Leaves Eyes Interview

AFM Records

Myths Of Fate, the latest album from the veteran symphonic metal band Leaves Eyes was released recently. We caught up with vocalist Elina Siirala for an update on the writing and recording of the album, touring and other subjects.

Chad Bowar: How did your newest members, bassist Andre Nasso and guitarist Luc Gebhardt, come to join the band?
Elina Siirala: Andre was our live bassist and after the years of pandemic changed a lot of things, unfortunately he’s not able to go on tour with us anymore. We had auditions for the guitar position a couple years ago and after having many great candidates, Luc was the one who joined the band. It feels like he’s been with us already a very long time. He’s a great player and became a very good friend very quickly too!

Was there anything unique in the songwriting process for Myths Of Fate compared to previous albums?
The process was quite different this time at least for me. After Tosso’s departure, the dynamic was naturally changed, we had some great orchestrations from Jonah who we cooperated on the last album and the Viking Spirit soundtrack which we worked into full songs. There’s always a lot of arranging and composing involved, often also the key needs to be changed to fit my voice better, etc. We also had some demos from Alex, Micki and me. In general it felt like a big cooperation, very inspiring process and I loved being so much more involved in every stage of this album.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Having gone through quite a turmoil with my voice in the past few years and after all the work I’ve put in, I came into the recordings of this album with a totally different feeling. I know my voice much better now and feel the best I ever have and knew I would be able to give a lot more. The process of pushing those boundaries together with Alex, being able to use my voice differently and playing with all the variety from song to song felt really great and I’m very proud of the result!

What was the biggest challenge in its creation?
I would say that for me It’s the battle I often have with myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself and too much perfectionism can make things even more challenging. It’s great to have other people around you, their input, feedback and also to have the surroundings and atmosphere where it’s safe to try out things. Through challenges comes something great though, so I believe it’s the way it should be!

How has the band’s sound evolved from The Last Viking?
I feel like Jonah’s orchestrations give the songs a very epic, cinematic sound, giving a bit more emphasis on symphonic instead of folk. However, we also have “In Eternity” for example which has a very earthy, slightly gothic sound. There are also a bit more rock oriented songs and a beautiful ballad. The native instruments are present and the album still has the distinctive Leaves’ Eyes sound with the hard and heavy combined with fragile.

What lyrical topics do you cover on this one?
I would say that the lyrical topics also go hand in hand with the sound of the album. As The Last Viking was a concept album and concentrated more on the battles and historical figure, this album has the magical and mythical topics. It covers mystical creatures, magical weapons and places.

You filmed several videos for the album. What was your favorite shoot?
It’s very difficult to choose as we got to do some amazing shoots! We filmed in Iceland in various incredible locations for four different videos and also in Poland in the legendary Wolin. At times it was pretty scary standing on the high cliffs in Iceland as I have a bit of fear of heights and my hands were frozen to ice cubes, but it was all worth it!

How important are videos in the promotion process these days?
People are very visual and since our songs are also very visual, the topics give a perfect canvas for making videos. Since Alex is doing the filming and editing, creating these amazing masterpieces, the reactions have been really good! It’s all a package and I believe a great music video is a very powerful tool to promote an album.

How was the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise?
So much fun! It was a great trip, not much sleep obviously, but absolutely amazing to see everyone, meet some new people and of course play the shows. We got to spend some quality time with fans and played “Realm of Dark Waves” live for the first time which was very special.

You’re doing a European tour this spring. Any plans for a North American tour this album cycle?
There has been plans for years already, so I really hope it will happen soon as many people keep asking us to come back!

With so much material in your catalog, how difficult is it to put together a set list, and does it vary from show to show during a tour?
It can be tricky of course, but it’s a luxury problem to have…too many great songs to choose from. We always try to have a nice mix of older and newer songs. Usually the set list stays the same during a tour, but for specific shows you of course want to tailor it according the occasion. Sometimes the playing time can also vary a little which means we can add a song or have to leave one out.

What’s your favorite way to occupy the down time on tour?
If there’s time, it’s nice to go for a walk and see the city where we are in. Sometimes I like to find a gym and do a workout (it’s a big plus if they have a sauna).Of course hanging out with the guys, go for food if it’s a day off and try to relax as much as possible.

What was the response to Angel Nation’s latest album Antares?
I’m so grateful for people for helping us making the third album! It has a bit of a different sound, heavier, more guitar led and had less keyboards. It was amazing to play the songs live and people really loved the heavier sound!

Is there a timetable for the next one?
Not quite yet as I’ve been concentrating on this Leaves’ Eyes album. It’s the band that started it all for me and so many great people have helped me on the way, so it has a very special place in my heart. I will definitely write some more music, let’s see what the future brings!

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I like to do workouts, take care of my health and I love being in the nature! There’s a lovely river near by where I live, so I often go there for walks. I also sew a lot of my stage outfits, and like to be creative in that way too. I also love dancing!

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I don’t listen to music too much since I sing and teach all day. I like to check new releases (or some crazy stuff Joris keeps sending me) and then I have my trusted classics I always go back to: ’80s rock and metal!

(interview published April 23, 2024)

Watch Leaves Eyes – “Hammer Of The Gods” Video


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