My good friend Lior at Metal Temple asked me to review an album by this band Leaves’ Eyes that I knew NOTHING about, not a thing. Well, after listening to said album, Symphonies of the Night, I was all in on Leaves’ Eyes, and as soon as he asked if I wanted to interview singer Liv Kristine my answer was a resounding YES! We had a very nice chat via Skype about the album, playing live, and family. She was a delight to speak with and so appreciative of the fans, too. So, here it is:
Amps: First of all Liv, thanks so much for giving me a few minutes.
Liv: Thank you, the pleasure is on my side. It’s an honor talking to you, Damian. We need people like you out there. You make it possible for us to be full-time musicians, and that’s the truth. There is always the matter of giving and receiving, so it’s good that we have each other. We are all so passionate about music.
Amps: Well clearly I’m pretty passionate about Leaves’ Eyes, as my album review shows.
Liv: Yes, I heard so. I had a very short look just before I called you. Today’s been really busy and something happened with the schedule, but a warm thank you for all your compliments on Symphonies of the Night.
Amps: Admittedly I didn’t know anything about the band, but I am definitely a convert at this point. I got sent the album for review purposes, and I’ll fire up anything once because, why not? And I was blown away by the record.
Amps: “Galswintha” and the title track were the first two things that jumped out at me right away. I especially liked the folk tinge to “Galswintha” and the arrangement kept me coming back.
Liv: We actually debuted those songs at a festival last weekend and the audience seemed to love them. We played five new tracks, all of which seemed to work really well.
Amps: I love that you call the vocals “Beauty and the Beast” because that’s what comes to mind when listening to you and Alexander (Krull, vocalist and Liv’s husband) singing together.
Liv: Absolutely. This is something that is entertaining visually as well as musically. And there’s a contrast in the music. But visually people like to see this Beauty and the Beast thing, and it’s not just one person standing in front of a band singing the songs.
Amps: You did Female Metal Voices Festival recently, and you pulled double duty playing two nights, both solo and with Leaves’ Eyes. Tell me about that.
Liv: Yes we did. Friday is normally the day people arrive and there are maybe a few hundred people in the venue, and Saturday is always fully packed but you know what? When I finished my sound check to about 20 people in that huge venue and I had 90 minutes to prepare I just said to the guys in my solo band, “Don’t worry. If there is almost no one in the venue, we play with no worries whatsoever. And I don’t wanna see any sour faces.” And then the intro started and I heard a huge roar in the audience, people screaming and clapping and I thought, “Ok. There must be couple hundred people or so.” Then I get out there and saw about 2,000 people and I was blown away, and it was an amazing solo gig for me that night. And Saturday Leaves’ Eyes got to play our new songs, which was also amazing! It was a great weekend and I was really overwhelmed when leaving the festival.
Amps: Are you looking to come over to the U.S. on your tour? Obviously after Europe. Can we expect to see Leaves’ Eyes here in 2014?
Liv: Well, it’s about to be confirmed that we’ll do a U.S. tour after 70,000 Tons of Metal. (I scream, “YESSS!”) We got our visas, so it should be no problem. My son keeps asking me, “When are we going to the U.S.?” I am almost 100% sure that it’s gonna happen in February or March. The tour just has to be confirmed.
Amps: How old is your little guy? I have an 11-year old, myself.
Liv: Oh, he’s nine. It’s a great age, and just amazing. I love this age. We went to see a hairdresser today because he’s got his first girlfriend and he’s seeing her tomorrow (laughs).
Amps: Wow! Ladykiller! That’s great. Now, this record is really something special. Do you have any favorite songs?
Liv: Oh dear, oh dear. It changes from week to week and with every live performance. Actually right now “Hell to the Heavens” is my favorite because it worked out so well in Bulgaria and Romania. “Symphony of the Night” and “Ophelia” were my favorites on another trip, and when the mix was finished it was “Nightshade”. It’s always different when you’ve got the CD in your hand. We got the finished product a week ago and I’m very excited. It’s different now to sit and listen to it, and I keep discovering new things which I like about it. Although I know it so well through the recording, mixing, and mastering process, there is still something there that I enjoy discovering.
We have a ten year anniversary coming up and I feel very comfortable with where we are standing right now. It feels good for most of us dedicating 20 years to metal. With Leaves’ Eyes it’s ten years of experience and you know, we’ve got our own studio, Mastersound Entertainment. It’s just across the house and it’s been a very creative process for Symphonies of the Night. For us it meant we just go with the flow and do everything and anything we like. So I’m really happy about this album and the fact that we could do what we want. We’re really looking forward to playing this album for you guys.
Amps: So is that the plan, to play it start to finish live? In order, or what?
Liv: Well, what we did now was play the first five tracks of the album just to see what happened. And maybe there will be a special show just for this album.
Amps: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!! Do that!
Liv: (Laughing) I’d love to. To have a real orchestra onstage with all the folk instrument players in one huge show, that’s my dream. That would be truly amazing.
Amps: Sorry if I got a little crazy there, I was very excited by that idea! Plus I’m a fan!
Liv: Oh, thank you so much. You know, when I’m talking to people like you then I know why I’m doing this whole thing. Being a musician and a composer, I’m glad I studied. I’ve had different jobs, but I’ve always been into music. When I was a little girl I was singing before I was able to speak. It’s a natural thing to me. I’m not scared of stages or audiences big or small. It’s been given to me, this whole thing, so I consider myself very lucky. Although it is hard work with a lot of traveling; it’s not a 9 to 5 job. Still, it’s something that comes from the heart, and I am grateful. This is something very special. And family and music are the two most wonderful things in my life. And again, it’s because you make this happen.
Amps: What would you like to say to all your fans?
Liv: I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there for us, and I owe all of this to you because without you I wouldn’t be here making all of this music and performing for you. So thank you so much.
Amps: Liv, I want to thank you so much for giving me some time. Give your family my best, and can’t wait to see you on the road.
Liv: Thank you so much, Damian. You take good care and all the best to your family as well. I hope to see you in Texas in the spring.
There you have it: the lovely and talented Liv Kristine. Be sure to catch Leaves’ Eyes on the road, and/or on 70,000 Tons of Metal. And pick up Symphonies of the Night now, you’ll be glad you did.