There’s been several bands in the history of music that have gone through a lineup change, sometimes it brings new life, energy, a good feel to it. This doesn’t take away the history or caliber of the previous artist. Leaves’ Eyes went through a lineup change, and doing my research for this interview and show review I was saddened to see insulting comments from the fans. Have I been disappointed when my favorite musician leaves a certain band, of course!! We love the artist and music that entertains us, just as we’ll love the new.
I had the pleasure of interviewing founder and vocalist Alexander Krull and front lady Elina Siirala prior to their show at the City Nation Grove in Anaheim, California Sunday December 4th discussing their latest EP release Fire In the North, upcoming tours and possibility of a new album in 2018.
This seems to be a standard question for me, with artists the readers are unfamiliar with. Introduce Leaves’ Eyes to us?
Alex: Yeah, think Leave’s Eyes is a so-called symphonic metal act and some guys probably call like– also connection with gothic metal genre. All these categories don’t say the real character for band especially if you have a band like Leavesˈ Eyes. We have such a variety of music which goes from very melodic stuff and sometimes stuff without any electric guitars, acoustic, to super bombastic epic metal songs. It’s like all included and there’s also one special side of the band because a lot of the music is connected to Northern mythology. There’s also a thing we use not only orchestral choirs in the music but also some Northern connected instruments like a Nyckelharpa also Celtic instruments like Uilleann Pipes and whistles and stuff like that. That’s nice musical field for me because I’m also a musical producer and so I think it’s a wide field of variety within that of Leavesˈ Eyes.
I understand Leaves’ Eyes haven’t toured North America in a while, when was the last time you toured North America?Alex: I think in 2014 was the last time. Yeah.
So, it hasn’t been that long.
Alex: No, it’s not so long. No, 2014 was the last time we toured and we’ll return in 2017 with Sabaton.
That’s what I hear. Has there been anything different as far as places on this tour?
Alex: Yes. That’s true. We have been – in some places we had played in the past but not on the last tour but also some new places as well. It’s great, you know, we meet fans and friends we know from a longer time before also new fans, it’s awesome. Like yesterday was something special, we met a fan, he saw us like six times or something like that. Then we meet guys “Oh, we never saw you guys before. Awesome show.” That’s great, yeah.
Well, that would be me because I’ve was unaware of your music until I was researching you for this interview.
Alex: Wow, okay.
So, impress me. [Laughs] No, I’m just kidding. [Laughs]
Elina, I believe this is your first time touring here in the States. What has stood out for you so far?
Elina: Yes, it is the first time. [Laughs] I don’t know, I think the whole experience has been quite overwhelming but also great. It’s been getting used to the whole bus and shuttle like we did sixteen shows in a row. It was quite tough in the beginning but it’s been hectic. It’s been awesome, the audience has been really great. That’s been like, I think one of the highlights for me.
You haven’t been to any of these places, or have you been here before?
Elina: I was once – ages ago, visiting my friend just for two weeks so I haven’t been singing here.
Joining Leaves’ Eyes, how much time did you have to learn the songs before the show in Indonesia?
Elina: I think it was about a week, something like that.
Were there any particular songs you had to learn right away or the whole catalog?
Elina: It was eight songs I think for Indonesia and then when we came back I had another like four days to learn the rest of it. So, another eight or seven songs. It was kind of intense.
You’ve been touring extensively, when did you find the time to recorded the new five song EP ˈFires In the Northˈ via AFM records? And you have re-recorded three songs off your last release ˈKing of Kingsˈ, why did you choose those songs?Elina: Well, we haven’t been touring that much. We had gigs over the summer, we did some European dates in April, May but then August we had to choose, we’ve been to Belarus and then we had quite some time– it didn’t take that long. Usually, they do the vocals maybe two days, all the choirs, stuff like that. So, we still had time.
You mention choirs, to do a live show because you don’t have the choirs, is it a lot different?
Elina: Well, we must use a backing track for that because, in the symphonic music, you need that. You need the choirs. Like Nightwish they use orchestras. Obviously, they can’t have that on stage so it must come from the backing track.
Well that would be nice, amazing to see.
