LIV KRISTINE (Eng.)

– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything being with the release of your new album? In fact I’ve read you are working on a video for «Paris Paris».

Liv: thank you so much, I and the rest of the guys are doing really well. ! We’ve been on tour for four weeks now, Leaves’ Eyes and Firewind, and I have to tell you this tour is the best tour I’ve ever experienced because there are only, ONLY, really nice and lovely people on board of this Nightliner. Anyway, its good to be back home with my family now. I’ve been doing as much promotion as possible for «Libertine» during my tour with Leaves’ Eyes, of course. I am so, so excited about this release, and so proud. It is my most vital, diverse and interesting album so far in my solo career. «Paris Paris», by the way, is now online – I am very, very happy about this clip, moreover working with Patric and his Revolver team for the fourth time. «Paris Paris» was actually a demo song I prepared for Theatre of Tragedy, but it was never recorded. However, I re-wrote it for fun using the program Garage band. My co-musicians loved it and all the instruments were recorded new. It is definitely a very refreshing song!

– This mentioned new opus is entitled «Libertine». How are the first reactions being? Being such a seasoned musician; what are your expectations on this record?

Liv: The feedback from both press and fans for «Libertine» have been absolutely amazing, world-wide, actually the best ones I’ve ever had so far in my 20-years long career. I am so grateful for this, I am very moved. My inner voice tells me that I need to go on tour and play these songs live as soon as possible!

 

– This has been your first album with drummer Felix Born. What could you say has he brought to your sound?

Liv: Felix is still very young, only in the beginning of his twenties, but he is extremely talented! He already joined my solo live band last year and I know he does it very well. He’s a great guy, too (we have had a lot of fun!), and he is very eager to do a great job in both the studio and on stage.

 

– After giving the CD some spins I’d dare say this is one of your most varied efforts, it has a really vital dynamism. Is diversity something important for you as an artist?

Liv: The diversity in my art probably has to do with the different influences I’ve gathered along my musical path: I grew up with Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Edvard Grieg and Tschaikowsky, and female singers like Enya, Madonna, Kate Bush, Abba, Tori Amos and Monserrat Caballe. From the very beginning, I’ve followed my musical instinct: I wanted to combine a romantic, female, angelic voice with powerful, impressive music. Then suddenly, when I was 18 years old, I found myself in the middle of writing music history with Theatre of Tragedy. My favorite album at the moment, also when I paint my pictures, is «Ark» by Brendan Perry – absolutely splendid and dream-like!

 

– It’s also a really mature album and more solid, both in composition and sound. Could you say this is the album you have always wantedto do? And talking about the songwriting; has this process changed for this new piece?

Liv: thank you for your compliment. Yes, I do feel more mature with this album. To compare it with my former releases, Dues ex Machina (1998) was very atmospheric, reminding you a bit about Irish Enya, a real pop-album. Enter My Religion (2006) was more guitar-based and earthly with many interesting exotic folk influences. Skintight (2010) had some influence from J. Cash, which sometimes gives the listeners a warm and here-and-now camp-fire feeling experience. Libertine (2012) is a back-to-the-roots album, containing the most emotional ballads I’ve ever composed, it even has a dark but sweet feeling to it, through both the piano, the dark bass lines and guitars. I see every album becoming more and more individual, just like I am getting closer to myself. I would say all of my albums are somehow indie, pop or rock. A solo album song-writing process mostly runs like this: initially there’s a vocal melody or a single bass or piano line from which all songs start growing. I composed three songs, the rest was co-composed with J.B.van der Wal, under the production-hand of Mastersound, Alex, my husband. The only exception is the Kate Bush cover, of course.

 

– I also believe is really creative, something that goes hand in hand with the diversity I metioned earlier. Was this how you envisioned «Libertine» or do you just let things flow?

Liv: I do follow my artistic heart all the time, but I love letting things flow during the productions, which is a thing that inspires me to «spread my wings». Moreover, there was this moment during my concert in Nagold, Germany, December 2011, when I first presented the demo song «Libertine» to my audience. I had also performed a handful of Theatre of Tragedy songs, because it was my wish. There and then I understood in which musical direction my up-coming album would be, more powerful, more back to the roots. Everybody was there, my closest friends and family, my fantastic fans from all over the world, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, UK, Finland, Spain, Holland and all over Germany. I was so happy! This was a very special night for me, so special that I will do it again in December 22. this year!

 

– Lyrics are quite emotional and have a strong emotion. Where do you take inspiration from to write them?

Liv: Actually «Libertine» is an album that gathers special moments from my own life. Secondly, in my lyrics you will find a few definitions of «love». I am lucky, I write all lyrics, for my solo project and Leaves’ Eyes. I just love poetry and linguistics! If I would write lyrics, I would write books of poetry.

 

– The song «Vanilla Skin Delight» features Tobias Regner, German’s Pop Idol’s winner. How and why did this cooperation born?

Liv: I am so happy to have worked with Tobias. His voice is amazing. He was one of the Superstar-winners in Germany, and he is definitely my favorite. We met through a common friend, luckily, as my band mates suggested that we look for a male voice for Vanilla Skin Delight. 48 hours later he knocked on the studio door of Mastersound Studio and we became friends straight away! We had so many stories to tell. He is a true professional and he did such a great job in front of the microphone. I really hope we will be able to perform this song together some day.

 

– You have also covered Kate Bush’s «The Man with a Child in his Eyes». How did you come up with this idea? I mean, why this song specially? And what other songs would you like to cover someday?

