Liv Kristine interview 2024

Interview – Liv Kristine Talks Music, New Beginnings + More

Liv Kristine 2023 photo

If we are honest with ourselves, we may ask… what defines us? A very lofty question to ponder, the truth lies in finding a place between the light and darkness of life, all while still being able to remain grounded on earth. This could mean something different for everyone, but for Liv Kristine salvation is within music, family, and helping others. 

Known by many in the Metal world as the Scandinavian Goth Queen, Kristine has left an impression throughout the last three plus decades of her musical career. First doing so as a part of Theatre of Tragedy, then with Leaves’ Eyes, she has also cleared a path as a solo artist. Taking with her experiences – some good, others bad, and others heartbreaking – Kristine finds deeper meaning in everything as she looks toward the future. 

Recently returning in 2023 with the exceptional, must-listen River of Diamonds album, now in 2024 she reflects on the past with the recently reissued, remastered edition of her 1998 solo debut album Deus Ex Machina. Truly exciting times, Kristine recently took some time to reflect on the trials and tribulations of life, finding a way to see through it, plans for more new music, plus much more. 

Cryptic Rock – A lot has happened over the last decade with you musically, as well as personally. Briefly tell us, how would you describe the past ten years of your life? 

Liv Kristine – Yes. There’s been a lot of change… especially in 2016. That was in mid-end January, the beginning of February 2016, when I was forced to leave Leaves’ Eyes. I was just left with a lot of doubt. I thought – How am I going to continue producing and releasing albums, or go on stage with this frequency of great disappointment? I was very disappointed; because Leave’s Eyes was my baby too. It was all about my Norwegian heritage; it had a concept which was really tightly linked to my own persona and history.

I had to get up again, and of course, take care of my family, moving home, etc. This is to go along with all of the stuff that goes with a divorce… it is just terrible. Those times were really harsh. I knew times were going to be really rough and busy for a couple of years. You always need a couple of years to stabilize after such a traumatic experience. I saw that there definitely had to come something afterwards; something much lighter and brighter.

I worked really hard day by day, having different jobs. Eventually, people kept coming into my life I learned to trust and to embrace. I also met my now real husband, Michael, who asked me the question, “Do you really want to continue singing? Do you want to continue being an artist? Will you ever go on stage again?” As I thought about that question, I really started crying because it’s such a big part of my life. It’s just so personal as well as authentic. There is this deep connection to you all out there.

That frequency kept me going and promised my husband, “Okay, if we do this together, I will continue with what seems to be my way of serving the world, of serving the universe.” At the same time, what came out of those stressful times, and having different jobs, is that I’m now devoted to working with children with special needs. I have a 100% job, next to music, working and supporting children with special needs. I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m really grateful for everything and for any experience. Under the bottom line, that is who I am. It’s due to my experience for which I am so grateful. You guys are still around… it means something. It’s all worth it.

Cryptic Rock – Wow. It sounds like it has been a pretty crazy, turbulent ride. All together, you have a very interesting story to tell that follows your career. There was Theatre of Tragedy, and we know what happened there, and then there was Leaves’ Eyes. It has to be tough to deal with such letdowns. What would you say your key to move forward through the disappointments has been?

Liv Kristine – It’s this inner call that there is this true, authentic version of yourself which really wants to manifest. If you survive tragedies, traumas, really rough situations, and a lot of stress, that’s a clear sign that you’re actually getting closer to your true self.

River of Diamonds, my latest solo album which was released last year, is actually about that path. Seeing the diamonds, seeing the light in the darkness. When do you see the stars and the planets in the horizon, when you look into the universe? It’s only in the darkness.

I think that both experiences, brokenness and beauty, belong to our experience which is called life. It is that time given to us between what we call birth and death. If you manage to survive, as stated, it’s a clear sign that you’re getting closer to your true authentic self.

Those times when I was hardly singing, not even private at home, not even in my car, I knew you’re out there and it’s not finished yet. I know that I’m not done here yet. There was just this love and true happiness that I always feel when I’m experiencing my son. There is just something which is greater than everything. That is to see how life continues; especially through your own children.

Theatre of Tragedy - Theatre of Tragedy /
Theatre of Tragedy – Theatre of Tragedy / Massacre (1995)
Theatre of Tragedy Aegis
Theatre of Tragedy – Aegis / Massacre  (1998)

Cryptic Rock – That is definitely something that you feel when you have children. It is really inspiring to see you have pushed forward through everything. You mentioned the album River of Diamonds. Released last year, it is new, but also harks back to your earlier days. It has a very Theatre of Tragedy sound. Returning to a more Gothic Metal sound, tell us about the creation of this record. 

