Still amazed with their latest release «The Last Viking», we had the opportunity to have a long and pleasant conversation with Elina Siirala and Alexander Krull, singers of Leaves’ Eyes, and we could talk about the present situation of the band in these strange times specially for the music industry, we discussed the new album, the consolidation of Elina in the band, and many others things you can read below.
M.S: Hello, good evening. First of all, nice to see you again Alex, and nice to meet you finally Elina.
Alex & Elina: Hello!
Alex: Hi hi!
Elina: Nice to meet you too!
M.S: To start with the interview, and sorry for the typical question, how did you do with the whole pandemic? The whole Corona, the lockdowns, how is the situation right now in there? In Spain we have a kind of semi-confinement these days. How is the situation over there?
Alex: We are also in another lockdown. Elina is in another part of Germany, in Bavaria, we all have little tiny different rules, so we had also days where we couldn’t go out after 8pm until the morning at 5am, and actually it was still handled in a way if you have working stuff it was still ok, like the studio work for example. In my county, this regulation is gone I think, but I think it’s still in Bavaria, isn’t it?
Elina: I think it is, yeah, I think you shouldn’t go out after 9, unless it’s important work or a thing like that.
Alex: Yeah. I mean, for us it was like facing like two phases of the lockdown. Actually, when it all started we came from the «70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise,» and before we were like «Yeah, 2020 it’ll be an awesome year» and all will be great. And then, some weeks later already we were all facing this horrible situation. So we were actually in studio lockdown, but I think we handled it pretty well with the band. We were locking us into the studio, we were in a studio lockdown, and I think you were here five or six weeks; Joris was here also very long… So, the rest of us are from the Stuttgart area, so we were all together in the studio, and could at least finish the album. Also, for the band feeling, I think it was very good to stick together. We had a vision, our music. It would bring us through these times.
Leaves’ Eyes by Stefan Heilemann
We had to be very flexible to shoot the album photos; the band shots were done before, that was lucky, and for the videoshoots we had to wait because of the travel ban. Everything went a little bit back, like one month or something, because we made a video clip in Switzerland and then in Poland. When we really got hit hard was when the album actually was released, because there were problems and issues in delivering our Premium Edition, the Artbook. So we actually missed the Top 10 charts in Germany because of that. In the trend charts we already were on number 6. Of course a lot of fans ordered the Premium Edition, which couldn’t be delivered in time and that was very disappointing for us… Because of the pandemic the distrubution company’s stock house had like only half of the amount of the people working, so they could not deliver all items out to the stores or to Amazon and all that; it was affecting us; for charts it’s one thing which is bad enough, but the other thing is, fans had to wait, and that was for us the most frustrating situation. Even ourselves, we were waiting for weeks until we could get our own product! Elina, you got the Artbook some weeks ago, right?
Alex: It was something we worked all the year hard to get this done, and the result and everything is fantastic. It’s just frustrating you know, that you have something great in your hands and people cannot get ahold of it, or it wasn’t at least in the very start. And then the album was out for one week and the shops got closed…actually until now. So, our new record could only be sold via mailorders, and only one week in a regular record store. That’s the bad thing for the whole industry everywhere, for the whole music industry or metal bands, labels, promoters. Regarding the live situation we had to push the whole tour back one year and we have to see how it will be in a couple of months ahead. Nobody knows exactly. And all the planning of shows from Mexico to US, Russia, everything we had already planned had to be moved. That’s what we face, but there’s one really positive thing I think in all this madness, is that us as a band we really hold together, we really stick together and fight together with whole metal family through this dark times. And we got so many fantastic feedbacks, that was amazing. And maybe we could do a favor to all the fans waiting for the new record, to have something positive in these crazy times. So that was our goal as well, that we said «Okay. Everybody is delaying their records, everybody’s moving, postponing… We try our best to fulfill all the things needed to release an album and our videos.»
