Archive for Sheridan Le Fanu

Interview with Liv Kristine [Leaves’ Eyes]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 17th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Liv Kristine is best known for her work as the vocalist for Leaves’ Eyes and former singer for Theatre of Tragedy. As well as fronting one of the most iconic symphonic metal bands on the scene, Liv is also a solo artist and has collaborated with a number of different bands including Cradle Of FilthAtrocityDelain and most recently she appeared on the track The Lay Of Our Love, which is featured on Tyr‘s new album Valkyrja.

With the release of Symphonies Of The Night just around the corner and a UK tour confirmed for January 2014, Nico catches up Liv Kristine to discuss all things Leaves’ Eyes as well as popular TV series Game Of Thrones, her solo project and rumours about Leaves’ Eyes appearing at the next Dames of Darkness Festival…

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you doing?

Liv: I’m good thank you. It’s been a busy day, but in a positive way, you know. Lots of interviews and we’re rehearsing because we’ll be playing the Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium in a couple of days. I’ll be there with my solo band on Friday and with Leaves’ Eyes on Saturday so yes, we’re busy!

Nico: Sounds like you’ll be having fun though. Is there a meaning behind the title of the new album Symphonies of the Night?

Liv: Um, a meaning or the concept in general?

Nico: A bit of both really.

Liv: Okay, well we came up with the title pretty late in the recording process. I actually had a song called Carmilla from Sheridan Le Fanu’s horror novel from 1871. So the song, which came to be titled Symphony of the Night, was originally titled Carmilla. But we were discussing the title within the band and we weren’t really sure. What happened was pure luck: I was typing an interview and the journalist was asking me about my influences and I mentioned Tchaikovsky, who wrote the Symphony of the Swan Lake and I thought that’s it! This is an album of eleven symphonies of the night, so there we go! So Carmilla is still the main character in the title song, but the title got changed. Things happen, we are a very creative band.

Nico: I was listening to the previews of Symphonies of the Night that Napalm uploaded to YouTube earlier. There is a definite evolution in the band’s sound, changing direction compared to previous Leaves’ Eyes albums. Is this what you were aiming for with this album, and will this be a future direction you will be taking for future releases?

Liv: Well, I’d rather put it this way: Leaves’ Eyes isn’t a planned thing when we start composing. We throw everything into pre-production and what was already there, were two songs: Eileens Ardency and Saint Cecilia. They just didn’t fit on the Meredead [released in 2011] album when it comes to atmosphere. So they weren’t leftovers but they were on no album after the release of Mededead,  so we decided to start working on them. And then we realised that this was a good point to start from. You know, this year we have the anniversary of 10 years of Leaves’ Eyes so we have experienced a lot of being on the road, and all these albums we released and we’ve gathered a lot of experiences. For most of the band members Leaves’ Eyes is twenty, twenty five years of experience. Everything is there on this album, you won’t miss anything. It’s a very powerful album, I agree on that.

Nico: On previous Leaves’ Eyes albums the use of different languages made an appearance on the tracks. Will this be the same with Symphonies of the Night?

Liv: On Symphonies of the Night we’ll have modern English of course, Shakespearean English, some Norwegian, a little bit of French and a little bit of Irish. That’s five languages, I think on the Njord album we had eight languages and on Meredead six languages. I just love languages and I studied linguistics for years so it’s something I really like doing.

Nico: What would you say is the track that stands out on the new album?

Liv: Well that’s the most tricky question you could’ve asked me. Right, um.. This morning in my car I was listening to Ophelia, which is the final track of the album. Of course it’s Shakespeare’s Ophelia, the daughter of Polonius, in Hamlet. That’s my main character, and Ophelia is a quite straightforward and rocky song. It might sound like it doesn’t have a complicated structure like for example Saint Cecilia or Nightshade but Ophelia was the second to last song we recorded. We needed quite a lot of time for Ophelia to finish it in the way we wanted it. All of us: Alex, my husband, our producer, Thorsten my red-haired guitar player and myself are perfectionists. It’s great to have our own studio because then we can keep working until the three of us are satisfied. Ophelia was a tough one but I think it turned out great and at the moment it’s my favourite, if I’m allowed to have one.

Nico: You recently featured on The Lay of Our Love which is on Týr’s latest album Valkyrja. What was it like, recording that track with Týr?