Liv Kristine – Yes, you’re so right. It’s Tommy Olsson, who is the producer and the composer of the album. Tommy was the guy who composed the third release by Theatre of Tragedy; 1998’s Aégis. Tommy and I both left Theatre of Tragedy… he left just around the period when I was gone. We got together again and it was just something that happened all of a sudden. I’m so grateful that Tommy kept sending me songs; I think I have received about 35 compositions. I was free to choose, to pick, and just to go with the flow.

Tommy has always been very patient with me; because I needed time to get settled, to take care of my family, my jobs, etc. Plus there was everything that happened after 2016… which was the year when Tommy reached out to get in touch. Between 2016 and 2023, when the album was released, a few years passed by, but I needed that time. I needed that space. I needed to really feel the flow of creativity returning to me after a stressful period. Tommy is definitely the right guy to work with going back to that well-known sound of Theatre of Tragedy. It was a great corporation.

Cryptic Rock – It certainly was. If people are not aware of the River of Diamonds, hopefully they are learning about it, because it was one of the biggest surprises of 2023. Will there be further collaboration between you and Tommy?

Liv Kristine – I’m sure there will be. As we are talking now, I began working with new compositions for my seventh solo album. I’m just going with the flow now. I’ll see what comes from Tommy’s side; if he wants to sit down and compose. I know he has a 100% job himself. We’ll see what happens. Sharing this release with Tommy was absolutely magic.

Cryptic Rock – It really is a great listen and hopefully more will come from it. You also recently re-released your debut solo album on March 1st. Released for the first time on vinyl, it is also available as a double CD, which also has some unreleased bonus tracks as well. It’s almost like being reborn in a way, because you have a new life now. Did it feel like this was a great way to revisit the past, be reborn again, and re-show this material to the world?

Liv Kristine – I couldn’t have said it in a better way. Thank you so much. It’s exactly that. I recently turned 48 years old on Valentine’s Day, and I consider myself to be just in the middle of life. It just feels amazing to be here with everything I am and everything I’ve experienced. The work leading to the release of River of Diamonds was like writing a book. I believe, if I hadn’t released the album, I would have released a book.

Now, being just in the middle of everything and feeling better than ever, it’s like a second half of my life has just started. Re-releasing Deus Ex Machina is just the perfect moment to just round it up. Back then in 1998, when Deus Ex Machina was released, I was a student. I was still a singer of Theatre of Tragedy. I had just left Norway, moved to Germany, and I was touring with Theatre of Tragedy. It was a very exciting time.

Being a Norwegian young woman born somewhere in the nowhere of Norway, between the fjords and the mountains, I was then in the middle of everything. The world responds to something you are doing because you love it so much. Everything we did with Theatre of Tragedy was something we really burned for; something that came from the heart. The world starts reacting, and then there is fame and there is success. Obviously, Massacre Records was interested in releasing the solo album, and I’m still grateful for that. It feels like this moment is just perfect for the reissue of Deus Ex Machina.

Cryptic Rock – Agreed, It is a great time to re-release. It is a good way to also reintroduce some people to an album that perhaps they have not heard in a while, or who have not heard at all.

Liv Kristine – Absolutely. Deus Ex Machina sold well worldwide. I’m sure it has been sold out for a while. I lost all my copies as I moved home in 2016. I actually had to buy a used copy from a collector, which is kind of nice.

Liv Kristine - Enter My Religion
Enter My Religion / Reissue Allegro Talent Media (2022)
Liv Kristine - Vervian
Liv Kristine – Vervian / Napalm Records (2014)

Cryptic Rock – That is very interesting. For this re-release, the whole album is also remastered, correct? 

Liv Kristine – Yes. Everything is remastered. As you already mentioned, there is bonus material. We got hold of an old hard disk and we have added a couple of demos from that. We recomposed “Portrait: Ei tulle med øyne blå,” a traditional Norwegian Folk song, which was recomposed by Geir Bratland (the keyboardist of Dimmu Borgir). It’s just perfect because he’s Norwegian too. He knows all about this Norwegian traditional stuff. I’m very happy about that. We changed the artwork, added new pictures, and everything is just perfect now. I’m very happy that we really got hold of the original material for it.

Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear. On top of this, you also have re-released the song “3 AM,” featuring you with Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost, as a single. A great song with clear chemistry between you two, what was it like connecting with Nick? 

