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WLM Interviews: Leaves’ Eyes

December 5, 2017
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We recently had the great opportunity to talk to several members from Symphonic masters, Leaves’ Eyes. Their new album due for release early next year was of course a good portion of what the conversation was about in addition to its concept, what their interests are outside of music, US metal fans and European metal fans, their next batch of tours including a US tour and of course much more! 

We have here today, lead man Alexander Krull, main guitarist Thorsten Bauer and female vocalist Elina Siirala. How are you guys? From what we understand, you guys have a new album coming out early next year? Would you mind telling us about that as well?

Alexander: We are doing well. You know we are celebrating the promotional days now that the album and artwork are done. We have made a lot of production with the new album with a lot of fantastic songs, if I can say so myself (haha) and yeah we are very happy. One thing that people are asking about the connection of Sign of the Dragonhead and the coverwork and the song itself, is like this album’s next art where King of King’s is ending and where we took the character of Harald The First as a symbol of the Viking Age and unification of Norway and it was the kickstart for the Vikings to spread out through the world and expansion of the Vikings all over Europe and it was not always done by free will but people have made an enemy of King Harald and had to leave and go to for example Shetlands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and so it was with this that gave the band new ideas and concepts and sail to new horizons, so it fits fits very good for the band and our image of new music.

I think fans should be very excited. I’ve listened to the album already myself and I am not going to spoil it or say anything. But I’ve heard it and loved it.

So with Sign of the Dragonhead, is there anything new on the album, anything familiar, what can we expect in terms of instrumentals and the musical portion?

Alexander: We kept the same way of writing songs and lead the way to perfection because the skeleton of the band is Thorsten and me, the songwriting team of the band whom put all the experience of the past into one record and on top of that we have a fantastic new vocalist, Elina in the band and we’ve gone on great tours and shows especially this last tour with Sabaton in the US which was amazing. With all the energy from the shows we got back to the studio and made a new record and yeah we stick to Norse mythologies and lyrical concepts and we were just reaching out to new interesting tales and musical elements and yeah that’s basically what we do, look for new challenges. And I think it’s a very compact album, very powerful and we already talked about this today but it’s going to be hard making a set list with all these songs now (haha).

Excellent. That’s good to hear in one way or another (haha). Speaking of new vocalist, Elina, welcome. How do you [Elina] this being your first album with Leaves’ Eyes, how do you think the album turned out?

Elina: I think the album turned out to be excellent. It’s a little bit of a different process for me because in my own band I write the music and lyrics so now I came into the pre-production phase where we actually had to change some of the keys and worked on some melodies, backing vocals and stuff like that. Then we recorded my backing vocals around July which is very easy in a way that it was a stress-free recording experience for me and I think the end result is brilliant.

Great! I also wanted to say I had the chance to catch you guys on this last tour with Sabaton in The US and you guys were great, definitely made a memorable show for me.

Leaves’ Eyes: Oh! Well thank you! (haha)

This question is for anybody, are there any tracks on the album you feel proud of or any tracks on the album that are favorites?

Thorsten: Yeah, there are several actually. We always have a very demanding and complex song on each album which on this one its Waves of Euphoria which takes a lot of extra energy and time and I’m very happy with that one. Then there’s also a song like Riders On The Wind which is in a way new for us which we pushed forward and we have also incorporated a lot of folk elements before and now we have put one step further with the folk elements with the song and I am very happy with how Elina performed on that song. You could say it’s not anymore just one singer doing all the work with the melodies that you can remember and sing along and yeah we are very happy with that song.

Definitely and like I said, I’ve heard the album and I think this is going to be one of the best Leaves’ Eyes albums in my opinion.

Thorsten: Thank you. Thats great, we see it the same way because it still has this large production like King of Kings, but we learned from the experience of the last albums and everything deserved to make these songs as good as possible and there were so many songs we could have taken as a single or video track and we are very happy with this album.

With the new album, it’s safe to assume there’s touring plans underway? What are your plans in support of the album and is there a US tour underway as well? (haha)

Thorsten: Yes, we have three release shows here in Germany and then we will do a European tour in April/May playing summer festivals and then there are plans to come back to North America. We still have a valid work visa so that would be nice to still make it happen in the next year (haha).

Great! Yeah there’s always that worry, especially if you’re from overseas about those visas.

Thorsten: Yeah, we’ve already had many work visas, I think five at least so,but yeah you’re right it’s quite a long process which usually takes 6-8 months. (haha)

Are there any bands that Leaves’ Eyes would like to tour with in the future?

Thorsten: Yeah, we just had one of the most amazing experiences this year on the tour with Sabaton and Battle Beast and shared the tour bus with Battle Beast and it was amazing. The guys from Sabaton and crew were just amazing, I hope we can repeat this and I think everyone is in good will but you never know (haha) so that would be of course amazing and there are of course everyone has their favorite band that they would like to tour with which we already did. We did a run with Tarja Turunen here in Europe which was fantastic so it’s always great to be on tour with other bands that are not only just great musicians but also lovely people so that’s definitely the most fun. The other way is always going with not so nice people and not so great music (haha) I’m just joking of course.

Yeah you know, I’ll see a press release or a poster for a new tour with all these awesome bands but then I’ll see that it’s always in Europe. I’m like, man I’m gonna have to move to Germany or Sweden if I want to see these amazing shows. (haha)

Thorsten: Yeah and you know I think metal fans in Europe with the festival season, go to Wacken or Hellfest or Summer Breeze every year but like this last tour with Battle Beast, Sabaton and Leaves’ Eyes, every band was different and that’s something cool about US fans. If it kicks ass the fans are in and are not like, ‘Well this is this sub-genre of metal and that band is that sub-genre of metal’, that’s something we appreciate about US fans and Canadian fans too.

