power of beauty. However, her lover Od leaves her as he has “wandering eyes” for other beautiful women. Fröya travels around and through the worlds in Northern Mythology to find him. Her tears are made of gold and they heavily strike the earth. This song is an epic masterpiece composed by Tosso, our guitarist.
Is “Scarborough Fair” a Simon and Garfunkel cover and if it is, why did you choose this song?
I was an exchange student in the English town Scarborough, and I got very interested in their culture. This song is a folk song sung in the middle ages, also by the Vikings, on a trading market, in Scarborough. I wanted to rewrite the tune into a more heavy version and I am very happy with the result!
“Les Champs de Lavande” is a French title. Lavande means Lavender and the South of France (the Provance) is famous for its wide fields (champs) of lavender.
Can you tell us something about this song and why is it a bonus track?
As we had composed the instruments for this song, I thought about France immediately! I immediately sensed the smell of my favourite flower and scent, lavender! The Provance Lavender was famous already in the Middle Ages. I sat down and tried to put together a Franch lyric, and a friend of mine in France corrected it. This song just had to be about Lavender, and it sounds more authentic and special when it is sung in French.
While recording “Njord” you were supported by The Lingua Mortis Orchestra under the aegis of Victor Smolski and a classical choir. Most people will know Victor Smolski from his work with Rage. And this band does not exactly belongs to the same genre as Leaves’Eyes.
How did you find him and what was his influence on “Njord”?
We met Victor during a Rage/Leaves’ Eyes’ show in Greece in 2007. We are so happy that he liked the idea of working with us. It adds the important depth and bombastic character in our music.
The Special Edition will have a Drakkar (viking ship). What can we expect?
This is a way for us saying thank you to our fans and friends. Remember, many of them are collectors. I used to collect Madonna and Black Sabbath/Ozzy special merchendise objects.
One of the things that would make a lot of fans happy is a duet between the Espenæs sisters. (think of Beyonce and Solange Knowless doing a duet). Have you ever considered this for “Njord”?
It’s not that easy since my sister moved back to Norway a couple of years ago, however, I am planning a duet on our fourth album, which will be a folk-oriented album, planned to be released in summer/fall 2010.
Do you already have some details about an upcoming tour?
Europe in November 2009, USA/Canada December 2009, then Europe and Russia in the beginning of 2010, and another long tour in the Autumn of 2010. Moreover, we have planned an acoustic tour between 28.08.-02.09 (please check the news!). We will play a capella in some of the Media Markets, for free for our fans, and we will have a lot of time to make photos with everybody, have a chat with our fans and friends and write some autographs. I enjoy acoustic tours. It’s a nice way to keep up our close relationship with our audience, moreover, we are able to show that we are good musicians and can play live without a huge stage with a huge technical plan behind everything.
And which songs can we expect live?
A set-list still has to be decided on.
Although I think you will be very busy with the promotion of “Njord” this year and 2010 I would like to ask when we can expect a new Atrocity album and a new Liv Kristine solo album?
It’s been 3 years since “Enter My Religion”, and it’s always good to gain a different aspect of your own art after some time has passed by. Right now, I am just about to finish the final recordings of my third solo album, and I see things in a new perspective now. “Enter My Religion” was an expensive production on a major label, however I made the decision in 2008 to release my third solo album on a another label, with a smaller budget, but having more freedom about the whole process, from the very first demo track, until the final master. I am very proud of “Enter My Religion”, however I have developed as an artist and technician and my third album will be a huge step forward. I have put my focus on sounding just like myself, recording songs in one take, so you “get” me with everything I am, my character, my emotional level, my breathing, sometimes perhaps perfect, sometimes maybe not. I just want the audience to hear ME, not some singing lady with a pretty nice voice. I want to creep up inside your hearts and senses. I wrote all the songs together with Torsten (guit. Leaves’ Eyes), all the lyrics myself, and my husband Alex is the producer of the album. Atrocity are already finishing their next Atrocity feat. Yasmin “Calling the Rain”, which will be out end of 2009/beginning of 2010.
