Norwegian Metal Queen Liv Kristine is a person who does not need to be specially introduced for she’s a true legend. Having started her music career at the roots of European gothic metal as part of the Theatre of Tragedy in the early 90s, Liv gained fame, working not only in this genre, but also in symphonic folk metal, new age and pop rock.
After leaving Leaves’ Eyes for personal reasons, she never stopped making music, continuing to collaborate with various projects, playing live shows with her solo band and planning to release the next solo album.
Our webzine had the a chance to talk to this truly bright and positive person, and Liv told MetalGossip about her life in recent years, about her plans, hopes, losses, strength and self-healing.
MG: Leaving Leaves’ Eyes was for sure not an easy moment of your life. Liv, how has your live changed since that? What helped you pass through these hard times?
Liv: I had to start from scratch. Find new financial ways, find a new home for my family, find my passion and strength. My life has changed 360 degrees. I am lucky, though, and utterly happy to be the creator of my own life. I am DNA equipped with neverending positivity and strength, it seems like. I believe in love, I love life, I have fantastic family members, the best friends and fans in the world. I am not afraid of facing changes and challenges. My son, dogs and I live in a beautiful, lovely home and I feel abundance and gratefulness. I feel creativity and I AM music. There is still a lot for me to do as a musician on this planet.
Moreover, I cannot change the fact that Leaves’ Eyes is closed chapter. I had to let my band go even if it feels utterly wrong and sad. The way it happened was disgusting and unfair. I only really wish that the remaining members would change the band’s name. Why not Elina’s Eyes? She is a talented singer, she is worth having her own band. The name Leaves’ Eyes has such a strong connection to my personality and Norway’s history. What the band members are doing today has nothing to do with me. I will think of Leaves’ Eyes with positive emotions. I would say there is a special magic to our first two albums.
MG: What was your life filled with during the last two years? We all were so sad to know about Mario… Please accept our deepest condolences… Maybe since some time has passed you can now tell us about Mario. What kind of man he used to be? What did he mean to you?
Liv: I thank you. I know he is with us every second of the day. Mario was my best friend next to being my fiancé. He was a guardian angel to Leon and me when he was still living here with us in physical form, and he still is now in another sphere, looking after us. He passed away after a series of heart attacks, a heart collapse, coma and finally a stroke. It happened one night and I was able to save him, moreover, the doctors and surgeons thought he would recover, however, Mario never woke up again. The year we had as a family were filled with happiness and joy, and most of all, love. He loved music with all his passionate heart. Leon and I and our to dogs can still feel his protection and love in our beautiful, cozy home.
MG: In November 2018 you made us – your Russian fans – happy again playing absolutely awesome concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg (I’ve been there on Moscow show and it was pure magic, thank you Liv!). Tell us please about your impressions of being to Russia once again? I know Russian shows are always special to you.
Liv: Since the times of Theatre of Tragedy I’ve been playing shows in Russia and I am very grateful and passionate about this. I have a brilliant, supportive team in «Alive Concerts» and our Russian audience is outstanding and deeply passionate. My solo-band members had a really good Halloween party in St. Petersburg!
MG: We’ve heard some rumors that you’ve been working with ex- Theatre of Tragedy guitarist and composer Tommy Olssen on your new solo album. Is it true? What would it be – something similar to ToT’s music or more pop, like «Enter My Religion», for example? When can we expect your new album?
Liv: Tommy is amazing. «Aegis» is my favourite album of Theatre of Tragedy. It’s very special to me and Tommy did a brilliant composing job. I will go into talks with labels these days concerning further solo releases. A new musical chapter is about to open.MG: Liv, it was not just a pleasure for us to attend your concerts with Raymond Rohonyi in 2015, it was just awesome, because you have brought some kind of magic with this temporary reunion of yours. So, what are you plans for the future: can we expect another reunion with Raymond for playing some more shows with old stuff from ToT or even full line-up reunion on the band?
Liv: I thank you and I felt the same. We are talking, and we need to talk some more. I think it would be awesome.
MG: Liv, do you have any plans of making a new band? Or will you stay permanently in Midnattsol?
Liv: Being a member of Midnattsol is a highly important step in my career. Moreover, I have had my own solo band since 1998, and «Liv Kristine» will always be my band.
MG: Tell us please about your recent collaboration with the French singer Marion-Lamita and her project Lux in Tenebris. How was your duet born?
Liv: Marion is such a lovely person and a brilliant singer! I am so grateful to join her, «The Grand Design» is a brilliant composition. Marion just reached out and I said «yes»! Marion’s lyrics are perfect for my personal experience.
MG: Do you have in project any new collaboration with different bands or artists? If so, can you unveil any details of that? Whom would you like to make a duet with?
Liv: I would love to work more with my friends from Orden Ogan and Seeb. I love Seeb’s way of working effectively and structural and I am a big fan of his sound. «Come with Me to the Other Side», our collaboration, is brilliantly produced. I can imagine being more involved with this kind of a sound. It makes me evolve as a singer. It’s great fun!