M.S: Yeah, it’s more or less what happens as you said to everybody, to the whole industry, and not only the music industry. I’ve been since mid-March waiting for my company to call me to go back to my job. Everything’s been put on hold…
Alex: That’s really bad… But I think there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe it will be a new normal or whatever, but I think there will be a life after the Covid. We’ve experienced situations ourselves when we were doing the «War of Kings» video, and one of the main actors couldn’t come to the set, and people travelled with him, because he got Covid-19. So actually the moment you’re discussing «Wow, ok, we have to be very flexible again and make the best out of the situation», so for us there was always a way that we could solve things like that. That’s very positive. And I remember we were driving to Switzerland to do the «Dark Love Empress» video, we were like «Oh! We can go to Switzerland again we can drive to another country.» So we took the chance to film the video clips there and in Poland at the same weekend. And some weeks later, the borders were closed again and travelling was banned again. So we were actually lucky in this period of time that we could finish everything.
M.S: In the end we have to adapt or reinvent ourselves, and as you say there will be life after the Covid. It’s a time to re-evaluate everything.
Alex & Elina: Absolutely.
M.S: Back to the recordings of this new cd, do you think that the lockdown helped you giving a final touch to the album that otherwise would have made the album lesser? I mean, the album has turned out one of the best ones that you’ve done so far. So maybe you needed this little break, and locking yourselves into the studio made you put this final touch, so you improved it. What do you think?
Elina: Well… I can speak for myself; it definitely helped me, because I was in the studio for a long continuous period of time. I was really able to concentrate on each track maybe in a different way than before, and we had time to… I mean, we always experiment with things, but we also wanted to take things further again with this album, and I think also because of the songs are very different, they have all their very own characteristics, so they kind of made it very interesting for us as well to try and bring those characteristics out from each song. It was just somehow very easy, because the story was bringing those elements there and everyone needed to bring their own bits to the musical side. And how it all came together, as you said it, works really well. I don’t know if it’s specially the pandemic but who knows, it was the first time it happened, so we also didn’t really know what to think or what to expect. We were just in the studio and just had a good time making the album (laughs). I don’t know how it would have been otherwise. I mean, the songs were already quite far and it wasn’t like something was completely changed… but, maybe something little bit extra came there because we had the time.
M.S: The album is called «The Last Viking»… Does this somehow imply that you will be telling us with this album the last Viking story? Will you change course after this or is it just a happy coincidence?
Alex: (laughs) Actually it’s connected to the character and the story of the new album. No, I don’t think it’s the end for this band to write about Norse mythology! In general it doesn’t have to be only about Viking warriors or something like that, because Leaves’ Eyes was always connected to great nature, big sagas, epic tales, medieval topics and stuff like that. Obviously, like the saga of Viking king Harald Hardrada. Hardrada was traveling the whole world in an extraordinary adventurous way. He was reclaiming the Norse crown and then years later going for the English crown, and got killed. Basically everybody who is into history can see that the Viking age was over after his death. It was not the same situation in Northern Europe anymore after that happened. For that dramatic character the album title is maybe the best description. Like Elina mentioned already, there’s a lot of adventurous things to tell, it was great for us to write songs about it. I did a lot of research, I was reading the saga of Hardrada in German and in English as well to get the most out of it, and it was an adventure for itself. And also to see the real history behind it, it was also very interesting. Because the sagas are always spiced up history (laughs), they are heroic tales. But there’s a lot of sources, for us as a metal band, the way how the tales are told, it’s the perfect way to write songs about them. For a metal band this is great. It’s like history, but you also have this epic side of it; it’s really fantastic. And yeah, I think this is a very special character, demanded a special title, and I think the label and the guys who were writing the info about it, they took it like «Now the Vikings are coming to an end with Leaves’ Eyes», and we were a little bit like «Ok…?» (laughs).
M.S: (Laughs) Well, not to an end, what I mean is that of course the album is about Hardrada and the title refers to him, I read about him too for the review to understand the album’s story, but you can’t help but wonder… is there something else behind this title…?
Alex: You might think so, even some people thought it was an end to a trilogy or something… In a way, there is a connection to the former album, «Sign of the Dragonhead», the last song «Waves of Euphoria» was actually like the introduction to this album, because the song was also dealing with Hardrada and the whole thing. But I think these kind of topics will always be a part of this band, like I mentioned the Norse mythology is also a wide field, and that’s what we want to bring to life with our music, especially when you have such a fantastic vocalist like Elina along with these strong melodies in our music. And with the female side, it’s not only about battles and stuff like that, but also a lot of emotions are in there, and that makes it so exciting.
