Dear Liv Kristine and Alex!
Thank you for giving your fans in Russia an opportunity to learn more about your life and your personality!
I’d like to offer some questions for you.
MG: You devoted much of you music within Leaves’ Eyes to the topic of Vikings and Scandinavian legends, but the album ‘Symphonies of the Night’ tells us some other stories. Do you have a concept of the next Leaves’ Eyes album in mind? Will it be something different from what you did before?
Liv: Leaves' Eyes will release album number six this year. We will definitely follow in the veins of " Symphonies of the Night" music-wise, with even more focus on creating a soundtrack. However, the concept will be based on one special historical happening, important to the history of the Norwegian West coast. The compositions are highly individual and interesting with a bombastic, heavy sound, all following a red line thematically. Inbetween the rockers there will be breathtaking ballads with a folky touch. I can't wait to play this album live!
MG: Not long ago you joined forces with Kari and Anneke for the project ‘Sirens’. Tell please a few words about it. How was this idea born?
Liv: I was lucky to meet Anneke at Masters of Rock (CZ) last summer. We had a few minutes only to talk in between our gigs, however, we agreed that we really should get together and tour together soon. We both had to smile then, thinking that we were, with Kari, the "originals" within our scene. Moreover, all three of us being mothers and still highly busy in music and art. Anneke told me that she had been in touch with Kari lately...And that was the "go" for the "Sirens"! I am more than excited and happy to soon be sharing stage with my ladies again! Our gigs are kind of magic. Fans have been waiting for this for years and years. All three of us know that experience comes only with hard work and reflection upon your own standing point and progress. I am very proud to share stage with Kari and Anneke.
MG: You are not only a singer, but also an artist. Tell, please, do you plan to make an exhibition of your pictures or use one of them as a cover for your future albums?
Liv: I loved painting already when I was little, however, it was just a few years ago that I rediscovered my passion for visual arts. It was Alex', my husband's idea to set up a mail account for requests as fans started asking if I would paint for them. I added some paintings to my tour merch collection and soon I really got a lot of feedback. I really love working with colours and you can see some of my paintings in the artwork of my soloalbum "Libertine". Fans often have special requests when it comes to motive, image, atmosphere, moreover, I often paint someone's favourite song from my own repertoire. Every painting is individualized and I think it's a wonderful task.
MG: A few years ago I read your interview that you took your little boy with the band during the tour. But then he didn’t attend a primary school, but now he is almost a teen. How do you solve this problem?
Liv: Yes, he is turning 12 years old and he's already taller than me! It was great having him on the road when it was possible. He has always been a very good and easy-going boy on the road. It has made him a very open-minded person, moreover, he speaks three languages. If we tour during school holidays he will be on board, of course. Last time was Metal Cruise through the Caribbean - can you imagine how much fun we had!
MG: This is a very banal question, but… what language do you speak in everyday life?
Liv: My son and I speak Norwegian, Alex, Leon and I speak German, on the road we all speak English.
MG: I know you are really good at Viking history and culture. But do you know anything about Russia? Have you got a real historical figure who impressed you?
Liv: The Russian "soul" is very musical! You have an incredibly rich, expressive and strong history within music and in art generally. The Vikings also travelled to today's Russia. Early on in the ninth century, a group of Vikings, otherwise known as the Rus, entered the area today known as Russia. The beginning of the Russian-Scandinavian relationship dated from the ninth century is described in the Russian Primary Chronicle written by Orthodox monks. At that time, different Slav tribes lived in the North-West of Russia along the Neva and the Volkhov rivers as well as around the lakes Ladoga and Ilmen.
Last but least, I would also like to mention Michail Gorbatschow who became the Nobel Prize. The day the Berlin Wall was torn down was an unforgettable moment.
MG: One year ago in Moscow you said you would like o perform your solo-program soon. Tell, please, have we got a chance to listen to anything «old» like songs from the first album (I love it so much)?
Liv: I thank you! I might have good news for you very soon. We are trying to organize solo concerts (for the first time) in Russia this December! I will also play Theatre of Tragedy songs!
MG: For all I know Nell is a fan of Leaves’ Eyes and even attended your shows. Do you keep in touch with her?
Liv: the fist time Leaves' Eyes played in Norway I invited Nell to visit me. We had a long, lovely talk and I wished her all the best taking over my position in Theatre of Tragedy. She is very sweet. I haven't met her since then. None of the other guys turned up at any of my gigs in Norway, though.
MG: People often characterize your voice as «angelic». Have you ever thought to give a sacred-music tour or – it is very popular now – a Christmas tour?
Liv: I saw Tarja a few years ago doing a Christmas Carol tour - she was amazing! I haven't thought about it in depths, though. However, I always tour with my solo band in December because for the fifth time in a row I will play in Nagold, Germany, the last Friday before Christmas. I normally do Pie Jesu and Ave Maria at the end of the show to wish my fans and friends a merry Christmas. Nagold is magic - I love playing there!