Liv: Actually, I recorded my vocals here in our studio in Germany. But every time I think about doing a duet it’s always the music itself which decides. If I like the song I’ll do it. Heri from Týr helped me out in Wacken last year when Leaves’ Eyes headlined Wacken Open Air. He helped me out on Solemn Sea, one of our tracks. So when Heri asked me ‘Liv would you mind? I have a duet and you would fit very well on it’. I just loved the song and I have good news because we’ll be shooting a video clip for that track in a month! I’m really looking forward to that, it will be in Belgrade.

Nico: Ooh, excellent! I’m looking forward to that. With the recent collarboration with Týr, do you think it will help expose Leaves’ Eyes to Týr fans and Týr fans to Leaves’ Eyes?

Liv: I hope so, I really hope so! If Heri wouldn’t mind, we should tour together some day cause I think we have a potential common fanbase. The thing is, Leaves’ Eyes hasn’t toured a lot in Scandinavia. We should to that very soon, especially in my homeland. Týr is very well known in Scandinavia so that would be an absolutely amazing package.

Nico: I completely agree. A Leaves’ Eyes/Tyr tour would be amazing.

Liv: Thank you. We now have told the universe.

Nico: Speaking of touring, Leaves’ Eyes is scheduled to return to the UK next year in January with Atrocity and Pythia. Are you looking forward to the tour? Which cities are you excited about?

Liv: Absolutely! We toured the UK and Northern Ireland last year with Firewind and that was absolutely amazing. We played at places where Leaves’ Eyes had never played before and for Firewind as well it was absolutely amazing. I remember Cardiff very well because I spent a couple of months there when I was an exchange student. So Cardiff is pretty well-known to me. But of course Manchester is always packed, London is always packed. We will play in some of the venues we played with Firewind as well. We’re building up a fanbase in those places so I’m really looking forward to be back over there in the UK. We have an amazing fanbase in the UK and Northern Ireland. I was really surprised to see that there are so many fans who know about our music in the UK, and many journalists as well. I’ve had quite a few UK interviews this week so that’s good.

Nico: Last time I interviewed you, which was in Manchester last year, when Leaves’ Eyes was there with Firewind, you mentioned that you were a fan of Game of Thrones. So, if you could be any character from the Game of Thrones universe, who would you be and why?

Liv: That’s an even trickier question than the one you asked me before! Oh dear, oh dear… I’m not really sure. It must be Daenerys. Well okay, she’s blonde so it should be her.

Nico: She’s a good, strong character.

Liv: She’s great, she’s amazing yes.

Nico: Going back to touring, are there any future plans for you to tour your solo project around the UK?

Liv: I hope and pray that there will be next year because it’s certainly time to play some solo shows in the UK as well. The only shows I have this year for Liv Kristine, for my solo project, is Nagold in Germany and Pratteln in Switzerland. So those are the two gigs, but they are exclusive gigs. Leaves’ Eyes and Atrocity will be touring most of the rest of the year so we will be very busy. China, Taiwan, Thailand, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium. Lot of things happening! The end of December is the right time for exclusive solo shows but the UK, 2014..let’s cross our fingers.

Nico: That’s what I’m hoping for.

Liv: Me too.

Nico: Speaking of shows. I’ve heard a few whipserings around the internet from associates of mine that Leaves’ Eyes might be playing the Dames of Darkness festival in the UK next year. I was wondering if there is any truth to this?

Liv: Wauw, I mean that would be absolutely killer! It would be fantastic. Well you know, bookers know things before the rest of the band does so..let’s make it happen.

Nico: I hope it does happen because Dames of Darkness this year was phenomenal and it would be so much better if Leaves’ Eyes was playing it.

Liv: Thank you, thank you very much! I’d love to be there.

Nico: Last question. This is a fan question, asked by April Mccaffrey: if you could have a superpower, which one would it be and why?

Liv: A superpower… Okay, you took me by surprise there! When I was a kid I always thought it would be fantastic to be able to look into the future, to know what is going to happen. But I’m not sure if I need that anymore. It’s a very good question actually. Sometimes I wish I could change things for the better of it. Sometimes, especially when it comes to children and children suffering on this planet, it feels like we are just sitting here being comfortable and warm while on the other side of the planet children are dying because of hunger. That’s when I think I would just like to be able to beam myself to that place and do something. Maybe that’s a project for the future. If I ever get tired of playing gigs and singing that would be something I would like to do, to be part of helping projects concerning children who are suffering on the other side of the world.

