RoD header


Interview with

Liv Kristine - Espenæs Krull vocalist from LEAVES' EYES

Back in 2004 when I met Liv Kristine for the first time, I couldn’t foresee that some years later LEAVES’ EYES would bring their sound so much to perfection, like on their third album ‘Njord.’  In compare with their debut ‘Lovelorn’ (2003) the dreamy atmosphere is now grown in a bombastic and intense journey. The band worked for the first time with a real Choir. In November the ‘Beauty & The Beast’ tour begins to promote their new album live.

When Liv Kristine calls, she just received good news: her ENT doctor (ear, nose and throat specialist – SD) told her that she still has a perfect hearing. Many musicians have the risk that over the years they get problems, she was worried, but luckily there is nothing wrong. It is like an old friend on the other side of the line, and with much laughing and enthusiasm we share some new developments. Frankly the front woman shares her thought about interviews: “It is difficult to answer email interviews. I have to be creative with typing my answers on the same questions.  I try to give different answers, to make it a bit personal. “ 

New developments

In 2007 an earthshaking period for Leaves’Eyes started. Liv Kristine mentioned it already in the previous interview with the pressure of the DVD production and new band members.

Liv Kristine: “In 2007 we also started with ‘Njord’ (2009). At the same time we had to build a new studio in the countryside where we live. Before that we rented a studio, forty kilometres away. During the movement, techniques broke down and we needed new computers. Also the production from the DVD was a break in the song writing. That is why it took a bit longer than we expected. ”

The band needed a peaceful time after the long touring period to sit down and write new material: “Thorsten Bauer (Guitarist Atrocity, Liv Kristine, Leaves’Eyes) is the main composer. We were working in the studio every day. We have two recording rooms, so it is also possible to work with other bands at the same time. ” Her husband Alexander Krull (vocalist Atrocity, Leaves’Eyes) is also the producer of this album and worked with bands like Elis and End Of Green.

Liv Kristine
: “In 2007-2008 there was a lot of touring, and also we had to find a new drummer. All together it was a busy time. 2009 will be even more extremely. I am very proud of the boys. It costs 100 sleepless nights but it was totally worth it!

Involving Family

In compare with other artists Liv Kristine decided not to keep work and family totally separated. The Mastersound Studio is a big factor in the changing process over the years:
Liv Kristine: “We have an own studio, not so far from home. It is easier to include family in the music business. The main reason to involve my family is that my husband and I have the same dream: We both want to live from music and have a family. Now it is like a second dream comes true! It is such a luxury, and such a fine thing. There is always somebody making music in this house!

SD: You are the front woman, so the big boss of Leaves’Eyes. How is that working in the band and at home? She starts to laugh and is as modest as always.
Liv Kristine:“I am so proud of us! We took so much time and effort in the band. We suffered more than planned with ‘Njord.’ I am not a woman who says ‘Act like my rules, otherwise no diner.’ When we are working on an album Alex is the producer: that is his profession. I give him advice when he asks for it. It is not that we bring work home.

SD: Isn’t it hard to keep work and private separate? There is a risk to talk about a recording process all the time?
Liv Kristine: “It is easy to bring issues at home, but we also need a private life. We are trying to have a good structure and it works. In the morning I bring my son Léon to the day-care and then I start to work on the music. It is simple: when he is there, I don’t work. That is a rule and I stick to that. It is a good way of planning.”

Concept behind Njord

She sounds a bit amazed when she starts about the production of ‘Njord’: “It is the biggest and longest one I ever did. We wanted to have a real orchestra and choir. We worked on each song till it had an own identity. I don’t want to do half-hearted things, because that doesn’t work. We are professionals and perfectionists. So we had a 40 person-orchestra conducted by Victor Smolski from Rage, who helped us with that. It was totally new experience. Still we did the mixing at home to make it work with the guitar sound.”

SD: You learned a lesson with the new album?
Liv Kristine: “Yes we become better technicians, and also on other levels we have more experience now. Alex is our producer, but the others including myself, are still learning about doing the recording and the preparations for the mix. Sometimes he can’t hear it any-more due to ‘tired ears’ and asks Thorsten and me to come in for a final word. That is why I am so happy with the good ‘ear news’ so he can trust me in the mixing advice!”

Not only the music of LEAVES’EYES is heavier on this album (more technical, more bombastic arrangements) but also the lyrics are very detailed and needed a lot of research.

