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  INTERVIEW WITH 21 OCTAYNE GUITARIST MARCO WRIEDT

Roger Berzerk Fauske

Roger Berzerk Fauske

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21 octayne

On the 23rd of May 'Into The Open', the debut album from German rockers 21 Octayne, is released through AFM records. Having reviewed the album and been more than a little impressed, I get to put my surgical gloves on and delve a little deeper.

Guitarist Marco Wriedt very kindly agreed to take some time out of the band's busy schedule (they are currently on the road) to answer a few questions.

Firstly for those over here in the UK who haven't come across the band as yet, I believe the seeds were planted in 2010 at a jam session when three members of the band - yourself, drummer Alex Landenburg and bassist Andrew Lauer - got together. Was there an immediate spark, that moment when you think 'holy shit we have got to do this'?

"Yes exactly! Alex Landenburg and I always wanted to form our own band with top notch guys and Andrew was a friend of Alex and he told me great things about Andrew! So we three met up in a rehearsal room and yes, the magic was there after five minutes. I was so blown away by Andrew's abilities.

Article continues below...

 
 


"We're just a four piece but he is also like our rhythm guitar and keyboard player in a sense. His bass playing is that diverse and powerful I loved it after ten seconds. I was playing with Alex in AXXIS before and I've been a huge fan of his style for years now. For me Alex is the best example how a drummer can combine groove and technique.

"It's a always a thrill to play with these guys! Every gig is different - we don't use Mac Books on stage, no backing tracks, no click tracks... just four guys playing music and of course Hagen's voice has such a unique quality that we all admire - he's the best singer for this group!"

I'm glad you mentioned the bass playing. Andrew Lauer is not only a technically good bassist but incredibly creative as well. The funk type patterns he plays, especially at the beginning of tracks, are superb. Is that something you aimed for or a sound that just happened in the studio?

"Well, Funk music is one of his major influences for sure! It's in his DNA you know and you don't need to tell him what to play or what not to play... he just knows what the song needs. Same with Alex, I'm blessed to play with these amazing musicians."

Some who know me probably get tired of me saying it, but to me the biggest part of the better bands is the songwriting. How does that work with 21 Octayne, what is the process?

"Our goal is to combine hooky songwriting with exciting musicianship! We want to sound fresh and current but on the other hand we want to bring back that musical element that I have been missing in the mainstream Rock world the last couple of years.

"Everybody in the band also has different influences and we are all very open minded musicians so we mix it all together! Andrew, being American, adds this groove touch to the band which we all very like, so our songwriting is a combination of many many things. I prepared all the riffs and the majority of the harmonic structures and we just jammed in the rehearsal room. It was that easy and natural! No "Email songwriting" as I call it... we all wrote the songs together in the rehearsal room like all the classic bands did in the past."

You mentioned to me that your musical influences personally mainly come from over here. Who were the people that inspired you to do what you do? Coming as you do from a country that produced such guitar geniuses as Michael Schenker and Uli Roth, did that have an effect on your musical upbringing?

"Yes, Michael Schenker and Uli Roth are amazing players with such a unique tone and sound. I always liked them a lot but I grew up with many different kind of players. I could name a couple... Steve Morse, Steve Hackett, Marty Friedman, Steve Howe, Jimmy Page, Tom Scholz, Neal Schon, John Petrucci, Brian May but also Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach had a huge impact on me. But yeah, I was mainly influenced by all the Prog Greats. I just love Progressive music especially from Europe - Yes, Genesis, Nektar, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson...

"Alex and I are also huge AOR Fans... but at the same time we love Dream Theater and Michael Bolton, Elton, Electric Light Orchestra...so you get the picture."

Talking of Germany, so many great rock bands have come out of there - Scorpions, Helloween, Accept, Rammstein, Kraftwerk to name a few. Is it something in the water?!

"Yes, I'm really proud that there are so many German bands that have or have had an impact on the international music scene!"

Being a mischievous person as I am.... What is your opinion on the very inappropriately named talent shows that we are bombarded with these days such as X Factor (I feel a cold shudder just saying the word)? To me it has very little to do with music but we are faced with a generation of people, many of whom think that is the way music should be created, and many of those who have something to say musically are being lost in the sea of corporate mediocrity.

"I don't like these shows and I can't take them serious at all but I think Amercian Idol produced some great talent like Adam Lambert or Carrie Underwood! Because those guys are really amazing singers, but over here in Germany these shows suck really bad! It's just about being famous for two weeks and that's it... it has this McDonalds mentality! It's just a product and has nothing to do with music..."

