The Norwegian and German symphonic metal band, Leaves Eyes, spoke with NRR before the show at the Grove of Anaheim on December 04, 2106 while opening for Sonata Arctica.
NRR: Speaking of the album Kings Of Kings which just fantastic and with the previous albums you deal with your culture, Vikings and myths in various songs. And I was thinking for this album, Alex has set the bar higher in a good way that maybe the television show Vikings written by Michael Hirst was a incentive to make a concept album based on it?
Alex: No it was complete disconnected from it but was kind of cool coincidence on the Ragnar Lothbrook story. Our main character of „King of Kings“, Harald Fairhair, now actually they added his character in the show, and I was like wow ok and which he has a brother called Halfdan, in fact he didn’t have a brother named Halfdan the Black, it was his father. Sorry guys (Laughter).
NRR: You can do so with this album like make a mini-movie with this album
Alex: Yeah! You could easily. Believe it or not I had some connections with some guys, producers from here in America at Los Angeles speaking about some stuff to see how serious it was an asking about some ideas. We are a musical band and made some very nice music video clips I think is very cool to visualize these Viking themes together with the music well you know for us guys (Laughter).
NRR: And some of the women are brutal too (Laughter), watching the videos from this album and with Elina kicks ass and I don’t want to mess with her (Elina laughing) in a respectful way because of a strong woman. With the previous albums you had songs about Vikings
Alex: Yeah, yeah like with Vinland Saga album back in 2005 which was a discovery of America by the Vikings
NRR: Before Christopher Columbus?
Alex: Yeah, some years before him and should not forget the Native Americans in respect long before the Europeans
NRR: From the land bridge the Natives crossed, but won’t get on that topic
Alex: So it just shows how far advance the techniques they (Vikings) used as sea farers and not just plundering but also trading and stuff like that. From nowadays Russia to Istanbul which was called Constantinople where Vikings were the guardians of the Byzantine Emperors, many people don’t know about that. And they also went over to many European areas in England, France, Ireland, Iceland, Germany and Eastern Europe and settled there.
NRR: Now on the new EP Fires In The North, is this a fill in between the Kings Of Kings and introducing Elina to the band while planning to work on the next album?
Alex: I wouldn’t call a fill in because for us it means such a lot for great introduction for the new singer Elina. And a lot of fans demanding having the versions with Elina like with “Sacred Vow”, “Swords In Rock” and “Edge Of Steel” , the three songs we have on Kings Of Kings and just re-record with Elina. So it’s a special release is how I would call it. It is a good in between release until we have the new album that’s for sure. In 2017 the tour with Sabaton came up and other offers came up so we said okay we push back the new album release until the beginning 2018 and will be a good time for us to prepare everything.
NRR: Do you feel add pressure because of this album because you set the bar higher for the sound and add a story line for the next chapter like concept or a trilogy?
Alex: Absolutely, it is true what you said that it’s like a starting point in the „King of Kings” story and we did kind of spin offs like you say in the movies with our bonus tracks and a lot of things connected to editions of the record. We will see how we deal with that. But production wise, it’s really top notch with the London voices the choir of The Lord Of The Rings, I know (Laughter) is quite a high level. But you know with Elina’s great voice we are looking into some other opportunities and new ideas and stuff like that.
NRR: Elinia, will you be writing some of the new songs like the lyrics?
Elina: Ah, we will have to see about that because when you come into another band as well and it’s like the same situation you know that Alex and Tosso are the main writers, so we’ll see how it goes.
Alex: Yeah, yeah she has some good ideas and we’ll see how put it all together. And what I found out when we worked on Fires In The North was a one hundred percent satisfying, awesome recording session. Because of so much time we had and Elina just nailed it and it was awesome! When we came to the studio, we had ideas, we had lyrics and we exchanged some things here and there and she was preparing herself like a super pro so that is awesome
NRR: Have there been talks with the record label about taking this album (Kings Of Kings) for a live DVD in the future or after the next album?
Alex: Did you hear about the special show we did? I’ll show you (He is showing me video on his phone of the special). Here is the show we did before we came to the US with Viking ship and burning swords on stage and it was big production and we have not seen the result yet because we are here. The production was massive like about forty people involved. So if that material turns out looking great
NRR: They should release it
Alex: Or release something special for the new album
NRR: Or a live DVD and album package. And for the US it has to be at arenas or stadiums with the pyrotechnics because in venues like this they won’t allow it
Alex: We asked about flame throwers and they (the venues) no way (Laughter). So we decide to bring the regular stage props. We good (Laughter)
NRR: We are good. Thanks for your time