M.S: True, but because the previous singer was from Norway in the beginning it made sense that the band dived into those topics, but after Liv left the band, and because now you have Elina I was thinking that maybe you might consider bringing some Finnish culture into your sound, like Kalevala or else… just a thought (laughs).
Elina: (Laughs) Yeah, I think there are probably Finnish bands doing that already, like you can imagine. They’ve been using all that.
Alex: (Laughs) There is a big connection with the global Viking scene. As you probably know that I’m a sword fighter in the Viking re-enactment scene. You can see that in the documentary «Viking Spirit». When I go to Viking events sometimes people come to me like «What’s next? What are you going to write next about? Would it be interesting to take this and this topic to write a song about…?» For me as a member of the biggest modern Viking army called «Jomsborg», it means much more than just being a musician writing songs about it. There’s a lot more behind it. Also from my father’s side of the family, they come from the area of the Jomsborg saga, which is holding the biggest Viking battle of our days with 800 warriors on the field. I also join there, and train the whole year to go to such events like the «Festival of Slavs and Vikings» in Wolin / Poland and be able to do things like that. Wolin in the Scandinavian language was called «Jomsborg». I remember also when I was driving through the area with a friend I was like «My ancestors were running around here, and they are coming from here», and that’s an extra let’s say. The central place in Jomsborg is the fortress where this medieval event takes place, there’s lots of people, hundreds, every year in August. Then there’s this fantastic big battle! I’ll tell you something, what is really amazing: When all the visitors and tourists are going home in the late evening, then you have only the reenactors in authentic cloths at Wolin. There are the occupiers camping outside of the castle, and then inside are the defenders, which is us, the Jomsborg, and we are camping in there in the houses and tents. This is called living history, right? It’s not pretending or acting or something like that. We try to live the history, with the clothes, everything, every detail… that’s really fantastic. In the night time when we have the place for ourselves that is a magic feeling and unique experience! I also have a kind of idea what our music can do with our listeners… that people can dive into the world of Leaves’ Eyes music and go on an adventure with Vikings. You can close your eyes and the music can capture your thoughts and your imaginations. This is also what I think it’s a driving force to write music for this band.
M.S: Yeah, and we can kind of feel a little bit of that in the «Viking Spirit» documentary that you added with the album. I thought it was amazing, because as you were saying it’s not only recreating it, but just going back to your roots and living a little bit of what happened on those times and feeling connected to that. It was pretty amazing.
Alex: Five years of filming the documentary! And I can tell you a little secret. As it was released on the Artbook as a DVD, and a lot of people were watching it, my son Leon came up with the idea to have the documentary coming with more languages. Already when we were watching together the final edit of the movie, Leon said «Yeah, it’s all great, but Papa, what about people who are not so good with English? Wouldn’t it be an idea to have German subtitles, Spanish and maybe other languages?». With this idea the ball was starting to roll. So, indeed we are planning to do a BluRay edition of «Viking Spirit» during the summertime, and you’re the first journalist to hear about that officially! The idea is to have on top of English also German, Spanish, French subtitles. Let’s see. It’s all in the planning now as we have indeed people that say they love the movie and they would like to watch it with their own language. This will be the next project for Leaves’ Eyes, coming next, around summertime.
M.S: Great! Thank you for the advance! I was anyway about to ask you a little bit about your short medium plans for the near future… Apart from what you just told me, what are you planning? And also, as everything’s been put on hold like promotions for the albums like yours and everything, are you maybe thinking of doing some live, online show as for example Lacuna Coil did, or Nightwish are planning to do or something like that?
Elina: Yeah, it’s tricky as now we announced the tour, so we would like to concentrate on playing actually live (laughs), because I think the songs and live setting is just still different somehow. Especially with this album, the songs and the cinematic vibe, it would be nicer to have them experienced live, like really live. But obviously, of course we have to see how everything goes, but at the moment with the time probably we’ll be using it to continue also writing, I know the guys are already writing Atrocity material at the moment, and I’m also writing at the moment. And just trying to find every ways to keep people engaged, and we hope we’ll be able to tour properly.
