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MorleyView: Leaves' Eyes Review

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One of the busiest bands in the world today is Leaves' Eyes. The band is fronted by Liv Kristine who is best known in North America as the woman in the Cradle of Filth video "Nymphetamine". The musicians in the band also make up the band Atrocity, led by Liv's husband Alexander Krull. In addition, Liv has a solo career which is interwoven around the schedules of the other bands.

Recently, Leaves' Eyes released a new EP entitled Legend Land, which contains a lot of the same elements found on their last year's excellent sophomore record Vinland Saga. Front and center is Kristine's soaring vocals, over the progressive metal that is unique to Leaves' Eyes. While the band was in the middle of a busy media blitz for the new record, I spoke to Liv to find out all the latest news from her camp.

antiMUSIC: Hi Liv. The new record is excellent. In particular the first cut "Legend Land" and "Viking's Word" are both terrific. Alexander's vocals really work well with yours, especially on "Legend Land".

Liv Kristine: Thank you. Actually that's what a number of people have told me so far. It's funny because, the journalists I've talked to so far, and friends and people we know listening to our music have told me that, yeah, the Legend Land EP, the sound of it, everything it's just like, how do you say, we really hit the spot this time, somehow. It seems like we did the right thing, not waiting until we had a complete album finished, but (rather) releasing these five tracks as they were fresh.

antiMUSIC: What can you tell us about Legend Land. Is this another concept record, sort of a continuation of Vinland Saga?

Liv Kristine: That's right. That's correct. It's a continuation of the Vinland Saga. Legend Land describes more in detail, what happened as they entered the new world. They discovered America, their meeting with the Indians, having to leave after a while going back to Norway again. So it's a continuation as you said.

antiMUSIC: What about the tracks. What is the first single?

Liv Kristine: Actually the idea was we would release a second single for Vinland Saga and we just couldn't decide which track we should choose. We had just arrived from our U.S.-Canada tour and we just felt very inspired to continue writing and composing. So that's what we did and everything happened during Christmas and January and Max from Napalm Records asked: "Which song should we pick for the single off Vinland Saga?" And we said, well hey we actually have five new tracks (laughs). So why not release another EP instead. So I don't think there will be a single at all.

antiMUSIC: Considering your hectic schedule, when was this material put together? 

Liv Kristine: Well, I'm very creative myself. I do have a lot of ideas. Luckily I've never been out of ideas (laughs)... so far. And my band members feel the same. Some of the band members from Leaves' Eyes are part of my solo band too. There are other musicians too. There are different people involved in the solo project. There are a lot of things going on all the time, a lot of input a lot of influence. It's a never ending story, never ending circle. There's so much we want to do. I think all of the members of Leaves' Eyes would need three lives or something just to get everything done (laughs).

antiMUSIC: The material has really taken on an epic sort of feel, which has moved away from the sound on Lovelorn. Do you feel the band has really found its sound or style?

Liv Kristine: I think so, that's what we feel. At the point in time when we wrote and recorded Lovelorn, we felt that's the right thing to do. We thought wow it's going to be hard to write and compose them and record a second album that's better kind of, and shows development in the band as well. So we thought ok, hmm, it's going to be hard. But with Vinland Saga, we really feel we that we've gotten further, somehow, we developed, but of course it's still 100 per cent Leaves' Eyes, just as Lovelorn is too, and Legend Land is like. Yeah, it just feels right. It's so intimate, so true to us. So it's so wonderful to hear that from journalists and people listening to our music, that well you really found it now, and that's what we feel too. Now I'm getting a little bit worried, what's going to be next (Laughs).

antiMUSIC: You've set the bar so high.

Liv Kristine: Yes, it starts with the technical side of the production, Alexander, my husband is the producer of Leaves' Eyes and his standards are just so high (laughs). He's a perfectionist himself. He hardly ever sleeps, he works at night. He just gives it all. When the rest of us feels okay, this is great, we've made it, he's like: okay, but we need to try it once more, because we need 110 percent. So it's amazing what comes out in the end.

antiMUSIC: You recently set a new world record for the promotional efforts of this record. Whose idea was this and how did you set it all up? (Hardest Signing Session by a Rock Band".)