Liv: Kate Bush, and also Tori Amos, are truly my greatest influences vocally. Since I never had any musical education I have found my own way to prepare my voice before a concert or recording session in which I sing along to either of these wonderful voices. It was my best friend, Katja, who had this idea that I should cover Kate. During one of our girls’ evenings…parties…I started singing from the top of my voice along to Kate…the next day I was worried what the neighbors would say. Katjas neighbors did not complain…and my friend inspired me to record the track for «Libertine». It was recorded in a one- take session. I would like to cover «Changes» by Black Sabbath some day. The best song ever!

 

– You recorded the album as Mastersound Studio, Alexander’s studios. Is it easier for you and more comfortable to record with him? As beside being married, you have always worked closely with some of your different projects, so I guess you both may know what the other is able to do and what result is looking for.

Liv: True. I actually prefer working with my husband. To tell you the truth: I like «to cook in my own kitchen». Alexander produced the album at our own Mastersound Studio. We are very privileged to have our own studio, and it is superb having my husband next to me. He, and my guitar player Thorsten, know me the best. Both of them know how to push me just a little bit further…and in the end, I am so happy to have achieved a new goal. Their opinions mean very much to me. Of course we do have discussions sometimes, I mean, we are all perfectionists and very stubborn, however, we always come up with a perfect solution.

 

– All this about «Libertine» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?

Liv: Diverse, mature, breath-teaking.

 

– You started your musical career a long time ago and during this time you’ve managed to tour a lot, to play with different bands, etc. So, what could you say have been your best and worst moments into the music world so far?

Liv: One of my nest moments was headlining Wacken Open Air 2012 with Leaves’Eyes, bringing along my Viking ship 700kilometers on a truck, building it up on stage, including my ten authentic Vikings from the Viking village in Wacken acting with me on stage. Fantastic! The tour with Firewind (Sept.-Oct. 2012) was my best, and funniest, one so far, as mentioned above.

Except from experiences with my own bands, Leaves’ Eyes and Liv Kristine, it was the guestvocal appearances for Atrocity (Work 80) and Cradle of Filth (Nymphetamine). Atrocity went straight into the charts, and the Cradle-duet was even nominated for the US Grammy. Motörhead won the Grammy…they deserved it, but I’m hoping for a second chance some day;-) Anyway, headlining Wacken Open Air with Leaves’ Eyes and special guests this summer was probably the best live experience I had so far in my career. Solo-wise it was Nagold, December 2011, which will be repeated 2012.

The worst moments? Being kicked out of Theatre of Tragedy in 2003 (I found their message on their homepage), and a big court case in 2001/2003 in which I had to fight, and in the end pay, for my artistic freedom. Yes, the music business is really brutal, especially if you are an honest artist only trying to follow your artistic senses and heart.

 

– Throughout these years of musical career you have also cooperated with different acts but, what band would you like to work with you haven’t done it yet?

Liv: Ozzy Osbourne, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel, Marina and the Diamonds, Robyn and Muse. I hope the universe hears this!

 

– Metal in Europe seems to be strongly growing day by day, maybe also due to the Internet and the easy access to information and music but, how do you see the current European Metal scene like? Has it changed that much since you started?

Liv: oh yes. Generally speaking, ten years ago an album release, also a metal release, was an amazing thing, connected with big advertisement campaigns, promotion-press tours and an endless marathon of phoners. Today we use Facebook, we artists get downloaded, so we are just a line, a codex, on the Internet, to say it straight forward. The scene, though, has remained quite stabile and sound – that’s great! I am so grateful to my fans and friends, always being there for me. I see that the metal scene for folk-gothic metal with female vocals is steadily growing in America as well, that’s very positive!

 

– From Queens of Steel we have always tried to let people know women are equally capable of playing Metal music. Even though many people respects and admires female Metal musicians doing their own thing, into this world people tends to illustrate differences between both genres instead of highlighting similarities. Have you noticed this during your career or as a Metal fan?

Liv: yes, during my first two years with Theatre of Tragedy the press generally seem to not accept a soprano, angelic voice in doom metal. However, our fans were becoming more and more eager about our self-created genre, gothic metal with female vocals, and THEY made my ex-band become huge and successful. For many years now, there are a quite a few lovely and highly-talented women in metal bands out there. My ex-band the founders of this genre in the mid nineties…I could be the mother of some of those young talents!

 

– And how do you think has evolved the role society uses to give women into the Metal scene? Do you think there’s still discrimination into this world?

Liv: Not in the latest ten years. I’ve just been on a tourbus with 17 guys. I am treated like a princess and mum by band mates, and Firewind were absolutely lovely and respectful. In the past, touring with ToT, I sometimes experienced anti-female treatment, however, that was due to the fact that there were men in the band being jealous on my front-position in the band.

 

– And finally, what are your near-future plans?

Liv: We just arrived from our fantastic tour over Europe with Leaves’ Eyes and Firewind. We are now recording our fifth studio album, which will be really heavy and folky! I hope there will be a US tour coming up, supporting Firewind on other continents. Let’s cross our fingers! I hope I will see some of you in Nagold, Germany, 22.12. at my exclusive solo show! Stay tuned for more solo shows next year!

 

– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Liv: Thank you for being there for me all these years, with Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves’Eyes and my solo work. I hope you enjoy «Libertine» as much as I did composing and recording it. I can’t wait to play it live for you! See you soon, I can’t wait to be back in beautiful country!

 

Sergio Fernández

sergio@queensofsteel.com

 

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