Archive for the Interview Category

Interview with Ben Blutzukker

Posted in Interview, Metal with tags , on 5th October 2017 by izaforestspirit

Iza had a little chat with Ben Blutzukker to discuss Lego, heavy metal and his new EP ‘Ripide’.

Iza: What is behind the name ‘Blutzukker’?

Ben: It’s a song from the Swedish Vampire-Metal-Band Notre Dame. It should have that name, but it was never released. But I liked the spelling and so I named my first band after it. A short time later my own name transformed then to “Ben Blutzukker”.

Iza: Earlier this year you decided to put an end to your dark electro project Blutzukker to focus on your heavy metal project. What led to this decision?

Ben: I just felt like that. Since the last Blutzukker album in 2012 I no longer had  ideas to do new electronic tracks. And as the solo projekt “Ben Blutzukker” was my only focus for the last years I decided to tell everyone that “blutzukker” is over now.

Iza: Aside from the obvious differences in genre (dark electro vs. heavy metal), what other differences do you see between Blutzukker and Ben Blutzukker?

Ben: Hmm. That is a difficult question. I think there are many things that are the same in both projects. The vocals are absolutely the same. I also did not change my lyrical writing. So yes, mainly only the musical genres are the mail difference.

Iza: Let’s talk a about your new EP ‘Riptide’. Based on the cover art and the title track I’m guessing that it has something to do with the sea. Can you tell us a little bit about the themes for this release?

Image result for ben blutzukker riptide
Ben: When I was searching for a great artwork for this EP I saw this one and felt in love with it. Until then the EP should have a total different name. But I saw that artwork and it directly reminds me to when I wrote the lyrics for the song “Riptide”. So I decided to make “Riptide” the main song of this EP.

Iza: I’ve noticed that your sound has changed slightly since the first EP ‘Analog Blood’; the new songs seem darker, with a hint black metal in addition to the thrash metal guitars. Are you a fan of black metal, if so which bands do you like?

Ben: That is trve. I like a lot of black metal bands, especially Abbath and Winterfylleth. The recording of the EP was done by myself as I did it on “Analog Blood”. But this time I gave the job of mastering to the same studio where also the Abbath album was mastered. Nevertheless I like to mix the styles of black, death and thrash. And maybe next time there will also be a bit of Goth Metal in it.

 

Iza: On the EP, there is a cover of Illwill’s song. What made you decide to choose that particular band and song?

Ben: To push that great song, because no one knows it! Just a joke… My favorite musician is Snowy Shaw from Sweden. He was involved in Illwill (and he was also the main-figure of Notre Dame). And with “blutzukker” we played this song on stage several times. So I wanted to close the circle by recording my own version now.

Iza: Also, there is a collaboration with Pale Violett on backing vocals on the same cover track. What made you decide to work with her?

Ben: Pale Violett was part of “blutzukker”, so we made a lots of stuff together over the years. But to be honest: her recordings for this song are now 10 years old.

Iza: You have recently released a new video for the title track ‘Riptide’ which features a Lego pirate ship. This is the second of your videos to feature Lego figurines. You even have Lego USB-sticks available. I have to ask, what is it with the Lego?

Ben: I love it! I always loved it! Don’t you still love Lego?

Image result for ben blutzukker

Iza: Your previous band featured lots of humour in the lyrics, mostly connected to vampires and horror stuff in general. Is this humour element something you plan to continue with as Ben Blutzukker or is this more serious?

Ben: I think I will automatically continue like that, because that is just a part of my person. For me it is normal to not take everything too serious. Not even the blackest metal.
Iza: Is Ben Blutzukker a studio only -project or do you plan to play some live shows in the future?

Ben: I see, this question is the one I hear the most. But no, currently I like it to just be a studio project.

Iza: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Ben: Thank you! 
For more information visit:

http://facebook.com/BenBlutzukker

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Blaze Bayley Interview

Posted in Festival, Interview with tags , , , on 4th August 2017 by mickbirchy

Mick had a little chat with Blaze Bayley (ex-Iron Maiden, Wolfsbane) before his show at SOS Festival. Here’s the interview:

Mick: The new album Endure and Survive – Infinite Entanglement Part II has dropped this year. How has it been releasing the second part to this massive concept?

