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In Words: At Vance

- Olaf Lenk - April 2002 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Olaf Lenk - April 11th 2002 - Antwerp (Belgium)

Actually I missed the first songs of tonight's set, but later met guitarist Olaf Lenk at the foyer and ask if we could do an interview. To be honest, their record company confirmed it and guest list was arranged, but didn't told the band about the interview request... Or did the band forget it? Anyway, Olaf was so kind to agree. We found a quite place soon.
First I wanted to know about the band name... "Actually, we were looking for something easy to remember. We thought about Advantage, but that make people think about tennis... Then we considered to take Advanced, but that is linked to technology.... So we created At Vance which is not a real word, but easy to remember and starting with the letter A it's in first row at record shops." I learnt that the band was founded back in 1998 by Olaf Lenk and singer Oliver Hartmann, a first demo was recorded before they completed the line-up. In spring 1999 the band got signed by Shark Records and soon their debut No Escape found it's way into the stores. About a year and a line-up change later the follow-up Heart Of Steel. A few shows in Germany and Spain followed the release, but no tour. Again the sextet recorded at Lenk's Guitarland Studio and produced themselves and so in March 2001 their 3rd album Dragonchaser were released. Through all the years they have been signed with Shark Records, it didn't worked out very well. "Actually Shark Records was too small, they don't had the money to promote the albums. So we wanted to leave and after the contract was ful-filled we were looking for a new deal." It didn't take long 'til they signed with the German label AFM Records. "We are really happy with the work AFM are doing! It's a huge difference between Shark and AFM Records. AFM placed announcements in the big magazines, we are now on tour.
Definitely a step forward for us!" Their latest release Only Human was recorded and produced at Guitarland again, but then at Wolfsburg's Heavens Gate studios mixed by Sven Paeth. A change which also make a big difference! The cover artwork is awesome this time, the band chose a picture of a well-known artist. "We saw this painting and it fit to the album title, so we took it. It's by Luis Royo" Olaf explained. Talking about their influences the name Richie Blackmore and Rainbow was mentioned and I think it's obvious that Olaf and his mates are influenced by them. So it's no surprise that they covered a Rainbow song on the new album, they chose I Surrender. "Richie Blackmore is a huge inspiration for me and so I would love to meet him and to play with him would be a dream come true." If this dream will come true one day, no one knows. But the future looks bright for them. "After the tour I'll start writing new material, coz there aren't plans for the near future. Perhaps we can play at some festivals, but nothing to tell yet." The songs are mainly written by Olaf Lenk, only one track on the new album is written by another band member, by singer Oliver Hartmann. "Usually I write the songs and at the rehearsal room everybody adds little things, give them their own identity. But it's not like we are jamming!" So, it's all wait and see... Perhaps you'll see them on a festival, if not, don't miss them when they play in your area!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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