Alex: The thing is we have offers for online shows or streaming events and stuff like that… Just some days ago there came a new one already; we haven’t discussed this now… If something comes up which is convincing, and we think like «Okay, this is really cool, maybe a special occasion or something like that…» I think then it would be an option. But like Elina said, we would much more prefer to play real shows, of course.
M.S: Yeah, and normally your shows have not only the music but also the whole visuals, the concept that makes you get into the music. So if you do the online show, which I would love to because I want to listen to the songs live, you are missing some part of the experience.
Alex: I understand 100%. The thing is now Germany we are in Winter Wonderland, it’s fantastic outside, we were talking about that it would be great to film a video even now with some cool ideas we have. But we cannot even meet at the moment, it’s like one person you can meet. And that makes it all very difficult and complicated. We are kind of spontaneous people. Sometimes we just have an idea and then we do it. But at the moment we have ideas, and we would do something special even when it’s only like a momentum for live streaming or whatever, we would try to make it very special. Joris for example comes from the Netherlands and in the moment, we don’t even know exactly when he can return to us. He will come here for sure to record the new Atrocity album, and also with new ideas with Leaves’ Eyes and everything else, but the thing is in the moment we don’t know when this can happen.
M.S: Yeah, totally understandable. Yesterday while preparing the interview I remembered that about a month ago Marco Hietala left Nightwish, but what was astonishing was the statement of why he left the band. I guess you both have read it. I wanted to know what’s your opinion about it.
Alex: Just to say that in advance, I like both Marco and the Nightwish guys! We met on tours and festivals, and we also had a photo shoot together at Mastersound Studio with Marco and Tuomas, Leaves’ Eyes and Nightwish for a German magazine already back in 2004, and we were also hanging out together. So we meet from time to time on the road. I go to shows or vice versa. The Nightwish guys were also visiting us on shows in Finland. And I can tell you Marco is really a fantastic person, and I can only guess what he means in his statement. I was already asked by someone else about it, so I was reading it. Well, I think in this crazy music business you are sometimes like a hamster in a turning wheel. You just go from the studio to a tour and then back to studio and on tour again and so forth. There’s not so much time to think about the world, your own life and everything. There are phases like this now and probably, that was kind of my impression, that Marco was starting to think about all the things, also the music industry, the business, what is going wrong or right, and in summing up what’s good for him as a person; and I think everybody has to respect that. Like I said, I don’t know the backgrounds and it is his personal thing. I know some other people in the music business like live technicians, crew guys but also other musicians or journalists as well who are thinking about their way of life at the moment due to the Covid situation… I just saw a message from a journalist yesterday who is quitting. And people kind of feel a loss of their motivation. When you’re in a hanging situation like this at the moment it can end up in frustration about that kind of lifestyle which is probably not fulfilled anymore with the actual reasons when you started as a musician, journalist or live technician. These are always very personal decisions, no matter if you are in a big band or smaller band, it doesn’t really matter. I know this whole music business and especially in these times with music on internet, streamings and everything, sometimes you just wonder because artists and musicians seem like the last ones in the end of everything, in getting a fair share or getting treated fairly in all kind of ways, and this is certainly not the way it should be…
Back in the day, whatever 80’s 90’s or so, probably there were also a lot of other people making profits before any of the musicians, but there was at least something worth with the music in a way. Nowadays, if you release a video clip, or a single online, thousands and thousands of people can see it, can watch it, can get it, and Spotify, iTunes and all these big companies, Google, YouTube, who ever, they get the big money. I heard from a good friend in the music business that about 75% of the digital music income is made by YouTube and Google, but only a small share of that is actually going to labels and artists who are producing the content. And actually with the big live business regarding concerts, festivals and events it’s not much better for many artists. The promotion banners, posters always look very nice, right? This is important, that is the new hype…well. I remember when I was like an underground promoter back in the 90s doing like the first Death Metal festival tours and stuff like that, for the ideal of the music, I wanted people to get to know bands like Carcass or Entombed, our band Atrocity back then, or Pestilence… all of that was something I did for the passion, the driving force was not money or anything like that. I just wanted that this kind of music is getting live on stage, so that people get to know these great bands and this great music. And there were not many promoters really into that kind of extreme music. With the success with these shows and festivals, suddenly there were bigger companies. I was at very young age, so they just took over. That has happened. Later I’ve also worked for record companies, I was there when bands like, whatever, Theatre of Tragedy got signed, and many others as well, and I was also working with label promotion and all this kind of things, so I do really know a lot of things happening in the background of the music business.