Nico: I wasn’t expecting that answer. You’re certainly a kind and caring individual. Thank you for your time Liv, I hope you have a good night.

Liv: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure talking to you again. Take good care and hope to see you in Manchester in January.

Nico: You too, Liv! Have a good night!

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.com
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

Theatres Des Vampires @ Asylum [Live Review]

Posted in Live with tags , , , , , , , on 9th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Theatres Des Vampires
Location: Ayslum, Birmingham
Date: 29th May 2011

It had been a couple of years since the return of the vampyric Italian five piece. Theatres Des Vampire had returned to the UK, and with local legislation banning them from what is a ‘routine’ performance for them, (Lead singer Sonya Scarlet, cutting herself to freely let her fans drink in exchange for immortablity), maybe that was a good idea for the faint hearted! and with a few UK dates (Newcastle and Islington) under their belt there was only Birmingham left for the final leg of the Moonlight Waltz European Tour and eagar with new stuff from their debt album Moonlight Waltz they were sure to leave their mark!

The first song started off with “Keeper Of Secrets” and as each member slowly appeared onto the front on the stage wearing masks similar to John Carpet’s horror villian “Michael Myers”. They stood into positions to where Sonya Scarlet made her appearance from behind the stage covered from head to toe (including head dress) in black, glided across the stage until the guitar kicked in, removed her arms and attended to her microphone. The next song was Bring Me Back, a song off there 2007 live album Desire of Damnation. This saw Sonya going up to the audience and touching and stroking their heads. The removal of the masks started at the beginning of the song revealing band members Stephan Banfante, Fabian Varesi, Zimon Lijoi  and Gabriel Valerio, though Sonya kept most of the attention by twisting and swerving her body around, it would be very difficult not see the sex appeal especially after dressing down to some PVC bras and knickers, New Rocks, ripped tights with loose chains dangling from her body, it is amazing how comfortable Sonya was, especially with a male dominated audience.

The next two songs were off previous albums Suicide Vampire (Lilith Mater Inferorum) and Nightbreed of Macabria (Angel of Lust), before returning to Sangue a new song featuring on the new album, Sangue translate to the Italian word ‘blood’ so the chorus consisted of “Blut… Blood… Blood …. Blood” which got alot of the crowd singing along to and again Sonya returning to swirving her body. The next two songs that they performed were La Grand Guignol (Moonlight Waltz 2011) and Wherever You Are (Anima Noir 2008). The next song was ‘Rain’ which got a lot feedback from the audience and at the end of the song saw Sonya leave while the band continued to play “Dracula”. The return of Sonya to the stage saw her dressed in a  Medusa style of costume, as well as some more PVC bras (with straps across her stomach) and pants. This when we saw them perform another song “Medousa”, from their new album though once the song was done with and moved to the next.

The next two songs, Unspoken Words and The Gates of Hades, were a success with the audience singing along, though Blood Addiction seemed to be the best performance of the night. The song  began with Sonya encouraging the audience to clap along with Zimon Lijoi throwing his fist up in the air to the rhythm of the song, we seemed obliged to do so, as well as sing along. This is one of the few songs that that the audience could hear Stephan Banifante’s vocals and they sounded exactly as they do on each of the albums. During the instrumental part of this song, Sonya was seen retreating to the centre of the stage by the drums were she quickly returned, it appeared that she was choking on stage before spitting out a mouthful of fake blood, then covering herself with the remainders onto the audience while they cheered on in delight. There was a quick costume change again for Sonya into a long white dress. As Sonya continued to sing under a veil of white she soon discarded it just after the chorus and decided to come to one of the sides of the stage.

That was meant to be the Theatres Des Vampire set finished until one of the members of the audience decided to start singing La Danse Macabre du Vampire to which led the band to smile and continued performing this song as an encore, Sonya sang most of the song but when it chorus Sonya passed it down to sing to the audience which brought them to a Grand Finale in which to end their European Tour. It was a brilliant performance and one that will be remembered for a long time to come.

