The stomach feeling of Liv Kristine
Liv Kristine career as an artist and songwriter in the mid nineties with Theater Of Tragedy then Leaves Eyes. Later on Liv expanded her musical horizons as a solo artist. Unfortunately she hasn't reach the same musical acclaim in the States like she did Europe. Sadly she would known in the States with her duet with Cradle Of filth which earned her a Grammy nomination in Europe. Her musical achievement in Europe is numerous including her songs being featured in various Europeans shows like Tatort, Schmanski, the highly sucessful German soap opera "Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten and Heidi Klum's Germany's next top model. Fresh from her performance at Wacken Open Air her band Leaves Eyes, Liv kindly took the time to talk about the frustration of not being quite known in the the States and fifth upcoming album "Libertine".
Hello Liv how's your week so far?
Thank you, we're all good. We returned from Wacken Open Air in Germany last week-end, our headliner show went really well, moreover, my younger sister, Carmen, just spent a week here, which meant a short but wonderful time-off inbetween shows, promotion work, recordings etc.
I been listening to your new album "Libertine" for the past two days, I like that you're doing something different from other band Leaves Eyes?
Thank you very much. I have to tell you that I feel truly privileged - First of all I am grateful to my fans and friends for giving me all this respect, love and good energy, some of them following me since my ex-band Theatre of Tragedy came into existence about 17-18 years ago. My fans have granted me this freedom I appreciate so much being the artist I am. There has never been a day since I realised that I had been given a special musical gift genetically by the age of 7, at which I haven't been creative in some way. I believe I was born with a creative heart and mind and I do need to develop, to spread my wings within music and art generally, which also means to be involved with different musical styles. There are no limits for me except for my own "stomach feeling", that is that inner voice that helps me make my decisions and find my own ways. My wide experience has made me become the artist I am, and I feel completely free to spread my wings.
The more I listen to your album it reminds of Pat Benetar in some ways?
Pat was the first solo artist to appear on MTV! She has an amazing voice. That's a great compliment for me. I thank you.
How many solo albums you put out so far?
There's been four so far:
Deus ex Machina was released in 1998
Enter My Religion in 2006
Skintight in 2010, and
my up-coming release Libertine this September, 2012.
Who's the guest vocalist on 'Vanilla Skin Delight'? I love that song alot!
His name is Tobias Regner. 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.
Another song that stand out to me is 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' Can you tell about the song?
Kate Bush is truly one of 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 Kate Bush or Tori Amos. 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 neighbor would say, going strong until 04.30 a.m. Katjas neighbors did not complain...and my friend inspired me to record this track for "Libertine". I recorded "The Man with the Child in his Eyes" in one take. I saved it a long time ago in my heart. It means a lot to me this track.
You been doing it for quite some time is it frustrating that you don't get the recognition you deserve? I feel you're very criminally underrated here in the States?
I know....I wish things would go my way in the US. I know that I have many fans in the States, I experience this every time we tour the US. However, I really, really need a good US solo tour soon and a lot, lot more promotion. I feel kind of helpless being here in Europe, watching things go just too slowly since I started releasing albums outside Europe. Luckily I have found someone who can help me, I have a creative management in the US, it's PRGirl Entertainment. I am so grateful for this opportunity.
So what's up with your other band Leaves Eyes?
As mentioned above, we just arrived from a great headliner show in Wacken, Germany. Right now we are busy recording our fifth album, before going on tour with our friends from Firewind. This will be a European tour, however, I hope there is a US tour coming up, supporting Firewind in the US. Let's cross our fingers!
How long did it take for everything to come together (songwriting and music) for "Libertine"?
I started composing with my team eighteen months ago. The first song was "Libertine", the title track. 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 for the first time songs during that gig, because it was my wish. Theatre of Tragedy split up last year, which is too sad, even if I was kicked out already in 2003. There and then I understood in which musical direction my up-coming album would be, more powerful, more back to the roots. "Libertine" was of course produced by Alexander, my husband, at our own Mastersound Studio in Germany.
I haven't heard your previous solo material how do "Libertine" stand up to your previous albums?
Dues ex Machina was very atmospheric, reminding you a bit about Irish Enya, a real pop-album. Enter My Religion was more guitar-based and earthly with many interesting exotic folk influences. Skintight had some influence from J. Cash, which sometimes gives the listeners a warm and here-and-now camp-fire feeling experience. Libertine is a back-to-the-roots album, containing the most emotional ballads I've ever composed for a solo album, 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. Talking about genre...I would say all of my albums are somehow indie..pop, rock or metal.