Thank you, that’s good to hear. Next question, for Elina or if anyone else wants to answer feel free to jump in. How did Elina become the new singer for Leaves’ Eyes, how did that process happen? And from what I understand, Elina is no stranger to bands and the industry?

Elina: Yes, that all came together because back in 2011 I started my own band, Angel Nation, which I am still continuing that and also brought out a new album with that band so it’s been very busy (haha). We played together back in 2015, we were supporting Leaves’ Eyes and that’s how we met very briefely in London and then I got a call kind of out of blue a few months later and was invited to Germany and then learned when I arrived to Germany that it was about Leaves’ Eyes which is obviously quite a big surprise for me. Then the wheel started turning very quickly and here we are two years later.

Do you guys have any hobbies outside of the music industry? What do you guys like to do when you’re not touring or rehearsing or writing music?

Alexander: Yeah, I mean I have something connected strongly to the band. I’m a passionate sword fighter in a Viking reenactment group and we have also sung about that on the record, Jomsborg, which is actually about the Viking Saga of Jomsborg and my father’s family it so happens that they all come from this area where the legend was born and this Viking reenactment group there is, is called Jomsborg II, and we were ready to combine this so yeah! I go to weekly training with sword fights and a local Viking group. My brothers and sisters from this group, I train them a lot and we go to these medieval events where you can fight on the battlefields and camp and there are markets where people trade authentic stuff and replicas and yeah that’s something I have a passion for. Also I think Thorsten is a history nerd like me but just not goes to battlefields (haha).

Wow, we definitely will have to be careful around you (haha).

Well, we are almost wrapping up this interview and I have to ask: So with Leaves’ Eyes being around for so many years and not just Leaves’ Eyes but with Atrocity and such, do you have any advice for people who are trying to survive in the industry, who are trying to make a name for themself?

Alexander: Yeah, you know that sounds like a cliche but I can only speak for myself here. Be true to yourself, be honest, do your own thing, don’t try to copy what other people tell you because then you lose your own creativity. That’s how we do it, against the strain, against all that storms around you, make your own way and I think these bands that we like all have their own identity.

Thorsten: I think what Alex said makes a great point. I think that we don’t need 10 new Slayer bands or 10 new Korns, just get your own identity, your own edge and have fun with it. I think, even though it may be hard in the traveling and financial aspect, it should still be fun. It should also be the biggest thing you can enjoy about music, it should build bridges between people and different cultures. That’s what we experience when we tour worldwide, that’s fantastic that you can meet so many different people and still feel that metal is a kind of universe. It’s everywhere and it doesn’t matter where you play. We did an interview with this Iraqi magazine a few days ago, so everywhere heavy metal has a scene and is a global thing and can connect and unite people.

Great! Thank you very much for those words.

Well as you know the name of our website is called We Love Metal, so our last question here is why do YOU guys love metal?

Alexander: (haha) Well for me it’s quite a long story. It probably wasn’t even called metal then. I was a very young kid 6 years old I heard a band called Deep Purple. They played a song on the radio and I was fascinated by this kind of music. They were my heroes, them and Pink Floyd, these two bands. Then the New Wave of British Heavy Metal came up and I was actually completely infected by this. Ever since then, I always wanted to go extreme and do my own stuff, create my own music and become a rock musician. When I  was really young, as a teenager formed Atrocity, which this band is still going on and then later on we formed Leaves’ Eyes so that’s it. It’s probably the passion, we did a lot of stuff with Atrocity in the past which was brand new for a metal band and you know pioneering bands may not always be the most successful but I like to say, there is one law in heavy metal and that is breaking the law. (haha)

Elina: For me, it was coming from a very different background. Having a completely classical musician family and having studied and I have a classical degree and have done operas and stuff so for me it’s the performance. It’s what I fell in love with, I like the power of the music and freedom it gives me in every way with my voice with music, writing music, moving on stage, moving off stage, clubs, its just somehow, lets you be free and invokes a lot of emotion and feeling in listeners so yeah, that’s why I like it.

Thorsten: What I like very much, when I started to listen ot heavy metal music, you know it started out like with most things like AC/DC and Van Halen  when I was 11 and then it gets more into a direction of Metallica and Slayer that was my way. It was great to be a young teenage guys and meet other guys that listen to metal and listen to the albums and also deal with a kind of anger in a positive way. I think that’s best way to deal with music and the feeling of anger as a teenage kid, now of course I am not anymore an angry teenager (haha) but what I like now is the loyalty of the music. I mean when heavy metal was invented long ago, it still has a loyal fanbase and it’s not like where you can say “Ahh well I’ve been into heavy metal for 8 months”, its something that is important and that is, that deals with, you’re either into it or you’re not into it in a way. Yeah, I think that’s really great because there is something authentic about heavy metal music which in pop music it’s just going up and down and changing and I mean the work of some of these [metal] bands has been in existence 20/30/40 years and will last for many more years and I think that is really fantastic.

Wow. Very true words. Thank you.
Well that concludes this interview. I just want to thank Alex, Thorsten, Elina for taking the time out of your busy days to talk to us. I think it’s safe to say that us fans wish many, many more years of Leaves’ Eyes and we definitely hope to see you on the road!

Leaves’ Eyes: Thank you!

Alexander: Thank you very much for the great support and all the fans coming to the shows and supporting us and making this for us as a great Viking party! (haha) So yeah thank you very much!

Related Articles: Leaves’ Eyes – Fires In The North EP | Leaves’ Eyes – King of Kings | Concert Review: Sabaton/Leaves’ Eyes/Battle Beast



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