Liv Kristine:  “Thorsten wrote a melody into a Celtic tradition like ‘Irish Rain’ and ‘Emerald Island.’ Those songs needed a concept based on Irish history. When we recorded those demos I continued my research and went deeper:  ‘Why not bringing old Irish into the songs?’ Also expended my own influences, like on ‘Les Champs De Lavande’ in French.  When I heard the melody it had immediately an atmosphere of the lavender fields in France. The Vikings travelled to France, and lavender was well-known in the middle ages, so it fits perfectly in the story. I make every lyric authentic and individual. That is why I used eight languages on this album.”

The diva is very personal in her music: “Every music and concept comes from my heart. I have a classical and metal background. You hear that both in the songs. The Saga’s is another big passion: I had more books then shoes when I moved from Norway to Germany. I am interested in history since the first grade.

A new element on ‘Njord’ is that Liv Kristine uses her voice different: deeper and with wider soprano timbre, and not only the soft voice people know from her.
Liv Kristine: “Musically we discovered a great horizon: our sound goes further and it is more bombastic. I brought that in the lyrics too. Like in ‘Ragnarok’ or the single ‘My Destiny.’ It is a step further in the mythical journey. The one we started on ‘Elegy.’ Some other songs go back to the Middle Ages: to describe the places where the Vikings travelled.  I had to learn totally new things and that is very exciting.”

SD:What were your main sources for the research?
Liv Kristine: “There are some good homepages about the history of the Vikings. And the real books: I can recommend something like the ‘Introduction to Nordic Mythology’ or equivalent to that, as a starting point.”

SD:Where the new band members involved in the whole process?
Liv Kristine: “Drummer Seven Antonopolous and Alla Fedynitch on bass, came too late into the band to influence the production. It was just finished when they joined Atrocity and Leaves’ Eyes.  However, they can bring in some own ideas if they like for further productions.”

New Solo Album

Liv Kristine has her own solo project LIV KRISTINE. She is also busy with a new album since ‘Enter My Religion’ (2006).  More on:

The new solo album is almost finished. It is clear we are working a lot, everyone who wants to bring in something is allowed for that. It went very fast soon after the ‘Njord’ production. Guitarist Thorsten Bauer and I sat down, and just wrote amazing music.  It is an inspirational flash and we recorded everything in one long session.”

SD: Is it different then before?
Liv Kristine: “Normally we record the vocals in a separate room. This time I sat next to Thorsten with a shield to protect me from the other sounds coming from outside, to filter only my voice, and we communicated directly. We recorded each song 'in one take', without cutting and pasting the voice afterwards. On this album, you can really hear and feel that the songs are 'alive' and 'real'.

SD: It sounds like you choose a more basic way?
Liv Kristine: “Yes it makes the new album more personal and close. I only used two or three instruments and a few rocky arrangements. It is more an individual album.  We have to wait with the release till after the Leaves’ Eyes promotion, beginning of 2010 is the expectation.

SD: Wasn’t it scary to be so close on the skin of the listener?
Liv Kristine: “I felt a bit more fragile and naked, because my singing voice comes from deep inside, however, I do not fear it. I am not afraid of showing you who I am, nor of critics. I loved ‘Enter My Religion’, but now I see that it was slightly too polished, sometimes. It was released by a huge major label with a big campaign. This time I keep it more basic.

SD: So you want to have it back in your hands?
Liv Kristine: “I let nobody talk into my business, I won’t let the big money decide what, how and when to do things! I have made my bad experience and being a mother and more grown up and experienced, I want no circus. It is music from the hart and it’s personal! In both LEAVES’EYES and my solo project you get Liv Kristine, but my talent, knowledge and voice are wrapped up in different ways.


SD: To bring some light in the conversation, I start about her amazing opera voice. Was it a hiding talent?
Liv Kristine: “I was amazed by the new songs and how the composing process evolved: the music itself makes how I sing. I have experience in all genres. I was member of a classical choir, background singer and learned a lot by myself. It started with a hairbrush in front of the mirror, at the age of six. And the experience of live shows made me discover other parts of my voice. Maybe I would take lessons in the future, but this time I walked a new path. It was not easy but a part of my job. Being an artist means you keep on growing!

SD: Is that something you ask from yourself?
Liv Kristine: “Theatre Of Tragedy is overtaken by better bands after four years of fame. Shame but that happens when some of the band members are not able to move on and develop. In the beginning you are successful, but the rest of the world isn’t sleeping! There are many bands with good looking girls, so it is necessary to be critical as a young band.

SD: What will happen in the new year?
Liv Kristine: “We start touring in November and next year more Europe, also a USA tour. We will definitely do some summer festivals. See you all on tour, and it is always nice to have a special conversation aftershow!”

Check for tour dates:
‘Beauty And The Beast’ tour in November – with Atrocity, Sirenia, Elis and Stream Of Passion:

Thank word to Napalm Records and Liv Kristine.


Comments powered by CComment