Liv Kristine – Absolutely. It was a great honor to work with him. Back then, in 1997-98, I was already a huge fan of Paradise Lost. I remember that cold morning when we picked him up from a tour. He was touring Europe Paradise Lost, they had played a show in Germany, or were about to play a show in Germany. We went there by car with Massacre Records, we knocked on the door of the tour bus, and Nick was a little bit tired. I think because I guess there had been some partying going on after the show. Nick was ready though and was in a good mood. He went with us to the studio, asked for a cup of tea, and a slice of bread with marmalade.

The frequency was just so open-minded and open-hearted at the very first time we met. Later, during the times when touring with Leaves’ Eyes, we toured with Paradise Lost, and it was always a pleasure and an honor to meet Nick again. I really appreciate his direct way, his transparency, and he always being himself. I appreciate that.

Cryptic Rock – Those are great memories. Talking about collaborations, you have done plenty of them through the years. Whether it be for your own material or offering your voice to others’ material such as with Cradle of Filth’s  “Nymphetamine.” Do you enjoy collaborating with others like that?

Liv Kristine – Definitely. In the period when I was really busy fixing my life and taking care of my family, I still got numerous offers to join in on different projects and bands doing corporations. That really helped me financially and also to be present somehow. I wasn’t ready for my own album though. My mind wasn’t clear enough and I was just too stressed out. I’m really grateful for that because there were a lot of opportunities. I have a really long list of which I’m really proud. It all began with Cradle of Filth back then, with “Nymphetamine.” It has continued even up until today. I’m still receiving offers to work with bands and different projects. I love that. It’s a very nice way to be creative in different ways and to have an open mind; because you receive a song, you receive different input, and then you start working with it.

Cryptic Rock – It is very exciting and keeps everything open. You also had collaborations on your latest album, River of Diamonds. You had Fernando Ribeiro from Moonspell on it too. There is also a history with you and Moonspell from touring together.  history there too. 

Liv Kristine – Yes. We toured Europe and the US. My son was on the last US tour joining Moonspell. Fernando knows my son very well and I also met his son. Fernando is a friend. He’s always busy, I’m always busy, if there’s anything, I just reach out, or he reaches out, and then we help and support each other. There is never a talk about money or anything. It’s just a very polite, deep, and honest connection in which we support each other.

Leaves' Eyes Lovelorn
Leaves’ Eyes – Lovelorn / Napalm Records (2004)
Leaves' Eyes Vinland Saga
Leaves’ Eyes – Vinland Saga / Napalm Records (2006)

Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear. So you have the re-release of Deus Ex Machina and the new album River of Diamonds out now. You stated that you are already working on new material. What can people expect from that? Is there a timetable for that right now?

Liv Kristine – There is no timetable yet. I don’t really like timetables. I’m very eager to continue song by song. I really like to work track by track to concentrate on each and every one, and then continue with the next. I realized that the lyrics I’m writing are darn honest. I think I need to stick to that; because every solo album I’ve released so far reflects a chapter in my life. I could never do anything else than being authentic. When I recently started writing lyrics, listening to the new tracks, I thought, “Well, there is no other way around. Just go for it. Just go for the soul stuff.” Everything that comes from the soul, that’s it! That’s the words I want to sing, and that’s the messages I want to convey through my music.

Cryptic Rock – When it arrives it will be exciting. As you said, it has to come naturally. 

Liv Kristine – Yes, it has to. I promise you it won’t take six, seven years.

Cryptic Rock – That is good to hear.. Through all of the trials and tribulations, you seem to have a very positive outlook on things. That is a challenge, because people could become bitter when trouble comes their way. There are two directions you could go – you can either become bitter and wallow in your own misery, or you could move forward. You have chosen to move forward. How do you keep that optimism? What is that light for you?

Liv Kristine – Thank you so much. Yes, it’s absolutely true. Of course there are moments when you keep asking those questions that don’t really make sense such as – “Why me?, Why is this always happening to me?” You kind of fall into that victim role. It happens to everyone though, especially when you don’t feel the earth. When you don’t feel grounded anymore, you don’t feel heaven or whatever, you just lose touch with your soul. Then it feels like, “Okay, I’m being delivered on a silver plate, and that’s it. That’s supposed to be my life. I’m just trying to exist. I’m not thriving. I’m not growing.”

For me, what was the instant remedy was actually going out in nature; even if it was just a 10-minute walk with my dog. I realized that I had to work on one thing, and that is not falling into the victim role. Secondly, if something’s hurting in your soul or in your heart, there is no other way around but to go inside. Maybe you would need a good friend. Maybe you would need a sole partner to be with you when you’re doing that. However, when you’re going into the depth of your soul, you will find a lot of darkness. It’s so important to have a really trustful friend around you who doesn’t tell you what you would like to hear. A friend that tells you there is another perspective to things and to situations. It is – A, we can fix this. B, we can fix this. C, we cannot fix this right now, but it’s going to get fixed. I really appreciate my dearest friends. There are a few of them.

