Leaves Eyes Interview
@ The Garage, London
19th January 2014
Interview by Ben Spencer
Photography by Graham Hilling
Having just interviewed her husband and waiting around for her previous interviewer to finish, it was time to interview front woman Liv Kristine of Gothic Metal band Leaves Eyes and learn more about the bands journey through the years.
So tonight you guys are headlining London, could you tell us about how the tour has been so far?
Liv: (Enthusiastically) Its been absolutely amazing! It has definitely has been the best start to the new year that we could possibly imagine. We’ve had a full house at every night. I had never expected that a January tour would go so well (smiles). I’m very grateful for that and its great to be back in the UK. We really do have to return to the UK as we’ve seen that people are really eager to have us and hungry for more. So thank you so much!
Since the band’s formation, your music has always focused around naturalistic themes that not only relate to nature but also legends, sagas and Norse Mythology. Have these themes been decided upon the lyricist/ vocalist of the band or do you all share an interest in these particular subjects?
Liv: Actually I never really decide about my lyrics, its always the music itself that inspires me to write about the themes so it’s the music that decides. (Leans forward) Personally, I have always been interested in mythology. I love Celtic and Viking culture and with symphonies of the night I basically went to my cellar and dug up my old books and found loads of Shakespeare stuff which I love.
With my old band Theatre of Tragedy the first 3 albums were all written lyrically in Shakespearean English.
Having recorded quite a few albums over the years and continually growing as a band is there any album that you have released that is particularly special to you?
Liv: (Pauses) Tough question, well Symphonies of the night, it kind of sums up all the good things about Leaves Eyes over the past 10 years. Although I think Lovelorn is probably from an emotional side because 2000 was the year I got kicked out of Theatre of Tragedy. I had a very tiring and expensive court case with my solo career. My producer wanted me to be like the Shania Twain, which was not me at all so I had to get out of that contract which took 3 years. I lost everything but I got my freedom, that was in 2003 and I was pregnant that year. So it was a tough year but also the beginning of many good things (enthusiastically).
You guys have experienced quite a lot of international chart success in Germany and even the USE CMJ music charts, which is your favourite country to play and why?
Liv: At the moment the UK (laughs) we just said back stage that its such a shame the tour is over and that its only five shows because we feel at home here and we’ve seen that people are very happy to have us. Whereas other European countries people are kind of fed they have concerts every week there is hardly any effort from the venue owners to do promotion for the shows. We had some disastrous shows in Germany and Austria a while ago and people didn’t even know we were there. I see that our fans and friends here are really happy to see us and that gives e strength to continue and return very soon. The UK is just Killer!
The latest music video, Hell To Heaven over 200,000 views on Youtube. Could you tell us the story is behind it?
Liv: Yes it Hecate the Witch who is held by the Catholic Church who has to burn for her natural beliefs. In the end she uses her powers to burn the Church so in the end she is stronger and survives and runs off. Which is different way of ending a witch story from the middle ages where she would probably be dead (laughs).
Your music at times has been referred to as orchestral, epic, dark, metal and even folk. Is there any other avenue or influence you guys would consider including into your music for the future?
Liv: I don’t really pay much attention to what is going on in the music business and I have to be very honest with what’s in my heart. I want to be free in my artistic work so I have to go with my creative flow and go with it. Music apart from my family is the second most important thing in my life. Anything I feel good about I would probably let into my artistic world.
What has been the best on stage experience you guys have played so far?
Liv: I think when we played at the Metal Female Voices Festival in 2007 when we performed on a Viking Long ship that had all kinds of different props on stage was definitely a highlight in the career of Leaves Eyes but I think Nottingham and Birmingham, and I’m sure London will be great. We played to full house for the first time in both Nottingham and Birmingham and I will never forget that.
You also played a solo show in Switzerland in December 2013, how different or similar is her solo work to the music made in the band?
Liv: Its different. When I do solo shows I include songs from albums including some of Theatre of Tragedy but I would never do that with Leaves Eyes for some reason I just don’t feel comfortable with it. When I tour live I would play all the stuff from Theatre of Tragedy and a Kate Bush cover here and there (laughs). A Leaves Eyes show is probably more varied because all my solo albums are very different. Switzerland was great and I also did a couple of Christmas carols which was very interesting and I think people really liked it. I even got a request for a Christmas album.
What are your plans for the future?
Liv: We’ll be touring lots. After the UK tour we go home and do our laundry. We have 48 hours then we’ll be off to 70,000 tons of metal USA/ Canada for 4 weeks so we’ll be very busy.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Liv: (excitedly) I have to mention that yesterday was a very important day in my life. We played for the first time in the capital of heavy metal Birmingham but I also found Ozzy Osborne’s birthplace. I took some photos and realised that it was a really rough neighbourhood and some gangsters were watching us, so I jumped on the first bus and went back to the venue. It was nice to be there and I text my father the photo and he said ‘Remember this day girl, you know where your inspiration comes from’. (Leans back) I was basically fed Black Sabbath from my first day on this planet. So that’s where my inspiration came and will always come from (smiles).