Liv Kristine: Yeah, whose idea was it? I think it must been Alexander again. I go to sleep land (laughs). He's the one who comes up with ideas like this. We thought it would be much tougher. But it seems like not many people have thought about it. So we signed 5,000 copies. We're six people in the band, so that means 30, 000 signatures. We organised things very well. We just put heaps of booklets so that nothing got lost and everything was counted and everything was done in a structured way. So it went really well, there was no chaos. Even the kids were in the studio helping us out. Well there were no signatures from the kids (laughs) but they helped us. It gives you a good feeling to be a complete family in the studio and still doing important things. It gives you a good feeling. Everybody sticks together. It's a very comfortable situation in the band.

antiMUSIC: Can you feel the momentum building for Leaves' Eyes in the world or are you too removed from it all? How are things progressing in America?

Liv Kristine: We toured U.S. and Canada last year. And the beginning of this year we toured South America. When playing in a new continent, new places and meeting new audiences it just…the feedback we get, it's just incredible to see how nice people are to us, and how friendly to us, and how they welcome us. It's just amazing. We really feel that more and more people open up their eyes for our music, our art, and concept and everything we do. It really feels good. We see it of course on our homepage that there are more postings, more messages coming from different parts of the world, not only Europe. That's how we see it. We get a long of fan posts, letters, and people telling us how much they appreciate us, and it really gives us a lot of strength to continue and to tour on other continents.

antiMUSIC: How did your solo record do? Was it released in the US? Because I was asking about it and never received it?

Liv Kristine: That's a shame you didn't get it. Leaves' Eyes played in NY last year, and they told me they would like to release my solo album in U.S. and Canada. Then what I heard was, well we'll wait to see how it goes in Europe then we'll release it. So hmm, it feels like I'm waiting in a line. Sometimes it's frustrating you're told things, and promised things and they just don't happen because there's always something else coming first, or a reason for not doing what they told you. It's frustrating but, I'm very satisfied with RoadRunner, I must say, so far. I'm happy being signed to RoadRunner. I met the boss of RoadRunner, Europe a couple of weeks ago and we made new plans for Europe, what's coming up. So we are trying to get on a big tour for Europe and to release the second solo and yesterday I played my first solo show in eight years. It went fantastic. Normally I'm not nervous anymore, because being on stage I feel so much at home. And I know the order so well. But we had a set list with 20 tracks, and that's a lot of lyrics to know by heart, and I got new musicians too, live musicians, and we got 15 instruments and we had just a small wooden stage outside in the forest (laughs), and just something called a mixing desk, but it really didn't look like it. So, yeah, we just did the best we could. The audience was fantastic. It was at a festival which was actually the same festival I played at eight years ago when I first solo show and my last show. In the meantime I signed with RoadRunner and second solo album. It was really nice, nice atmosphere, and after 2 or 3 songs I just felt comfortable again on stage and the audience was fantastic. It was a Viking village actually. We had about 15 hundred, 2000 people. 

antiMUSIC: It must have been strange with Alexander not there?

Liv Kristine: Actually he was in front of the house, helping out the mixing guy. So he kept an eye on me (laughs). It's always good to have him around. Actually he said; "Why you have to go alone this time? And I said "Well". Because yeah, it would be the first time without him. Tomorrow, we will play in Stuesgard actually. It's our second solo show, but Alexander will come with me. On Wednesday, it is Heidelberg. So Heidelberg will be the first time without him. I'm getting used to being…wherever I am, he is and vice versa.

antiMUSIC: Considering you have a young son, can you see yourself maintaining this pace or will you have to pick and choose your spots as he gets older?