Interview by Ary R.
Considered a great icon in the metal world, Liv Kristine is one of the metal queen of the fronted metal scene. On the occasion of her new release, “Libertine”, Femme Metal had the honor of interviewing this amazing Norwegian singer.
Today I have the BIG pleasure of playing host Liv Kristine, my idol since ever. Hi Liv and welcome to Femme Metal.net. Tusen takk for din tid How are you doing?
Thank you so much, I and the rest of the guys are doing really well, veldig bra! We’ve been on tour for four weeks now, Leaves’ Eyes and Firewind, and I have to tell you this tour is the best tour I’ve ever experienced because there are only, ONLY, really nice and lovely people on board of this Nightliner.
Let me say that for me is a very big, big pleasure to interview you today. Let’s break the ice and let’s talk about your fourth studio album, “Libertine”. It has been released via Napalm Records a few weeks ago. How were the feedbacks for this new record?
The feedback from the press and fans for “Libertine” have been absolutely amazing, world-wide, actually the best ones I’ve ever had so far in my 20-years long career. I am so grateful for this, I am very moved. My inner voice tells me that I need to go on tour and play these songs live as soon as possible!
What are the biggest differences compared to your previous albums?
“Deus ex Machina” was very atmospheric, reminding you a bit about Irish Enya, a real pop-album. “Enter My Religion” was more guitar-based and earthly with many interesting exotic folk influences. “Skintight” had some influence from J. Cash, which sometimes gives the listeners a warm and here-and-now camp-fire feeling experience. “Libertine” is a back-to-the-roots album, containing the most emotional ballads I’ve ever composed, it even has a dark but sweet feeling to it, through both the piano, the dark bass lines and guitars. I see every album becoming more and more individual, just like I am getting closer to myself. I would say all of my albums are somehow indie, pop or rock.
“Libertine” is surely a fresh and a direct record and, under some points of view, it reminds some resonances of Theatre of Tragedy’s masterpieces like “Aegis” and “Musique” in songs like “Paris Paris” or “Solve Me” (I was under this impression, correct me if I’m wrong ). Was the choice purely accidental or was it something that you wanted to do?
“Libertine”, as you correctly pointed out, is an album going back to the roots, to my years with Theatre of Tragedy. During my solo concert in German Nagold last December I just felt that the time had come to let in all the experience I gathered during my years with Theatre of Tragedy, moreover, to forgive my ex-band members and their fatal decision in 2003 to exclude me from the band. In Nagold I played the demo version of the more heavy rocker “Libertine” just to see how the audience react on it. There and then I understood that this is the right way to go. My fans showed me the way. I have to tell you that I feel truly privileged – First of all I am grateful to my fans and friends for giving me all this respect, love and good energy, some of them following me since my ex-band Theatre of Tragedy came into existence about 17-18 years ago. My fans have granted me this freedom I appreciate so much. Through both Leaves’ Eyes and my solo project I am able to live out my musical instinct.
This record has been produced by your husband (and collegue) Alexander Krull. How did you feel like working with your own husband? Why have you chosen to cooperate with him instead of collaborating with some other producer?
I actually prefer working with my husband. To tell you the truth: I like “to cook in my own kitchen”. Alexander produced the album at our own Mastersound Studio. We are very privileged to have our own studio, and it is superb having my husband next to me. He, and my guitar player Thorsten, know me the best. Both of them know how to push me just a little bit further…and in the end, I am so happy to have achieved a new goal. Their opinions mean very much to me. Of course we do have discussions sometimes, I mean, we are all perfectionists and very stubborn, however, we always come up with a perfect solution.
Would you like to say something about the concept of the artwork? For what I see there’s a lot of red in it Who has taken care of it and of the promoshoot related to it?