 

Blaze: Oh it’s been fantastic. The whole tour of Endure and Survive has gone so much better than we could have hoped for really. All of the new songs [from the new Endure and Survive album] that we have put into the set have gone down really well and people have said this album is the best album I have ever done, in my entire career. So, it’s gone really well and as for something that is such a big concept, I think people are just ready for these kind of albums. It’s a narrative that carries over three albums, the “Infinite Entanglement” trilogy. The first part being Infinite Entanglement, the second being this new album and we’re currently working on the songs for the third album right now.  Those songs will be recorded in October/November time. It’s going really well.

 

Mick: I’ve been listening to the new album and I have been enjoying it. The one song that stood out to me was “Remember”. I think it stood out because it a bit more slowed down and had a lot of folk-y instrumentation. Could you tell a bit more about that song and what it means in context? As I have developed my own meaning and I wanted your thoughts on it.

 

Blaze: Well, in the scheme of the album, the whole theme is of a man has to decide whether he is human or not as his consciousness has been loaded into a machine body. So what he has left is the memory of being human. He has the consciousness, he thinks of himself as human but in fact he has a machine body. This song “Remember”, goes back to a time where there was happiness, a rare thing in the life of this central character, and that’s what they are remembering when someone says ‘You have to let go and sometimes you have to just live in the moment, you have to remember that this life is just a series of moments’. That’s why it’s called “Remember”, the character has had some great moments you had these things happen to them. They have to remember how it felt in that moment and then perhaps they can get that feeling back of being in this moment.

 

Mick: I think that’s why it stuck out to me. I took it out of context of the album and applied it to myself. I have been through some hard times in my life and I just remember being happy in myself. I just like how you can take a part of a grander story, such as a concept album, and it makes sense on it’s own. When it comes to songwriting is that something you have to take into account. Not just the album will work as a concept, but making every song make sense in themselves?

 

Blaze: I realise it’s quite a big thing that we set ourselves and it’s always a challenge. What we said was, if you know nothing about the story and don’t know it’s part of a trilogy of albums, you still have to listen to every song on their own. Without knowing the story and what should happen, is a similar thing that happened to you. A song will catch you and you’ll want to figure out what that song means in relation to the other songs of the story. I had to be a good album that you could listen to on it’s own and didn’t know it was connected to the others, but if you became more into it and got more interested in the lyrics then perhaps you would start to find the rest of the story. This journey that this person goes on.

 

Mick: So, in saying that are there any tips you could give a band or artist who maybe wants to make an album(s) like this one?

 

Blaze: I think in recent times, what I would say to any bands starting off or before making their first big records, is that the world has changed so much since I started. You can’t be in the mindset of, I play my guitar really well, that’s enough, it’s not. What you’ve got to do is get confident with recording yourself well. Get used to doing it yourself, the technology exists now where you can make your own album quality demos. So you have to do that. It’s your duty now. If you want freedom, true freedom as an artist, it can’t be just singing and playing well. You have to master recording that instrument, no matter what it is. The technology exists and it’s nowhere near as expensive as it was a few years ago. I didn’t exist when I started, we used cassette tapes but even so we tried to get good demos together. You can’t get bound up in the demo, I think what you have to is jam through the idea and live with that idea. Then put it away, walk away from it and come back to it. Everybody I’ve met who’s learnt to record themselves did so because they were pissed off by an engineer who didn’t have a clue how to make an electric guitar sound like an electric guitar. They’ve said how come I, with one guitar, and one microphone can make it sound right. But the guy in the £25 an hour studio makes it sound like it’s in a colander in a shed. It doesn’t make sense. Everyone I’ve met who’s now in production, did so because they had to because no one could make their instruments sound right.

 

Mick: Do you see an advantage of being independent rather than being on a big record label?

