Leaves' Eyes

Interview date

Novembre 2009




Interview Liv Kristine

Hi Liv, thanks to answer to the French Webzine http://auxportesdumetal.com questions! How do you feel now your album is out?

The day it happens, when the album is finished and sent to the pressing factory, it reminds me of that day when I finished my master degree at the university. It's great to have the album finished and out in the shops. The mixing process of "Njord" was quite long and took a lot of strength and sleep-less nights. The first thing I did was to go for a long run through the forest. What a relief, what a great moment. The press' and fans' feedback has been absolutely amazing, saying that 2009 is the beginning of a great and wonderful journey for Leaves' Eyes. This is fantastic!

For four years, you didn't release anything with Leaves'Eyes. This year, there are a DVD and an album. Don't you think it's a lot of releases for one band and their fans?

We really struggled a lot to finish both the album and the dvd. It wasn't possible to do it differently. Lot's of things have happened. After the release of "Vinland Saga" and "Legend Land" in 2005, we needed some time to finish our next production. We started to compose for "Njord" in 2007, and we had planned to release the album in 2008, however we just built a complete new studio from the ground as we had to leave the one we had rented before. Moreover, we were forced to renew the complete studio equipment and recording system after moving into the new studio. This took about at least a year. In the middle of all this, we had to produce our DVD, which is a "monster" project of six hours playing time. Of course we had troubles finding a new bass player and drummer, as our two former members decided to concentrate on their other jobs. Nick Barker, who was our drummer for a while, unfortunately had to step back from metal and music business during a difficult period of time in his life. We suddenly had a phone call from England, in which he was terribly sorry to tell us about some serious personal problems he had. It is quite difficult to find a new drummer, especially because he or she has to be able to play the songs by Leaves' Eyes, Atrocity and my solo project. However, we needed to get through these extremely busy and hard times to get a new perspective on things, and to settle down. Since the first demo recordings for "Njord" we have been able to achieve goals that we thought back in 2007 would be quite impossible.

You wrote "Njord" when you were working on "We came with Northern Winds". Isn't it difficult to focus on new inspirations when you work on past ones?

No, we work in teams, actually. When my husband Alex mixed the DVD, the rest composed and recorded music for "Njord". We keep everything we do separate also when it comes to music, and this is possible as we have two recording rooms where different persons are working. My mind is always set on one album or release, basically.

On your EP "My Destiny", there are non-album tracks. Why did you choose to put these songs on the EP and not on the album?

Well, it was extremely hard to chose between the 18 tracks written for "Njord", however, the bands always decides in cooperation with our label, Napalm Recs. We decided according to our "inner voice". There's no better way to do it.

You have written in eight different languages. How were the writing and recording process for these songs and passages with the languages you don't speak?

True, 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. My extremely "fine" hearing tells me what kind of "language" and expression a tune needs to reach the ears and the hearts of our audience.

Why did you choose to do a cover of "Scarborough Fair"?

I actually had the idea to make this song "my own" as I was an exchange student in Scarborough many years ago. I love the tune and due to the fact that it was sung at the Scarborough trading market in the Middle Ages it fits perfectly to our concept. Most people know the song from Simon and Garfunkel's version, however it is a traditional tune.

"Emerald Island" is a kind of romantic title, but Alexander does some grunts otherwise we can imagine a sweet song. Why such a contrast between the title and the song?

Musically, the song needed a contrast in the vocal line, because there is double bass drum coming up in the chorus. Alex voice fits perfectly to these parts.

Can you say few words about the concept of "Njord"?

"Njord" is our third full-length album. The title "Njord" says already a lot about the concept. I love the "sound" of the word (I am a phonetician). It reminds you of "north" and "fjord", however "Njord" is the god of storms and the sea. He was incredibly important for the Vikings, either as farmers, fishing-men, traders or warriors travelling across the seas in their long ships. The lyrics mainly deal with characters from northern mythology (e.g. Njord, Fröya'sTheme, 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 necesary 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. I feel that our music needs a special well-written and interesting concept, and I want to travel through time and space, taking our audience into an amazing and positive feeling and state of mind.

For this album, you worked with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra and Victor Smolski (Rage). How did you work together?

"Njord" has even a more bombastic but delicate sound that "Vinland Saga", because techniques allows it. Moreover, the classical recordings done in this huge formation is something we hadn't done at least to this extent on the previous albums. We met the director of Lingua Mortis, Victor Smolski, at a Leaves' Eyes/Rage concert in Greece in 2007 and we talked to him about having his orchestra playing on the album. From the very start, Alex said we need a real 40-person orchestra, and we need a 25-people choir to make the album sound bombastic, impressive and authentic. Viktor did a fantastic job. The classical parts were recorded in Minsk and sent as sound files to our studio.

You got a new drummer and a new bass player. How do they get involve inthis album?

They entered the band after we had finished the pre-recordings, so they are not really involved in the "Njord" composing prosess.

When we think about Vikings or Viking Metal, we can imagine brutal peoples and music. Do you think your universe bring another image to this style?

Norwegian nature and the middle-ages will always play the most important role for me in my artistic work. Secondly, I grew up with heavy metal (e.g. Black Sabbath/Ozzy) on one side, and classical music (e.g. Grieg, Tschaikowsky) on the other side, so when I formed my ex-band Theatre of Tragedy together with the lead male singer back in 1994, it was clear to me what my music should sound like: bombastic, romantic, heavy, and it must include contrasting elements. Leaves' Eyes is not at all a Viking-metal band, although my lyrics and concepts are based on Viking's history. We mix metal, probably gothic metal, with real classical music, and even folk instruments, and then we have contained the "beauty and the beast" image from my early days with Theatre of Tragedy, with main focus on the soprano female voice. I am still sticking to my roots, but there's a continuous progression in me and the band with every album.

For the previous albums, you were the only one band member who figured on it, otherwise, for "Njord", you choose a band picture. Why?

That is always the decision of my band members and our label. I never ask to be on the cover. What you see, is actually the place where I grew up in Madla, Stavanger, Norway, and these images mean a lot to me.

Can you say few words about "My destiny" video clip?

Yes, we shot a video for "My Destiny" in Sweden some weeks ago with team "Revolver". That was absolutely amazing! The actors, the nature, the weather - all was perfect!

You will come in France with Sirenia and Atrocity. A lot of Leaves'Eyes members will play twice an evening. How do you think they will succeed?

Yes, including myself, because I am doing background- and guestvocals for Atrocity, as well. We are used to this. Going on tour does not mean party time for us. We are travelling with our families and we are professionals. Sometimes a glas of wine after the show, however we want to play damn good shows every night. The audience paid for this and deserves the maximum of our show!

Have you something else to say to end this interview?

My pleasure talking to you! Now, my solo album is almost finished, the next Leaves' Eyes album is in progression... There will be another Atrocity album featuring Alex' sister Yasmin Krull in the mix by Christmas... Moreover, we have lots of tours coming up. We will tour Europe in November, and America next year. The fourth Leaves' Eyes album, which we are working on right now, will be a folk-inspired album, more like a side project, however, still very Leaves' Eyes. We plan to release it in the Autumn next year. Love.