Liv Kristine – World Champion Daily PlannerThursday, 30th October 2014
Liv Kristine has been a force to be reckoned with since 1995, singing with Theater of Tragedy. Getting unceremoniously dropped from the band in the early 2000’s, she quickly got back on her feet, forming Leaves’ Eyes with husband Alexander Krull (of Atrocity) as well as moving forward in her solo career. Leaves’ Eyes and Liv Kristine’s solo work have always remained quite separate, with the former having more “metal” themes of myths and history accompanied by a heavier sound, and the latter being more personal in nature and flirting with pop influences.
Last year, Leaves’ Eyes produced their strongest album yet in the form of Symphonies of the Night, and it does seem as if that energy has fed into the recently released solo effort of Liv Kristine. Vervain sees Liv move away from some of the poppier influences and return to a darker, and more gothic-tinged approach. Given the opportunity to fire off some questions to Liv, we looked into some of her past, her songwriting approach, how she balances family and touring, and her latest album Vervain of course…
Dead Rhetoric: Vervain seems a bit less pop-driven that some of your recent solo work. Was this intentional?
Liv Kristine: Vervain is my fifth solo album and 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. 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 were THE music I grew up with through my very young parents (by the way I have the best parents on the planet). Vervain is gothic, doom, with a killer sound and touching lyrics and melodies. I loved recording my vocals for it, as I was able to use my whole range of tones and singing manners. I 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. Currently there is a lot of promotion activities for the album going on which is hard work, however, I am very grateful that I have you, fans and friends all over the world, following me and taking interest in my artistic work.
Dead Rhetoric: Where does the drive come from when you decide that you are going to do another solo album?
Kristine: The main rule is to concentrate on one album, one production. Vervain was composed after the release of Leaves’ Eyes Symphonies of the Night. It’s important to finish one production before starting a new one. I compose and record when I am ready for it. It’s really great that we have our own studio, Mastersound, with two recording rooms and one rehearsal room. This means that Alex, Tosso, I and whoever is present at the studio may work on his or her own ideas separately. I would say we needed about a year. It went really smoothly! It was Tosso who mainly composed it, together with Alex, who also produced it at our own Mastersound Studio. We are such a great team and Alex and Tosso know my abilities and goals. When I told both of them that I had wanted to write compositions based on my “earlier” days, they loved it! Sometimes I think the two of them can read my mind!
Dead Rhetoric: How does the lyric-writing approach change with your solo work compared to that of Leaves Eyes?
Kristine: First of all my solo albums do not include Celtic and Norse myths, legend and history. That’s Leaves’ Eyes’ “territory”. A Leaves’ Eyes album almost always begins with a concept. This is not all the case concerning my solo albums. I always focus on one production at the time. In general it’s mainly Thorsten, Alexander and myself who compose and produce all music generating from Mastersound Studio. I have always followed my musical heart, no matter band or project, Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves Eyes, Liv Kristine or guest appearances. I definitely need both, Leaves’ Eyes and Liv Kristine, or lets say, I need ALL the freedom I can possibly get to move freely within my artistic world and dreams. I am incredibly lucky: my fans have always been there for me all these years.
The main difference between Leaves Eyes and my solo band is also mainly rooted within the musical genres: Leaves” Eyes is a metal band, influenced by Scandinavian and Irish traditional folk music, moreover, Norse mythology and Viking history when it comes to lyrics and concept. My solo band is more “here and now”, I go album by album, touching the genres of indie, pop, rock, metal…
I was born with a highly creative heart and mind and I do need to develop, to spread my wings within music and art generally, which also means to be involved with different musical styles.
Dead Rhetoric: It seems clear that you put family first. Is it getting harder as your son gets older to balance recording/touring with multiple projects as well as being a mom?
Kristine: I am a world champion in daily planning! When possible, I tour with my family. My son, Leon, will turn eleven this year. We recorded the debut of Leaves’ Eyes when I was pregnant in my final months. I will never forget this. He entered the world four hours after I had sung my final tone for the album. When he listens to it today, he says, “its kind of magic”. Now, this year Leaves’ Eyes also celebrate their 10th anniversary; we have toured four continents and released five full-length albums and 3 EPs. We just played our headliner anniversary show in Belgium at MFVF, which was absolutely wonderful. Right now, as said, I am about to release my fifth solo album Vervain. I am now back home after a superb tour with The Sirens. I am as busy as ever, however, very happy! Creativity and love towards music is the force behind my artistic work, as well as thankfulness towards my audience and fans. 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. You said it! The basic behind all this is to stay healthy in mind and body and to keep a good balance between business and privacy. I focus a lot on this, and I feel rooted with what I am doing, with nature and with living this very moment.
Dead Rhetoric: At one point quite some time back, you had a court case concerting your solo material and a producer. Was it disappointing to be put in the position where someone wanted you to sing/act a certain way?
Kristine: There were a few obstacles, yes. I was so, so disappointed. Imagine, I was born on the countryside in Norway…I experienced the world, my surroundings, to be completely safe and wonderful. Especially in the pop business there were moments when I thought “that’s it – I have had enough of this cold, exploiting music business”. I was almost out of the business for about a year, I just had enough. I finished my master degree in language acquisition/Anglistics and worked at a school for kids with serious social or any kind problems, which really opened up my eyes! This creative lowlight was in 2002-2003 going through a court case because producer, label and manager wanted to force me to sing on music, which just wasn’t me. They pushed me into a tricky situation where I couldn’t decide myself anymore. It was all about money. I lost the whole faith in the music business, moreover, a stalker made my life tough and Theatre of Tragedy, the band I formed with my friends in Norway, suddenly excluded me from the band without any good reason, with a message on their homepage. I thought I had lost everything and wanted to give up my musical career. Anyway, working with kids in a much, much serious situation than my own I learned to focus on the essential things in life.
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