 

Blaze: As an artist I’m completely independent, I don’t have a big label, I am the label. The reason I can do what I do is because people pre-order my albums without knowing what it’s going to be like. They send the money for it, I’m then able to make the album and then send it to them. So far that’s worked. I have this incredible support from hugely loyal fans that enables me to make the music that I want to make and tour in the place I want to tour. So I can come here and play this great festival, SOS, where it’s all independent and original bands. Then I can play smaller venues across Europe, I can do bigger festivals. The luxury of it is that I don’t go back to anywhere I don’t like. So anywhere they don’t care about the sound, anywhere that doesn’t treat fans with respect, I don’t go back.

 

Mick: You’ve have a career that has spanned a long, long time now. What is the one piece of work that you are particularly proud of. Be it a gig or a song or an album. What sticks in your head about your career?

 

Blaze: Well, I think having a song that went into the top 10, around the world. When I was in Iron Maiden, Madonna was at the top of the charts. The X Factor, knocked Madonna off the top of the charts in some countries. “Man on the Edge” was a song I wrote with Janick Gears in Iron Maiden. That song went to the top 10 in many countries around the world and actually hit number 1 in some countries as well. That was such a huge achievement for someone who comes from a working class family and had a dream. I used to work in a hotel, working nights, cleaning the hotel, cleaning the toilets such and such. I’ve had all manner of jobs and the reason I do what I do is because I love to sing and now 30 odd years after I started, I’m independent doing my own thing.

 

Mick: How do you feel like you’ve evolved as an artist over the years, if at all?

Blaze: I think I really found my voice in Iron Maiden. You know, in Wolfsbane, I loved doing that and we’re still together and we have a reunion coming up in December. But my voice back then didn’t really have the range that I would later develop. I had the enthusiasm and the emotion but I didn’t have the range nor the soul. In Iron Maiden, when recorded the  The X Factor and Virtual XI being in that studio I really found that other part of my voice. After Maiden that’s when I started using my voice in a new way so I think as I got to my acoustic album Russian Holiday that’s when I really felt like I had a really good control of my voice. As I came to these most recent album I felt like now I have the tools, now I can have a lyric and I can say what tone, what breadth, what texture do I need to create so that the emotion shines through to the listener. My ultimate goal is, if English is not your first language you still know what the song is about.

 

Mick: My final question is one I always love ending on. What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

 

Blaze: That’s a really good question and I don’t know what the answer is really. However, I suffer with nerves and people are very disappointed when they ask, ‘What kind of rituals do you have backstage’ and I know they’re expecting me to be jumping and getting hyped. You know swigging Jack Daniels and doing lines of coke. It’s the complete opposite for me, I get nervous about going out on stage and I have to put myself into a place of complete calm. When you come into the Blaze Bayley dressing room, it’s most boring place you have ever seen at any gig. You’d probably think to yourself ‘How are they going to bring the roof down, when they’re this boring’. Just no excitement in the dressing, because all of that get’s in the way of the thought process that brings lyric to the place where my voice will connect with it. To bring this fresh feeling and emotion to the lyric.

It’s a thing that I’ve learned over the years. There have been times where I got over excited. Then I’ve forgotten the word to the song. The worst thing that ever happened was when we supported Helloween, and I went on and thought ‘god the band sounds shit’, then I realised that I was singing the words and melody to a totally different song. That’s what happens when I get over excited. So the biggest thing I’ve had to overcome is nerves really and the way I cope with it is to remain calm and keep focused on those first few songs.

 

Mick: Fantastic, thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

http://www.blazebayley.net/

https://www.facebook.com/officialblazebayley

Interview with Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom)

Posted in Gig, Interview, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 19th March 2017 by mickbirchy

Before their set in Manchester, our writer, Mick Birchall sits with Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom to talk about 20 years of the band and how they kept up in the music industry. Also, touring and the music scene in general.

This year marks 20 years of Children of Bodom. How does it feel to be able to say that you have actually been going that long?

Yes, it’s crazy it really is.  We weren’t really expecting that when we started. Back then we were just kids and we played heavy metal metal. Yeah it’s great it really is. Just the though that we’ve made it this far.

You guys have played all around the world.  Would you say there a difference in audience, depending on where you go?

