DATE OF INTERVIEW:
28th March 2010
METAL DISCOVERY: There was a limited edition released with a small model Viking ship - was that a band or label idea?
ALEXANDER KRULL: Because we’d had a Viking ship in the show we thought it would be a cool thing to do. It’s all from the band and we decide what we want. I had this idea when I was in Norway with Liv. We found a ship, a model, but not the one we have, it was much bigger. There was a smaller one and I said “hey, it would be cool to have a Viking ship with Leaves’ Eyes sails”…
(Alexander Krull on some of Leaves' Eyes/Atrocity's more obsessive fans)
"One time we played in Turkey and there was this insane female fan, and she was licking all over my face, and not stopping!"
Alexander Krull in the Hope and Anchor pub, Camden, London, UK, 28th March 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Official Leaves' Eyes Website:
Official Leaves' Eyes MySpace:
LEAVES' EYES DISCOGRAPHY
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
Elegy EP (2005)
Vinland Saga (2005)
Legend Land EP (2006)
My Destiny EP (2009)
MD: Yeah, but a bit awkward to fit on your CD shelf!
AK: [laughs] But I sent one, from Norway, to the label and said “hey, how do you like it?” and Markus, the chief of the label…actually, I don’t know if I can say this but he’s collects models like from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Star Wars’ and all of that, so he loved the ship. He said “wow, it’s great!” Next time I was in the office I told him “maybe it would be cool to make the logo on there”, and he’d already tried it out! So I said “are we going to do this?”…“Yeah, I love it!” So that’s how it happened.
MD: Have they sold out?
AK: No, we have maybe a couple on tour. We have twenty ships left or something like that because this is a rare item and I always keep a little bit for the archive. I’ve only one for myself!
MD: Sell them on eBay in ten years time when you’re as big as Iron Maiden!
MD: I said “when” there and not “if”…ten years time, you never know!
AK: Yeah, you never can beat Maiden! What I think is funny with what you say…yeah, it’s a kind of connection to Iron Maiden, I think - first of all, I’m a big fan since the beginning, since the first album. And the other thing is they have always had a visual aspect to the music. Even if they made songs like ‘Aces High’, you know, with the German thing on the cover…[laughs]…I like it because these are pictures totally fitting the music, and the Eddie thing is great. And ‘Killers’ is one of my favourite albums of all time. I love Paul Di’Anno.
MD: You prefer him to Bruce Dickinson?
AK: In a way, yeah. I liked it when this New Wave of British Heavy Metal came about. It still has this punk approach, and I like it very much. Also, Eddie had punk hair on the first album. I think Paul Di’Anno was this real rock ‘n’ roll kinda guy. Bruce, of course, is technically the better singer but I like the raw thing, and I love the sound of the ‘Killers’ album too. Everything is great on that album. ‘Piece of Mind’ is also great. What I wanted to say about the connection, I like the visual aspect, and also of the show and all that, and that’s inspirational. There’s something which connects us with like a Wagner opera; that’s maybe what their inspiration was. A song like ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ is something for us like ‘Frøya's Theme’, a long song at the end of the record. It’s like a movie, you know. You have pictures for that in your mind. That’s the connection with Maiden and us. We’re really proud to have played at 2008 Wacken with our Viking ship, just before Iron Maiden came on the other stage. The only problem was Maiden started the headliner slot so early. We didn’t expect thi; it was not dark. You know, the headliners at Wacken usually start at 10 or 11. We played before them; we had one hour and we played just before Maiden, when we finished they started. We brought in extra moving lights, extra pyros…a shitload of money! The night before, the Wacken guys said they like it very much, they were seeing the testing of the lights and all that. They were watching the tests and “it looks awesome” and, on the ship, we had animations for each of the songs and, the next day, you couldn’t see anything! You saw a ship with a white sail because the animations weren’t working with the light!
MD: The idea was there!
AK: [laughs] The idea was there! And then Maiden made a great show! [laughs]
MD: Did you meet the Maiden guys at Wacken?
AK: Actually, I met Steve Harris in 1988 at Donington at ‘Monsters of Rock’ and I saw him in 1984 on the ‘Powerslave’ tour. I never saw them with Paul Di’Anno, that’s something I missed.
MD: That’s one of my favourite albums, ‘Poweslave’.
AK: Oh, it’s a classic.
MD: You played ProgPower UK in 2007 and you’re playing ProgPower USA this year - there’s nothing particularly power metal about your music…well, elements of power metal, maybe, but do you regard Leaves’ Eyes to have a progressive element? Obviously the organisers of those two festivals do!
AK: That’s right. I think the reason for that is maybe, first of all, we have songs with a very epic approach, it means it’s kind of progressive. I don’t know if it’s actually progressive but one song has a bassline that’s really progressive and is really hard for anyone to play. Oliver from Blind Guardian was joining us on the last tour when Alla had a problem with her shoulder so we replaced her on the whole tour. He said “hey, wow, I never expected that Leaves’ Eyes has some tricky stuff”. We have it also on ‘Njord’ and some other songs which are quite difficult. You don’t see them the first time. We have breaks and rhythms that are not very easy. I think it’s important to have this spice in Leaves’ Eyes music as a contrast to Liv’s voice which is angelic and everybody likes. We need something to contrast with it to have that chemistry in there.
MD: I guess it’s not just the music that’s progressive in that sense, but you’ve progressed as a band with each album too.
AK: Yeah, that’s true. And so, the ProgPower thing, I think they realised that we also toured with bands like Blind Guardian and Kamelot which, I think, have also played the festival. So that’s maybe a reason also.
MD: I guess you're kind of a multi-tasking band of many guises because you have Leaves’ Eyes, Atrocity…and does the whole band do Liv’s solo project as well?