Danielle Eley

Theatres Des Vampires – Moonlight Waltz [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 9th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Theatres Des Vampires
Album: Moonlight Waltz
Release year: 2011
Genre: Gothic Metal/Vampire Metal

Italian Gothic Metal quintet “Theatres Des Vampires” are back with their newest studio release “Moonlight Waltz” which features an array of guests including Snowy Shaw [Therion], Cadaveria [Opera IX] and Marco Benevento [The Foreshadowing].

The eerie keyboard intro of “Keeper Of Secrets” begins the album, which is soon accompanied by Sonya’s vocals and a dark strings section. The track increases in pace and heaviness with the introduction of the guitars and drums. Sonya’s vocals sound very hypnotic and grim. Snowy’s vocals bring an extra touch of Gothic feeling to the track. The keyboard sections are brilliantly composed. This track certainly keeps the attention of the listener, making for an immense intro track. “Fly Away” is the second track of the album. The intro has a very symphonic metal sound, due to the combination of melodic guitar riffs and keyboards. As can be expected of any TDV track, the vocals bring a certain eeriness to the music. The keyboard sections bring a very dramatic sound to the track, whilst the guitar riffs keep the metal element of the track alive. The drums seem lighter compared to the previous track however.

The title track, “Moonlight Waltz” is next beginning with a soothing piano and strings introduction. When the vocals and drums occur, the track begins to sound like a ballad, adding a very unique touch to the album. The soft guitar riffs are beautifully composed, allowing this track to live up to it’s title. The acoustic guitar towards the end of the track brings it to a wonderful yet sorrowful finish. The fourth track, “Carmilla” takes its name from the short story of a lesbian vampire by the same name written by “Sheridan Le Fanu”. The first section of the track sounds epic and dramatic. The vocals add to the dramatic effect of the track, while the guitars keep a raw energy flowing through the track. The strings solo is unexpected but makes this track so much more enjoyable. This track has certainly added a new level of beauty to the already great story of Carmilla. Next is “Sangue”, beginning with a synth intro which is soon joined by an aggressive riff. The vocals sound very ghastly and the drums sound powerful. The male vocals add another element of aggression to the track, sounding almost like death metal grunts.

The cover of Mecano’s “Figlio della Luna”, follows after composed mainly of keyboards, strings and vocals. Sonya’s vocals sound amazing alongside the keyboards. The use of guitars and drums adds a very TDV sound to this cover. Next is “Black Madonna”, beginning with hypnotic, almost-siren like vocals and an acoustic riff. About half a minute in, the track turns heavier and more symphonic. The use of acoustic guitars is quite frequent throughout the track, making it one of the more lighter tracks of the album. The keyboard sections are outstanding. “Illusion” is next, with a simple yet beautiful keyboard intro. The keyboard medley turns more melodic when the drums begin to be played, which work well with the keyboard. The guitars soon make themselves heard, bringing a more rockier sound to the track. The guitar riff gradually becomes heavier for a while before stopping for a short break before returning with an epic solo.

“Le Grand Guignol” featuring Cadaveria is next already bring the level of heaviness up a notch. The use of screams improves the track, whilst the drum work is intelligently composed. There are some obvious industrial elements and influences which can be heard on this track, just like with some of the previous tracks. “Obsession” is next. The intro is very industrial sounding,. Like the intro, the vocals and drums have an industrial sound to them, which work strangely well with the string sections. There is a use of operatic styled vocals as well which makes the track more dramatic and intense. The only down side to this track is the lack of guitars. The second to last track, “The Gates Of Hades” is next, which like some of the previous tracks begins very eerily though the guitars soon remedy this alongside the string sections. There seems to be more emphasis on the keyboard medleys on this track, whilst not a bad thing, it may not be approved of by some. There is a slight use of Latin lyrics on this track as well, bringing a very Gothic atmosphere with them. The final track “Medousa” begins with a slight industrial sound, combined with some creepy whispered vocals. The guitars and keyboards can soon be heard. The guitars and drums are intelligently composed on this track, combining both heaviness and brilliant musicianship. There is a brutal use of double bass drums on the track, which makes it a perfect end to a brilliant album. The keyboard sections certainly bring a calm to the storm of metal that is heard on this final track, especially with the outro medley.

With a mixture of symphonic, Gothic and industrial elements, this is certainly a most enjoyable album. Everything seems to fit together so well and it’s good to see that Sonya’s vocals are still on top form. This is a must have album for old and new Theatres Des Vampires fans alike. One can only wonder how they will top this album.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson