My interview with Liv Kristine each year in fall, in this magic period of the year between summer and winter, has become a tradition. It’s the time of the year when you take stock, look back at the year, appreciate the present and make plans for the future.
For Liv Kristine the last couple of years were full of optimism but also with a lot of emotional ups and downs because of which music had to take a back seat but now the time has come to take off. The end of this year and 2020 will mean the harvest of her hard work and this interview will keep us updated about her next steps and plans.
As usual, and only for Empire, we meet a Liv Kristine who opens up her heart and talks frankly.
By Merc Gutiérrez
Help with translation Anna Finke
EMPIRE MAGAZINE (EM): How are you? How is Leon doing?
LIV KRISTINE (LK): My family is doing really well, I thank you. Our home is really cozy and is situated in the middle of an old town. It’s a historic building with a beautiful view on the Christmas market and the market square. We are surrounded by little shops and traditional buildings. We often have visitors from Norway and the rest of Europe. It’s a lovely place of gatherings and celebrations and this will be our home until we move northwards.
EM: Some months ago you fell in love with Mikkel. How do you feel now? That’s true love and you are feeling more alive than ever. What can you tell to us about your relationship to Mikkel? Has he already proposed to you? Do you have wedding plans?
LK: We met for real and physically in April this year. It was magic! I can tell you, that was no coincidence; it was destiny.
The story is: He actually got in touch a while before that to invite me for a talk show in Lucerne, Switzerland. We just started writing every now and then, just checking up “how things were going”. One early Sunday morning as I woke up I realised that I had really warm feelings for him, and I told him, even if I had no clue how he was feeling. Well, a week later I drove my Toyota to Lucerne and I stayed for 5 days, went back to work, and returned to Lucerne for a second visit. I have never wanted to be apart from him since that very day. He is my heart’s perfect match, moreover, we’re yin and yang, one frequency. We speak the same languages (especially Norwegian and Danish), the languages I grew up with. Our first meeting was one magic moment. I know it was destiny. I love him, he is wonderful and beautiful inside and outside, my family embraced him from the very first moment, and yes, we are going to marry in 2020, in Denmark.
EM: This is surely a new chapter in your life. Have you changed your internal beliefs?
LK: My beliefs and life visions have manifested even deeper in my heart and mind since 2019. With Mikkel I am who I am and he is who he is. That’s real, generous and honest love. We talk a lot about the universe, human and nature existence, gods and religion, dreams and here-and-now experience. We both practice yoga and pay a lot of attention to a healthy lifestyle. We both begin the day with the goal to live and be the highest, most passionate, truest version of ourselves. We are both highly creative, we love music, we enjoy each other’s partnership and support each other in a work situation. We both love being outside in the nature with our dogs and families.
EM: Only seven weeks to go until Nagold… Have you already thought about the show more in detail?
LK: Yes, I am excited to bring along brand new merchandise, moreover, my first own single which will be released in cooperation with Allegro Talent Music, a special limited release for my Nagold show 20.12. this year. I will be happy to sign it for my audience after the show. We will rehearse soon and the set list will be a brand new one. Anette Guldbrandsen, my lovely Norwegian long-time friend, will join us on stage. She’s a brilliant singer and I can’t wait to share stage with her. We will perform «Stronghold of Angels» (which is originally a duet with Doro Pesch) live for the first time.
EM: Nagold ’18 was one of the highlights of your career. In my opinion this one was one of your best solo concert ever. Do you agree with me? If yes, can you tell me what was special to you about this concert?
LK: Nagold 2018 was indeed special and will always remain special in my memories. After everything that had happened that year the crew of the venue and the audience present at the concert gave me such a warm and loving energy – it went straight through my heart. I have no words to explain my deep and thankful feelings that night. I knew this was a sign – «don’t give up, keep singing, give music to the world!» This is THE sign for me to keep going my creative way, to focus on my talent, and keep making music with passion. It comes from the heart, it always has, and I want to share aesthetic and positive, enchanting energy with the world.
EM: Have you already thought about the setlist for Nagold? I know you are planning to sing “A Hamlet for a Slothful Vassal“. Can you tell me more about the setlist? Will there be any significant changes in comparison to your previous shows? In my opinion this would be good since some of your fans travel to Nagold every year and Nagold is something really special to you and all of us. Finding some surprises on the setlist would be amazing for your friends. Is Nagold ’19 going to be your darkest solo setlist ever?
LK: Most songs will be from my solo albums, two of them not yet released (until Nagold), two of them never performed before and now in duet with Anette. I am thinking about a few Leaves’ Eyes songs, that’s still not sure, but Theatre of Tragedy will definitely make up nearly half of the setlist.
EM: Now it is official that Anette Uvaas Gulbrandsen will be your special guest in Nagold. She is very close to you and you sang together in the past. Why did you choose Anette for Nagold?
LK: It was just an idea we had after Anette surprised me with the news that she had plans to visit us in December. I said «Yeah, please join me on stage!» I am so happy to sing with Anette on stage. I joined her on her last album with the Sabbathian – I loved it.
EM: Which musicians will be in your band in Nagold? Will Tommy Olsson be there?
