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Leaves Eyes Interview

A Conversation With Vocalist Liv Kristine


Leaves Eyes

Leaves Eyes

Napalm Records
Updated October 12, 2009
The third full-length from the gothic metal band Leaves Eyes is Njord. Liv Kristine (formerly of Theatre Of Tragedy) is the band’s vocalist, and her husband Alexander Krull (Atrocity) provides the gruff vocals. Members of Atrocity are also the band for Leaves Eyes, and there have been a few new members in the past couple of years. Drummer Nick Barker and bassist Chris Lukhaup exited, replaced by Seven Antonopolous and Alla Fedynitch. In a wide ranging interview, Liv Kristine discusses the new lineup, the recording of Njord, stories from the road, how she got started in music and her love of running and other outdoor sports.

Chad Bowar: How come there was a four year span between Vinland Saga and Njord?
Liv Kristine: We started to compose in 2007, and we had planned to release the album in 2008. However we just built a complete new studio from the ground up, as we had to leave the one we had rented before. Moreover, we were forced to redo the complete studio equipment and recording system after moving into the new studio. This took 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.

Was the songwriting/recording process for this album different than past Leaves Eyes releases?
Our third album Njord was, like every album, recorded in our own studio Mastersound, and it was produced by my husband and singer in the band, Alexander. Alexander did a fantastic job as an engineer. He is the one who had the most sleepless nights, installing the new recording system on our new studio computers, and being responsible for the mix. We spent all our money on this production. There are three perfectionists in the band, and we are artists that give 110% to our art. Everything we do comes from the heart.

Njord has a power to it that even is more intense than any previous production I've been part of. Technically, we constantly have new ideas and aims. We have our own studio and therefore we have the opportunity to specialize in technical tasks concerning album and DVD productions. Njord has even a more bombastic but delicate sound than Vinland Saga, because techniques allow it. We recorded the classical parts in Minsk (Lingua Mortis, supervised by Victor Smolski), we had a complete local choir (Al Dente) singing the choir parts, and an artist playing solos on special instruments like the uillian pipe and the whistle. We treated every of those songs on the album as an individual piece, giving it the perfect atmosphere and sound.

Did the several new band members influence the sound of the album at all?
Seven and Alla joined the band after all the demos had been recorded, so most songs were already as good as finished. Tosso (guitars) recorded the bass, anyway. Alla plays it live. Seven, and of course Alla, are always welcome to bring in their own ideas. Seven just moved to Sweden and is not that far away, which is great.

What inspired your lyrics for Njord?
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 necessary to deal with all these different languages. Vinland Saga is based on Leif Eriksson’s discovery of America, even the EP, Legend Land, which followed soon thereafter.

Njord has a much broader concept, traveling 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 gets 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.

For me history has always been extremely interesting, and even when I left my home country Norway and moved to Germany 12 years ago, I had more books about the Vikings with me than clothes and shoes. 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. The songs also inspired me to use my knowledge in classical singing to a greater extent than on earlier albums. I have learned a lot and developed as a singer and an artist. All this makes this album a multilayered and highly interesting experience for our listeners, for your ears, hearts and minds. If I should describe Njord in a few words I would say bombastic, emotional, contrastive, and pure.

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