You be surprised on how little the differences are really. Metal heads are metal heads no matter where you go.  If there are differences then they’d be small things. Such as in Japan, the crowd will probably go completely silent between the songs, it feels a little awkward. However, it is a show of respect. So it’s things like that but when the music is on, it’s on!

Going for 20 years now and with 9 albums.  How do you feel you keep your music sounding new without wearing out the same sound, but also without compromising the core of the band?

That’s becoming a challenge after releasing so many albums and we definitely don’t want to be stuck to a formula or get stuck the mindset of “this worked well, let’s just do that again”. As a band you have to keep creating something new and you have to take a risk with something eventually. I mean there’s only so many bands that can release the same album over and over.

Over the years what is the one song you wish you had written as a band?

I would say Redneck by Lamb of God.

What would be the best band that you have opened for and what’s the best band that’s opened for you?

I’d say the best we’ve opened for is Slayer. We did a couple tour with them and it was just great.  Their level of production and how well the opening bands were treated it was just amazing.

On the other hand we’ve had the pleasure of having so many killer band open the show for us. We had this band recently play with us.  Havok they were really great, we’ve heard them play and every audience they’ve played for people have just loved them.  Also we have Oni with us on this tour. They’re really cool, with a xylophone player. If you’re into the weird stuff then Oni is for you.

What’s your impression of the more gimmicky bands out there.  The ones who will dress up and get into character for a show?

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just don’t paste it over your image, if your band sound sounds fine without gimmicks then don’t paste it over the top of it.  Only do it if it’s natural to the kind of music that you’re trying to create. Also, if you’re going to do it, make it your own thing.  Don’t take another band idea and slap it over your band, try to be original with a concept.

So to end on. What was the hardest thing you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

We’ve had some obstacles in band. Obviously letting Roope (Latvala) go was a tough decision. We were struggling without him for sometime. When you’ve been in the industry for this long you’ve had up and and downs. At the end of the day, everyone in the band has to believe in the same thing, then between all of you you get through rough times. As long as you have you bandmates there’s very little that they’ll let you do wrong.

 

Interview and words by Mick Birchall

Interview with Finntroll

Posted in Festival, Interview, Live, Metal with tags , on 19th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Iza had a little chat with Mörkö and Skrymer from Finntroll before their show at Tampere Metal Meeting yesterday.

Iza: Hi guys!

Finntroll: Hey..

Iza: How are you doing guys? How are you enjoying the festival so far?

Finntroll: We basically arrived here just like an hour ago so we’re preparing the stage and ready to rock n’ roll for the show.

Iza: Are you planning to watch any of the bands?

Finntroll: Hopefully… Hopefully we can see, for instance Kalmah because we will be on stage right after them. Then that’s our festival. After the show we’re going straight back home.

Iza: So what can we expect from your show tonight? More crazy troll music?

Finntroll: Yeah… Experience crazy madness and circus. That’s how it usually is… (laughs)

Iza: Shame about the weather. You had better weather the last time that I saw you live at a festival.

Finntroll: Yeah, it could be. It’s been raining all day. So it’s probably going to rain in the evening as well…

Iza: Well, thanks and good luck with the show! See you!

Finntroll: Thanks and see you later! It’s going to be good.

Stay tuned for the full festival report coming soon.

http://www.tamperemetalmeeting.fi/

http://www.finntroll-music.com/

Interview with Wildpath

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 14th May 2016 by mickbirchy

Our writer, Mick Birchall had a chat with the members of French progressive-symphonic metal band Wildpath, who played Quinphonic Festival in March. This interview goes into the band’s unique style, their experiences in the music industry and their first time playing to a UK crowd.

Mick: Coming off of this year’s Quinphonic Festival, how did you enjoy your first show in the UK?

Wildpath: It was a great experience! We met the British audience for the first time. They were curious about our music, attentive listeners and very open-minded. The RoadHouse team gave us a warm welcome, and all the organisation of the Quinphonic Festival was perfect! We left with only one thought in mind : We’re coming back as soon as possible!

Mick: You have such a creative sound, mixing a lot of different styles of music together. What influenced you as a band on the whole?

