“Leaves´ Eyes” By Andrea Bermúdez
Since I had the opportunity to see you in my country Uruguay, two years ago during your Latin America Tour, very important changes happened in the band. Liv Kristine left the band and you had to replace her with a new vocalist Elina Siirala.
Was Elina the first option or you considered any other female singers before you decided to invite her to become the new front woman of Leaves’ Eyes ?
Tosso: When it became clear that Liv Kristine wanted to leave
the band in april 2016, Alex and me had to think about who could be the new female singer in Leaves’ Eyes. Basically we only invited one person to the studio for singing sessions and that was Elina. Elinas band supported us two times in the UK in 2015 so we knew that she is a great singer and performer.
When we met at our headquarters Mastersound here in germany, there was immediately a great connection and vibe with her and she was brave enough to take the role as our new front lady. A few days later we played together in Indonesia in front of 22.000 people and Elina did a great show. Quite an impressive start for a first show,haha.
The rumours and attacks against us on the internet never came to being during live shows and live appearances. So we played club shows, headline shows, festival shows, north american tours and all went very well and even beyond expectations.
How Elina have been received by critics and fans all over the world?
Elinas has a very powerful and strong voice. She is a classical trained and experienced singer and also has a strong live performance. The reaction of the fans and critics has been fantastic. Elinas voice fits very well to the powerful and bombastic sound of LEAVES’ EYES and opens up new possibilities for us live as well as in studio situations. So we are very happy and the fans as well.
Did you have to adapt Leaves´ Eyes songs to Elina? Did you allow Elina to put her personal style during the shows?
Tosso: we didn’t have to adapt any songs since Elina is in the band. We even played some songs like “Twilight sun” from the Vinland Saga album live with her for the first time in the band’s history. Elina has a strong live presence, her voice is very powerful and she is a trained classical singer.
For our new album “Sign of the dragonhead“ we could write songs in keys that suit Elinas voice, that helped a lot. I think her voice is shining in many different nuances on our new album and sounds fantastic
Will there be a change in the sound of the band, what fans could expect?
Tosso: Alex and me have always been the musical backbone of the band since the first album and still are. Alex has also written lyrics and melody lines for LEAVES’ EYES, especially on KING OF KINGS.
He wrote all lyrics for our new album „Sign of the dragonhead“, also to give Elina the chance to focus completely on her role as singer. The results with the new album speak for itself: We have amazing new songs and Elinas amazing voice fits perfectly to this album, which is probably the best, definitely the biggest album production we ever did.
Your EP “Fires In The North” could be considered as a signal to the world of the music of we are here, we are still on the road despite of everybody talk about us during the past months?
Tosso: Yes, we wanted to give the fans an opportunity to experience Elinas voice on a new song as well as make a statement: We are alive and stronger than ever! Leaves’ Eyes album recordings are very elaborate and time intense with orchestra,choirs and tons of natural instruments, so the fans had a chance to check out Elinas voice already last year instead of having to wait til 2018. FIRES IN THE NORTH was a big success and the EP had to be re-pressed two times because it was sold out very quickly.
How did the process of songwriting and the recording process take place?
Tosso: all songs have been written again by me and Alex. We wanted to have very strong songs that sound great on album as well as live. Since we toured a lot in between the writing process of the album we put a strong focus on the live aspect. It was a lot of hard work to finish this new album “Sign of the dragonhead” but i think it has become a really great record. All instruments and choirs are real, we used no plastic sounds. For example we worked, like on KING OF KINGS, with the LONDON VOICES CHOIRS, that also sung on the soundtracks of STAR WARS and LORD OF THE RINGS. We did orchestra recordings in Belarus, as well as many native instruments like fiddles, uilleann pipes, Nykkelharpa in our own studio. The new album has tons of great songs and it was really hard to chose songs for a video clip or single. The album has a huge sound and also a few surprises. We can’t wait to play the new song material live for our fans.
Talking about the cover art of your albums, do you let the artist work by his own accord or do you give him an aspect of what you want in each case?
Tosso: we always have a clear idea how we want to present the band and the albums visually, so also this time our artwork artost Stefan Heilemann got a clear concept about what we want to have in the album artwork.
The cover of the album looks amazing and the picture was shot at a real ship with our friends from the viking reenactment scene.
Do you agree that Viking concept in metal is growing in popularity nowadays? How is the metal scene in your country?
Tosso: The viking concept deals with conquering lands, fighting for your people and adventurous trips. Maybe that is why it appeals to metal fans a lot. Nowadays everything gets digital and electric, maybe we are longing for a better and more simple life too. For me as a history nerd i always liked this rather historic approach for our albums and lyrics.
The metal scene in germany is a bit split up nowadays in many different subgenres, which I don;t like too much. I’d prefer people to listen to all kinds of metal, when it’s played with heart and passion. Germany is maybe also a bit spoiled, because we have so many festivals each summer.
Nevertheless the german metal scene is very strong and loyal. Many bands have germany as one of their biggest strongholds worldwide, that’s really great!
Could you define the moment that the band is living now with a song?
Tosso: “(We are) The riders on the wind“
Which are your plans in these coming months?
Tosso: There will be many interviews and promo tours before the album release of „SIGN OF THE DRAGONHEAD“ on the 12th january 2018. Also our first video will be out very soon. We will play 3 album release shows here in germany between 11th and 13th january, also in our home area in Stuttgart, which i am looking forward to very much.
From april 2018 on we will start again with worldwide touring.
Apart from Leaves´ Eyes and Atrocity do you have other musical projects?
Tosso: Since I’m involved in a lot of aspects of LEAVES’ EYES and ATROCITY, both bands consume most of my time. I love playing spanish and flamenco guitar at home though.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Tosso: In my free time I like hiking and running in nature and visiting historic places. Mountains and forests are the places where I love to spend time for relaxation and to read interesting books.
Anything you want to add to your fans around the world?
Tosso: Thanx a lot for this interview and see you soon on tour again!!!
Andrea Bermúdez/MHF Magazine