I had from the very beginning a clear idea of how the artwork should be. All the paintings you see are my own, which I painted myself. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the front cover. One Saturday I found this lovely red dress in a little shop, and I thought it would be absolutely perfect for a front picture. Then I discovered this red umbrella…and these high-heeled shoes! All I had to do was to put on my red favorite Chanel lipstick, which I have used for the last ten years, go outside in the sun and have Alex make photos of me. Stefan Heilemann then re-worked everything to make the artwork look exactly how I wanted it.
To give your fans a little “appetizer”, you’ve played an acoustic show in Germany, “One Night With Liv Kristine” and you’ve introduced the audience a brand new song, that is the title track of your last album. Would you like to reveal some little details of this particular evening?
As already mentioned, In Nagold was this moment during my concert in Nagold, Germany, December 2011, when I first presented the demo song “Libertine” to my audience. I had also performed a handful of Theatre of Tragedy songs, because it was my wish. There and then I understood in which musical direction my up-coming album would be, more powerful, more back to the roots. Everybody was there, my closest friends and family, my fantastic fans from all over the world, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, UK, Finland, Spain, Holland and all over Germany. I was so happy! This was a very special night for me, so special that I will do it again in December 22nd this year!
Have you ever thought of creating an acoustic album with Leaves’ Eyes or in your solo career? I think that this would be something nice for your fans. I would be the first one to buy an album like that
That’s a very good idea! I’d love to, but right now we are already working on our fifth full-length studio album.
In order to promote your new record in the best way possible, you’ve asked Patric Ullaeus from Revolver Film Company Ab to direct a videoclip of yours for the single “Paris Paris”. He already worked with “giants” like Dimmu Borgir, In Flames and many others. What could you tell about this little work experience? How come have you decided to ask him for directing your new videoclip?
I just love working with Patric and his Revolver team as he already produced two Leaves’ Eyes clips and one for my solo single “Skintight”, this is such a great honor, and pleasure! He is able to read my thoughts and ideas, he is just the best, that’s all I can say. Even when my suitcase got lost by the Airline in Paris with all my dresses, nobody panicked and Patric made a few phone-calls. His wife, Tara, is my favorite make-up artist, I am always in good hands when she is doing my make-up! I am very, very proud of the clip for “Paris Paris”.
Let’s talk about the single “Paris Paris”. It was your “first choice” to promote the album. As I mentioned before, to me it recalls some resonances with some old work by Theatre Of Tragedy. What could you tell about this new single? If I’m not mistaken, there are some verses sung in French…
“Paris Paris” was actually a demo song I prepared for Theatre of Tragedy, but it was never recorded. However, I re-wrote it for fun using the program Garage band. My co-musicians loved it and all the instruments were recorded new. It is definitely a very refreshing song! The video clip is online as well. I’ve visited Paris many times, and by and by I’ve learned to enjoy this city, with its small cafes on the street corners, serving even the smaller cappuccino. Charming.
This new record includes two “gems”. The first one is the duet on the track “Vanilla Skin Delight”, that sees the attendance of the third-season winner of ‘Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar’, Tobias Regner. What could you say about this cooperation with this guy? How did it happen?
I am so happy to have worked with Tobias Regner. His voice is amazing. He was one of the Superstar-winners in Germany, and he is definitely my favorite. We met through a common friend, luckily, as my band mates suggested that we look for a male voice for “Vanilla Skin Delight”. 48 hours later he knocked on the studio door of Mastersound Studio and we became friends straight away! We had so many stories to tell. He is a true professional and he did such a great job in front of the microphone. I really hope we will be able to perform this song together some day.
The second gem is Kate Bush’s cover, “The Man With a Child in His Eyes”. What has pushed you to revise this song?