Touring is of course the staple diet of rock fans and bands. This day and age it is a lot harder than it used to be with so many venues closing down and music culture having changed over the years. Is that something you notice and find frustrating? Do you find the majority of your audiences are of the classic rock generation or are you managing to draw a lot of the younger crowds?

"There are still many clubs where you can play. The booking agency is very important. If you have a good booking agency then you are on a good way...

"I grew up in the 90s... I never cared about certain styles or Genres. I just liked what I liked you know! Of course, we're not living in the 80s anymore but I don't know if that really is a bad thing. There have always been good and bad things in every decade but as I said before we don't like this plastic mentality these days.

"More and more rock albums these days sound as plastic as modern pop productions. Programmed drums, too much editing... you name it... you are killing the soul with that. We want to be different and send a statement.

"There are of course great new bands out there these days. Bands like Rival Sons or the comeback of the The Darkness or Circus Maximus... I like these bands a lot! And yes, of course we also want to draw younger crowds, we are in our late 20s so yes... this music is for everyone. You can call us "Classic Rock 2.0".

"21 Octayne wants to unite generations of music lovers - we have something in our music for everybody!"

And talking of touring, what are your plans regarding coming to the UK?

"We want to come over as soon as possible of course - playing support shows with bigger bands and doing the club gigs. I guess next year looks good or maybe even in the end of the year, fingers crossed."

Time to be devil's advocate again! What are your opinions on the modern music industry and the current state of rock music?

"I could talk about that for hours! As I mentioned before, there is a lot of plastic and bubblegum out there at the moment and I don't like that but you still have successful bands out there these days that are great and highly skilled. There just should be more of them.

"Then you have the downloading/streaming problem these days and I hope in five years time there will be a solution to the illegal download/internet problem. Rock music is having a hard time at the moment. The big festivals do work of course but I hate the fact that some of the even classic bands are playing in front of 200-500 people nowadays... that's just not right. Even the "Evil" 90s were better in that way. I still love and buy CD's and even vinyl and that will never change!"

You mentioned getting back that sound that has been missing from rock, the traditional songwriting and live methods. To my mind there is a reason that so many bands that have been around for a long time are still delivering the goods - they all served their apprenticeships, spent time on the road living out of vans, grew as musicians whereas now a lot of it is about instant success and the idea of being famous is more important to some people than the musical content. Do you think too many have got away from what a rock band is all about and why people play music?

"Yes, the whole rock/music business has nothing to do with rock n' roll anymore... Fourty years ago bands would do 3/4/5 encores if it was a magical night. These days it's curfew at the 11pm, "Thank you good night" because the next day there is Holiday On Ice in the same venue and everything has to be cleaned up early in the morning! Everything got so commercial and generic, everybody knows the setlist before they are entering the show etc...

"Add the casting shows on top of that... plastic... again... lots of plastic... less and less real emotions. There also great things these days but some feelings, moments and excitement of the past just needs to come back 21st century style and we will do our very best I promise."

Regarding the last musical piece of the 21 Octayne jigsaw, vocalist Hagen Grohe. How did his involvement come about?

"Hagen was a buddy from Andrew back in the day! Andrew heard about Hagen's involvement with Joe Perry and told Alex and me about it. At that time, summer 2010, we were looking for a singer and all of a sudden there was Hagen! And it was just fate I guess. He was the missing link, incredible singer with an amazing range."

Listening to the album, it is easy to hear the massive range of music that influenced the band. I would think that just about every genre of music is covered. Was there ever any doubt about how it would all fit together?

"Hagen's voice is the glue I think. We can do whatever we want musically because when he sings it all makes sense and I think there is a red line. First and foremost we are a rock Band... We just don't like to eat Pizza every day ;)"

What are the future plans for recording for the band?

"I've started collecting the first couple ideas for the second album! We all have some ideas already but we all concentrate on our debut album now."

Do you have any words for those who think the rock musician is a dying breed?

"There is always a way if you believe in yourself and in the music!! After all it's the music that matters. That's why we do it."

The album itself is out on May 23rd. How can all the eager people get hold of a copy?

"It's a worldwide release and you can pre-order it already on Amazon."

Now everyone knows how 21 Octayne came to be so it is just left for them to be as blown away as I was listening to the album. May 23rd is definitely a date for the diaries.

Marco thanks for taking the time to answer MetalTalk's questions. We look forward to seeing and hearing you on these shores very soon.


"It's been a pleasure. See you soon in the UK!"


25.4.14





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Schenker will perform songs from the new album, which features the new single, 'Lord Of The Lost And Lonely' plus all the classics...

johnny thunders LOOKING FOR JOHNNY: THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY THUNDERS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery...

metallica METALLICA TO RELEASE 27 LIVE ALBUMS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND APPEAR IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

rival sons RIVAL SONS RETURN TO UK FOR DECEMBER TOUR
The band appear on Letterman in the US on October 9th, and will have an exciting UK TV appearance to announce soon...

linkin park LINKIN PARK PLAY TWO NIGHTS AT LONDON'S 02 ARENA IN NOVEMBER
Following their exhilarating headline sets at the European summer festivals, Linkin Park return for their own headline tour in November...

evil scraecrow AT LAST! A NEW VIDEO FROM EVIL SCARECROW
"It's an emotional thing for us to watch back. We hope that translates to everyone that watches it too!"

sabctuary SANCTUARY POSTS LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'EXITIUM (ANTHEM OF THE LIVING)'
Sanctuary continue that legacy that they started decades ago, delivering yet another fresh take on "classic-sounding" Metal...

electric mary ELECTRIC MARY ANNOUNCE MINI ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Australian five piece Electric Mary are back to spread Rock n' Roll's genuine flavour to Europe...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL LIVE CLIP OF 'PANDEMIC' FILMED IN FRONT OF 750,000 PEOPLE AT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2014
UK fans can catch the band live at The Forum in London on the 27th November 2014...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE NEW EP AND SINGLE
"We really wanted to just expand the sound we already had by incorporating more of our influences to make our sound more modern and diverse..."

jimmy barnes JIMMY BARNES ANNOUNCES NEW 30th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM 'HINDSIGHT'
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Barnes' debut as Scottish born Australian rock singer-songwriter...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED FOR FORTHCOMING TOUR
London based hard rockers Neonfly will support in the UK mainland, with Northern Irish Metalheads Conjuring Fate doing the honours at the Belfast and Dublin shows...

within temptation WITHIN TEMPTATION TO HEADLINE BLOODSTOCK 2015
Within Temptation appear as a UK exclusive. Prog Metal titans Opeth will also appear on the bill...

emigrate EMIGRATE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM FOR UK RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
'Silent So Long' is the second album from the band formed by Rammstein's Richard Kruspe...

highway to hell WINNERS OF HIGHWAY TO HELL 5 ANNOUNCED
Texas Flood are the overall winners from an outstanding field, winning a contract and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell...

grim reaper THE LEGENDARY GRIM REAPER RETURN TO LONDON
Get down to the Boston Music Room on 27th September for Grim Reaper with Amulet and Dark Forest...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The 30th anniversary celebrations continue with a world tour including a trip to North America and a nine date UK leg...

eric martin MR. BIG SINGER ANNOUNCES UK SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
Eric Martin will play nine unplugged dates in December 2014 with a mix of solo and Mr Big material...

absolva ABSOLVA ANNOUNCE NEW BASSIST
British classic Metallers Absolva are delighted to announce the appointment of new bassist Karl Schramm...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM PLANS AND UPDATED TOURING SCHEDULE
Manowar will headline Loud Park Festival in Tokyo on October 18th 2014 and will then resume the 'Kings Of Metal MMXIV' World Tour...

skyscraper SKYSCRAPER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'MONDAY MORNING'
This dynamic band has been taking critics by storm with their inimitable brand of melodic hard rock...

the more i see THE MORE I SEE ANNOUNCE OCT/NOV TOUR WITH SAVAGE MESSIAH AND BULL RIFF STAMPEDE
Featuring world renowned guitarist Gizz Butt, the band always deliver incredible live shows that combine passion, energy and breathtaking musicianship...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS Zē DETAILS AND ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ROYAL ALBERT HALL PERFORMANCE
Devin Townsend is extremely pleased to announce the release of long-awaited new double-album...

blastfest AT THE GATES, DARK FUNERAL, ROTTING CHRIST AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR BLASTFEST 2015
Bergen, Norway, former home of the legendary Hole In The Sky Festival and considered thee black metal capital of the world...

exodus EXODUS REVEAL SPECIAL GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM 'BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT'
Bay Area thrash Metal provocateurs Exodus proudly announce the special guests appearing on their latest showcase of unrefined rage...

panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

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