Interview: Christoph Wieczorek of German act ANNISOKAY on summer festivals, latest album ARMS and new instrumental version.
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to introduce to its readers an interview our editor-in-chief Alex had with CHRISTOPH WIECZOREK (clean vocals/guitar) of German metalcore outfit ANNISOKAY who took some time out of his busy summer live schedule to discuss what the band has been up to. We are catching up with the band of Christoph Wieczorek, Dave Grunewald, Norbert Rose and Nico Vaeen on their most recent festival appearances in Europe and best on-stage moments. We have also discussed in detail their amazing full-length ARMS released in 2018 and its brand new instrumental version out on June 14th, 2019 via SharpTone Records.
Our track by track review (Italian review) for ARMS is available at: www.sickandsound.it/gli-annisokay-progrediscono-verso-il-loud-n-heavy-melodico-alta-emozione-nel-nuovo-arms.
- Hello Annisokay and welcome. Since late June you guys had a busy live schedule which will extend until late September including appearances at Summercore Fest, Full Force Festival, FestEvil Nopperhof, Open Flair and many more. So what gets you amped up for the upcoming dates and what expectations and feelings are behind those festival appearances?
Festivals are always special and unique. Most of the time you play to a huge audience and it’s always exciting to see how many people actually know us or are even real fans. Some of these festivals we play this summer are really great metal festivals, but they are also some special ones like Elbenwald which is actually about fantasy and Harry Potter stuff. We have no idea how this show is going to be. Anyway, most of the times we’re just surprised and impressed of how amazing a festival crowd reacts to our music.
- Share a memorable moment on stage during your most recent appearance at Full Force Festival 2019.
The Full Force Festival was defiantly the hottest show we’ve ever played. Stage time at 4pm, 39 degrees Celsius and the sun was burning as hell. In the middle of the set our laptop next to the drums shut down because of the heat. Our tech guys had to throw shadows with some towels to the laptop so that we’re able to continue the show. The most impressive about the show though was this amazing crowd. Thousands of crazy people dancing and screaming against the heat. They pushed us to the limit. What an amazing show!
- What songs have been jammed the most so far across your live summer setlist?
We love to play the songs from our latest record Arms like Unaware, Coma Blue or Sea Of Trees. Of course we’re also still playing some classics. There is one evergreen called „Sky“ which we actually played on every single show we played since the last 6 years. One new song which is really fun to play is our cover version of Nihilist Blues by Bring Me The Horizon.
- On June 14th, 2019 you have released an instrumental version of your newest album ARMS out last August 17th, 2018 via SharpTone Records. What was the mindset and inspiration behind bringing out an instrumental album?
An instrumental version of a record is really interesting for us. It’s like looking at a painting with different eyes. Without the vocals you will hear sounds which you didn’t recognize before. You will discover the music anew. We used the instrumental versions of our songs as soundtrack for our US tour documentary and people fell in love with them. They kept asking us to release them, so here we are. And of course it’s great for the fans to have a version for some karaoke action.
- Almost one year is gone since you released your album ARMS, wisely combining melodic with heaviness, a very amazing and catchy album. So what impact have you received since its release and in what measure have your expectations been matched by your audience?
Thanks for the kind words! We always try to have no real expectations about how an album is going to be released. If you start thinking about this too much you become frightened and maybe start to make some weird decisions that don’t reflect your true artistry. We just wrote the best songs possible, without thinking if people would like them or not. It works really good, and in the end we were surprised of how well these songs were received by fans and especially new people who didn’t know us before. We gained so many new fans since Arms and our shows got way bigger. That’s actually amazing.
- What lyrical themes were important for you to discuss in the record?
Of course we’re inspired by all the crazy and weird political stuff that is going on in this weird world. You can’t hide. The biggest countries in this world are reign by men with doubtful purposes. We choose the word „arms“ as the title of our brand-new and already fourth record. It’s a short word with an even bigger and ambiguous meaning. With your arms held up high you can call for help or celebrating a victory. To arm yourself isn’t clearly a sign of strength and power or anxieties and fears. So ask you self what about your arms? Are you closing them or keep the wide open? What are your arms? Is it your mind or something you have to carry with you?
- Let’s go back to your previous materials. One of your past EPs was called Annie Are You Okay? and the tracks were reinterpreting for songs belonging to Micheal Jackson, hence its Let’s disclose the true story behind your name Annisokay and in what measure this artist has worked as an influence for you next to many others, if so.
Actually Michael Jackson wasn’t a big influence for us. Of course he was truly a musical genius and his music accompanied everybody in some way. We chose the band name about this one song ‚Smooth Criminal‘ which could be written from any other artist. It was such a hilarious idea to give some kind of an answer to the chorus. So actually the response to the band name was more than we ever wanted. Indeed the idea to a Michael Jackson cover came from our former label. We thought that its not really an original idea. So to add some flavor we did not only one but four covers. With „Beat it“ and „Thriller“ we choose some MJ classics. In addition we choose „Scream“ and „They don’t care about us“ as one of the most political and strongest lyrics. More than 20 years later these lyrics are so up to the minute and relevant that it’s shocking.
- What’s really changed for album ARMS in terms of the writing process as compared to your previous studio albums?
Actually it was pretty much the same, but we improved the whole workflow a bit. We have the luxury of being able to use my own studio for the production process, and I just moved into a bigger more modern space. That means we can work on the songs whenever and as long as we want. This is also a downside though, cause you don’t really schedule fixed times when it comes to writing. So what we did was taking too much time for the writing process while the deadline came closer and closer, so at some point we had to really dive into it, lock ourselves into the studio and do nothing else but working on this record until it’s done. This was a timeframe of 6 weeks, but I honestly think that this stress really improved the outcome of the songs!
- What’s next for Annisokay?
Well, of course we have many, many plans, but besides some more shows, none of them or public yet. You can expect a lot for us to come, and some news coming up probably within the next few months! 🙂 Hopefully we gonna be able to play some more shows in Italy. We’ve only been there ones yet!
Thank you for your time and all the best for your upcoming festivals in Europe. We are supporting you and keeping an eye out for new music to be dropped by Annisokay!
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