Annisokay: The North American Takeover!
Annisokay is a hard rocking metalcore collective from Germany who spent their summer touring North America for the very first time in direct support of I Set My Friends On Fire. One of their shows on the Fully Automatic World Tour 2018 took place at White Oak Music and Arts in Vans Nuys, where Annisokay unleashed an absolutely epic performance! Just right after their sonic takeover at the White Oak, we caught up with two members of the Annisokay brigade to discuss their raging new album Arms on SharpTone Records, trekking across North America for the very first time, their thoughts about Los Angeles, upcoming touring plans, and other topics of intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Annisokay.
Chris: I’m Chris – I’m the singer and guitarist in Annisokay.
Norbert: Hi, I’m Norbert and I play bass.
How has this North American tour with I Set My Friends On Fire been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
Chris: First of all, it’s great for us to be here. The whole tour is great for us – it’s a dream coming true. We don’t even realize all of the stuff that happens because it’s so much – like you can’t process it – but some of the highlights were of course tonight (in) L.A. – it’s great to be here and play a show actually. And New York, Florida, Texas.
Norbert: America is amazing! It’s literally a dream come true for us to tour here, because we started this band almost 11 years ago in a really small town in Germany, and never thought about touring in the U.S. And now it’s kind of like in the movies – when we were growing up in our childhood days, we watched all of the American movies – and now we’re here and everything’s real! America is so big! Everything in America is bigger.
Tell me about your hometown (Halle/Leipzig) and what kind of music scene you have there.
Norbert: Actually it’s quite similar.
Chris: The scene is quite similar maybe. The town is small – it has 200,000 people living there. In the first years, we had quite a lot of struggles to play shows because there aren’t really any venues in the city. We had to fight some years and get bigger, and then we were booked into a real theater. And this was actually our first show in our hometown 2 years ago – even though we’ve been a band for so long. So it’s was a hard time.
Norbert: And the people are very much like the Americans, because we are so much influenced by American culture. So I would say that we are a bit behind everything, but then it comes to Germany. And the people are really quite similar to the US people. So when you come to us, everyone is really friendly when they see American people.
Arms is the name of your new album. It’s the fourth Annisokay album. How does this one compare to the previous three?
Chris: This question is not so easy to answer because we don’t compare them. We don’t listen to the old stuff. We just always try to make the best music we can at this point in time and put everything we have into it – all the time, all the work, all the effort – and then let’s see what happens. And then hope that people will like it. As long as we like it, we can at least be happy with ourselves. And with the singles, I can tell so far that people love it. Music wise, I can see that we’ve gotten a little more grownup. We’re trying to find our sound even more – what should Annisokay sound like? What are the good sides? What are the bad sides? And that’s all I can say for comparisons.
Let’s talk about a few of the songs on Arms. What is the story behind the lyrics for Unaware?
Norbert: Unaware – It’s a bit social critical, because when I watch the news, I’m kind of like “Is this all real? What is this all behind? Who’s the puppet master?” That’s basically the story for Unaware – you feel so unaware.
Chris: Yeah, we have no idea. And we are all part of a big game and we’re all playing it to keep up. It’s also something we wanted to show in a video. It’s future story – it’s a post-apocalyptic thing. We are all running behind the time – like we all have things to do – we all have jobs to finish – and most people forget to live. So that’s kind of the story – we all have to keep up or otherwise we will drown.
And then tell me the story behind the song Coma Blue.
Chris: It’s not so easy…
Norbert: No, I would say that it’s a personal song about everyone who is struggling with something.
Chris: Everyone knows that feeling – where you want to just get out of your place and move away or visit some cool place when you hate your situation. That’s something that we all have been feeling sometimes, and it’s kind of what the song is about.
Who produced Arms and what was it like working with them?
Chris: Actually, I produced all of our albums mostly, because I have a studio. I have all that we need there. We have everything we need to record drums, vocals and to record all of our stuff. So it’s a great advantage for us to have a studio where we can record all the time – we don’t have to watch the time and pay so much money. That’s what was always did, but we always have the help of some third producer – this time It was a German producer for the first time – his name was Benny Richter and he did some great records in Germany. And I met him, and we worked on another record that sold really well in Germany from a band called Emil Bulls. And when I was working with him on this record, we noticed that we were on the same wavelength – and I just wanted to work with him on our record as well. It came out really good! He had some great ideas – he just brought the songs to a new level. It was really fun to work with him.
What do you think of California now that you are finally here on tour!
Chris: It’s so amazing! Actually Los Angeles may be one of the best places to live. I mean, we’re asking ourselves, why don’t we live here? What have we done wrong? (Laughter)
Norbert: L.A. is so impressive. I mean, the weather for is so perfect. In Florida, it’s so hot and wet – and in Texas, it’s so hot and dry. And I think California has a bit of the middle in it – and it’s really nice here. Los Angeles is so beautiful. We went to Venice Beach today and it was great!
Chris: And we went to the Hollywood sign and we made a photo – like tourists…
Norbert: Tomorrow we need to check out some more stuff.
What’s up next for you guys after this tour with I Set My Friends On Fire is over?
Chris: We have really big plans. When we go back to Germany, we are going straight to playing really big festivals. We are going back on a Tuesday, and then the next Friday, we are playing one of the biggest festivals we’ve ever played. And then there comes our headlining tour in Germany, and I Set My Friends On Fire will come over to Germany to support us. We’re really looking forward to it. And then in December, we are going to Japan for the first time – and it’s going to be as exciting as the US was for us! We’ve never been there and it’s such a great culture – and we’re really looking forward to it!
Dave Grunewald – Shouts
Christoph Wieczorek – clean Vocals/Guitar
Norbert Kayo – Bass
Philipp Kretzschmar – Guitar
Nico Vaeen – Drums
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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