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Kicking Flamingos with the Pirates of the Almighty Calarook

Kicking Flamingos with the Pirates of the Almighty Calarook

Kicking Flamingos with the Pirates of the Almighty Calarook

In the grand tradition of Alestorm and Running Wild arrives the almighty Calarook, ready to unleash their heavy metal anthems all across the seven seas of this great big world.  Surrender Or Die is the name of their debut full length magnum opus and is certainly the perfect auditory companion whether you are partying with your pirate crew or swabbing the deck on the blistering morning after.  Highwire Daze recently interviewed vocalist Philipp Wyssen to find out more about the pirates of Calarook, their penchant for Kicking Flamingos, why Pineapples are really Cool, and other matey topics of intrigue.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in CALAROOK, and how long the band has been together.
Ahoy! I am Phip from Calarook. I am the singer of the band. I joined the band in 2015. The formation of the band itself started in 2014 with Nico and Yves. Nico had the idea to make a pirate metal band and started to search for other musicians. In 2016, the lineup was complete and we sat sail on our first quests. In the meantime, we had two changes. But we are still going on with full speed.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are living all in and nearby Winterthur in Switzerland. It is a small city with a bit more than 100’000 citizens. But since the distances here are very small, the metal scene of Switzerland has a very good network. At least in the German speaking part. I cannot tell how it is in the French and Italian speaking parts. Before the corona virus, you had the possibility to go on a metal concert from local bands every Friday and Saturday. And also, every big Europe tour has at least one show here. Metal music is very popular here, but still not the mainstream.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the Surrender Or Die album title?
The concept was to record all songs we have already written (haha). Since this is our first album, we had to decide which songs we have should be on the record. Our drummer Yves suggested to just putting them all on it. Since we had no idea how to select, we supported this idea.

Select any two songs from Surrender Or Die and what inspired the lyrics?
Let us take a silly one and a serious one. “Kicking Flamingos” was an idea of our bassist Flavio. He tagged Nico and me in a video where you can see a bodybuilder kicking some plastic flamingos. And he suggested that this could be a perfect song idea for us. That is why I had to write a song about kicking flamingos. The instrumental parts were created around the idea.

As an example for the other side, we have “Into The Storm”. For this song, some of the instrumental parts were written before I had the idea for lyrics for this song. When I listened to them, I instantly had an idea what the story could be in this song and started writing them.

Who did the cover art for Surrender Or Die and how much input did you have on it?
Patrick Wittstock from Azrael Design made the Design of the cover and the booklet. We told him what ideas we have for the artwork. With his experience, he knew quite fast what we have imagined. He also had some own suggestions, which made it even better. We are very happy about it.

What has it been like to release new music right in the middle of a pandemic and so much social unrest in the world?
We had to concentrate the marketing more to the online side. But I think it was a good moment to come up with some new music in these times. The people need some other news than all those negative one in the last months. Our music is made to switch off the daily problems and sorrows.

What was the experience like playing the Ragnarök Festival in Germany?
It was awesome! This was our first show at a festival. Although we had to play at noon, there were already quite a lot of people at the show. We saw that a few of them were still a bit sleepy, but they made a party anyway. Even more surprising was the autograph session. We expected two or three fans showing up. Then way more showed up and congratulated to the good show we made. The after party we had backstage with other bands was also very great. At least what I can remember (haha).

Any future lives shows on the horizon for CALAROOK?
After our release show, we are planning a lot of live shows for 2021. We try to play our debut album in front of as much people as possible. Of course, there will be some shows in Switzerland. But there are also planned two small tours abroad. Unfortunately, America is not on the list yet. But we hope to sail across this sea sometimes in the future to party with you!

If CALAROOK could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
For me this would be Alestorm. This would clearly end in a huge pirate party. But there are a lot of bands I would love to open up for.

What is your favorite beer of choice and why?
Tough question. There are too many good beers on this globe. I always like to discover new beers when I am somewhere else. But my all-time favorites are “Guinness”, “Kilkenny” and “Schneider Weisse”. When I was in USA a few years ago I also discovered some goo beers over there. Many of them were mainly local.

Why are pineapples so cool?
It is hate and love at the same time. We love pineapples because you can make pina coladas out of it. On the other hand, we want to crush them all. The story behind all this was a silly idea Nico had in the beginning of the band. He wanted to make a song called “Invisible Pineapples”. It was not that easy to write a song with such a theme, but here we are now. A bit later, we decided to have a pineapple in our logo. You have to commit that it is recognizable.

Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of CALAROOK?
For me, Calarook is my first band ever. The others played in other bands before, but those bands does not exist anymore. Since we all still have day jobs, there is not much time left for the band. So we want to focus our energy on this one project.

What’s up next for CALAROOK?
We want to present our music live as many times as possible. The main goal is to expand our fan base. In Switzerland and international. Therefore, also a third music video is in planning.

Any final words of wisdom?
Stay healthy and safe in these uncertain times. Enjoy the good sides of life. And most important: Stay pirate!

Philipp Wyssen • Vocals
Nico Wiget • Guitar
Lukas Mischler • Violin
Flavio Pompeo • Bass
Yves Locher • Drums

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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