2015 21 Octayne interview with Alex Landenburg
This fall, Germany’s 21 Octayne dropped its sophomore album, 2.0 only one year after its acclaimed 2014 debut, Into the Open. The trio continues to mine the lost art of album-oriented heavy rock, with strong success. The new record crackles with huge vocals, memorable riffs, sharp individual performances, and infectious melodies. The band is fronted by vocalist Hagen Grohe and guitarist Marco Wriedt, and backstopped by drummer Alex Landenburg of Mekong Delta and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. Marco and Alex put the band together in 2010, with Hagen providing the last piece and the perfect voice for the project. This month, Metalholic caught up with Landenburg to chat about 2.0, the departure of bassist Andrew Lauer, how he juggles three bands, as well his favorite albums of 2015.
While Alex spends much of his time performing metal, part of the allure of 21 Octayne is having the ability to stretch out and play in a heavy rock band that can draw from many elements. “We can play anything we like. Cover any genre almost,” offers Landenburg. That diversity and freedom plays out on 2.0.
“I remember talking about the next record with Marco, and we said something like the next record should be like Into the Open 2.0–meaning like it should be an update to it. Like the progressive parts should be even more progressive, the mainstream parts even more mainstream–everything sort of bigger in a way. To me personally, it was very important that we not repeat anything of Into the Open. Like no song should sound similar to anything we’ve done before.”
The band departed ways with bassist Andrew Lauer after recording the new record, and Alex talked openly about the challenges this creates moving forward in terms of Lauer’s replacement as bassist and a songwriter:
“I can imagine for the third record–no joke, next week we’ll start songwriting for the third record. This is how crazy we are right now. But you’ve got to keep moving. We want to keep that pace–but I can imagine for the third record we might have a couple guests. We’ll see. I think by the very nature [of Andrew’s departure, the third record] is going to be very different. But of course now it’s up to us to find somebody to bring something different. Something equally interesting. Because you don’t want to have a copy and you can’t have a copy.”
Landenburg keeps busy, releasing the debut 21 Octayne record and a new Mekong Delta album in 2014, followed by the latest Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody offering and the sophomore 21 Octayne effort in 2015: four studio albums in two years. Alex talked about how he makes it all work:
“It’s crazy, in a way. So far it kind of worked out. The good thing is if you work on that level, nobody is gonna come and say hey we have a show tomorrow. There’s always a couple of weeks or month in advance things are being planned. So, so far I’ve been able to juggle it in a positive way and I just hope it can continue like this. The band’s have been incredibly supportive. To me personally it’s just a luxury to play with these different bands, these different kinds of music, because even if 21 Octayne is as diverse as it is, still you can’t cover everything. There’s only so much you can cover with one band. To be able to play with Rhapsody this sort of symphonic power metal sort of thing and Mekong Delta totally crazy progressive stuff–diversity is the key here.”
Listen to the full interview with Alex below and find out his thoughts on the new Symphony X, W.A.S.P. and Iron Maiden albums, as well as the making of the video for 21 Octayne‘s addictive single, “When You Go” which can also be viewed below.