Interview with Liv Kristine of LEAVES EYES

Prior to her great set at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT, I had the pleasure to sit down with Liv Kristine of LEAVES’ EYES for a one-on-one interview. I’d like to thank Nathan at Napalm records and Bjoern for making the interview happen. Now, without further adieu, here are the contents of our discussion.

How has the tour been going so far?
Liv Kristine: “Super! The shows, the audience I think has been just the way we had wished for. The only thing is that half our equipment has been lost somewhere in the universe of airlines and nobody knows where it has disappeared.”

How has the crowd reaction been so far? How has the crowd reaction been so far?
Liv Kristine: “Really, really great. Yesterday was B.B. Kings, it was our third time in New York, our second time in B.B. Kings. It was amazing as always. In the spring we’ll be back at B.B. Kings again to play two nights.”

That’s with KING DIAMOND right?
Liv Kristine: “Yeah! Two nights in a row, that’s really cool.”

Why did you decide to release the EP "Legend Land" rather than do another full length?
Liv Kristine: “Well the songs were ready shortly after the full length ("Vinland Saga") had been released. So we thought it’s probably too much for people because you know, people spend money on buying albums, so we thought let’s do an EP for the price of a single. It’s a nice way of saying ‘thank you’ to the fans, I think.”

What are your impressions on touring North America?
Liv Kristine: “Super! Really, really great. We really see that the people here are hungry for more. It’s different to the situation in Europe right now. Well, you can go to a concert every night if you want to. They’re used to it, so it’s nothing new for them. But it seems like here in North America people are very eager to see more bands.”

Do you think you’ll ever do a full headlining tour over here?
Liv Kristine: “Well, that would be fantastic! I think we should do a couple of support tours first.”

The concept for "Vinland Saga" is very cool. Did you already have the story in your head or did it just come to you when you started to write the lyrics?
Liv Kristine: “I had thought about it for quite some time. I was just about to finish my masters degree in English and German at the German University and I thought "All right, I finished my studies, I’ve learned and read a lot, I want to use it for something". And then I sat down and wrote the concept, which was the concept for our first album "Lovelorn". Then I thought "All Right, I want to work with history, with historical facts". In Norway we do learn a lot about the Vikings even before we enter school and I do get homesick every now and then - I’m living in Germany now. Yeah, so due to my homesickness and my own interest in history, I thought "Okay, let’s write about something in history" and I thought the Vikings, that’s a good idea. And I find the Vikings discovery of America very, very interesting and the fact that it was NOT Columbus. (laughs)”

How has the reaction from the media and fans been to "Vinland Saga"?
Liv Kristine: “Fantastic! It was nice to see that there was more interest coming from America. There were much more interviews and offers to play in America than ever before. It was actually through "Vinland Saga" that we were offered to tour America. So yes, things are happening and we’re very happy about that.“

Are you already working on new music?
Liv Kristine: “Yes, we are. We just have to finish this tour and as soon as we get back we will continue composing and recording a new full-length album.”

Do you have any new songs completed?
Liv Kristine: “Just ideas. But I’ve been working on the concept which is pretty much settled. It will deal with the north and I have found some point in history which I really find very interesting, so I’ll start from there and there will be influences from other parts of the world. So yeah, we’ll be back with the Vikings.(laughs)”

Are there any plans for the band to do a DVD at this point?
Liv Kristine: “Yeah! Actually we will record our show in Belgium which is in October at the Metal Female Voices festival. The stage will be huge, so we’ll bring along - or build up - in Belgium a Viking ship, which is like ten meters long from either side. I think it’ll be a fantastic show. We’ll film it for the DVD and what we have been doing for the last two years are filming audiences. So you might happen to see yourself on the DVD.”

As far as DVD extras go, are you going to put videos on there, etc.?
Liv Kristine: “Yeah, we will. And of course there will be some shots shown from touring, some personal stuff as well. We’ll also ask some people what they think about us. Mostly we always get the questions but we will ask people some questions too.”

What are your plans following this tour?
Liv Kristine: “Well, we will continue doing some recording for our third full-length album. The DVD, which should be out in Spring 2008 and the album as well. So we have to do that first and a couple of shows in Europe.”

Why did you decide to record a solo album?
Liv Kristine: “It was very important to make another one after the first one ("Deus Ex Machina"). I discovered that the people I had worked with in connections to the recordings and every thing for the first solo album and also the label, management and everything, they just wanted one thing, which was money and I felt that they didn’t care about me as a person anymore. Behind the artist there is always a person and I’ve always been very careful. I’m always trying to be myself in anyway I can, I don’t want people to tell me what to do, I don’t want to walk around like a Barbie doll with a dollar sign on my fore head, that’s not my strategy. So I told them and I got sued and there was a terrible fight in court, it went on for years and years. As soon as that got sorted out and the troubles ended, I was more than eager to work with new people, get a new start and release a new album. That was very important to me, that was one of the most important steps in my career.”

The new album is not released in the US now, is it?
Liv Kristine: “It’s very difficult to get it here, which is a big disappointment actually.”

It is a very good album. The direction is very un-metal, was this a conscience decision to go in a different musical direction?
Liv Kristine: “Yes, it is another side of me, but there is so much of me in there. I get a bit scared because it’s like a holding a mirror. Yeah, sometimes it scares me a bit to hear my own thoughts and words.”

So this is a personal album, then?
Liv Kristine: “Yeah, exactly!”

Will there be another solo album in the future?
Liv Kristine: “I hope so. Right now, I’m very busy with LEAVES’ EYES. My solo thing is not progressing as fast as LEAVES’ EYES at the moment so, we’re dealing more with LEAVES’ EYES at the moment. I just hope and prey that my solo album will be released in the states and other places on this planet.”

Who are some of your favorite singers?
Liv Kristine: “The first band I ever heard when I was a little girl was BLACK SABBATH with Ozzy Osbourne. That’s the music I grew up with. DEEP PURPLE, PINK FLOYD followed. When I was eight I discovered MADONNA. OZZY OSBOURNE and MADONNA are still the two biggest for me. I also love KATE BUSH, TORI AMOS and I love LINKIN PARK. Some stuff by CARCASS. I also love classical music. So for me there are no limits.”

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. In closing, is there anything you would like to add or say to the fans?
Liv Kristine: “First of all, I want to say ‘thank you’ to you for taking the time talking to me. I want to say ‘thank you’ to everybody coming to our concerts. It is our third time here and every time there is a double amount of people that come to see us. It’s very nice to see. And I’m very grateful to everybody, because without you we wouldn’t be here.”

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Tony Cannella, August 2007.

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