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Interview with:

Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull – Leaves’ Eyes

“Always giving something good to the people.”

It’s been a while after I spoke with vocalist Liv Kristine back in 2004. At that time Leaves’ Eyes was promoting Lovelorn and started building their fanbase. Now in 2007 the hard work is succeeded: long tours with Blind Guardian and Kamelot through Europe and America, a long list of festivals and there is nobody in the gothic scene who doesn’t know their name. Leaves’ Eyes has an own unique reputation.
Liv Kristine : "Well we have seen each other a couple of times since than.”

I could follow your career a bit on the sideline and a lot happened: you had your own solo record ‘Enter My Religion’ and the new ‘Legend Land’ EP from Leaves’ Eyes and a long tour. How you have been?

Liv Kristine: "Fine, it is all happening so fast. When a year has gone, it is like as if a year consists of two or three months. Everything is happening so fast. We also had that five-week tour in America. Then it was Christmas and the year was over and now we are almost in the middle of 2007. It’s crazy, but when you travel to all those countries and meet all those wonderful people. You get new friends and it gives me a lot of influences. I really appreciate it. Now I also travel with my family, which is – of course- excellent.”


It is the first time that you travel longer than a week with your son right?
Liv Kristine: "Exactly. One year ago we also had a show in Holland and I had my son Leon with me. He was two years then. He thought it was fun, but didn’t really understand what was going on. Now he understands that I am sometimes a mother and sometimes Leaves’ Eyes.”

Now Liv changes here voice when she talks about her son. It sounds even softer and sweeter.
Liv Kristine: “So he is like: ‘Today it is Friday, so mother where is the tourbus? You have to go on tour now. I want to see Leaves’ Eyes.’ It makes more sense for him to come along. Last year he also came along to America, but always with a baby sitter of course. It is good, everybody is together.”

I can imagine that when you have a little child on the tour that you have to be more protective.

Liv Kristine: "That’s a truth, in some way you have to be... well when I take my kid with me during daytime to a playground it is safe. Like here in Holland, it is very child friendly. When people see me then it is like: how sweet that is Liv with her son. Some people would like to make photos, but I try to keep him away from that. I think he should grow up like every other child and he doesn’t need that extra attention and that is my part of the job.”

It can be hard, because you want to be a mother and you are also a fulltime musician and things go very fast now. What when he goes to school, can you be a part of that?

Liv Kristine: “I have a big advantage and that is when I am not on tour, I am a fulltime mother. If we are recording an album I have work to do, but most of the time I can spent the whole day with my son and enjoy that. I am also taking care of other kids. We are living in the country side, so we have all the space and a big garden where they can play. There are no cars and people, so I love it to have kids around me. That is another, a different world. When I wouldn’t have become a musician, I would have liked to work at the kindergarten or something.”

Other Side

Back in time: back to your solo album. ‘Enter My Religion’, it surprised me a lot, because it is a more catchy pop side from you. Sometimes when people hear that you are making a solo album, they expect more in the line of Leaves’ Eyes. Instead you used a different voice technique. How was it to do a new project?

Liv Kristine: “That is also one side of me. Of course metal was the music I grew up with though my parents with bands like Black Sabbath and all this. Later when I was seven years old I discovered Madonna and pop music. At twenty-five I discovered classical music, so there are different sides of me, I have different musical interests and I really want to let this out, to be creative…That is why it is excellent to have my band Leaves’ Eyes, but in addition to this also my solo project as well; because I can let out all my inspiration and ideas."

And it helps that you have your own studio: the Mastersound studio?

Liv Kristine: “Oh yes that helps a lot. There is no pressure or something. I just have to be on time to pick up my son from the kindergarten – laughs.”

Is there a chance that you will do some shows again with your solo project? You did some festivals, but not a real festival tour.

Liv Kristine: “I really hope so, but the shows of this year have been planned for a long time so they have priority. If I find a tour which I can join - I wouldn’t do a headline tour for my solo show - I would like to join someone else. I like to be the support act. It is very comfortable and of course I don’t have all those rights and earn money, well in most cases you don’t earn anything as a support act. That is not the most important thing, because I just want to feel comfortable on tour. I have to find somebody who likes to join me, so I have to keep my eyes open.”


Maybe it is an idea to do some shows with Delain, because you did some guest vocals on their début ‘Lucidity’?
Liv Kristine: “Yes, exactly. I was getting in touch with Martijn Westerholt (keyboard, songwriter Delain) at one time and he had sent me the songs and I really loved them. I was able to pick two tracks: the one with Marco Hietala (vocalist NIGHTWISH and Tarot) and the duet with Charlotte Wessels (vocalist Delain). Martijn came to the Mastersound Studio and we recorded everything together. I am very happy with it; I think the album is really great. I listen to it a lot in my car. I wish I could have met Martijn tonight, because I think Zwolle is his home town. Best wishes and biggest greetings to them.”