MG: This question is dedicated to Nightwish. If you were suggested to select one Nigthwish song for covering which song would you prefer?
Liv: Amaranth or Sleeping Sun.
MG: Many musicians say that albums sales downward significantly and illegal downloading upwards day by day. What do you think about this type of piracy? Do you think that sharing music for free is a good opportunity for young musicians to express themselves and find fans around the world, or it is a deeply flawed practice? Do musicians have another method to manipulate on the public?
Liv: This is a very tricky question. It's a fact that labels, their bands and the whole music industry is suffering deeply from online piracy. However, it's also a fact that this development in a technical sense is unstoppable. We have to deal with it in a manner that eventually supports the artist financially. The artist has the right to get rewarded for his work and ideas! This is the part we still have to work on. The reward system is not at all fair, not yet fully developed or transparent.
MG: Liv, you participated in many musical projects. Do you have any other ideas of collaboration with famous musicians for the future? Who would you like to work with?
Liv: I actually have only one criteria when it comes to collaborations: if I like the song, the band (famous or not famous - doesn't matter) and if there's time enough to finish on time, I will happily cooperate. I still love Cradle of Filth's Nymphetamine. I wish we could play it live some day. I always feel very honoured to get a request! This also means new inspiration to me. I want to help promote bands and artist if I can. Moreover...Ozzy, Tori Amos, Liza Gerard, Nora Jones, and Kate Bush will always be high on my own "potential collaboration" wish list! Two dreams already came true, though, singing with Michelle Darkness and Doro Pesch.
MG: Also you took participation in TYRs new album. Could you tell a few words about this collaboration?
Liv: I've known the guys for quite a while. I love their music! Herie joined Leaves' Eyes at Wacken Open Air a few years ago, which was brilliant. I was invited to join Tyr at the Feroes Islands at the G! Festival. That was an unforgettable experience. What a beautiful place, what a great festival and crowd!
MG: Your latest release ‘Vervain’ has just seen the world. And I guess, I won’t be lonely in my opinion that this wonderful album ‘smells like Theatre of Tragedy spirit’ =) Tell please, is it a kind of tribute to you ToT’s past? Or is it a realization of your old ideas that you had to put away before?
Liv: Yes, “Vervain” is my fifth solo album. I see it as the logical step after “Libertine”, while “Enter My Religion” and "Skintight" were more oriented to New Age / Pop. "Vervain" is much darker, heavier and more doom-based that the lighter but very emotional "Libertine". Deus ex Machina has this dreamlike touch to it. I think it was a good debut album, a gentle way to begin my solo career.
With Vervain I am definitely going back to the roots which also includes my times with Theatre of Tragedy. Moreover, don't forget the fact that Black Sabbath and Ozzy was THE music I grew up with through my very young parents (by the way I have the best parents on the planet).
I just enjoy letting in all my experience and good moments in a retrospective but also creative light. It feels just great to release "Vervain" at this point of my career! I felt that this was the perfect moment as I am always listening to my artistic heart and mind. I am very, very happy about this release, and I think many Theatre of Tragedy fans and followers will be, too. In my own personal evolution this is just a wonderful moment...the perfect moment for me.
MG: On your new album ‘Vervain’ we can hear Doro as one of the guests. Tell please about your experience of working with the legend of German heavy metal?
Liv: Doro Pesch is a first-class artist and really, really warm-hearted! What a true pleasure and honour having her at Mastersound studio. Doro, both as a singer, and as a person, is definitely a role-model for me. She is wonderful, just fantastic. We all have a lot to learn from her. She is the most down-to-earth and honest person and artist I know. Moreover, our voices are a perfect match for "Stronghold of Angels"!
MG: Liv, what sources do you get inspiration from when you create your music?
Liv: From my inner self, from nature, from my fans. I am actually living a dream. I am able to combine both music and family, the two most important things in my life. I have many plans, however, I am totally satisfied and happy with what I have achieved. I have worked hard and I have seen and experienced a lot through all the touring. I have met so many beautiful fans and friends - you are the reason why I am the creative artist I have become, moreover, why I am feeling this creative and balanced. My fans are open-minded, really loyal and supportive from their hearts. As Doro said the other day as we were drinking coffee at Mastesound studio: we owe it to our fans!
MG: You supported your sister Carmen within her gothic metal project ‘Savn’. Can you tell us a few words about this project? Is it supposed to be continued in future?
Liv: it was wonderful having Carmen here at Mastersound studio. I think Savn is a great project, I really love their sound! My sister just became mother to her second child, however, I have beard some rumors that she will be playing gigs again soon!
MG: It’s always interesting to ask you about your ToT period of music career. Liv, music of Theatre of Tragedy has been changing along the years of the band’s existence. Starting from so-called Stavanger gothic metal it came up to electronic music with industrial influences. Tell please, what period and what direction of ToT’s music do you appreciate most of all? What’s your favorite album and song?