Wildpath: We all listen to different styles of music, and it probably influences our own music. For us, Wildpath should always be able to evolve. We want to have the same pleasure playing our music, and to do so, we think that renewing, experimenting, mixing styles is a good way to never grow tired. Our next album might be pure symphonic metal, as much as an orchestral or electro album.

Mick: Could you tell us a bit about your creative process from musical and lyrical standpoint?

Wildpath: We always like to work around a concept: One story through all the songs, connected with the same atmosphere, dynamics and narration. It helps us to find the ideas and to know how to lead them. However, we don’t want to impose that concept to our listeners, so each song is made as a stand alone, and takes its place in the common thread.

Mick: When it comes to songwriting, can it be difficult when making new songs not to tread the same water as the past?

Wildpath: We always try to break new grounds. For each album we have a new pace to work at. Nyx Secret was made quite like a “Best of” of a very large number of compositions. Non Omnis Moriar was written as a concept album that could be read in many different ways. Our last album, Disclosure was created especially for live shows, and then arranged and orchestrated for its final studio form. We like to work in that way: It’s really rewarding and exciting to take risks at any time in the creative process.

Mick: When it comes to translating playing in the studio to playing live, do you treat the songs any differently?

Wildpath: Yes we do. For our two first albums, we wanted to share different versions on albums and live shows. Live shows demand a specific energy and clarity, while albums must be listenable tirelessly, with many nuances to reward each additional listening. Since Underneath, we tried to combine both as best as possible, so now there is much more of a resemblance. The audience gave us a really good feedback so we kept this mindset for Disclosure.

Mick: Typically speaking of the genre of symphonic metal. I’m a big fan of this type of music and I’m seeing the genre grow all the time. Have you noticed the increase in interest for this music?

Wildpath: It’s a very dynamic style these days and it’s a pleasant thing to see. We are thrilled to hear bands working on new approaches. Since the emergence of the major names of the genre in the nineties, symphonic metal has known a great evolution, mixed with many other genres, which probably explains why it keeps growing and maturing over time.

Mick: So, Wildpath has been around since 2001 and you have 4 studio albums. What would say you have learned from those experiences?

Wildpath: We have learned to do as many things as possible by ourselves. We have quite precised ideas of what we want, so we work as much as possible independently. It’s hard sometimes, but always rewarding. We learn more each time, doing our videoclips, organizing most of our shows, managing all our artistic direction, our communication and our merchandising. It’s a real involvement in time and energy but we’re really happy with these choices, and we thank all of our fans. This is all the more moving to see that our community grows each time we give it out all on every aspect of the project.

Mick: Following that, what advice would you give to newer bands on the scene?

Wildpath: Musicians are becoming more and more independent thanks to less expensive and more versatile home studios, online distribution and community platforms. Although it demands more work because you have to deal with many aspects of the production. It’s a lot of dedication, time, discipline, learning and investments, but music is a job for passionate people, and as long as the passion is here, it’s one of the most beautiful jobs in the world.

Mick: So, what does the future hold for Wildpath right now, any upcoming plans?

Wildpath: We’re planning to keep promoting Disclosure in France, and if we have the opportunity, in Europe. In 2016, we recorded Still: Acoustic Live Experience. With this album, we want to be able to play our music in any place, not necessarily in a concert hall. Several acoustic shows are already planned. We also try to keep Wildpath active on internet, with music on free streaming, and with videos and various bonuses for our community… We’ve just started thinking about the next album by the way!

Mick: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Wildpath: Disclosure, our last album, was really risk-taking. The style was different compared to our previous albums. We knew the public would have mixed opinions, but even when you’re prepared to that, it’s always a difficult step. We wanted this change and we had confidence in this new direction. We’re happy to see that we’ve touched new people, and that some of them didn’t even listen to symphonic metal before, and also, we kept a large majority of our fans.

Mick: Thank you for taking the time to chat with Valkyrian Music.

Words and Interview by Mick Birchall

Interview with La-Ventura

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 15th April 2016 by mickbirchy

Fresh off of their performance at Quinphonic Festival 2 our writer, Mick Birchall chatted to frontwoman Carla van Huizen and bassist Mike Saffrie from La-Ventura. Where they discuss touring, influences, the symphonic metal genre and how music has kept them going.

