Liv Kristine interview by Christine Krusewitz
April 6, 2011
The title of your new album is “Meredead”. What does this mean?
Liv: Meredead, meaning ‘dead by the sea’, or ‘the deadly sea’. It’s actually my own word creation, based on my Old-English grammar knowledge. If you google it, you might find similar word creations, but not this one. I studied Old-English at the university and I still enjoy digging my nose into grammar books!
LEAVES’ EYES music is about myths and legends. Can we expect the same from the new album which will be released this month?
“Meredead” involves the Viking mythology to some extent, however, it also takes turns into other cultures and historical subjects, like the Celtic literature, myths based on the world of the “dead”, or the souls that cannot find piece, and Scandinavian folklore, to mention a few examples. You’ll find Froeya, three-headed trolls, vampires, ghosts, witches, Vikings travelling on sea, Viking ladies mourning.and of course many images from the Norwegian harsh weather and wild nature landscapes.
Who in LEAVES’ EYES writes the lyrics and who writes the music or is it all teamwork?Liv: Alexander, Thorsten and myself are the song-writing and production team. Most of the time, music comes first, then vocal lines and words. And then we work even more on the instruments. For the production of “Meredead” it was highly important to us that each song had its own “face”, individuality and perfect, crystal clear sound to strengthen the emotional effect. That’s what makes the album that diverse and exciting as you discover a different story, different instrumental combinations, different ways of singing even in various languages in each song. We are extremely lucky, having our own studio not far away from our homes, so we spend as much time as possible in the studio, when we’re not on the road.
From where do you get the ideas for your music?
Liv: What gives me the biggest inspiration being a composer, text-writer and singer, is the exchange of positive feelings and feedback from my fans and friends. The music business is brutally cold and full of dishonesty, a fact that sometimes really makes me think “why am I doing this to myself?” Then again, I realize that I’m not doing this for the business sake; I am composing and singing for my audience, who cares about my art, and appreciates my hard work coming from my heart. Last but not least, I am an artist because I’ve got this feeling since I was little, that this is my way to go in life and it all has a meaning to it. The musical experience I’ve gained since the first release “Theatre of Tragedy” and until today with “Meredead”, has made me the experienced artist I am. The best thing for me is to visit my family in Norway (I moved to Germany 15 years ago) and gather inspiration from nature, where I grew up.
When did you notice the first time that music is your passion and probably a big part of your life?
Liv: I grew up with Black Sabbath/Ozzy, Deep Purple, Edvard Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Kate Bush. It was my goal, already at a young age, to combine my musical interests, so I started to make music myself. The result was the founding of Theatre of Tragedy. I never studied singing or music; it has always been there, i.e. I’ve always been singing, even before I talked and walked. When I was little I thought that everybody could sing, however, soon I realized that music is not in everybody’s nature. I still have to smile when thinking about it.
Do you have an all time favorite band or album?
Liv: Black Sabbath’s “Vol.4”, “Paranoid” and “Black Sabbath”. “Changes” is the best song of all times. I also love Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s “Dovregubbens Hall” and “Morgenstemning”. Of all pop albums I’ve bought I would say Madonna’s “Ray of Light” is my favourite.
How do you manage to juggle family and the strenuous life of a musician?
Liv: It takes some good planning, but it works because we have our own studio. When I work, I work really, really hard and I have a new goal, every day. Whenever my family needs me, I enjoy the valuable time with my family. Family always comes first in my life. Being able to combine family life and a music career in such a great way is the best thing that could happen to me. With my band members, we are even a bigger family. They all call me “mum”. When not composing or recording, I cook or bake for everybody. I just love sharing a good meal with all of them, and they all stay here for longer and shorter periods of time, even if some of them have to travel for hours.
What was your funniest experience on stage?
Liv: Many years ago, in Austria, a guy in the first row kissed my big toe, and to my great surprise he wouldn’t let go of it! In the middle of a ballad! I just couldn’t stop laughing, and you know what, that “shark” biting my toe, wasn’t even drunk!
What do you really dislike when you are on tour?
Liv: Dirty socks “poisoning” the tourbus, dirty toilets, dirty showers, dirty backstages, waiting on airports and unsafe tourbuses that break down, or crash, especially on the highway.
When can we enjoy your music live in the USA?
Liv: We are planning a US tour right now. I hope from the bottom of my heart that we will meet our American fans in the fall 2011!
We are already at the end and I would like to thank you for this interview. Do you have some last words for the readers?
Liv: I really hope you enjoy “Meredead”! Thank you for being such wonderful fans, you are amazing! One personal big thank you goes to Eric E. – hope to see you soon!
All the best for you and your family. Take good care! Sincerely, Liv