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Yenz Leonhardt (Iron Savior)

Interview with Yenz Leonhardt from Iron Savior
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 29 September 2004, 8:14 AM

(Questions by: Bas Linders): This is something I couldn't let slip through my hands; an interview with Iron Savior, one of the metalbands I find terribly interesting at the moment. These are the questions I asked bassist Yenz Leonhardt via e-mail, here's what he had to say.

First of all, since we’re an online Magazine, I’d like to ask you something we always ask in our interviews. What’s your relationship to the internet? Do you read online magazines for example?

I never thought I’d end up as a computer freak, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. I do spend a lot of my time on the Internet, and often check out the different E-zines on the web, especially if something Iron Savior related is going down.  

What has been going on in the Iron Savior main camp after the release of ’Battering Ram’ have you been thinking of writing some new material already or is touring the world the only thing in your agenda for the next few months?.

After having completed the recordings for Battering Ram, we need as much live action as we can get. So far we did the ‘Piorno Rock Festival’ in Spain and the ‘Agglutination Festival’ in Italy, and we’re doing 2 shows in Denmark in the beginning of October. I haven’t played my home town Copenhagen since 2001 with Kingdom Come, so to me, it’s going to be a special party. A full tour hasn’t been possible so far, as Piet is pretty busy producing, but hopefully we’ll get around to that next year. At the moment we have Break The Curse, Wings Of Deliverance and Battering Ram included in the set. They really seem to work live.

Time Will Tell is the single that has been released off Battering Ram. What do you think of these ’Singles sell!’ developments inside the metal-music industry? Korn criticized the music industry with their song ’Y’all Want A Single’…

Yeah, let’s face it – a single for a HM band in the vein of Iron Savior can only serve as a promotional tool. The fans obviously want the complete album. But I thought it was a cool idea that the download of Time Will Tell incl. Cover Artwork was available as a kind of appetizer for Battering Ram. Generally I was never into buying singles myself.    

I read some reviews on ’Battering Ram’ and noticed they were all very good! How does this make you feel, seeing there are loads of German Heavy Metal bands who are doing great out there?

Strange, but true: Even though Denmark borders to Germany, growing up in Scandinavia you tend to focus a lot more on what’s going on in America and England. So I have to say that I don’t identify with German Metal in general, and I see Iron Savior as a more tough or gutsy band than your typical German melodic power metal band. I am not being negative towards the German metal scene, I wish everybody as much success as possible, it’s just how I see things.

Battering Ram is the first album you’ve played on with Iron Savior. Which influences did you bring into the writing process?

Well, I started my career back in 1980 with the first HM band in Scandinavia The Brats. That band was foundation for Mercyful fate, so I wrote a lot of heavy riffing with guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner back in those days. So it was like a return to my roots joining Iron Savior. I came into the band just before the recording process, so I kind of used the sessions to map my way around in the Iron Savior universe. I wrote 2 songs for the album and one of them The Call is included on the European limited edition of Battering Ram. My style is in fact quite different from the bass playing on earlier albums, but I guess you will have to check that out live to hear the difference.

What is the best written album of all times according to you and why?

I can’t seem to decide on one album, so here’s four:

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was to me the peak of the career of Black Sabbath, in terms of arrangement and playing.

Welcome To My Nightmare by Alice Cooper is simply the perfect concept album.

Killing Machine by Judas Priest defined the heavy metal genre.

Antichrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson breaks a lot of rules in terms of song writing and production.

Can you describe what an Iron Savior live-show looks like and what makes a fan want to go wild while hearing you guys play live?

Well, on stage we keep things pretty basic and concentrate on delivering the goods. Piet has a wonderful sense of humour which basically means that everything can happen. If the crowd goes wild, it’s because they get more than they expected, Iron Savior live can be a pretty brutal thing.

Can you describe ’A day in the life of… Yenz Leonhardt; bassist of Iron Savior’?

I rehearse my playing a lot, either alone to the computer, often with Thomas Nack in the rehearsal room, which is in fact the basement of the coolest HM club here in Hamburg called Headbangers Ballroom. I do a lot of studio work as a producer and songwriter. When I’m not working I read a lot of books, mainly dark fantasy or science fiction.

Every Artist wants to improve their skills every album; in what way does Iron Savior want to do that?

I definitely had the feeling during the Battering Ram sessions, that we kept pushing each other to the physical limits. I could veritably see my underarm radius grow from day to day. We wanted the songs to stay fresh with the initial excitement, and I think we succeeded in that by playing a lot live in the studio, always changing bits and pieces around. The result is powerful and rebellious, and the hardest IS release yet, which is what we set out to do.

What is it that makes Iron Savior the band it is now?

Iron Savior started as a studio project between Piet and Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray). They earlier had a band together called Iron Fist, and I guess they just wanted to let out some steam between their main projects with the first couple of I.S. albums. Around the time of Condition Red Iron Savior turned into a permanent live band, and when I came in to replace Jan Eckhardt, who left to concentrate on Masterplan, the general feeling in was, that this was the time to show the world that Iron Savior is in fact a powerful and very hungry live band. I go back a long way with Thomas. Back in ’96 I produced an album with his former band Anesthesia and we stayed in touch ever since, and I knew Piesel from gigging around in Hamburg where he often did the front sound. So on a personal basis, we feel strong together – Which is not always the case in a professional HM band.    

If there was any band you’d get to ask to tour with you, wich one would it be?

It would be great to open for Judas Priest on their next world tour, - No seriously: We’re pretty easy going, as long as the audience appreciate both bands, we can rock with the best or the worst of them.

Ending this interview, I’d like to ask you to send a message out to all your fans everywhere.

Don’t let anybody get you down, stand up for what you believe in - I hope to see you all when we’re out there nailgunning in a town near you.

(Thanks: Bas)



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