Mick: So we have just come off of Quinphonic Festival, how did you enjoy it?

Carla & Mike: Quinphonic Fest and The UK were a blast! We had a fantastic time there, meeting many old and new fans and enjoying some great UK metal hospitality!

Mick: How did you like the UK crowds?

Mike: The crowd was fantastic, because they showed their appreciation in many ways, which is not always the case here back home. With the crowd we encountered at Quinphonic, you could see them enjoy the music and efforts of the bands where genuine reactions, before during and after the shows, were shown – prefect!

Carla: All we can say is this: UK crowds are AWESOME!

Mick: Is there any countries that you haven’t been to that you’d like to play in?

Carla: Well, the easiest of answers would be The States or Japan for instance for our kind of music, but we are glad and appreciate to do these trips closer to home here in Europe.

If we can do trips across the Oceans than of course we will do them, but for now we have a lot more to do here in Europe first!

Mick: To you, what is the most important thing about playing live?

Mike: Connecting with the audience and work your ass off to give them a great time! Worst scenario would be, seeing people leave during your concert, because they thought it isn’t worth their time. If it came about, because you as an artist did not give your best, then right so. We artists need to understand, that having an audience is not a standard, there is so much more people can do with their free time. When they choose to go to a gig, to see you, then we have to give them our a-game – nothing more, nothing less.

Mick: Typically speaking of the genre of symphonic metal and female fronted metal. I’m a big fan of the music that is produced and I’m seeing the genre grow all the time. With festivals like Metal Female Voices Fest (in Belgium), Quinphonic Festival and Muses of Metal (in UK) just as examples. Have you noticed the increase in interest for this type of music?

Mike: Yes, we are aware of this and it can work in our favor. To be truly honest: for me it is irrelevant if a band is female or male fronted: a band is either good or bad, regardless who fronts it.

Nevertheless, Metal has always been male dominant, so it is a good thing a female fronted band can have an edge to compete with established bands in the genre.

We now are at a point, that also for female fronted bands, the market is flooded with way to many (copy-cat) bands. Now it is clear bands need to have their own identity to survive. Now many more programs and line-ups at venues or festival are with both, male and female fronted bands to give the people the best. To me this is a good thing, to make sure that only the worthy can do the things needed to setup a good career and showcase the best of music for people to enjoy regardless if it is male or female fronted.

Mick: What do you think draws people to this type of music?

Mike: Pretty faces if it concerns female fronted…..?!?!!? ;)!

Mick: What do you feel drives you to make music and who influences you?

Mike: For me music has always been part of my live Even at an early age, Metal/ Rock was the one thing that really inspired me to pick up my guitar/ bass. Of course when looking at my age, Metallica was there to give me the first basics of how to riff.

12938164_1005385862831619_2290800798376230759_nBut it went all over the place. I listened to Death (Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic), got to know Machine Head (Burn my Eyes), went to Fear Factory (Demanufacture), to the new dawn of Metal with bands like Sevendust (Home), Soilwork (well all of their earlier stuff!) to nowadays even bands like Killswitch Engage (though I really miss Howard as singer, the new album has some great moments!)and Crown the Empire with their excellent musical skills and songwriting.    

Mick: What first inspired you into playing music, singing and songwriting?

Carla: Well, my first love for music came from listening to the top 40 hits, and watching the Eurovision Song Contest 😉 Even though I grew up with classical  music and learning to play flute, I always liked the Rock scene very much. It took me a lot of courage and self esteem to climb up a stage, myself. Just by incident I was asked to help out some friends in a band, to fill in a temporary vocal position. After that it just grew on me. Took some singing lessons and learned to become more confident in the spotlights. I am now enjoying myself immensely on stage and off stage, especially putting my soul into writing lyrics and vocal lines together with my brilliant band mates.

Mike: My family, cause we all play an instrument or sing. So, it wasn’t that big of a leap to do more with it. I also did (what is more known worldwide as the Rockschool) the Rockacademy here in Holland, to give me even more tools to work with behind the scenes, to make some sort of career in making music.