Of course there was meeting Michael, my husband and my sole partner. When I was feeling despair and unsafe on this planet, because of all of that stuff going on, I always thought about my son. I always thought about all those moments we have had and all the happy moments we’re going to have and this deep connection between the two of us.

I have to say nature helped me a lot. Motherhood helped me a lot. Falling in love again with my new husband, that helped me a lot. I’ve always been someone who feels deep empathy with other people too. So, during COVID, I started working with other people really trying to heal their traumas; to find ways to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes you just need some practical advice. Sometimes you need some soul advice. You need someone to give you some direction. Sometimes it is just an embracement, a smile, or just asking someone, “How are you? Really, how are you?” It all comes down to getting to know yourself, to go into acceptance, and then to look forwards and take what’s there and use it. It is taking all the experience and using it for what comes. You will feel so whole and rich in the end… and so experienced. It’s a pleasure and honor to help other people out there to see the light in the darkness.

Cryptic Rock – Yes, it is a wonderful thing. We need more of that in the world, especially right now. It seems like the world is off its axis. You mentioned how you feel like you are in the middle of everything at this point. Life is never linear, but if we do something right, it is earning wisdom. What would you say the biggest piece of wisdom you have learned from everything has been?

Liv Kristine – There is so much talk about manifestation now out in the world. People are trying to manifest their happiness. I come to the point which is that – yeah, you can manifest a nice car, you can manifest Gucci glasses, and you can manifest holidays in the Bahamas. However, those are things that make you happy maybe instantly or for shorter periods. You have intentions and you want to manifest them. That’s something you do for the 3D world. That’s the physical world we’re living in.

Then there is another dimension. That is what I would like to call your higher self. That’s where your spirit is and your soul. When you go in there and start manifesting, you start getting in alignment with who you really are. You say – What do I really want to do? For me, it was really knowing that I need to serve the world as a singer, handwriting lyrics, singing words about healing, and that life is both beauty and broken.

I need to go out there and serve the world supporting children with special needs. When I realized that, things started to happen. I got a much better job, people turned to me for comfort, for dissolving their trauma and helping them. You’re sending out these frequencies about who you really are in your soul. When there is resonance to that, and there must be a resonance to that, that’s real growth. That’s the real manifestation.

Of course, I did manifest the Toyota Hilux. I did that once, that happened in 2019, I just got this huge car, and I thought, “Wow, okay. It works.” (Laughs) But that is in the 3D world though. There is another dimension to experience. That is when you start seeing who you really are… your higher self.

Liv Kristine River of Diamonds
Liv Kristine – River of Diamonds / Massacre (2023)
Liv Kristine Deus Ex Machina
Liv Kristine – Deus Ex Machina / Massacre (2024)

Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. It seems from what you are saying that maybe we hold on too tightly at times looking for that happiness.

Liv Kristine – Absolutely. We look around in our 3D world, in the physical world, and that is material-oriented. It might give you some happiness for a while, but it kind of goes away. It dissolves. That might be a burden in the end… what if you’re not able to pay for your big car? (Laughs) It’s very interesting when you tap into this field.

Cryptic Rock – Yes. Just to elaborate further, it is about becoming grounded with nature. Sometimes people think that’s kind of hippie-ish, but maybe you should go run in the grass barefoot for a little while. It connects you with the earth. The connection is real.

Liv Kristine – It is a real feeling. It absolutely is true. I feel that every time I’m going to a certain place in the forest. I’m living in Switzerland with my husband and my family now. There is a spot in the forest where I really think that something is magic and frequencies can reach me. It’s a place of stillness too. I really liked going there. Nature is so important.

I heard somewhere that the pulse or the frequency of love is the same as the frequency of Mother Earth, when we met the frequencies of the Earth. That’s the love frequency. I think there is something to it. Nature is so beautiful. It’s all about love, and that’s where you’ll find oneness and wholeness. It’s so rich.

Liv Kristine 2024 Live Performances:
4-20-2024 Erfurt(D), From Hell NEU
7-31 to 8-3-2024 Wacken(D), Wacken Open Air 2024 NEU
8-16-2024 Saarbrücken(D), Phantasie und Mittelaltertage 2024
For more on Liv Kristine: livkristine.net | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

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