Finally after four years there is a new album of the German rockband Lanfear. The cd is called "The Art Effect" (for a review check the archives) and in my humble opinion it is the best album of Lanfear so far. I will have a talk with guitarplayer Markus Ullrich,but first a bit of history. Lanfear was founded in 1993 and their debut album, "Towers", was released in 1996, an album that almost nobody noticed. The second album "Zero Poems"(1999), was a more progressive album, and although it got great reviews the album sales figures stayed behind. Then in 2000 Stefan Zoerner left the band and he was replaced by Richie Seibel(keyboards) and the excellent singer Tobias Althammer, and so the new line-up made the outstanding "The Art Effect". Finally the third album of Lanfear is a fact....

Markus: "Yes, it was a long ride, but we had to deal with two changes in the band, and these new members had to adapt for a while and then there was the songwriting which almost took 1,5 years, so... But we are quite happy with the result."

How did you find Tobias, the new singer?

Markus: "It was rather a coincidence, Richie Seibel met Tobias at a wedding and they talked about music and it seemed that Tobias was singing in a hard- rockband called Painful Faith. So Richie asked him if he would be interested in joining Lanfear, and he did, so... Ofcourse it is not just the singing which is very important, but we were also looking for a guy who would really fit in this band, as a human being, so to say, and he adjusted very quickly and he really is a great guy and marvellous singer."

Your style of music has changed on the new album, let's say from progressive rock to power metal.

Markus: "A lot of people have said that already, but I think that our music has not really changed that radically. It is true that our old vocalist Stefan preferred soft rocksongs with lots of keyboards and that Tobias is more interested in the heavy side of music. But if you listen very carefully to the old and the new material the difference is mainly in the production. "The Art Effect" has a very heavy sound, it is a guitardriven album and the previous one was definitely a keyboardalbum. "Zero Poems" did not do very well, because a lot of people said that the songs were too complicated. Most of the press liked the album, the reviews were great, but nobody bought it, sad but true....."

You changed to Massacre Records now, how did that happen?

Markus: "We made a demo with three songs and sent it to a few recordcompanies. I must say that a lot of them showed interest but I think the best for us was to sign with Massacre; they promote the album really well and they also like our music. The best advantage however is that their office is only 30 kilometers from my hometown, but lucky for them I am not an aggressive guy, hahaha......"

The album was recorded at the Dreamscape Studios in Munich.

Markus: "Yes, Jan Vacik, who is also the keyboardplayer of Dreamscape, is responsible for the awesome production. We had a few reasons to ask Jan, he was rather cheap, but very good, he is a really nice guy, he does not know the word stress and we knew him from his Dreamscape work, so the choice was not very difficult. He did his work as a true professional, although he is only 24 years old; I think he will have a great career as a producer of rockmusic."

Who is responsible for the songwriting?

Markus: "Musically speaken I do most of the songwriting and on this album, our keyboarder, Richie, also wrote two songs. Tobias, as the singer, is responsible for the lyrics and the vocal lines of the tracks. Tobias's lyrics to the song "The Artefact" make up a conceptstory and maybe our next album will be a conceptalbum about the ideas in that particular song. It is about Gods who create a new world and all the problems they come across. The song "Beneath It All" is "connected" with that song; these two songs are my favourite tracks of the album, especially "The Artefact" has all the great Lanfear ingredients; variable rhythms, heavy guitarriffs, great vocals, catchy choruses and smashing guitarsolos."

What sort of music do you like besides power metal?

Markus: "I am a music freak, I like all sorts of music, I love jazz, death metal, popmusic, you name long as the quality of the song is good. One of the best rockalbums ever is the ARK-album "Burn The Sun"(2001), with shouter Jorn Lande, that cd truly kicks ass...."

Where does the name Lanfear come from?

Markus: "It is a character from the books of Robert Jordan("The Wheel Of Time"), of which at least twenty episodes are published. It means Daughter of the Night, it is a sort of goddess."

Any plans for the future?

Markus: "We will be playing on a few festivals in Germany, but for the moment we will not go on tour. First we have to wait how the album is going to sell. You know, I am a realist, I do not think that Lanfear will be selling a lot of records. There are so many bands out there, the competition is huge and if a buyer can choose between us and bands like Primal Fear or Edguy, for instance, then we do not stand a chance. Luckily we usually do get great reviews by the press, so in the end this may help us to become greater and really compete with power metal bands and progressive bands."

Last remark for our readers?

Markus: "Please listen to the new record and give us a chance, thanks."

Interview by Martien Koolen,
(c)2003 RockUnited.Com