Liv: It's funny to think about it, yes,...20 years ago 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. We had just no clue that we were this revolutionary up there in the Norwegian darkness! We were good friends, being into metal, getting together at a rehearsal room, being creative, combining contrasting elements like a first soprano angelic voice with doom metal and growls. We thought it was a great idea to combine contrasting elements. Initially people we were hanging out with and our families seemed to really like it, which surprised us. We recorded a cheap demo for a small fee nearby Stavanger, Norway, and sent it out (copying the cassettes and the inlay ourselves) to ten labels. A couple of weeks later we signed a killer deal with German Massacre Records, recorded our first album in Sweden with Dan Swanö and went on a support tour with our friends from Atrocity - our fist gig was sold out with 800 people, which was my first real gig ever...incredible! I am very proud to see that a handful of bands are doing really well and standing upright for this genre, keeping "the beauty and the beast/gothic metal" concept alive and in a good light! Concerning my favorites I would like to mention "Aegis", which still think is a very good and special album. The atmosphere and the harmonies are just gripping, so emotional. We owe a great thanks to Tommy Olson, who mainly composed the album. To be honest, in my opinion, some of the best lyrics I've read and sung are found on Theatre of Tragedy's album "Aegis". Raymond did a superb job on that album. I learned a lot through these times and I learned to be a strong woman, in the studio, and especially on tour, which was not always that glamorous with my former band.
MG: What do you do to support your voice in good condition? How much time do you devote to practice singing?
Liv: I've been singing all my life. I am blessed with two extremely strong vocal chords, a perfect hearing, love for music and art...and no, I never had a musical education. Experience in the studio and on stage is EVERYTHING, and that's all I NEED.
MG: Liv, we know, you really love the Scandinavian mythology. What's your point of the Marvel comics about Thor and Loki? Which of them you like more in the movies - brutal blonde Thor or cute bad boy Loki?
Liv: Aw I love both of them!!!
MG: How do you prefer to spend your leisure time? Do you have any hobbies?
Liv: Now, over the years I have learned how essential inner balance and focus is, especially because the line between private life and music business sometimes dissolve. But, to be honest I really am lucky to be totally healthy and full of power! There is only one way to be able to cope with all the traveling and touring: Being on the road I do take good care of my health. My family needs me, my bands need me. First rule: my running shoes are always in my suitcase! Moreover, I totally abandon drugs, and I don't accept any on my night liner. I need a professional team around me, and rather enjoy a glass of wine or beer with everyone when work is done. I practice yoga before show-time or studio sessions. I love long-distance running, swimming, yoga...sports in general, nature (I grew up directly by a fjord in Norway...), vegetarian-vegan cooking, and most of all I gather strength when I spend time with my family, at our beautiful home, in pure nature or for example spending an afternoon in the sauna. On the road I also try to take some "time out" to gain power for the stage.
MG: As a musician you used to travel a lot. What places in the world have impressed you most? What cities perhaps?
Liv: London always fascinates me, as well as Santiago de Chile. The place that impressed me most was up in the Italian mountains, Triora, where we played at a Halloween Party at the village's market place. Wow - what a hospitality, what a natural view, the architecture and the local food! Breathtaking! Somebody take me back to Triora, please!
MG: How do you see Liv Kristine after 10-15 years? =) Are you going to continue creating music or would you like to concentrate on your family?
Liv: I would say the border between personal life and business/music sometimes melt, however, it's not always the case. I am a world champion in planning our daily lives. I can't deny the fact that the music business can be really ugly and unfair. I certainly have had my moments when I thought I had enough! As mentioned above, I consider my self happy to be able to find such a good balance between family life and music/work. I will be an artist for as long as I'm alive! I've always been singing, even before I was able to talk, I've always had a deep, hungry passion for tones, colours and shape. I was born with a sense of perfect hearing, moreover, just as much as I love listening to music I also love silence just...sometimes even more than loudness. The song "Silence" is the most important piece of music I ever wrote. It's on my Libertine solo album
MG: Liv, your son Leon is almost 12 years now. Tell please some words about your kid. What kind of boy is he? Does he have a talent for music? What are his hobbies and interests?
Liv: Aw, I'm so proud of him! Through the traveling and my family's passion for art he is such an open-minded and creative youngster! He is actually a great singer. We let him have drum lessons for a while, as we thought that is his favourite instrument, however, he felt "forced" to do it and that was not a great success. He has rhythm in his blood, though.
MG: Describe please your ideal day.
Liv: get up at 6 a.m., do an hour of yoga (which also includes warming up my facial muscles, mouth, vocal chords, breathing...etc)...Then the rest if the day may happen! I am ready! For anything! I have a tight schedule, taking care of studio work/composing/singing/interviews/bookkeeping, then household/cooking/providing everything the house needs, AND most importantly, the needs and social pleasures of my family!
I end my day with a glass of red wine or a bottle of stout beer.
I will be sleeping around 22:30.
MG: And the last question is… could you say a few words to your Russian fans?
Liv: I will be back very soon! See you all with my solo show in December, if my wishes are heard! Stay tuned for good news! I love you from the heart!