Songwriting was not something I picked up, cause I was good at it (I do not consider myself as songwriter), but with all the bands I worked with it seemed at one point that the songs came from one hand primarily.

Only for La-Ventura it has now grown to a certain direction, which for me suits the bill in making new songs. With the clear path we have chosen, music wise, making songs is in this case my cup of tea. Maybe in the future this can change, but for now it is “just” me.

Mick: What’s the one song you wish you could have written and why?

Mike: That is a tough question… There are many examples of songs which are seriously gems in the genres. Because I do not consider myself in any of their leagues, picking one would almost be blasphemy 😉 What I will say is this: we all need to be grateful that in all matters in life there have been pioneers, opening up possibilities for others. I hope maybe one day, I can contribute in one of these matters in my own way.

Mick: What are your favorite things outside of music?

Carla: It is my nature to be creative, therefore I really enjoy spending my spear time on creative activities. Even my work holds a great deal of creativity, as being a hairstylist. It is also the social aspect that I like about the job: the interaction with people. I am also the one responsible for the band promotion on the social media and I really enjoy to connect with our fans and friends on FB.

Mike: MOVIES!!! I seriously enjoy movies, which is almost the only thing that can make me think about something else for the running time, instead of problems or other matters of work, the band and daily life.

Cause I am doing also the management for the band, I am faced with many many logistic problems and ways that would really make you hate music. When I am watching a movie, my brain can finally relax a bit. I just saw Batman vs Superman in the cinema, with a running time of about 150 minutes: this means 150 minutes of just pure MY time ;)!

Mick: To end with, what is the hardest thing that you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Mike: For me the death of my youngest sister, which made a lasting impression on my whole family, where many before the accident would never thought life would unfold how it did after the accident. For me the music was one of the main things that kept me going and made the pain go away. I was not blind to what was happening at the time, so I experienced it with both eyes open, but with my escapes in the music, many things on the background got a place and were solved without too much anger or pain.

When life throws you such a curve ball, you either are strong to cope with it in your own way and/ or you have such fantastic people around you that will keep you going.

For me the music was one of those things that really meant a lot, even without knowing it at that time, which kept me solid and true to myself without losing my mind in despair.

I will never forgot what happened, but it all got a good place, when either listening or playing music. Life is too short to just dwell on things, make the best of it, cause you only get one life/ one chance. LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!

Interview & Words by Mick Birchall

Liv Kristine: “I’d love to further cooperate with Simone”

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 9th January 2016 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Nico interviewed Liv Kristine, the charismatic and Valkyrie-like frontwoman of Leaves’ Eyes in Sheffield on their UK tour, in support of the new album King of Kings.

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you?

Liv: Very good, how are you?

N: I’m great, thanks.

L: Good to see you again.

N: Good to see you too. How has the tour gone so far?

L: Really really well. We’re on the UK leg of the tour now and we have one third of the tour still to play. That’s going to be for the UK only. The first leg was for the rest of Europe which was really nice too. Paris: awesome, Belgium: awesome. But the UK is always something special, we have a very big and strong fan base here. We have fans and friends who follow us for every gig and that’s a privilege. I see that the market for our kind of music is growing here, and that’s maybe not the case in Germany. So it’s very good to be back, we’ve already played three gigs and it has been absolutely fantastic.

N: You’ve released a new album recently: King of Kings – which you’ve based on Harald Fairhair. Obviously Scandinavian history, old Norse history in general, is full of fascinating characters like Eirik Bloodaxe.

L: That’s one of Harald’s sons. You’ll find him in the first or second bonus track, it’s called Trail of Blood. That’s a song about him. So who knows what the next Leaves’ Eyes album is going to be about. We know that Harald had many sons and daughters.

N: There are so many other characters like Erik the Red or Leif Erikson. What is it about Harald Fairhair that stood out from the rest of all these great characters and infamous villains? What made you want to do an album based on his life and his legacy?

