"The feedback from both press and audience has been both fantastic and overwhelming. I wouldn’t change a thing on that album."
Metal gets a makeover with the genre's newest mistress, Leaves' Eyes Liv Kristine. Although relatively unknown stateside, this temptress' has pleased the masses for years with projects like Theatre of Tragedy, her own solo project, and her angelic voice can also be found on Cradle of Filth's Nymphetamine. In this interview Liv discusses her new album with Leaves' Eyes Vinland Saga, her upcoming solo album Enter My Religion, working with Cradle and with her husband, Alex Krull, vocalist of Atrocity.
First off, thanks for doing the interview, Liv. It was a real pleasure meeting you here in Chicago. Your voice is beautiful and haunting. Being the ex-lead singer of Theatre of Tragedy, it amazes me how you continue to remain underground here in the States? What are your thoughts on this?
Luckily, things are about to change for gothic metal with female voices in the States. More and more people get interested in this genre and want to know more about it, its origin, the bands that founded this kind of music and also the younger bands.
Your work is so sensual; would you attribute that to working with your husband?
Working with my husband is fantastic. I feel so good when he is next to me, on stage, behind the mixing desk, on tour etc. We are an unbeatable team, moreover, he’s my best advisor.
Who comes up with the arrangements for your songs?
Everybody in the band is part of the songwriting. However, it depends on who feels inspired to compose at that point of time. There is no certain plan or arrangement behind the composing process. We have our own studio (Mastersound Studio) and begin and finish the albums when we and our record label are ready.
How would you describe a Leaves’ Eyes live show to someone that has never seen you before?
Emotional, bombastic and contrastive with images inspired by Nature itself and a fantastic light show.
Speaking of live shows, how would you rate the tour overall? What was your experience like on the International Extreme Metal Fest?
This tour was, except from playing once at the Milwaukee Fest, our first visit to the USA. The audience was fantastic and really openhearted. Still, touring in the USA is a completely different situation for European bands and the experience we've made so far has been good and bad, but any kind of experience is important and you learn by doing. I’ve also played 5 times in Mexico with Atrocity, Theatre of Tragedy, and Leaves' Eyes, which was absolutely fantastic.
Has the new album, Vinland Saga been well received by critics [released on 7/15/05]? Are you satisfied with the end results? Would you change a thing looking back on it?
The feedback from both press and audience has been both fantastic and overwhelming. I wouldn’t change a thing on that album.
Realizing you grew up in Norway but what led you to create 89 songs about Viking history…knowing you are a bit of a history buff as far as the explorers of Vineland are concerned.
I’ve always taken great interest in history. I was born and grew up on the west coast of Norway but moved to Germany when I was 20 years old. Since then I do feel homesick every now and then, however feeling homesick inspires me to write and sing about the history, culture, Nature, myths and legends of my homeland. The Vinland Sagas is a collection of written documents about Leif Eiriksson’s discovery of America about 1000 years ago, which is 500 years before Columbus. The journey started from the west coast of Norway and it has been historically proved.
Cool story: concept which is fictional is the female character I've included in the story. She's waiting at the west coast of Norway for the group of ships (including her husband) to return from Vinland. What was your inspiration for that section?
Yes, the only fictional or not historically proved part of our concept is the female character; the wife of one of Leif Eiriksson’s best men (he was actually a German) on the ship, Tyrkir the German. His woman is Norwegian, so what we have here is the German-Norwegian connection, which is a parallel to Alex and my marriage!
The artwork corresponds well with the concept of the album. The photography is as beautiful as the album itself.
Thank you very much. The photos were taken at the place where I grew up in Norway.
Very creative of you to create your own language for “Amhrán”, etc. that truly takes a lot of determination on your part. Especially considering the languages you used: Gaelic, old English, and old Norse are all languages that are barely spoken, let alone sung.
Thank you very much. I love studying languages. I finished my Masters at the University of Stuttgart some years ago in Linguistics.