Wise Lesson
Back to Leaves’ Eyes: the first thing I noticed after those years was the difference in performance. Compared to the first shows they’ve changed a lot.

Liv Kristine: “The dress has changed, it’s blue now – laughs-. Of course there are a lot of new songs. We have written a lot of new material since then. To be honest, the Dutch audience has always been fantastic, I must say so. I really love the shows in the Dutch clubs. I really like them, because than it is possible to keep up the communication with the audience.”

Here her voice becomes even softer; " It is always a matter of giving and taking. I would not be able to make music, be a musician without the audience. They also come to the show for a good time and it is always giving and taking.
The more we play and the more we show the audience that we are grateful that they come to see us, the atmosphere is very special. The interaction on stage, also between us and the audience is very nice, I really appreciated that. It is nice to see that people are coming again and again. Like today there were a lot of familiar faces in the audience. That is always good to see.”

Always touring

Than she switches to the other subject: touring, something the band is doing a lot.
“It s going to be strange to travel trough Scandinavia: we’ve hardly played there, which is strange. Most people think that we are a German band. I am German too, because I left the country, emigrated.  Of course I’ll always be a Norwegian in my hart. Tomorrow we play in Denmark for the first time. I am also excited to play in Finland for the first time. We only played in Norwegian two times. It is a bit strange, because we played a lot in Holland, there is a certain chemistry. We have to start from the very beginning in Scandinavia and that is quite hard.”

Do you have a different approach?

Liv Kristine: “We are trying to give the same feeling. Of course there is a certain way to build up the show in performance also, but when the audience is happy and want to hear more, we can make more of the show and communicate more. We are always doing our best and if there are five people that night it doesn’t matter. We are now on tour with KAMELOT and then we have a thousand people every night. In between they have a break and than we play at the smaller clubs; like tonight, we like those shows and hate days off. Why should we hang around in a stinky tourbus? So we would rather like to play, sometimes the clubs are so small like 120 people can fit in; I think that is good. It always make the musician stay down to earth with both legs and don’t act like stars.” Now her Norwegian accent picks up a bit."

I think that you’ve become one of the bigger names over the last few years in this scene. It proves a lot that you can do those tours and still have a lot of fans coming up every time.

Liv Kristine: “I am very grateful and it is fantastic to see how things are taking a positive turn at the moment. That is wonderful, but I’ll always be the same: shy and trying to give something good to people. I am very happy that my band members think the same: we don’t have rock stars in this band, it is a strong family.
I would say that the popularity has grown, yes, but we always will be the same band. That is the basic of everything, if you are a band that wants to continue for a long time, you need that.”

What will happen next: is there any time to record a new album?
Liv Kristine: “In between the touring we are trying to record some new ideas, but it is hard. If we record, we want to sit down and take our time.”

The band is also busy to record a new ATROCITY album, so it is even busier?
Liv Kristine: “They just recorded the orchestra and the choir. I will do some guest vocals on it also and I think there will be no new Leaves’ Eyes album until next year. You will have the DVD though; with all your faces on it”

Liv  Kristine: “We need the fans, the audience and hopefully they also need us. Normally you only see the faces of the rock stars. You will never gain popularity if you don’t have such a wonderful audience. We should see the audience and that is what happening now.”

Higher Goal

When you are in such a hectic period, well anyway it seems like that to me, how do you stay down on the ground and still have those dreams. Is there still something you want to reach? You did those tours and seen all those countries.

Liv Kristine: “There is one more thing. If we should ever sell so many records that there would be left over money, I would like to raise a fond to help children all around the world. Just start somewhere, because children are our future. Since I became a mother I saw the continuity of life. When you become a parent you have that fantastic feeling: you are connected to nature and life continues to the next generation and that is fantastic.”

Her voice is switching and she sounds very emotional when she continues. Fragile, the blonde woman sits there on the couch, telling her highest goal and devotion in such an emotional way.

Liv Kristine: “Our children are very happy: they grow up in safety and have protection. They have everything they need and even much more than what they need. Then you see those children in another part of the world; they have nothing, even no parents. When there ever will be money left then I will give everything to try to help those kids. Money is one thing, but we don’t really need it. Most of us have the basic stuff we need, but there are other people who need it. There you can help much more.”

Is it an option to use your good name and reputation to do get more money for those children?

Liv Kristine: “It is a good question, but how do you can start such a thing. Of course you need a network of people. You can’t do it just by yourself, because it is a lot of work. It is absolutely worth it. My mother always told me that the greatest luck you can have is to give a little bit of happiness, luck, and help to somebody else. That is the motto I grew up with and I will always stick with this. I hope my dream will come true one day: it is a thing to keep in mind.”

A good, emotional ending for both of us, Liv Kristine says about it: “Always when I am talking to you it is not like an interview, but like a chat between friends and that is very nice.”

When we look up all the members are packing their stuff and prepare themselves for the long trip to Scandinavia. 
I want to thank Liv Kristine and the rest of the band, always a warm welcome.


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