Kate Bush and Tori Amos are truly my greatest influences vocally. Since I never had any musical education I have found my own way to prepare my voice before a concert or recording session in which I sing along to either of these wonderful voices. It was my best friend, Katja, who had this idea that I should cover Kate. During one of our girls’ evenings…parties…I started singing from the top of my voice along to Kate…the next day I was worried what the neighbors would say. Katja’s neighbors did not complain… and my friend inspired me to record the track for “Libertine”. It was recorded in a one- take session.
Currently you’re promoting your new record and you’re also on tour with your own band. Have you already planned something new for Leaves’ Eyes or for your solo career? Will we ever see you in a “solo” tour?
When we get back from this tour Leaves’ Eyes will start the recordings for our fifth full-length album as already mentioned, moreover, we will play a few concerts in the winter. I have planned a few solo concerts, exclusive ones, for mid and end December as well, Nagold is already settled and announced for the 22.12.2012. I hope for tours for both bands next year!
As I mentioned in the previous question, you’re currently on the road in Europe with Firewind. How did it happen? What do you think, personally, of Gus G as musician and as a person as well?
I can tell you Gus is such a lovely person, very, very warm-hearted and kind. He is also an absolutely amazing musician. It’s such a pleasure being on the road and sharing Nightliner with Firewind.
You’ve played in France, UK, Germany and Belgium at the moment. How come haven’t you decided to play all over Europe? Will there be a second “chance” to see you on tour with Firewind again?
I would really hope so, also in other continents. All of us get along so well. It would be so nice touring together also in the future. Our fans also LE the package of both bands being on the same bill.
Short time ago, I’ve discovered that you’ve joined Firewind on stage during the performance of “Break the Silence”. Originally the female parts were sung by Tara Teresa. How has been the performance so far?
Absolutely amazing, I am going to join Firewind in a few minutes as I am sitting here, talking to you. The audience go crazy because Firewind hasn’t played this song since 2006 with Tara. I love Tara‘s voice, she is fantastic. I feel very honored to sing her parts.
Recent is also the news that Leaves’ Eyes were forced to cancel some dates in USA and you’ll play there next year. Could you please explain us, in short, the reason why you’ve been asked to cancel some dates of this tour?
Yes, that was south-America. I am deeply sorry. This was due to troubles with organization. I am really sorry. We will make up for this as soon as possible. In 99% of cancellations it is really not on the bands’ hands. All we want to do is to play and meet our fans and friends!
Last year Leaves’ Eyes shared the stage with Midnattsol, led by your sister Carmen. What do you remember of this experience with a big affection? How did it happen to make a tour together?
We had wanted to tour together for such a long time, and then our dream came true! It was fantastic having my sister next to me singing “Kråkevisa”, the traditional Norwegian song. I can’t wait to visit my sister in Norway again for Chistmas!
If I’m not wrong, “Meredead” included a typical traditional song sung in your mother tongue and your sister sang in it. Could you please reveal us the concept of this song? Of course we’re talking of “Kråkevisa” (The Crow Song ). If I’m not mistaken, this song was put in streaming, right before the release of the record…
To record this traditional tune, turning it into a Leaves Eyes song was an idea of my friend Anette, and my sister, Carmen, both of them joining me on guest vocals.
You’re not “new” with duets and stuff. Among the biggest ones, we surely remember “Nymphetamine” (Cradle Of Filth), “See Me in Shadow” (Delain), Atrocity, Doro Pesch and so on. What do you remind about these duets? Is there any artist you would like to cooperate with in a nearest future?
Ozzy Osbourne! Kate Bush and Tori Amos.
A few months ago, it has been said that Theatre of Tragedy wanted to re-issue some of your old works (your self-title album, “Velvet Darkness They Fear” and “Aegis”). How did you react to this news? Are you still in good terms with your former band members?
I had no idea about this, but I appreciate it. I am still in contact with Raymond, living in Brazil since a few years.