AK: No, not really. On the last record I also wrote some songs, but this time I didn’t. I produced the album but Thorsten was the main writer with Liv; there was nobody else involved in that. It seems like multi-tasking because it has to be like that. We don’t want to do the same for this kind of thing or this kind of thing. If we have a Liv solo song written, that’s purely Liv’s own thing; it has nothing to do with Leaves’ Eyes music. The way we write an Atrocity song has nothing to do with Leaves’ Eyes. I don’t want to mix up the bands.
MD: So you’ve never thought of doing a gig where you play one Leaves’ Eyes song, then an Atrocity song, then a Leaves’ Eyes song etc…?
AK: No, it will never happen, but we play after each other. For example, in South America or Australia it makes sense. Why should we go back home again and then go back and play in three weeks with the other band. It makes no sense.
MD: I’m sure Mike Patton has supported himself twice at the same gig, playing with Mr Bungle, Tomahawk and Fantomas.
AK: We met him, by the way. In 1992 Atrocity played with Deicide and the band showed up because the bassist is a death metal fan. So somewhere in Madrid, Faith No More were in the hall. It was like “hey, what are you guys doing here?”, and “ahhh, we love that band!” [laughs]
MD: Mike Patton seems to like getting his cock out onstage a lot. There was a recent incident too about a month ago where there was footage online of him grabbing a camera and filming his own cock onstage! I don’t know what the reason was. Maybe he just wanted to film his cock.
AK: Holy shit! What was that American guy who was ripping his teeth out and…I think he killed himself.
MD: GG Allin?
AK: GG Allin, yeah.
MD: He used to take a crap onstage as well and beat up people in the crowd.
AK: Yeah, I know that, I saw that on video!
MD: Obviously Liv and yourself have a son - does he always come on tour with you?
AK: Yeah, if we can make it happen he’s always with us.
MD: Has he inherited any of your musical genes considering both his parents are musicians? Has he shown any signs yet?
AK: Yeah, at first the drums…now he’s drawing a lot, and he loves singing. We’ll just see what direction he takes. Maybe he will be open-minded…I think he will be really inspired by all the music we’re doing. He really loves to go on tour…and he knows London is England, Amsterdam is Holland, and he’s seeing it all, not like in a book. Even in America, he knows New York…he recognised that; he’s like “oh yeah, this is New York City” and all that. So the experiences for kids of artists going around the world, not everybody has that privilege to see the world at this young age. I didn’t.
MD: Does he prefer Leaves’ Eyes or Atrocity?!
AK: [laughs] Er…I think more Leaves’ Eyes, but he likes Atrocity as well. It was funny because Liv found him one time putting a CD in and it was old Atrocity stuff…she said “oh, it’s maybe the wrong CD”, and “no, I want to listen to Atrocity!” [laughs] So maybe it changes every day!
MD: You seem to have a pretty dedicated fan base, so what’s the what’s the weirdest thing you’ve been asked to sign, and what’s the weirdest gift you’ve been given by a fan?
AK: Okay, the weirdest gift…not weird but, in a way, very nice, but strange…I was given a brand new watch from Russia when we played in Russia….I said “I don’t wear a watch actually but, yeah, that’s cool!” Of course, I was getting weird stuff sometimes in the old death metal days of Atrocity. They were throwing raw meat onstage.
AK: Yeah, and we’re all vegetarians! [laughs] And they say “yeeaah, we want some bloody metaller - Alex, come on, this is for you, yeeaah, raw meat!”
MD: But it wouldn’t have been right if they’d thrown broccoli and carrots…
MD: A cauliflower maybe. Might look a bit weird at a death metal gig, that! “Here, have a few leeks”!
AK: Of course, I’ve had to sign boobs.
MD: That’s not so weird though, I guess.
AK: But sometimes they also hold them to your face and “you want to kiss them?”; I say “hey, that’s my wife!” [laughs] One time we played in Turkey and there was this insane female fan, and she was licking all over my face, and not stopping! I cannot push ladies or something like that so I was “ohhhhhh”. Liv was also next to me! She said “hey, I want to marry you”, and I said “hey, I’m already married…you see this ring”, and she said “yeah, but I don’t care!” [laughs] That was in Turkey.
MD: So whenever you go back to Turkey now, you’re probably looking over your shoulder!
AK: Yeah! [laughs]
MD: Finally, what plans lie ahead after the summer festival season and will we have another four year wait for the next album?!
AK: First of all, we have a special edition now of ‘Njord’; there’s a new edition coming out now for the tour with a bonus CD of seven songs. It’s all the bonus material recorded for the album and two or three new songs. ‘At Heaven’s End’ is a great song. We wanted to play it live but now, somehow, the set was shortened. Usually we would play for fifty minutes, but now it’s forty. We’re gonna finish sometime, for Leaves’ Eyes, this folk-ish record. It depends on the label if they bring it out before we go on the US tour or after the US tour…maybe even next year, I don’t know. With Atrocity…we also have a record with my sister Yasmin - ‘Atrocity Featuring Yasmin’…back to folk-ish influences. My sister…we did that in 1994 already - it was acoustic and let’s say Dead Can Dance meets metal. A totally different approach to a death metal band. Now we’re doing this again, she was actually living in Devon in England and married to a British guy, and now has moved to New Zealand. So we had the plan for many years to do it and, now we found the time, she came over from New Zealand and recorded it. It’s really awesome music. It’s timeless music that has nothing to do with a trend or any shit. This is something that I would say you don’t hear every day. So that’s the good thing about being two bands is that we can always can go and do different things.
MD: Right, thank you so much.
AK: Yeah, thank you.