What’s your favorite song off the album?
I don’t think I’m able to choose. The are all my little children…and very personal.
How was it working with Cradle of Filth on Nymphetamine?
I recorded my vocals at Mastersound Studio a cleared everything on the phone with Dani Filth. We had exactly the same idea and vision of the song in mind. 2 weeks later we met in London’s dungeons to shoot the video. I really enjoyed the cooperation with Cradle.
Would you ever entertain the thought of having someone produce the band?
The producer of Leaves’ Eyes is Alex, but everybody else in the band is also involved.
How did you hook up with Napalm Records?
We got to know NR’s boss by coincidence and we really appreciate working with Napalm.
Congrats on the recent signing with Roadrunner [UK] for your solo project. What’s the progress of your [second] solo album?
The album Enter My Religion will be released in March in Europe, the single “Fake a Smile” in January. We shot the video a couple of weeks ago. I’m really looking forward to this as it’s eight years since my first solo album was released.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
See you have star signs on your site, nice to see a fellow Aquarian held in such high regard! J Do you believe in astrology to the tune of it being able to chart your life in accomplishments and failures?
I like to read about astrology, yes, however I’ve been doing yoga and long distance running for many, many years. I read a lot and spend as much time as I can with my son and being outside. We live on the countryside in the middle of the forest and Nature amazes me season by season. I learn by doing, also mistakes, even if it takes time to get over it sometimes. I love silence when I’m at home and try to keep a good balance within me. I really can say that I’m a very happy person, especially since I became a mother. That is the greatest gift in life!
Liv, you are such a busy lady and all how do you manage to split your time with your band, solo project, mother, and wife?
Good planning, my husband has got the same profession as myself, wonderful grandparents and band members. Moreover, I take good care of myself to be able to give positive energy to the people around me.
How easy is it working with your husband?
As I mentioned above, I really appreciate it. Working with Alex makes things so much easier. He is understanding and we are able to plan everything together.
Please tell your side of how you met Alex…how did you know that he was “the one”?
I knew it the third time we met. I was 20 then and as I told my parents that I had met my big love and wanted to move to Germany, they supported me and advised me to follow my own wishes and intentions.
One word that would sum up your personality.
A warm person who likes cold weather (especially snow), honest, quiet and strongly connected to Nature. I really care about the ones I love.
If you could commission another band to cover a Leaves’ Eyes song, who would do it and which song would you choose.
Ozzy should cover the track “Leaves’ Eyes”. I would love to cover Black Sabbath’s “Changes”; the best song ever written.
In the role of a producer, if given the opportunity who would you like to produce going forward?
Yes, indeed. It’s just a matter of when do I have the time!
What did you grow up listening to?
Black Sabbath, Madonna, and classical music like e.g. Edvard Grieg.
Who are you listening to these days? Whose in you CD player?
The same artists as back then! At the moment I’m on tour and like to relax with classical music.
Favorite drink, favorite food.
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a teenager. I love pure fresh strawberries from the field, vanilla soy milk, and Asian food. From time to time I’m a vegan, but it’s hard to be a vegan on tour. Alex is a vegetarian, too, which makes cooking much easier. My son decides himself what he wants to eat.
If you could turn back the hands of time, would you change a thing?
There’s been two or three persons in my life I wish I had never met.
If your job was to interview bands, name one that you would want to interview and something you would like to find out about them.
Madonna! I would like to know how it is for her to be a mother, how she manages everything a.s.o.
More role reversals, do you have any questions for me?
Will I see you next time we tour the U.S.?I really do hope so! You sure will, first round's on me!
Any parting words?
Take care and thank you for doing this interview with me!
Thanks so much for taking the time out to fill out this interview Liv! The best of luck to all of your future endeavors. Hope you make it back to the States soon!!I'd like to thank Napalm Records as well for making this interview a possibility!
Click here for photos of the band during the Windy City Invitational
Here for interview with Alex Krull