L: Because I grew up with the legacy of Harald Fairhair. The decisive battle that made him become the king of Norway took place in a fjord called Hafrsfjord, which is my birthplace. So Harald Fairhair has always been there. I’ve always been interested in history and it happened exactly two years ago, over a morning cup of coffee that Alex came up with this idea: what about king of kings? I started digging through all my books and I contacted my mother in Norway to collect stuff at museums and libraries. So it has been amazing to study Harald Fairhair’s life and to divide it into twelve chapters. Parallel to my studies, Alex and Thorsten composed songs at the studio. We’ve been very busy, it has been a very intense process but highly creative. We had so much fun and it means a lot to me to have this album released. It’s definitely a milestone in the career of Leaves’ Eyes. And as I said, it happened at my birthplace so.

N: I highly praised the album for Valkyrian Music..

L: Thank you very much! I read it, of course.

N:Good! Obviously it’s brilliant to see that you guys got back to how you originally started with tales of Viking warriors, going forth into battle, exploring lands and so on. How would you say that King of Kings compares to the rest of the Leaves’ Eyes discography?

L: I’d say King of Kings has a connection to The Vinland Saga, which was thematically about Leif Erikson and his discovery of America. So if there is a link to any other album, I’d say The Vinland Saga. You already mentioned the folky instruments and the folky touch and the orchestra and everything so it has been there all the time but every album has been different. Now King of Kings happened, it was great to see how everything came together. We worked on every song as if it were one individual piece of music. We added any instrument from London Voices to White Russian Orchestra, cello, flutes…everything. We worked on every song until all three of us, Thorsten, Alex and I being perfectionists, said okay let’s go for the mix, its fine.

N: On this album you added Simone Simons from Epica and Lindy-Fay Hella from Wardruna. What was it like working with those two women on the two tracks that they featured on?

L: Absolutely amazing. Of course I know of the series Vikings and I just thought the music is amazing, the soundtrack is amazing! Who is that girl singing? I found out she’s from Bergen! Through a common friend of mine and of Wardruna, I got Lindy-Fay‘s contacts. I contacted her and she said “of course, I know you and I would really like to work with you”. So I sent her Blazing Waters and we were blown away. A couple of weeks later I flew to Bergen and met Lindy-Fay. I presented her Blazing Waters and she loved it, it was definitely golden. She’s a lovely girl and a great musician.

Simone lives one hour away from us so it was about time to invite her to come to our studio. She’s been at our place before but it has been quite a while. She’s a mother now so she’s busy, but she came by and she listened to the song and…I’d say we are a perfect match. Lovely, lovely to work with her.

N: Obviously Epica and Leaves’ Eyes, despite falling into the symphonic metal genre, have got two completely distinct styles. Do you think there will be any sort of crossover between from the recent collaboration between you and Simone?

L: I don’t know. I have no clue, we’ll see. I love Simone and her work, she’s a lovely girl and we are both mothers… We live one hour away from each other so who knows. I’d love to further cooperate with Simone. It would be great.

N: Going back to Harald Fairhair. You obviously studied his saga, his life story quite extensively for the album. What would you say is the most fascinating aspect about the man?

L: We got a few facts about Harald through Snorri, but Snorri came about a couple of hundred years later. Next to that we got the sagas and the tales of the Norwegian kings, where you can find a lot of interesting written words about them to honor them. I think it is absolutely amazing to read the different approaches to his person, because he must have been exactly as unruly, wild like his son Eirik Bloodaxe. He must have been exactly like that himself. In many of the tales or poems about Harald it is told that he was beautiful and that he could have had any woman: he was very glorious. It’s fascinating to read other stories like the battle of Hafrsfjord; about blood being everywhere and the fjord burning or different sceneries, a different Harald.

N: He certainly sounds like an interesting figure. As a fan of both Vikings and Game of Thrones, which one do you prefer?

L: Vikings. Last time it would have been Game of Thrones but it’s Vikings now because of the music. Of course because of my friend Lindy-Fay who’s in there. Although it’s made in Hollywood, I think it’s very nice. It’s very nice to watch those great actors. I love it. And also because I’m Norwegian.

N: That’s very good. Thank you for your time. Have a lovely show tonight.

L: You’re welcome, thank you very much and thanks for coming.

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de