Liv Kristine: I knew about what would happen in 2006,. I already knew the plan, in July 2005. So I always plan one year ahead. And I really take, really plan everything carefully. So that there are breaks in between the shows. It's very important. The summer festivals take place at weekends, so during the week, the regular week days, I have time off. So it's great. So Liam goes to his grandparents place on the weekends so that's okay. The only that is really tough on me is going on tour, being away more than a week. It hurts so much, but I know he's doing fine. What we did after we had been on the South American tour, we just left for the European tour so we took Liam with us. And it worked really well. It really enjoyed it. Since we're a big family anyway, our guitar player Matthias also took his son with him. We had a babysitter, a nanny with us too. So it really worked. So now I know there is this option to take him with us on the road. So yeah, he's big enough, he's almost 2 and half, he's big enough to understand a little bit what we're doing, travelling with the bus, and we're playing shows and making music. He's starting to understand it. So now it makes sense for us to take him with us too. But the most important thing is to keep the breaks, long breaks and not doing other things in the breaks, turning off the mobile phones, staying at home and just concentrating on the family. So that's what I'm doing, and that's what is giving me the strength to go on tour again.

antiMUSIC: I've just stories recently about all the problems on the last US tour. You told me a bit last time but it seems there were even more. It's a wonder you were able to finish it out. I can't imagine anybody tangling with Alexander. He's so imposing, to be honest he intimidates the heck out of me. There must have been some interesting encounters with promoters or club owners along the way?

Liv Kristine: There were so many things happening, when I think back right now it's like a bad movie. Being stuck in a bad movie. There were things happening that we couldn't control. I was very happy we didn't take our kids with us, on the tour actually, because that would have affected us, we would have had to leave the tour right away. But we just did every show we could, and we just finished everything ever show. It felt terrible in the end because everything went so wrong. And still we felt good because we stick together, we're a family. Nothing can tear us apart, nothing can bring us down. In the end, it was like, yeah, it gives us even more strengths, and made us feel even more like a family. So we have to be careful next time.

antiMUSIC: Too bad it was your introduction to U.S/Canada.

Liv Kristine: Many bands have that experience so I guess it's not just us.

antiMUSIC: The tour this ball, is it also with Atrocity? I just see Blind Guardian listed.

Liv Kristine: That's right I think we will tour just with Blind Guardian.

antiMUSIC: The band won't have to do the double duty like on the last tour.

Liv Kristine: We could play with Atrocity, of course. It wouldn't be any problem at all. But they asked especially for Leaves' Eyes, so yeah, we're happy and grateful to be with them. We get a chance to meet an even bigger audience than last time and play and maybe sell some cds. It's going to be great. I'm really happy that the tour is taking place.

antiMUSIC: Are you still appearing on the new Cradle? 

Liv Kristine: I'm still waiting for Dani's vocal. As far as I've heard he's got some problems with his voice. That's what I've heard. Well, I'm just hoping that he gets well soon. I had the same problems during our tour in South America. We caught a virus there I think it was because the long fight. You easily get sick when you do have to take a long flight. As we arrived at our first stop, it already started and some of us had problems with our stomach. And some of us had problems with our lungs and with our voice. And I was one of those losing the voice and what was really bad because I really had no experience with losing my voice. It was the first time in my life. We did all the shows we had planned, but we had to call the doctor of few times. And we had to get injections to be able to go on stage. But we managed. And I heard also The Gathering, they toured South America just a couple of weeks before we did and they had the same problem. And I think Aneka from still has problems with her voice. They cancelled most of their shows here in Europe just before us, yeah and the same thing happened so we were already warned that there was or is a virus which affects you in the way especially bad for singers. But there's nothing you can do about it, if you get it you get it.

antiMUSIC: Anything else this year?

Liv Kristine: We will do about 20 festivals this summer. It's about every weekend. During the week, as I told you, it's time off, it's family time. That's fine. There will be an Australian/New Zealand tour. We're still waiting for the show coordinator? We will tour Australia and then I'll probably do a tour with my solo project. Then USA/ Canada, with Blind Guardian .And then it's almost Christmas and the year's over. That's what's going to happen now. That's why we won't have time to record a third album with Leaves' Eyes. It will have to wait till 2007 but I hope you can forgive me. (laughs)

antiMUSIC: I think we can forgive you, Liv. Thanks a lot for this and all the best with Legend Land. I'll see you in November.

Liv Kristine: Thank you so much. See you in Montreal.

Morley Seaver and antiMUSIC thank Liv for this interview. 


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