Are you planning to go on tour in support of "Libertine"? If so when's the first date of the tour?
I am planning another Nagold show for December, in Germany, next to a handful of solo shows in Europe..all very exclusive shows. I am awaiting offers for solo shows in the States for 2013.
What other artist you invited to help you out on this album?
I decided to send you the whole list...
liv kristine - vocals
tobias regner -guestvocals "vanilla skin delight"
j.b. van der wal - electric and acoustic guitars, bass, keys, programming
thorsten bauer - electric and acoustic guitars, bass, keys
felix born - drums & percussions
alessandro pantò - piano
christoph kutzer - cello
music by liv kristine espenæs krull, in cooperation with j.b.van der wal, thorsten bauer and alexander krull (except "the man with the child in his eyes" by kate bush)
all words by liv kristine (except "the man with the child on his eyes" by kate bush)
published by warner chappell music
artwork by stefan heilemann (www.heilemania.de)
photos by stefan heilemann and alexander krull
paintings by liv kristine espenæs krull
Name of the songs on the album stands out the most for you and why?
Here's a short comment to every song on the album:
Interlude: a very atmospheric opener and intro pece of music. It has a sweet sound to it. It is a love declaration written like a poem.
Solve me: this song was originally a ballad. Then Alex, Tosso and my drummer Felix re-corded it so that it became a rocker! I really like the way it turned out, so much that I decided to be the first song after the intro.
Silence: one of the best songs I ever recorded. The way it builds up is unique. One of the most emotional songs For me...It was recorded in one complete take to optimize the emotional effect. I imagine tears running down the cheeks when I sing it.
Vanilla skin delight: a real rocker! Tobias does the male role here, being my duet partner. The chorus is a great moment to sing along to.
Panic: a surprise to someone. It is a bit more doomy and dark than the other tracks. I use my voice in the way I sometimes did with Theatre of Tragedy, e.g. "Let You Down", a bit darker. Also a very special song for me personally and recorded in one complete take.
París Paris: a track with a very positive vibe to it. It is even a bit funny and ironic. I decided to sing in a slightly french-accented English. When I listen to this song I imagine myself driving a Vespa along the seine, behind me the Eiffel tower, happy Parisian citizens in the sun!
Wait for rain: I actually like the rain. Rain always has a certain mood that comes along with it. This song is very different from the other tracks when it comes to the rhythm ( it reminds you of the band ) and the singing style. It's very interesting.
Love crime: it has the same mood as Silence, dark, doomy, sad. It probably reminds you of A Distance There is. I wrote it one winter night...
Libertine: a true rocker! The chorus is very inspiring to sing along to! The first song written for the album and already performed live in Nagold 2011.
Meet me in the red sky: this song kind of takes the listeners back to the Aegis times.. A warm, guitar-based ballad.
The man with the child in his eyes: it is a tribute to Kate. I just love her. Recorded in a one-take session.
When is the release date for "Libertine" on the USA side?
My new album is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 in the US.
How much support Napalm put behind this album?
I can just hope and pray that Napalm will promote "Libertine" superbly. I really need their support, more than ever. This is my best album so far in my career and it is extremely important for me that my label is on my side now.
Is there any plans for you tour the States as a solo artist?
Through my new contacts in the States I think this is possible. It would be a dream coming true for me! Moreover, it would be the first time for my US audience to hear songs live which I used to perform with Theatre of Tragedy, my ex-band. My ex band never made it to the States, so I see it as my responsibility to keep the history of my ex band alive now that the band is gone.
You're also vegetarian and physical fitness buff what got you into being a vegetarian and exercising?
I have always loved sports; I just need to be active...especially in the morning after getting up. I even do running on tour to stay healthy. i also have the best ideas during running. I've been a vegetarian since I was a child. My digestive system can't handle meat for some natural reason. I'm glad, I don't need meat.
How much a benefit exercising has been to you as far as preparation for the road? I know it can physically exhausting?
Especially on tour it is important to stay in a good physical health. I take care that I do one hour of exercise during day-time, and approximately half an hour on tour, depending on where our night liner is "stranded" or our hotel situated. It is mostly running or training with weights, however, I also love swimming, roller-skiing etc. I love going to the sauna, and I do yoga at least once a week.
Many thanks for doing this interview is there anything you like to add?
Thank you so much for your time and taking interest in my album and work. I thank my US fans for always being there for me.