21OCTAYNE (2014 - English Version) - Alex Landenburg (Drums)

Hi Alex ! How are you doin’ my friend. Glad to make this interview with you, bit sad ‘coz it’s not a face to face. At least we’re still in touch ;)

Alex: Hey Lionel! I agree, would have been great to do this face to face mon ami!

So, let’s start the interview. You were quite busy these past months. Recording the new Mekong Delta’ album, touring with Bonfire and now realizing the first album of 21Octayne, a kinda super group with your mates Hagen, Andrew and Marco. Can you tell us more about the birth of this band ?

Alex: The birth of 21Octayne goes back to 2008 when I auditioned for the drummer spot in Axxis. That’s how I met Marco. Even before it was clear that I would be their new drummer, I had told him that we should have a band together. Because we just clicked, both musically and personally.
Some time after we started jamming with Andrew, longtime friend of mine and another guy I always wanted to form a band with. In fact, we had already played together in a Fusion trio with guitarist Kai Stringer. So when the three of us started jamming we immediately knew….this is it.
Andew then brought in Hagen, who ironically lived just around the corner from us. Ironic, because we were ready to look for a singer worldwide.

To promote the band you realized a video single in the name of “The Heart (save me)” which hit the itunes charts at the highest position. Did you expect that result, and what was your feeling about it?

Alex: No, to be honest I didn’t expect such an immediate success. We just felt that we had to put out something at that point, because people had been waiting for some real sign of life from the band. Our friend Dominik Louis did a tremendous job with the video. He really captured the spirit of the band the fun we have when we just play together.

This result on the charts gave you the opportunity to sign with Afm Records. But, did others labels contacted you then, and why did you choose this label?

Alex: We were in contact with some other labels as well. But since both Marco and I had great experiences with AFM already, they were on the top spot of our wishing list. When we started talking more seriously with them, we also realized that they were really enthusiastic about the band. From then on, there was no other option for us anymore. We knew it had to be them.

Here’s a “joke question”: how does it feel to be on the same label as the other Rhapsody is?!

Alex: Hahah...I knew you would ask something about this. Well, to be honest I don’t think much about it, especially since 21O and ROF are musically really different. So there’s no sort of competition or anything.

Before realizing the album you (the band) made a promotional tour across Europe, doing some acoustic sessions, even before being signed. How did you manage that?

Alex: The credit here must go to out incredible manager Robert Schiefer, who’s idea these listening session were. He also organized them and out them together. And I think we created a real buzz there. I can tell, it made people curious about the band.

Then you realized a second single “Dear Friend”, which is quite different from the first one. Heavier, harder than “The Heart (save me)” which was more a rock pop song.

Alex: Which was very important to us. 21Octayne is a band that is musically extremely divers. In our music, there are elements of many different styles and of course, especially Marco and I also have a real Metal background. So it was extremely important to us, to release a 2nd single that covers a different side of the band.

As I can see, the feedbacks are impressive for a first album, even if we know the potential of the musicians. What do you think about that?

Alex: Well, obviously I couldn’t be happier. You wish for that, but you can’t expect it. Especially since it’s so hard to put us in a niche. I’m extremely happy to get these wonderful reviews also from all these Metal magazines. I was a little bit afraid to be honest, that people would expect something completely different and would maybe even be disappointed or overwhelmed by the musical stuff happening on the album. But it’s the exact opposite. People actually embrace it and that makes us all happy, proud and very positive for the future.

There are two songs on that album that I did appreciate more than the others. The first one is the powerfull “Your life” and the epic ballad and title track “Into the open”. What mean these songs for you?

Alex: Also two of my favorites :). Both songs mean a lot to me fore different reasons.
“Your Life” is a great example of our musical diversity I guess. There is a lot of different styled in there and also musically a lot is going on. Still, I guess we managed to “hide” that in a accessible song that is also pleasant to the more “regular” Rock fan. And that’s the essence of this band for me. There’s a lot going on if you pay attention to it. But if you’re just in it for the nice song, it works as well.
“Into the Open” is sort of our band anthem. It’s not just the title track. It’s about putting yourself on the line. And at that point in our respective careers, with everybody having positions in successful bands, to go out and start your very own thing is a a great challenge. But it was the right thing to do. We’re getting a lot of airplay btw in Germany now with that song. Another thing I honestly didn’t expect at such an early point.

You’re now touring a lot in Germany. Can we expect some shows in France?

Alex: Yes, we did something like 20 shows in the past months in Germany. But of course, we want to play in France. I’m burning for it, honestly. You know I love France and have many friends there, just like you. And I have a feeling the French will love this band.

Not to talk about 21Octayne now, can we have some news about the upcoming Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody’ album?

Alex: Well, you will have realized by now that everything is a little bit delayed concerning Rhapsody. But the things is...with other bands, that might be a bad sign but not with Luca. The truth is that he just takes the time to write an album that is worthy of his name and the band. He wouldn’t put out something that he doesn’t consider “finished” and in my personal opinion I guess “Prometheus” will be nothing short of a masterpiece and maybe even the definite record of his career. I’m looking forward to recording my drum parts soon.

The football world cup is coming and I know that you do love football. Will you support Germany, and / or other teams?

Alex: Of course I love football. Oh btw…..that was among the first things Luca asked me before I joined Rhapsody. I will never forget that. He said something like “Ok, I have one more very important question… you like football”?. If I ever had any doubt wether or not it’d be the right move to join Rhapsody, in that moment they were gone and I knew I loved that guy!
Anyways, back to your question. Of course I will support the German team and I’m hoping for the best. But let’s face it, it will be very hard despite the individual quality of the players. So far, no European team has ever won a World Cup held in South America. Brazil is the most likely winner in this World Cup. And yes, apart from Germany I do have teams I support more than others. I always liked Argentina for example, and I feel very close to Italy as well, because of all my Italian friends that are as crazy about it as I am. And unless they play against Germany I also support the French team. That is, if it’s a team. I didn’t like the way for example they presented themselves at the last tournaments. That had nothing to do with the fantastic team of 1998. I cross my fingers that this will also be better this year.

We’re reaching the end of the interview, thank you for answering to my questions, and hope to see you soon ! All the best ;)

Alex: De rien mon ami! I hope so too my friend! Talk soon! Thanks for having us and congrats to your great questions!
Critique : Lionel
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