The thing is, artists, when they start a band they are driven by the music, by their own art, by their passion for the music. There might be some people who say «Oh, I wanna be a rockstar, want to be rich, and all that», I don’t know. But the most artists I know they go for the music, they believe in what they do. But there will be always people there who think like «Oh, I can make a business out of these guys». As artist this can be frustrating. That’s probably why I’m not so much shocked about a statement by a guy who is in a huge band playing stadiums and arenas and all that, and you would think «Wow, he must be happiest person on this Earth». It is a gift to play in a band and to tour worldwide, no doubt about it, and all the fans love their bands and musicians. I understand that somebody who’s having all kinds of experiences with the music industry, the whole thing, how things are not in your hands anymore as a musician, or just how things just go on in the music business nowadays… and maybe you are not happy with that anymore. On the other side, I can speak only for me, there’s still this positive thing, this artistic energy, this «I don’t want that all this negativity to get too close to me, because I need this freedom to make music and art and doing these things, what I love the most». So I think if there’s a way, and we don’t have to become billionaires, we can make great music and great albums, I will choose this path to go there, and play live and travel the world, and meeting all these amazing people. So… Well, that’s what I can just say to that. It’s very complex I guess to come to that point when you are in a band like Nightwish, and I have the greatest respect to those guys, also to Tuomas and Floor and everybody in the band and around them, because I know how much energy and power you need to keep things going like they do, or other bands with great success. I wish them all the best!
M.S: In the end I guess you need to do what makes you happy.
Alex: Yeah, exactly. But I understand when fans are sad or frustrated and being shocked like «I cannot imagine how this could go on without» members of whatever band. I totally understand, and I think it’s very often just a very personal and very private decision. So, I’m not a person to judge anything, but as you asked me, I think, such a decision takes a lot of…. Balls (laughs). Like mentioned before, I know other people as well who are having these kind of thoughts about their whole life, and it’s also a fragile situation especially for people who are only on the road such as live technicians, back liners, tour managers and all this people.
M.S: Let me ask a couple of questions to Elina, later I have one more for you Alex. Do you think we will be able to listen to you singing Finnish sometime in Leaves’ Eyes? Because in the past Liv for example has sung in Norwegian and even Middle English, so maybe there’s room for you now to sing a little song or something in Finnish.
Elina: Yeah, I understand that point, but it kind of needs to make sense. I don’t see the point just doing something for the sake of it; I also didn’t sing in Finnish in my own band ever as it wouldn’t make any sense. I guess with Norwegian it kind of made sense to the songs a bit more, if I just started singing Finnish, I don’t know… (Laughs). I don’t really see the point of it right now and it’s not the most beautiful language, I have to say.
M.S: Sorry, but I completely disagree. I studied it for a couple of years some time ago and I found it so beautiful!
Elina: That’s probably the first time I ever heard that, but very nice to hear that. (Laughs) What was the reason that you studied Finnish?
M.S: It had to do with my degree, we needed to choose two extra languages and I went for Italian because it’s close to Spanish; and then, I ruled out some others like German, sorry Alex, but I decided upon Finnish because of the song «Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan» from Nightwish’s album «Once»…
Elina: (Laughs) Well, like you said, you can only speak it in Finland, in one country in the world, so it’s not very useful, but ok, that’s cool!
M.S: How are you dealing with working both on Leaves’ Eyes and EnkElination? Or Angel Nation as it’s called now.
