Interviewed by Marianne Jacobsen (Journalist/Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
MGM: Leaves Eyes came on the scene at a very unusual time in music. However, you are still here. What sets Leaves Apart from other bands from early 2000?
Liv: My compositions, melodies and lyrics come from the heart. I have been composing and singing for as long as I can remember, but neither studied music nor music theory. I was co-founder of the world’s first gothic metal band with female voices “Theatre of Tragedy” in the early 90s and the “beauty and the beast” concept in metal. In 2003, after Theatre of Tragedy split with me for a new female singer, I founded Leaves’ Eyes with my husband and producer, Alexander Krull. The foundation for Leaves’ Eyes consisted and still consists of the members of Atrocity, my best friends since I left Norway and moved to Germany 18 years ago. “I grew up by the sea, I played under the sun”. These were the first lines of a poem and a song entitled “Norwegian Love song” which I wrote some time before the birth of Leaves’ Eyes in 2003. These lines happened to play a most significant role in the story of our band. Since our debut album “Lovelorn”, I have always felt a deep connection to the history, culture and nature of my home country, Norway. I was born nearby Hafrsfjord on a freezing cold day in February, 1976. My heritage is the basis for all Leaves’ Eyes’ albums. Moreover, through Leaves’ Eyes we are keeping a spirit alive that I was part of creating and founding more than 20 years ago with my former band: the beauty and the beast concept. I do not see Leaves’ Eyes in one certain genre with other current bands. I’d rather say we are a very unique composing and producing team. The adventure will go on for many years, I can promise you that! All of this is my life! There is only one thing being more important to me: my family.
MGM: You have two singers? How does that dynamic work on stage?
Liv: I joined Atrocity on stage already in the nineties, being their guest singer and female voice on the Werk 80 albums so our dynamic interaction on stage is based on many years of experience. My husband has so much energy on stage, even after weeks of touring, including “no sleep for the wicked”, somewhere on the other side of the world. He is always such a great support and inspiration. We normally have a set list which includes songs with both one and two voices. There’s always something going on in a Leaves’ Eyes live show.
MGM: Having never seen Leaves Eyes perform before – describe an average stage setting for your performance?
Liv: What a pity – time to play somewhere nearby your hometown:-) A headliner show always allows more space for visual specials. There are always surprises with Leaves’ Eyes as we change our set lists constantly. At the Belgian famous festival MFVF last year the fans chose our headliner set list! Another highlight was Wacken Open Air, a headliner show, Germany, 2012, with our Viking ship and 20 Vikings on stage. On the other hand I also love those sweaty club shows downtown Camden, London, or in El Salvadorian backyards with mangoes falling down during the ballads.
MGM: Your videos seem to be storytelling. Can you tell me a bit about the creation of the new video Waking Eye? Where was it shot? Who shot it? Did anything interesting happen during the shoot worth noting?
Liv: The Waking Eye was shot in Germany’s forests (with Rainer ZIPP Fränzen and his camera team), and at Norway’s fjords. We built up authentic settings like a small village. All the Vikings came to the video shoot from all over Europe. Some of them are Værjaborg Warriors. They are passionate Vikings in their spare time and professional fighters. For the battle scenes we even had authentic weather – it was raining and storming nonstop and the ground was one big mud pit. Luckily, the sun shone the next day. You are quite lucky if you experience one complete day of sunshine in Scandinavia.
On the cover of the album and in the video you see Alex in a traditional costume – he is the perfect man to step in the role of Harald Fairhair!
MGM: Are you finding that your popularity is growing? Where would you say your strongest fan base is currently?
Liv: The spirit of music and my fans worldwide have an enormous power that helps us keeping the spirit alive! Through Leaves’ Eyes we are keeping a spirit alive that I was part of creating and founding more than 20 years ago with my former band Theatre of Tragedy, as mentioned above. I am so proud to have played all around the world with my bands and I always feel a great thankfulness wherever I enter a stage and wherever I meet my fans and friends. In 2013/2014 we celebrated our 10th anniversary; we have toured four continents and released six full-length albums and 3 EPs. Creativity and love towards music is the force behind my artistic work, as well as thankfulness towards my audience and fans all over the world. We have always focused both on the identity of the band, my heritage, and on historical authenticity and the interest for our art is growing worldwide. I feel very comfortable where we are standing momentarily, with our milestone album “King of Kings” soon to be released, fantastic reviews from everywhere and a new label, AFM, to support us. Soon we will be off for our first tour for King of Kings in Europe, and more dates for other continents will be announced soon!
MGM: What is the best part about being able to perform and tour with Leaves Eyes?
Liv: The exchange of positive energy with our audiences – I can tell you my heart is smiling when I see happy, enchanted faces in the crowd. Secondly, I’ve always loved traveling and meeting the local population. Culture, history and secret little places to sit down and dream and shut off from the rest of the world is always something I will be looking for.
MGM: You toured Latin America in May…is this your first time playing there? What is the crowd/fan reaction to your music in South America? Does it differ?
Liv: All I can say is – wow! That was one incredible experience, traveling through 11 countries in two weeks. It’s not a secret – we felt exhausted but we were taken so well care of everywhere and by all the promoters and the audiences were wild, warm-hearted and passionate! I will return to Latin-America soon with my solo band, including my special guest Raymond of Theatre of Tragedy.
MGM: When you see shows like Vikings or the Bastard Executioner gaining momentum in North America as popular shows, do you believe this is good for Leaves Eyes?
Liv: That kind of shows is unknown to me. I have never seen one.
MGM: Who makes your outfits?
Liv: I mostly buy my own outfits piece by piece and combine interesting, individual pieces. Sometimes I get some help from professionals, like for the outfits you see on the covers and in the artwork of all our albums.
MGM: Are you in character when you are performing as the female lead singer of Leaves Eyes? What is your motivation when performing?
Liv: I am myself and fully present with all my senses all the time, whatever theme or setting during a live show. My motivation is my audience and the power of the sound.
MGM: Looking into the future. Where do you see Leaves Eyes performing? What would be your ideal performance situation (i.e. country/venue etc.).?
Liv: I hope to perform live in Japan, soon. On my wishing list there’s also Iceland, New Zealand, the Hebrides and Shetland Islands.
MGM: Thank you very much for your time and best of luck with the new album.
Liv: The pleasure is mine! Love and kisses!