ANNISOKAY: Interview with Christoph Wieczorek
Creating a massive buzz in Europe and rapidly spreading to North America, ANNISOKAY is working their way onto the rock scene here and abroad. Releasing their new album, Arms on August 17th their new album is coming just after their current US tour with I Set My Friends On Fire. We got to catch up with vocalist/guitarist Christoph Wieczorek and get all the details on how the band got to where they are, what they are up to now and what to expect in the future!
(Be sure to check out their latest video for "Unaware" at the end of the interview)
-C&C: Let’s start from the beginning, how did you all form ANNISOKAY and how did you come up with the band’s name?
-CW: We started this band many, many years ago in a small garage in a small town in east Germany. We wanted to make a mixture between emocore and numetal back then and tried to sound like all these great US bands we admired. Since then the lineup has changed a bit, because people change and life goals change, so it took a few member swaps until we finally got the lineup that made Annisokay what it is today. Me and Norbert are still the founding members though, and we can’t really believe what became out of this project we started back then. He was also the guy who came up with the idea of answering Michael Jacksons question in ‚Smooth Criminal‘ by saying ‚Anni is okay!“ in our band name. I thought ‚Ann is okay‘ is a cool name, but still not unique and special enough. So what we did is get rid of an i and make it one word. Annisokay!
-C&C: ANNISOKAY has toured several times throughout Europe and the UK and even Eastern Europe. Where has been your favorite stop so far and where are you looking forward to heading to next?
-CW: We not only toured Europe, UK and Russia, we’re also on our very first tour around the whole USA right now. This tour is definitely one of the biggest adventures and craziest experiences so far. It’s a 28 show tour through all these great cities we wanted to visit someday. We feel like being a part of a movie the whole time! We’re not as big over here yet though, so the shows in Europe, especially Germany, are honestly a lot bigger. It’s still fun to play in front of people that haven’t seen us so far and see how they start getting into it! The craziest crowds of all are in Eastern Europe though. Playing Russia is always a crazy experience. You won’t understand what I mean, until you’ve seen it.
-C&C: You guys are going to release your fourth full length album titled Arm. I’ve heard there is a deeper meaning behind the name of the album. Can you explain the meaning behind the name and what this album means to you?
-CW: There is a lot of crazy and weird political stuff going on in this crazy weird world. The biggest countries in this world are reign by men with doubtful purposes. ‚Arms’ is a short word with an even bigger and ambiguous meaning. With your arms held up high you can call for help or celebrate a victory. To arm yourself isn’t clearly a sign of strength and power or anxieties and fears. So you can ask yourself what it is about your arms? Are you closing them or keeping them wide open? What are your arms? Is it your mind or something you have to carry with you?
We love to leave things interpretable when it comes to names or lyrics!
The album of course means a lot to us! It’s not only number four already, it’s also the first record with a brand new team behind it. We got a new label with Arising Empire / Sharptone Records which is able to finally spread our music world wide. The more we wanted to make sure that this record contains the best songs we’ve ever written!
-C&C: How would you describe your sound and what/who has influenced it?
-CW: For this new record we tried to get less influenced by current famous artists. We wanted to sound as much like Annisokay as possible. So the goal was to write only what comes up in our mind instead of copying stuff from other songs! Of course it’s impossible to NOT be influenced by others, because it already happens when you just hear a song on the radio. Our sound became more and more organic over the years, it is really heavy, deep and low, but what’s the most important part of our sound is the melody and the harmonies. We love catchy melodies and we love melancholia. Every Annisokay song will have these two elements!
-C&C: Where do you get inspiration for your lyrics? Does it mirror your life experiences?
-CW: Yes, concerning lyrics we simply look for inspiration in our own lives! What things are in our mind, what makes us feel sad, what happened to us before, what concerns or worries us. If you write about personal experiences you have a way better connection with the song and can express your feelings way better in the musical part. Sea Of Trees for example is about suicide. A friend of mine took his life and I still don’t exactly know why. There are many, many songs out there that talk about suicide but this one takes a different approach to the topic. When you decide to take your own life, you don’t kill the pain, you pass it to others. So there is not only one person being affected, it’s always also all the loved ones this person had. People that struggle with suicidal thoughts should definitely be brave enough to talk about it with someone and get professional help. You also destroy the lives of your friends and family, not only your own one. There are also topics that are not personal but they still were in our mind and concerned us. Innocence was here for example. I got the idea for 'Innocence was here' when I was watching a TV show about innocent, imprisoned people especially in the US. When I was reading a bit more about this topic I noticed how often this actually happens, and how many lives got destroyed because of wrong judicial decisions! Especially the cases of Kalief Browder and Steven Avery made me so sad that I had to write a song about it.
-C&C: What was it like filming your latest video “Unaware” and how did you come up with the concept for it?
-CW: The shoot was crazy and really exhausting. We shot the whole video in a dessert like scenery. It was really hot and we weren’t able to drive into this area so we had to carry all the gear and all the props by foot. We had a lot of fun though, as I not only directed the video, but the whole band also took place as actors. So we were running and digging and doing all the stuff that happens in the video. If you take a closer look you can see all band members appearing somewhere. We originally had the idea of spreading this story over more then one video, but I was afraid it would bore people out and it would also limit our creativity for later videos. The concept is taken from the idea behind the lyrics. It’s a post apocalyptic scenario, in which every person has only a limited time left to live. A timer shows how much each person has left, and the only possibility to fill it up is work. There is a bigger force that makes people do that and everyone has to be a part of the system. In the end, you don’t actually die when the time runs out though. You’re healed from the time pressure and finally free to live. This is what the ending of the video is about.
-C&C: What is your favorite song off of the new album and why?
-CW: It’s hard to pick one honestly. We had so much trouble to actually pick the singles because all songs are so strong for us. So instead of picking an obvious one, I’d probably choose a song called "One Second!" I love that song because it’s way different then the rest. It had some crazy harmonies we’ve never used before, it is really moody and sad and it has some great synth sounds in it. Also the lyrics are cool! Definitely give that song a listen if you read this, haha!
-C&C: What’s one thing that you want fans to take away from this new album?
-CW: That’s something I haven’t thought about yet. Actually all we do is write the best music possible. We want to make songs that WE think sound great and that move us. So actually we try not to write for "fans." This may sound rude, but it actually is the rule of writing more authentic songs. If they move us, the probability is high, that it moves others as well, and that is of course amazing for us in the end. Everyone who comes up and says, "this album is great, it helped me through bad times," or "it makes me happy listening to it," just makes us proud and motivates us to keep it up!
-C&C: Any last words for fans and C&C viewers? Where can we find you guys next?
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