Recently I had the opportunity to email Leaves' Eyes singer Liv Kristine Krull a few questions in regards to their newest release, Meredead.
Well first off, thank you for your time in conducting this interview. I remember picking up the self-titled album on its release back in 2004, and here we are with your fourth studio album, not including the Legend Land EP. Could you give a summary on your thoughts of how things have progressed for you and the band since the release of your previous album, Nord?
Thank you, the pleasure is mine! After the release of "Njord" and in between all the touring, Alexander (husband and producer), Thorsten(guitars),and myself have been really busy at Mastersound Studio. We needed 1.5 years to compose, record, and produce "Meredead", which was also our goal! After Leaves' Eyes returned from India, November last year, we concentrated fully on the mix, my husband often working night shifts at the mixing desk. I remember the day we sent away the master copy to our label. We went to our local favourite Indian restaurant! We had a really fantastic meal and 3 mango lassis each!
Regarding the new album, Meredead, I have been listening to it quite a bit now and I find it to be your most accomplished and satisfying work to date. There seems to be a greater focus on the composition aspects of the album, and some of the more pop oriented tendencies of past albums are not present except perhaps the To France cover and Velvet Heart. Please explain your thoughts on the recording of this album, and what Leaves' Eyes was trying to accomplish in its making.
Alexander, Thorsten and myself are the song-writing and production team. Most of the time, music comes first, then vocallines 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. We just let the music inspire us to add new and interesting "spices" to our music, like pipes, nyckelharpa (Swedish folk instrument), the fiddle, cello, classical orchestra or the flute. 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.
Meredead seems to be a very emotionally charged album, with many soothing passages that counter balance the otherwise aggressive song writing. Your vocals have always translated emotion well, but here it seems to be better than ever. Over the course of the album, what are you trying to convey to the audience?
There is a historic feel to every song on the album, like travelling back in time with every song. Every song on the album tells a different story and has its own individuality, as just mentioned. After we had composed our third song, we clearly saw a development into the Scandinavian traditional music, historical instruments, more roughness in our music, moreover, I sensed the need to write some of the lyrics in Norwegian dialect and Old-English. Singing in Norwegian was really emotional to me, which I hadn't really expected. I like the sound of it, as well as the sound of Old-English. Singing in a historic language meant re-studying Old-English and spending more time with grammar, however, it was absolutely worth it. "Meredead" goes really deep, into history and mythology, and hopefully deep under your skin!
Previous albums prominently featured Alexander Krull performing growl vocals, however that does not seem to be as much the case here. Was there a reason behind this decision, or is that just how the album evolved? Additionally, the duet between you and him on Empty Horizon is one of the albums highlights, yet I do not recall anything similar to it in your past works. Is this something new that was tried for the album?
True, there is less of Alex' growls on "Meredead" than on our previous releases, however that didn't happen on purpose. That's ok, as long as all of us share the same point of view. It wasn't planned that way, though. Now, we're aware of it and I promise you there will be more Alex in the future. Anyway, he will probably "have fun" singing in Norwegian dialect on our up-coming tour, as this was the first time for him in his career ;-) I mean, my dialect is not really the easiest one to pick. Moreover, Alex mother tongue is German, not at all Norwegian. I love the way he does it on "Meredead" - well done, my dear Alex!
What is the meaning behind Meredead?
Meredead, meaning 'dead by the sea', or 'the deadly sea', 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 peace, and Scandinavian folklore, to mention a few examples.
On a touring note, it seems that your popularity has grown quite a bit since your beginnings (as seen on your live DVD). What has been the most rewarding experience thus far for you and the band?
For me as a singer it was the release of my solo album "Skintight", moreover being nominated for THE GRAMMY with the Cradle of Filth duet "Nymphetamine" in L.A. some years ago. With Leaves' Eyes I get goose bumps every time people sing along to "Norwegian Lovesong" from our debut album "Lovelorn". I do feel homesick quite often, and it goes directly into my heart when my fans and friends share this feeling with me! I am first of all grateful to our fans all over the world. Many have followed me since the beginnings of Theatre of Tragedy and the up-rise of gothic metal in the 90s. 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. I had never though back then that ToT would play such an important role to a new metal genre. You have always been there for me, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
How is the tour for Meredead shaping up? Are you looking to hit any locations you have not been yet, and is there anywhere in particular you are looking forward to playing?
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! Leaves' Eyes will be touring Europe with Midnattsol in April, and with Tarja in May. It's time that the ladies get together!
As the former vocalist for Theatre of Tragedy what were your thoughts on the news last year that they were retiring from recording music?
I was told by Raymond, the ToT singer, that they would split up whatsoever, and that was a couple of years ago. The atmosphere in the band hasn't been that "uplifting" lately, as I have been told. It's sad though. ToT had a great future coming up, however, we didn't even make it to the States, which is a real pity! The experience I have collected since founding ToT and uptil today, has made me the artist I am. Experience is everything. I never studied music (instead I studied languages), I just felt when I was little that music is going to be an important part of my life. My first important step was with Theatre of Tragedy, however, the fact that they decided to kick me out of my own band is something I never understood. Anyway, sometimes bad luck leads to good luck: I am so happy with Leaves' Eyes, I have wonderful band members and friends, moreover, I am able to combine family and music, which I consider to be true luck and happiness.
Finally, where do you see Leaves' Eyes progressing from here? What are your goals for the future?
I wish we could do a tour in Asia this year, after touring the U.S. I hope you enjoy "Meredead" as much as we enjoyed composing it!

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