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Olaf Lenk (At Vance)

Interview with Olaf Lenk from At Vance
by Grigoris Chronis at 26 June 2005, 6:59 PM

At Vance's latest album, Chained, is in the average band's level - thus, great!  Mainman Olaf Lenk was not the most talkative person I've ever met, still useful info is always welcome! Lights, camera, action!

Olaf, greetings form magazine! It felt great listening to Chained, another fine album by At Vance! Are you satisfied with the result?

Well, I must really say I’m fine with the overall result. I still listen to the album in my car, which is totally unusual for me. Normally after finishing a production it takes me about 4-6 weeks to listen to the whole thing!

It’s not the first time but I feel the whole Chained project came out at its best: the music, the lyrics, the musicians, the album cover, the production. Some info on all of the above would be gladly welcomed! Let’s start with the compositions and the lyrics. Was it you alone or was it a team work?

As you might expect, the basic concept of the music as well as the lyrics come from my side, but this time I’ve cooperated with Mats \[Leven, vocals] regarding the lyrics and it turned out really well. He’s got some great ideas as well as a very professional attitude so I felt it was a real add on to the whole thing!

It seems that you - in addition - have grown up to be even better musicians. I love the unique (as I love to tell my friends) musical approach of At Vance, a really exclusive ability of mixing Teutonic Power Metal with melodic Hard Rock elements. So far I thought of it as a result of the compositions’ structure. Still, I now start to believe that your technical skills contribute to this result the most.

All I can say is that time will tell. I always try to do the best that I can and I think that is at least what the average fan/ listener can expect. I never put the technique before the music. My approach is to use my skills in order to create the music.

Olaf, who’s behind the album cover art? What’s the relevance to the inner product? There’s a direct connection to the title track.

If you take a closer look at the cover you can see that the lyrics of the song Chained are written on the wall. They symbolize the feelings of the persons who’s sitting in the tunnel. She’s kind of locked within her emotions. I think that perfectly pictures someone who’s locked/chained inside their impressions or fantasies.

The new album sound amazingly fresh to our ears! Was Sascha Paeth involved again, either in the production or the final mix?

No, I did it together with Achim Kφhler and myself.

Have you made up your mind as to which song from Chained is gonna be your fav one, performed live? I’d bet my ass on Heaven or Rise From The Fall! Or maybe Tell Me?

Well, Chained is definitely one of my faves to play live. Heaven might not appeal to the audience we have with Brainstorm & Mercenary!

John ABC Smith and Mark Cross handled the rhythm section duties. How did you come in contact with them for the Chained album? Are you satisfied with their contribution?

I’ve had John as a bass player for almost a year now and it seems to me that he’s a real cool guy. Talking ’bout Mark, he’s doin’ the drums for the tour.

Really, do you consider At Vance as Olaf Lenk’s solo project? I personally don’t think so; it’s just that it crossed my mind some time ago…

In a way you’re right! I wanted to start it as a band, but somehow it turned out the way that I’m the only one who survived from the original lineup, sorry!

On to the tour plans now: how was the mini European tour with Brainstorm and Mercenary? What was the response during your setlist? Do you think the fans enjoyed your latest album?

Well, I personally think that the package of the bands wasn’t 100% the right choice since we have a lot of classical elements in our music. Mercenary is heavier than we are and Brainstorm is more traditional German Power Metal. But anyway we had good responses also for the new songs, so it’s fine with me.

Really, what’s the general feedback you’ve received so far from the Media, regarding the new album?

It’s kind of a mixed feedback. Some people expected the new album to be going more into the Metal thing but I just felt to do it more into the Heavy Rock direction. We still have some fast double-bass tracks on the new album but somehow it’s not that riffy as the last one. I think the songs are stronger!

Do you think you should care - as an artist - bout the journalists’ opinions at times? Do you think the power of the Press is a plus for bands/artists nowadays?

Nowadays there’s so many webzines and fanzines that makes it really hard to say how much the people care ’bout the reviews. To be honest I really don’t know!

Olaf, would you share with us just a paragraph about you as a guitarist. I won’t proceed to comparisons, there’s no reason for that. I’d just like a few words on: a) the artist(s) that made you wanna be a guitar player, b) the album(s) that made you want to dive into Rock/Metal music and c) the concert(s) that made you fantasize yourself as the ultimate Rock Star.

I had a tape from my mom which was Elvis Forever! I was 7 I think but it instantly infected me. After that I heard Deep Purple and I was lost… My father took me to a Steppenwolf concert when I was 9. I was really impressed. The second concert was Whitesnake when I was 10! (e.n.: great family!)

Do you keep up with fellow guitarists from other Metal sub-genres e.g. Progressive Metal or Extreme Metal (Death/Black)? Really, what kind of music do you like as a simple fan? Is there any band that drew your attention lately, even if it’s not from the wider Rock/Metal style?

I still love all the Purple/Rainbow stuff as well as the Black Sabbath/Ozzy albums when it comes to Rock. Lately I discovered Diane Krall, but this is more Jazz .

It’s impressive how Germany/Scandinavia took the scepters in Rock/metal music during the 90’s/00’s from traditional forces like Britain or - to some extent - the US. Just judge from the festivals goin’ on in Germany/Sweden during the last years! I think the loyalty of the fans and the hard work of the bands were the basic ingredients!

There’s a whole lot of variety of styles and bands these days but I think the Swedes really keep the ball rollin’ in any kind of style!

You’ve been involved with Zed Yago and Velvet Viper in the past. Do you recall anything from those times now?

I got to know Franco Zuccaroli, who’s still a very close friend of mine. We had great jams back then.

Olaf, thanks a lot for your spare time! Hope to see you live sometime here in Greece? You know you have many friends here!

I hope that we’ll get the opportunity to play in Greece in the near future. So ’til then stay At Vanced!

Links: # At Vance - Official WebSite


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