Leaves Eyes has become a reckoning force within the symphonic/folk metal genre, and this year they are releasing their 6th studio album titled King Of Kings. The concept of the album is based on the story of ‘Harald Fairhair’ the first king of Norway, and the different sagas that tell the story of how he consolidated the first known kingdom in Norway. Once more Leaves Eyes delivers an amazing musical background that narrates history on an epic level.
King Of Kings, shows a more melodic and more nordic side of Leaves Eyes, than its predecessor Symphonies Of The Night (2013) did. The folk melodies within this album mixed with the heaviness of the musical style of the band already established shows how innovative can Leaves Eyes be within their own genre.
Songs like Vengeance Venom, Swords In Rock, or Halvdan The Black are great examples of how Leaves Eyes can create the perfect soundtrack in order to tell a story of this magnitude. The album also includes the participation of Simone Simons (Epica) as special guess on the song Edge Of Steel, which adds texture and brilliance to the song and complements Liv Kristine‘s style on the whole album.
Recently, The Age Of Metal spoke with Liv Kristine about the new Leaves Eyes album, King Of Kings. The story behind its concept, and their work with the London Voices Choir on this album. We also talked about their recent Latin American tour, The Sirens, and Liv Kristine‘s upcoming series of solo concerts that includes Raymond István Rohonyi (Theater Of Tragedy) as a special guest on a Theater Of Tragedy set list.
Liv Kristine: Hi There.
The Age Of Metal: Hello Liv, how are you?
LK: I am good, how are you?
TAOM: I am pretty good, Let’s start talking about the new Leaves Eyes album King Of Kings. Which for what I understand it has to do with the story or Harald The first King of Norway, and it relates to your birthplace. What is the story behind King Of Kings?
LK: You already said it, Harald I was the first king of Norway, he was the first guy, the first viking to be able to beat other semi-kings, and Earls in certain battles. So, at one point of time he was the only ruler and he had his own system, and yeah he was the first king of Norway, but the place where this happened was actually Hafrsfjord, which is a field near to Stavanger, Norway. Which is also my birthplace, this album of course has some facts, not many but few. So, historians like to assume that this battle in Hafrsfjord must had taken place, and then we have in addition to this a lot of sagas, like the Norwegian sagas, the king sagas, the Faroe sagas, and the Icelandic sagas, where Harald is often mentioned. On top of it all, this is connected to my birthplace, so this album is a concept album, but also a kind of personal one.
TAOM: The first single out of the album is Halvdan The Black that was recently released, and for that I have seen on pictures, Leaves Eyes recorded a video clip for The Waking Eye. When we will be able to see that video out?
LK: Yes, well Halvdan The Black who is Harald’s father. This track refers to one generation before Harald, but it’s a nice way to introducing the album because this is where everything begin. So, the news were released yesterday, and the song is on Itunes, and you can have a listen to it. But the big thing will be as you already mentioned, The Waking Eye, we shoot the video clip for this track last weekend actually. We are going to edit the video clip for The Waking Eye on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. So, we’ll have some more news in the middle of August, big news and some really nice pictures to look at. So, its gonna be awesome.
TAOM: For this album you worked with the London Voices Choir (Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars), how was the experience, and how did you guys got connected with them?
LK: Well, that was actually just Alex and me having a morning espresso, and we were just thinking what could we do, to add more of a soundtrack feeling to this production, because this production of King Of Kings is more like a soundtrack. and we just agree that London Voices would be nice, ok so see if we could find the telephone number, so we google it, we found the telephone number and we called London Voices’s director, we talked about The Angel studio where they normally record, and there was a date off for us, and we said yes of course, so four days later, Alex and I were on a flight to London to Angel studio with 14 kilos of notes sheets in out hand luggage – which its too much, you suppose to only have like 8 kilos. But we were overweight on the German Wings flight, of course nobody knows – But, it was an amazing tour with London Voices, and they were so professional just like the Lingua Mortis Orchestra directed by Victor Smolski our friend, he got experience with metal from the band Rage, and he is also a classical director and composer. So, this was necessary for this production. Our bank accounts are all empty, but we have a fantastic production, it was absolutely worth it.
TAOM: Now, I recently saw a picture of you with Simone Simmons (Epica) at Mastersound studios, are you guys working on something together?
LK: Well, actually Simone was here at the Mastersound Studio a couple of weeks ago, and I know she is busy, she is a mother herself. But, when I had recorded my own vocals for ‘Edge Of Steel‘ I thought; ‘Wow, Simone would be just the perfect match for this song, because it’s a traditional way of female heavy metal singing’, and I knew Simone could do it. So, I asked her if she would like to join me and if she had sometime, and she is actually only living one hour from here. So she came in between touring and kindergarten, and all that. So it was amazing to have her on the album. Perfect match.