Elina: Leaves’ Eyes has taken the majority of my time for these past years, and now during this pandemic time I’ve actually been able to get back to Angel Nation, I have all the demos now done, so hopefully we will get the third album on its way soon. But I like to have different things, even though I’m the singer I think it’s still very different kind of music, very different kind of roles for me, because I write the music in Angel Nation as well, and it gives me different kind of opportunities to do different styles, I always really liked it. I also do classical concerts sometimes; I don’t think you have to choose doing one thing. In music especially, when you’re creative, it’s a nice thing to have many outlets… Atrocity is completely different from Leaves’ Eyes for example.
M.S: Indeed. Ok, so let me ask you, because I don’t know if it is because of the pandemic or not, I was checking your Instagram and you are very active, what’s your favorite Social Media? And are you into TikTok as it is trending a lot these days?
Elina: It’s certainly hard to keep up with all the new social media apps now a days, so I’ve concentarted mainly on facebook and instagram. I enjoy connecting and communicating with the fans and it’s of course a part of being a singer in a band. It doesn’t take up my whole life and time but it’s a great way to reach people especially now when live gigs aren’t happening.
M.S: Yeah, same here, Facebook mainly to read about news and Instagram from pictures or so. Ok, I just have a couple more questions and we should be done with this. Alex, I wanted to ask you something more controversial, but first of all let me explain my personal view. When Leaves’ Eyes and Liv Kristine parted ways, in a way for me it was like the magic of the band was gone, and it took me some time to start listening again both parts involved, you could say I kind of felt out of love. Of course I had listened to the first album with Elina, it was fine, her voice is astonishing but I didn’t quite get into it. And then you guys released «The Last Viking», and I completely fell in love again with the band. The magic that I was missing was back. So the question itself was… Once that you parted ways with Liv, did you feel or did you have somehow a decreasing number of fans? Maybe you have regained them with this last album, as for example in my case has happened? How did you live this transition?
Alex: We didn’t feel it that way, not at all, because it went perfectly with Elina from the start, also during the first EP together, «Fires in the North» was already released in 2016. Now it’s been like five years. For us as a band it was… I can only speak the truth about it, how it is and how we felt, it felt absolutely comfortable with Elina, also writing the songs and being together in the studio, it was like winning the lottery, a perfect match for both sides. When you’re a musician or an artist and you’re doing this for such a long time, a change can be very positive and giving you even a push. Although there was a lot of negativity also there from outside, the big majority of the fans embraced Elina and she took the fans by storm. I know for myself how you feel as a fan when there is a change in a band, and obviously the very core role of the band is the singer, right?
Leaves’ Eyes by Stefan Heilemann
So I do understand what you talk about… for example, there’s a band called Iron Maiden (laughs) and my absolute favorite album is «Killers» with Paul Di’Anno, and suddenly came another album with a guy called Bruce Dickinson, «The Number of the Beast», which was more clean, less punk, perfect in tune… whatever, much better singer technically of course than Paul Di’Anno. And I was a diehard fan of them as well; also when tragically Bon Scott died, from AC/DC, and they had to continue although it was so iconic singer, and you couldn’t imagine AC/DC without Bon Scott, I 100% remember. I was a kid and big fan, and I remember all the discussions with my older rocker friends were like «It will never be AC/DC again, look at AC/DC now», and look at the power house AC/DC nowadays they just released a new album which is amazing, and they don’t even need to release anything anymore! Or Iron Maiden is still going on, bigger than ever and now people would say «Iron Maiden without Bruce Dickinson, no way!»…Even Nightwish, and many others… All these examples show that people have to get used to a new singer, to a new voice and all that, and maybe for some fans it’s like that very nostalgic feeling inside… I do respect that! Pink Floyd for me was like one band, which was very important in my youth phase, and then I heard they split up, and I was like «Oh my God!» everything goes down the drain, you know? And things like that I 100% understand, but for us as a band, as musicians, it is very good, also very refreshing to work with Elina, with a high motivated person who’s giving us also a feeling that she wants to go to play live, to record in the studio, being always there when needed and stuff like that. There are a lot of very positive things.
