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Olaf Lenk (At Vance)

Interview with Olaf Lenk from At Vance
by Cedric Vacquier at 11 July 2012, 2:28 PM

AT VANCE, lead by guitarist / composer Olaf Lenk, has gained quite a name for itself over the years as a Neo-Classical entity in the Metal / Hard Rock worlds. Recently the band released a new album, via AFM Records, named “Facing The Enemy”. Cedric has a chance to have a little chat with Olaf regarding the band’s new album and several historical points regarding the band.

Hello there Olaf, how are you? Great to have you for this interview on Metal Temple web magazine. I know it is pretty straightforward to ask in the beginning of the interview but I think I have to and the readers would be interested as well. After all those years in CENTERS and later in early AT VANCE, why did Oliver Hartmann and you part ways?

We worked together for quite a long time but our musical tastes differed from year to year. Oli wanted to go for a different type of music with AT VANCE and I just disagreed. I guess it’s kind of a normal thing that happens so we decided to go separate ways.

How did you get in touch with Mats Leven and later on Rick Altzi?

I just called Mats and asked him if he was interested. Then I sent him 2 tracks with my guide vocals. I think it was “Fallen Angel” and “The Curtain Will Fall” and then he agreed and we started working together. Mats has got a strong personality and also wanted to move AT VANCE in a different way that I refused to do. He’s great singer & performer and it was great to work with him. After he left Rick sent me a mail and it seemed to click between us. He’s very easy to work with and became a real good friend for me after 6 years now. A fantastic singer with a lovely attitude and a very funny guy J

What about the collaboration with KAMELOT's drummer Casey Grillo, how did it started and how it is getting along?

When we toured together with KAMELOT I had such a great time with Casey and we said when the time is right we’re going to do something together. So for this album it just seemed to be the right time. Subconsciously I gave him a call and played him the new material. He really loved it and did an awesome job. He just added his fantastic drumming to the album and lifted it up to another level J

Can you tell about this instrumental album in 1996 under the name OLAF JUNG "Sunset Cruise"? What was the nature? Maybe you can add something about "Fun Stuff" four years later?

Instrumental music is always a great thing to do. I still write stuff with no vocals. It just doesn’t seem to reach a wide audience. It was so much fun to record with Don Airey. He’s such a fantastic musician and a heart of a person. Maybe I’ll do another instrumental album in near future if I find the time.

AT VANCE has been quite famous partially because of its outstanding cover songs of 80's Pop Rock like ABBA / SURVIVOR / SUPERTRAMP. How came the idea for the TOKYO cover this time on the new album, "Facing The Enemy"?

The singer of TOKYO lives quite near my place and I always liked the song. It’s very much 80’s type of vibe so I thought “Think global cover local” J)) Rick did a real cool job on this one and I hope it brings the song the attention it deserves J

Talking about "Facing The Enemy", what can you tell the readers about it? Has something changed in your musical perception or did you just do your regular thing?

Some people say it sounds more “Hard Rock” than the older albums. I don’t know ‘bout that. I just write and try to do my best and then pick the stuff and songs that I like most. Of course there’s always a development in your writing throughout the years but as long as it’s done with passion it’s good for me.

Can you rate you're AT VANCE albums and rank them?

That’s a tough question to answer. Some people seem to like songs that are not my personal faves and then again I listen to some songs that I nearly forgot and think “ooh wow that’s not bad..” After 100 or more songs it’s hard to decide which the best are. But I (still like the “Only Human” album as well as “Evil In You” and of cause “Facing Your Enemy”)

Generally, there are people that think that lately you have been leaving your Neo Classic Metal style for something more classic Hard Rock direction. Well on a personal note I don't think so…  For me your RAINBOW influences were already there at the beginning… Am I right or wrong?

Well I think that some of the older songs sound a bit pathetic to me nowadays and I would feel strange to write something like that today. Still good songs but you develop within the years and approach music in a different way. It would be boring to repeat myself with every album. It’s impossible to invent yourself new with every album but it’s like personal musical journey you go thru that reflects your influences. I always try to give my very best with every album

If you had to record an album with the obligation to work on something different than AT VANCE, what ideas would you like to develop?
Classical pieces? Concept Rock opera? Extreme Metal maybe?

I consume every kind of influence in my daily life weather it’s musical or non musical. It’s mainly the mood that starts getting me into writing new material. It can be impressions while I’m running, political statements, news whatever….

What are your ambitions as a guitar player?

To be open minded to all kinds of styles, unlimited regarding musical and technical approach to your instrument. Working hard on my changes and finding my own musical personality.

What are your wishes for AT VANCE?

To reach as many people possible and tour the world of horse

Can you let some information about your all-time top 10 albums / artists?

1. AC/DC   Highway to hell
2. Black Sabbath Masters of reality
3. Centrifugal funk
4. Deep Purple   everything
5. Rainbow       everything
6. Giant   No 1 & 2
7. Bach  Glenn Gould  “Wohltemperiertes Klavier”
8. Gustav Mahler   Symphonie der 1000
9. Pagannini 24 Caprice
10. Chopin   Etudes Opus 10

Olaf, I wish to thank you for the interview and wish you guys the best of luck with the new album. Any last words for the fans out there?

Please do not download the albums !!! Buy them if you like ‘em! It makes touring possible and brings us to you alive before we’re 60!


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