LK: Tommy is my composer and I will play our compositions with my live band. It’s a long way for Tommy to travel from Norway for just one show in Nagold. My solo band is mainly the same as last year, but we will have a few new musicians.
EM: Will you have anything special on the merch stand this year?
LK: As already mentioned, I will bring along brand new merch for ladies and gentlemen, including a limited special Nagold edition single, «Skylight».
EM: Will you have a supporting act? If yes, can you announce which band will play before you?
LK: There will be one, yes, but I will wait for the promotor to announce them.
EM: Since Mikkel is into Black Metal and Extreme Metal have you become more into it as well? If yes, which bands or styles are you listening to now?
LK: I grew up, being a teen, in the nineties in Norway, when Black Metal made a big scene. I’ve been listening to this kind of music since then and there are a few bands that I really like. I would define Black Metal as one genre in metal music. In Norway, so-called Black Metal bands even win nominations. It’s sad, though, what happened in the nineties in Scandinavia, as people calling themselves Satanists put fire to historic churches, even to stave churches from the Middle Ages, then mixing their extreme views with art, often wrapping their extreme views in black-metal music. It all got mixed up. Black Metal actually and originally has nothing to do with satanism. Some original black-metal oriented bands choose to define themselves as «extreme metal» bands today, which is also a way of gaining a bit more freedom from narrow-minding, judging opinions.
EM: Let’s talk about your new songs. “Skylight” will be the first single of your new album. What can you tell me about this song?
LK: It was composed by Tommy Olsson a while ago and he sent it to me. We’ve been exchanging ideas for a while now, actually since the beginning of 2016. I love his ideas and what really inspires me in his songs is that he leaves enough space for me to develop my melodies and lyrics. It’s like going with a magic flow. I have ideas all the time. «Skylight» was recorded vocally at Tommy’s studio in August this year. We both are really happy about what we’ve created together. Moreover, I am sure that this song will be enjoyed by my audience. «Gravity» is the second composition on the Nagold special edition single. For all of you who love Aégis of Theatre of Tragedy and my last solo album «Vervain», both tracks will inspire you!
EM: A few weeks ago I had the honour and pleasure to listen to “Gravity” and, you know, I have loved it from the very beginning. What can you tell our readers about the lyrics and the song? I found it a very emotional song with reverb, double voices, crescendo in 3:30 and maybe a structure similar to “Silence”. Do you agree with me?
LK: It definitely shares some moments with «Silence» (released on my solo album «Libertine»), which is one of my most important single compositions in my 30 years of singing and composing. It is about feeling peace and silence deep within, not having to live with fear anymore. The song «Gravity» is dedicated to my beloved Mikkel, who opened up his heart for me last April. One line leading to the final, uplifting and exploding chorus is «I know it’s somewhere hidden in the deepest corner of my empty heart» defines exactly the state I was in in 2016, and in 2018. I wasn’t sure if I would ever dare opening up my heart again for a relationship. Mikkel has opened up so many doors for me, and I for him. It is a unique relationship and connection between us. We let past be past and enjoy every moment we share together. True love is to me love AND passion on one and the same frequency, including both partners showing gratitude and honest support towards the other. Being the harbor for the each other is so important. In this space of true love there is only trust, passion, generosity and eternity.
EM: Allegro Talent Music is your new label and management agency. What does it mean to you?
LK: It feels right, safe and honest. There’s a really good energy in our cooperation and work. I had to learn to trust again since all the bullshit that happened in 2015/2016. No need to go into details. We are looking into the future, and I love having Mikkel by my side. He inspired me to release my first own single.
EM: Are you working on more collaborations with other artists? With some of your contributions being ballads why do you think they tend to choose this kind of songs for you?
LK: Let’s be honest – I mostly sing about the really big and deep feelings! My voice is highly adaptive and all I want is to share magic moments with my audiences and to take them on a higher level of beauty and frequency. Most of my lyrics center around the theme of love, or the opposite of it. I see music as pure elevation, sound and colors are in one perfect expression, it just takes me to a higher level of passion and understanding of the whole universe and of human emotions, moreover, it has a bigger meaning, a special connection to our souls. More contributions are coming up. I will reveal them as soon as we are ready for further news.
EM: I want to ask you about Theatre of Tragedy. It seems that you are in permanent contact with the other former band members. Can we still dream of a reunion or some special shows?
LK: We met in August, and yes, we are talking, we will meet in December for a Christmas rehearsal and gathering with families, beers and Christmas cookies! Let’s see what happens, I’m really motivated.
EM: Some Latin american fans have sent me messages asking about a LatAm Tour.
LK: It’s interesting – a promotor just got in touch with me concerning shows for 2020/2021. I really miss my Latin-and South-American fans. First I need to share my new album with all of you! I am endlessly happy to tell you that I will release my album in 2020. It honors the gothic metal-rock genre and will evoke memories of “Aégis», which I remember as some of my best times with Theatre of Tragedy. In tight cooperation with Tommy Olsson, each song radiates a a unique paradigm of depth and width of sound with a high note of Romanticism.
Thank you for being there for me. Thank you, Marc @ Empire Zone. See you in Nagold!