TAOM: Recently Leaves Eyes also announced an European tour with Diabulus In Musica and Melted Space. What are the expectations for that tour?
LK: Of course is going to be a King Of Kings tour, so what we have to do next is to go into rehearsals, to see which songs fit the best into the set list, so yes that is going to be awesome to play this songs live, and I am really looking forward to having our two great support bands on the road, because we known each other personally as well. So that is going to be awesome. So first we’ll do Europe, then I’ll have a few solo shows in a reunion with Raymond of Theater Of Tragedy, and after that I think we probably try to sort out an US tour, maybe a Latin American tour also. A lot of things coming up.
TAOM: Leaves Eyes just came back from a Latin American tour early this year. How was that tour for you guys?
LK: It was amazing, because the tour wasn’t that long. It was two and a half weeks, but we toured eleven countries, and that was a lot of traveling, we had great gigs, we had awesome audiences which they always very passionate in South America. Crazy, when you come to visit their country, they treat you like kings and queens, It was amazing. But, it was not sleep for the wicked, so in average we had like one and a half to two-hour sleep. So, we were exhausted, and them playing at places like La Paz, Bolivia (4000 meters above the sea level). Which is kind of challenge, but it was a great tour
TAOM: Since last year Liv Kristine is part of a new group called The Sirens, with them you toured Europe, Latin America & various European Festival like Tuska and this year’s edition of Summer Breeze. But with all this touring are there any plans for a record release from The Sirens?
LK: I would love to (Laughs)
But, we would have to be sure that all three ladies are available, and Anneke just released The Gentle Storm, Kari is releasing a solo album right now, and I am releasing King Of Kings. So, there is a lot of things coming up. I would love to do it, but for the moment is going to be a live project so we are trying to keep the spirit alive also of our former bands; Theater Of Tragedy, The Gathering, and 3rd and the Mortal, for now is all fine. I think this live experience is unique, so let’s see what happens in the future, but of course as I already mentioned, all three ladies have to be available.
TAOM: We would love to have that experience live in North American at some point if possible.
LK: Yes, It would be great, and we nearly made it, this year actually. Because we got a request from 70000 Tons of Metal, but that was one week before the cruise. I was available, but the other girls weren’t. I would it love to pack my bikini and play at the boat in the middle of the Caribbean sea, but of course its important that everybody is available, because we said; all three or nobody.
TAOM: Definitely it makes sense, as the project features all three of you. But, what about Leaves Eyes on the cruise again, maybe for 2016?
LK: Oh yeah, that would be amazing. If we could make that happen that would be just perfect, because then we for example could tour with Amorphis, because they will be in the states after the cruise, I think. There is nothing on the table yet, I still have to figure out how we can make this happen, but personally having said that. Amorphis is one of my favorite bands, so I think that would be a splendid tour.
TAOM: I agree, it would be an amazing package if it happens. Now, recently you announced a string of solo shows that include Raymond Rohonyi of Theater of Tragedy as special guest, and a special Theater of Tragedy setlist. How this reunion happened?
LK: That was just an idea I had because on my solo set list I had just a few Theater Of Tragedy songs, just to see how the audience would react to them, and I played Theater Of Tragedy songs also with The Sirens. So this has been like a pre-process building up over a period of two and a half years, and then I just hooked up with Raymond on the phone, and I said; ‘Just for fun Ray, would you be my special guest, and he said…Of course‘. So, it’s so good to be back on stage with my co-founder of the band, I don’t know about the rest of the band, but I don’t have the feeling that they are really eager to start a reunion, but for me it’s not really about the reunion. It’s about keeping the spirit alive for our fans, and I own all of this being able to compose music, and live this life full-time musician, and family. it’s a privilege, and I own it to my fans. So, if the fans come and ask me; would you do it?, can we listen to the old songs again?. I would say; Yes, I do it for you.
TAOM: So far the strings of solo dates cover Russia and a date in Germany, are there any plans to extend that to more dates around Europe?
LK: Yes, that is my plan, yes.
TAOM: Closing up, what is next for you and the band after the release of King Of Kings?
LK: Well, first we have to rehearse, also have some acoustic shows for King Of Kings coming up just before the European tour, then we will have more touring going on next year. Next week, I will have a gig with The Sirens, and then with Leaves Eyes and Atrocity, then I will have one week in Sweden and one week in Norway holidays.
TAOM: That’s sounds great, congratulations Liv Kristine on this new Leaves Eyes album, I personally love the conceptual idea behind it.
LK: I just want to say thank you, and I hope to see you again, maybe at 70000 tons…