To be honest, at the end of the phase when Liv was there, it was not the case at all with her, and it was not just about the big drama she made. Many fans who are into the band and know us from the start told us that they understood and got used to the change back then and they just fall in love with the latest material – even like it better than before. Maybe now if you like «The Last Viking» so much, you can check back and listen again to the other stuff and maybe you hear and see things different!
M.S: I already did! (Laughs)
Alex: (Laughs) We are doing music with our hearts and we would not release anything which we are not happy with. We are proud to having this kind of fantastic life experiences, fantastic studio experiences and all that, which actually for us as a band was the absolutely right way to go, and well… Liv didn’t want to be in the band anymore at the time. There was no way we could have continued, but you have to see there are a new chances, new ways for this band, also to evolve musically with Elina, there’s no doubt about it. And that, from the perspective of an artist or a musician, is probably a different view than from somebody from outside the band. We always try to make the best for our fans! We actually gained many more fans since then as there were a lot of people discovering us, too. Especially when we were touring in the US. Many fans seeing us live thought we are more powerful band than before which they like better. Well, music and live shows are always a matter of taste. In fact we had fantastic tours, it was amazing in the States, the Sabaton tour. Just as an example, all the festivals we played in Europe, everywhere, Japan was fantastic… all the things we did when people were seeing us live, they were completely convinced, «Yeah, that was the best show from those guys I saw ever». So that’s what we heard many, many times.
Elina went to the fans after the gigs to have direct contact with the fans, and she got great feedbacks every night! It’s a very different impression than some internet warriors with negative comments, when you meet with your real fans…
M.S: Definitely, in the end if you like music, even if you have a time that you fall out of love with the band because there’s a change, you’ll go back to it because the essence of the band is still in there.
Elina: I think also, even if there is no changes in the band sometimes you don’t like their music, they come up with something new you don’t like it and then they make another album and you like it again. I don’t think there always has to be changes, it can also be like that. It’s very subjective thing music.
Alex: That is very true, there’s like tons of bands, and when you ask people «How do you like them», «Oh, the album’s great, the first album was the best» and so on. It’s absolutely right. I think in the case of a change of band members or a singer, like in this case was for a lot of people obviously very important, then I’ve heard from people nowadays who has changed a lot the opinion they had; actually it was a smooth change, the beginning when Elina was introduced as our new singer, but then suddenly nasty rumors were spread, it was heated up by the former singer, that was the reason there was negativity coming into the game, and I know a lot of people they don’t like that at all and don’t wanna be participating in these kind of things, they prefer not to say anything but they come to us when the show’s over and say «Well, I don’t agree with that at all. And we have our own opinions. We don’t believe in fairy tales and spectacular race of storytelling. We take facts first and we don’t see you guys in this way». And that was absolutely the majority, there will be always people who want to see something which isn’t the reality and then I go like «Okay, well, I feel sorry for those people», and I don’t mean people who just don’t like the music we do, that’s another story. But how can you suddendly say so much bad things about people and before you loved their music so much? If there’s a personal thing in a band or whatever and they split up, it’s up to the people directly involved and not to people who were not even there when things happend, right? I never understood that internet bashing and I never will, and I don’t wanna be part of this. And as I see my son for example… he’s absolutely great, he’s into this Youtube thing, a Youtuber, and it is mostly about football and there’s also like players sometimes «This guy left the club and went there, or this club is better than the other»… to a certain level is okay when people talk, but when it’s going to a certain tone he’s the first saying «Stop that, you don’t say in my channel things like that». And that is absolutely the way you should go and I agree with that 100%. My son Leon is number one for me anyway!
M.S: There’s a lot of hate on the internet that it’s absolutely unnecessary. You like the music, you stick to it, just leave the personal opinions aside. «Haters gonna hate»…
Alex: Yeah, what I never understand is like somebody’s saying something in an interview, and then someone else is not even requesting or researching or reading about the other side, and is just taking it all for granted and going crazy online. What the hell… and most of the time even on an absolutely low level. I don’t want to be part of that and all, and we never wanted to be part of things like that. It’s just not our level. These kind of things are really sad, as we are like a Metal Family. But I also see it that way, there’s always a black sheep or some people can’t behave but this should not be tolerated. It’s absolutely not my level. I would have one million possibilities to go out and tell some things out there, which should not be very charming for one or the other person. We reply only if needed to give facts to people. I talked to some other bands and band members and specially also front ladies of other bands which have been through similiar things like that which was really disgusting and even more worse what I heard of them. They got like death threats and all these kind of things, and this is like absolutely out and end of discussion.