Elina: Yeah [Laughs]. It would be.
Alex: It was on the hand. We had a singer change and then we had shows with Elina. A lot of people were liking this shows with the new line up. I’ve been demanding in the way “Oh, where can we get the versions with Elina?”, there’s nothing official out yet or you know just on YouTube or something like that. Ugly sound of smartphones. [Laughs] So we decided to do something brand new, from scratch like Fires in the North, you know writing from scratch. We were picking like three songs. One song, as you see, we already did a video clip. That was already there and then like two other songs, Sacred Vow and Swords in Rock.
Will the ˈFires In the Northˈ EP turn into a full-length album?
Alex: [Laughs] I mean we are writing a full-length album, that’s the plan anyway.
Alex: Yeah, it’s disconnected from the idea of the EP because one that we have a kind of schedule for future albums and tours. Now, we delayed a little bit of push or a little bit back because of new tour ideas and plans so in 2017, we’re going to use the time besides touring for a new album production. I guess it will take some time because with orchestration and choir recordings like last time is the London Voices, I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. They are the choirs of the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and Star Wars etc. Those guys were on the album and it takes some time to prepare everything and do stuff like that. Well, you’ll see what’s next and then I think beginning of 2018 we will release the new album.
Now that you’re developing a new chapter to Leaves’ Eyes, will you still follow the Norse Mythology and the Norwegian Viking age in the writings?
Alex: Yeah, it was always like that we had this background but it wasn’t only Norwegian writing history but also in general Viking sagas and on top of it we had also other things in our music, other topics. For example, the album Symphonies of the Night is about strong women in history. There’s a lot of medieval stories and not only connected to Viking stuff. For example, Maid of Lorraine and it’s like a French Tale or you have like Galswintha completely another thing and you know that’s like some stories and songs connected to legends but also historical stuff which fits in the music very well with Leave’s Eyes. My personal taste, the Northern Mythology Viking stuff, well I like that stuff.
Alex: [Laughs] We will continue in the path.
So, you like your lyrics to be about ancient history?
Alex: Yeah, in a way. It depends on the feeling of the music or what we like to express and it’s like taking someone into another world, right with the music? Like in the movie. Now, there’s a lot of people that love some TV shows, whatever, Game of Thrones. It’s completely fantasy or Vikings with the historical background. There I guess. That’s why something I think in this modern world we live in, we want to have some authentic, organic– I don’t know how you describe it better, like historic things where people can have like– we paint pictures with the music right? Can go in their fantasies into the category… That’s the idea.
Elina, your vocals are described as a Soprano (female singing voice),
Meaning it has the highest vocal range, when did you realize you can combine opera style vocals with head banging metal and it becomes a beautiful show?
Elina: Well, I have a degree in classical music. But what I wanted to do– I moved to London in 2008 and I always loved rock and metal. I wanted to perform it but I felt like my voice didn’t really fit that well for that reason that you mentioned but then I started my own band EnkElination now Angel Nation so I wanted to write something for my own voice that I felt like I would fit and combining those hard sounds with something a bit more lyrical, I think works quite well. It’s still a strong voice in that sense so it kind of has a nice balance.
It’s two different genres.
Elina: Definitely, yes!
And it works.
Elina: But also, opera has I think classical music and metal have quite a lot in common. Like in terms of the theatrical side of it and the music is quite pompous. I think it fits well.
Lastly, we briefly touched base of this earlier. What’s next for Leaves’ Eyes, you’ll be finishing this North American tour, then in Spring of 2017 you will be on tour with Sabaton. Any plans in between tours to do some recording?
Alex: Yeah, well, like I said the production will take a lot of time I guess or demands also is our focus. But I guess we’ll do some festivals and I’m looking forward actually to the tour with Sabaton. We’ll have to push back some other tour ideas.
Alex: It was a little bit overlapping but that’s not a big deal.
Yeah, I’ll see you back here in May.
I already have a date. This is going to be a two-part coverage because I will be photographing and doing a show review.
So, thank you Alex and Elina very much, I look forward to seeing the show tonight.
Alex: Awesome! Thank you.
Elina: Cool, no problem.
Alex: Thank you very much.
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