MG: And also we have a question about your wonderful project The Sirens. Does it still exist? Do we have a chance to hear something from The Sirens in future?
Liv: It does not exist anymore, however, what we did and what we experienced with our audiences all round the world was wonderful!
MG: Some people say that female fronted metal/gothic metal as s genre is dying nowadays. As a one of the genre’s founders, what do you think of it? What is your opinion about new/young bands/artists in this genre? Can someone be compared to ToT, The Sins of The Beloved, Tristania and other oldschool?
Liv: Every band must be remembered and appreciated for what they gave to the world artistically in their active times, whatever they offered, whatever the trends were or are said to be holding. But yes, to me the times with ToT were kind of magic.
MG: ToT and Leaves’ Eyes – these two bands were a huge part of your life, they surely are a big part of your soul. What do you feel now, after all these years, when you perform the songs of ToT and Leaves’ Eyes on stage?
Liv: I feel appreciation, gratefulness, happiness, positive energy! This is what the audiences reflect to me on stage, what I feel and reflect to you when I am singing, and this is a big energetic circle that flows back and forth, radiating passion for these songs. We are all one, and the outer world doesn’t matter right then and there. I always found passion, new strength and power performing with whatever band in the past.
MG: Your music, your poetry always were very sincere and deep. Liv, where do you get inspiration for creating your music? From what sources?
Liv: I thank you for the compliment. It’s a source of creativity within me. It’s my way. It is god-given and I have been studying it by life experience (no music university studies) since I was little and got aware of this ability. Until this very day I know little about notes and I developed my own technical singing abilities. I am lucky. It’s passion.
MG: You’ve always been one of the best live performers possessing a very peculiar voice and vocal manner. What do you usually do for improving you vocal skills and keeping your voice in a good condition? And what is the most important – how is it possible to keep and carry through the years all this incredible sincerity?
Liv: I sing as much as possible, especially in the car, hehe. Your vocal chords are muscles which have to be trained, it’s quite simple. You mention a very important aspect: sincerity. When I sing it’s my inner voice. Everybody must find his or her inner voice to be able to reach the audiences in a passionate, sincere way. Due to the really exhausting and tough experiences I’ve gone through as a grown-up woman, I’ve learned to pay more Intention to my inner voice. It has changed, it is so much stronger. If you fall a hundred times you have learned a hundred lessons, and if you get up you will get stronger! This had made me stronger, my inner voice is stronger and there is so much more clarity and happiness in my life now. I would like to pass on my experience to the world through singing lessons and self-healing workshops. I am inviting you to get in touch here: firstname.lastname@example.org
MG: Some questions about your stage outfits (which are really awesome!). How do you think, do the outfits have to match perfectly the music and the style? Is it necessary to sacrifice comfort on stage to good look?
Liv: Shall I be honest? I am sorry to say…yes. It’s never comfortable to walk in high heels on stage but we female singers mostly do and we still sing and move as if we couldn’t feel any pain in our toes.
MG: It’s not a secret that you’re a vegetarian and you’re fond of yoga. What place do these things take in your life? Do they help you feel healthier? What can you advise the beginners?
Liv: It’s never too late to begin! Yoga and meditation along to running is essential in my life, it all heals me and triggers my powers. It’s also essential to my breathing and thus singing. Couldn’t live without it. Autogenic training helps me to heal in my body and to expand personally. And I care a lot about what I eat and drink. We are what we eat. This kind of consciousness started to grow within me when I was 18 years old, and by the years, now reaching my 43rd year, I always listen to my body. I am happy to be in a very good shape, but it takes knowledge and consciousness. Yoga means transformation: instead of seeing yourself as a piece in the universal creation you become the creator of your own life.
MG: Ex-Nightwish singer Anette Olzon once said that the world of music business is a bad place for women. What’s your opinion about that? Have you ever faced any kind of harassment in the metal world?
Liv: Yes, Anette is right. I’ve experienced stalkers, useless court cases, the unfair attacks of greedy masculinity and narcissist violence around me and around other female singers. There’s only been a few female narcissists around as far as I have been traveling around the world with bands and business partners. Tarja and I have had many deep talks about this, and many more ladies have revealed their disappointment, reaching out, during the latest years. But the fact is, I’ve observed male chauvinism and narcissistic abuse towards men as well. I’ve seen wonderful, talented male colleagues leaving their bands and music industry in fear and disappointment, too. Some so-called rockstars are nothing but evil narcissists. There’s not much difference between them and some famous politicians occupying leading positions only to abuse and dictate. But they will fail by their destructive ways.
MG: Liv, can you tell about the new music you’ve heard recently that have impressed you? Can you advise any bands or artists that are maybe not so famous but are definitely worth listening to?
Liv: Freddy Mercury, Madonna, Emily Nicolas and Melody Gardot.
MG: And the last question is… could you say a few words to your Russian fans? Can we expect your new shows in Russia soon?
Liv: As soon as possible! I’m always ready!
Photo credits: Stefan Heilemann