What I want to say is I understand the passion for music, I understand the love for special experiences we all have with music, and you don’t want things to get changed, but like Elina said it doesn’t have to be member changes, it can also be the band’s musical direction or a band tries other things and so forth. And then you can stick to the older music, or you go for the new stuff, if you like it even better, it can happen as well, or you like it all, right? So, I think that is the way how people should speak about music, like «I know who was the best metal singer when I was a kid!» «Bruce Dickinson!» «No! Paul Di’Anno!» «Oh, come on!» (laughs) these kind of things. I understand, that’s great. But this other way, I’m out, it’s absolutely not cool, and all the drama… nowadays, in these times and with what we all are going through, because of the pandemic and all this stuff, economy suffering, and all these kind of things… These are real problems, and I think other things like the taste of music that is absolutely fine, but if you go personal and start writing rubbish about someone online and talking trash… come on, that is really poor.
M.S: Agreed. So, a few minutes ago you were talking about the tour when we were discussing about the possibility of the online show and all that… and Spain is not on the list of the tour, why is that?
Alex: (Laughs) We can talk about it. There is already plan for the second part of the European tour! We’re just starting with the first part, but there’s a second part coming, I think it’s almost booked. I don’t know 100% all the countries or cities and what’s included, but of course we want to play everywhere possible and coming back to Spain of course!
M.S: You have to come to Spain!
Alex: Absolutely, sure, we want to, we will. I think it’s also in the agenda. The booking agency booked a lot of German dates to have a foundation as a start with the first round, and not so much distance in between shows to be more flexible when tourings come back to life. But like mentioned there’s already plans for the second part!
M.S: Good to know! Well, that should be the end of it. So whatever you want to say to the readers of the website, to the Spanish fans, apart from that we will see you hopefully soon enough (maybe 2022), this is the time for you to say it.
Alex: Ladies first!
Elina: As I mentioned before, I really hope to come back there. I only played there one time, I think it was with Kamelot, it was my only time, I would really love to come back, I hardly saw anything, had time for nothing, again. So it would be nice to come back and see a little bit more and of course play to the fans. Hopefully everyone enjoys the album meanwhile, and hopefully we’ll get to play the songs live soon.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely, and we want to thank for the great support of all our fans out there and the fantastic feedbacks. Like you said if people will say this is the best album we ever did, this is the biggest compliment. After all the blood and sweat we put into this record it’s great to hear that. It’s fantastic. And thank you so much for the interview!
M.S: Thanks to you guys. It’s so nice to see you, even if it’s on the screen. Last time we met was 2 years ago when Atrocity came on concert, so hopefully next year you come to Spain and we get to meet again, and meet Elina in person at last.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. I’m very grateful that you enjoyed the record so much.
M.S: It is brilliant! Still not sure if it’s my favourite. My top three would be «Symphonies of the Night» first, and close second it’s a tie between «The Last Viking» and «Njord». The combination of these three for me it’s perfect definition of Leaves’ Eyes.
Alex: Now that you mention those, for the band they were also important releases. «Symphonies of the Night» in comparison to this one is also very song oriented if that’s the right explanation, great songs… and it also happens on «The Last Viking», although this new one is a concept album. And «Njord» I remember it was quite a long break in between «Vinland Saga». There was an EP in between and the DVD. So it was a decisive record, with a lot of things in the music. And yeah, thank you! It’s very important to have the magic in the music. This is our goal actually, to have that, and I’m very happy to hear that you had the feeling that you had the magic in this one, right?
M.S: Absolutely. Yeah, it came back, the magic came back. That’s for me the headline of this album: «The Magic is back».
Alex: (Laughs) Yeah, thank you, I take this as a compliment. Thank you.
M.S: Thank you so much guys, take good care and see you soon.
Alex & Elina: Thank you. Bye bye!