This was my last question. Thanks so much for your time and for having allowed us this little interview. Is there something you would like to say to our readers and your fans out there? We hope to see you soon in Italy
Thank you for being there for me all these years, with Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves’ Eyes and my solo work. It has been lovely to see many of you at our European tour Leaves’ Eyes and Firewind. I also hope you enjoy “Libertine” as much as I did composing and recording it. I can’t wait to play it live for you! Love, Liv.
Label : AFM Records
Review by Tony Cannella & Disgraced
For many – myself included – the Norwegian Goth Metal band Theatre of Tragedy was one of the first (co) Female fronted metal bands that I first got into, thanks to their seminal 1995 self-titled debut. They followed that up with the awesome “Velvet Darkness They Fear” which to this day, still ranks as one of my all time favorites; it is a true masterpiece (in my opinion). Since then their work has been a bit uneven and has included a controversial foray into the realm of Electronic Music. If nothing else, TOT has proven they are not afraid to go off the beaten path and set their own boundaries, for better or worse. Now, it seems that that path has come to an end, as the band has announced that they are calling it a day, with this, the double live album/DVD “Last Curtain Call” being their swan song. Recorded and filmed in their hometown of Stavanger, Norway, “Last Curtain Call” features 16-songs and almost 90-minutes of the band tearing through some of their best songs live. The set begins with “Hide & Seek” from their most recent album “Forever Is the World” and then the band reach back a few years on “Bring Forth Ye Shadow” from the “Velvet Darkness…” album. Most every Theatre of Tragedy album is represented with the exception of 2002’s “Assembly”. The band even performs three songs off the “Musique” album. “Fragment”, “Machine” and “Image” all sound good live and kudos to the band for giving each era equal time. The highlight for me, came on the track “And When He Falleth”, it was great to hear TOT bring out this one, as it is a classic in my opinion. Vocalist Nell Sigland proves that she up to the task in performing the classic Liv era stuff as well as songs from the two albums she recorded with Theatre of Tragedy. She is a huge talent that I am sure will be heard from again. If this really is the “Last Curtain Call” for Theatre of Tragedy, they have no doubt left us with an eclectic catalogue of music and a lasting legacy. Fare thee well…
Rating – 80/100
Label : Nuclear Blast Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The long running Norwegian Symphonic/Gothic Metal band Sirenia has always managed to write good songs, going all the way back to their 2002 debut, “At Sixes and Sevens” right on up through their excellent 2009 release “The 13th Floor” – which was the first album to feature new vocalist Ailyn. Now, the band returns with their fifth full-length release “The Enigma of Life”. Sirenia has always done a great in incorporating choirs and symphony elements into their music and “The Enigma of Life” is no different, they also don’t stray too far from what their fans love about them. As on their previous album, vocalist Ailyn does a great job throughout the course of “The Enigma of Life”. The melodically charged opener “The End of It All” begins things, with a big symphonic arrangement and a wickedly infectious chorus and melody. That is pretty much what you can expect on “The Enigma of Life”, plenty of well written songs, with thoughtful and articulate lyrics. Morten Veland adds his vocals (both harsh and clean) to the mix at certain points throughout the CD. “Fallen Angel”, “All My Dreams” and “Darkened Days to Come” are three more highlights, while the album is concluded by my favorite song “The Enigma of Life”, which ends the CD on a definite high. It is good to see that Sirenia continues to grow and mature. With Ailyn firmly entrenched now and fitting in quite well in the vocalist role, “The Enigma of Life” is sure to please die-hard fans and just may acquire Sirenia some well deserved new fans as well.
Rating – 87/100
- The End of It All
- Fallen Angel
- All My Dreams
- This Darkness
- The Twilight in Your Eyes
- Winter Land
- A Seaside Serenade
- Darkened Days to Come
- Coming Down
- This Lonely Lake
- Fading Star
- The Enigma of Life
- Ailyn (Pilar Giménez García) – Female Vocals
- Morten Veland – Clean/Harsh Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Programming
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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