Interview With Annisokay

With their recent release Devil May Care only just behind them, we had the chance to chat with Annisokay about touring, musical inspirations and the time they got stuck in Vienna briefly…

M: Rarely do a band release an album only a year after the previous one, is there a particular reason why?

A: We were pinched for time getting everything sorted for the release date of the 11th of November. We hadn’t planned to release a new album one year after the last, it just happened!

M: You’d seem to fit on an Impericon Festival line up, musically – so what would your dream tour or festival appearance be?

A: We all grew up with Nu Metal so a childhood dream would be to tour with Limp Bizkit, Korn or Deftones.

M: Often UK bands say they love touring mainland Europe, is this the same vice versa?

A: Yes! It was a dream come true when we were able to tour the UK in 2015. To have the opportunity to play the big British cities where so much rock music was invented is a big privilege. And of course it’s extremely exciting to tour in different countries and to see the world. It’s always a big adventure.

M: The style of music you play was very popular pre 2010 and seemed to die out within the last couple of years, so with this new album especially – are you trying to revive the post-hardcore/metalcore scene or just simply playing what you love?

A: We had really short time to write this record so we just did our own thing: maybe it was a good thing that we didn’t have time to check out what other bands were doing, or what the current trends were!

M: What’s the most interesting tour story you have?

A: Hard question because touring is a lot of daily routine, but on the other hand every night is special and unique so it’s hard to pick. One time we were on tour with The Word Alive and our nightliner tour bus broke down in the middle of nowhere of Austria. We were on our way to Vienna which is always a good crowd. It’s maybe not the most exciting story but we will never forget how lost we felt and we didn’t think that we’d make it to the show. But luckily the agency managed to organise a coach for holiday trips and we made it to the show in time, even with a dotty Austrian bus driver who even we Germans couldn’t understand.

M: Where do you see yourself being this time next year?

A: Hopefully we’ll still be a band playing as many live shows in as many countries as possible!

M: Which song off of Devil May Care are you most proud of musically?

A: We all have our own favorite songs on the new record Devil May Care, but one special song is the first single What’s Wrong because it was the beginning of a new era. We wrote this song long ago before the rest of the record and it’s our first song with social-critical lyrics. For a long time we tried to avoid being a political band and we’re still not one, but you can’t just write songs about yourself, or about love and loss. Politics isn’t just some business of the government, it’s our daily life.

M: Is there a song that made you want to pursue music, written by someone else?

A: We recently did a 4-track Michael Jackson Cover EP and one of the most valuable experiences was how relevant and up-to- date the strong social-critical lyrics by Michael Jackson still are. This crazy world repeats the same mistakes over and over again and we should listen closely to what Michael had to say 20 years ago to make this world a better place.

M: What is your opinion on pay to play gigs and tour packages, meet and greets?

A: Meet and greets are fun. The daily tour routine can be very monotonous and after a show usually you have to pack your stuff and drive right away to the next city, so meet and greets are sometimes the only opportunity to talk to your fans and listen to them. As for pay to play gigs, sometimes you have to participate on the travel or technical cost for a tour and you don’t get any money. That’s why selling merch is so important for a band.

M: How was your band formed?

A: We started this band in 2007 but it took a while to create a foundation of talented and passionate musicians. So this final lineup has been together for about two years. Ever since we can remember we were in love with music. With this band we try to make music professionally and we want to play shows all over the world. It took a long time to get this band together, but now we feel that we’re an ideal mix of young, dynamic and talented people who go hand in hand and are ready to take on all hurdles.

M: If you could collaborate with any artist or band who would it be?

A: Working with other great musicians is always fun. On the new record we had Marcus from Northlane and Christoph from Emil Bulls featuring as guest vocalists. Marcus lives in Australia so we sent him the song and he killed it right away. Christoph joined us in the studio for three and the connection and musical inspiration was amazing. It’s always a pleasure to work with other musicians and it’s exciting and inspiring to see what they can add to an Annisokay song.

M: How was tour with Fearless Vampire Killers last year and how did it feel to tour alongside a band with such a loyal following?

A: Our UK tour with FVK was a really great time. We met so much nice people and yes the FVK fans are pretty loyal. They welcomed us with open arms and open minds. The London show was one of the best shows we’ve ever played, so we’re very sad to hear that the band split up. These are really lovely guys and really talented musicians.

M: How do you feel you’ve progressed musically and personally since your first album back in 2012?

A: It’s hard to tell from our own point of view but a lot has happened since then. We think we’re all grounded to our roots and hopefully we managed to develop ourselves as musicians. We still enjoy some songs off our first record The Lucid Dream[er]. It was only released 4 years ago and it feels like ages ago!

ANNISOKAY – Devil May Care

The German metal five-piece ANNISOKAY have had an exhilarating 2 years. Their third studio album, Devil May Care – released 11th November on Long Branch Records – arrives just over a year after their explosive second album Enigmatic Smile, which debuted on the German Top 100 chart. Their critically acclaimed 2014 debut The Lucid Dream[er] saw them graduate from a beloved German underground act to a rising force in the modern metal scene, as well as building themselves a dedicated worldwide fanbase, who anticipate the band’s first global tour.

The opening track, Loud, introduces the harmonic vocal diversity that ANNISOKAY is recognised for. The capturing clean vocals coupled with deep guttural screams create a soulful and ambient canvas for the rest of the album. The 4 minute track wastes no time setting the pace for the record, with its driving rhythm providing a strong backbone for an energetic opening track.

The first single from the record What’s Wrong sees the band stick closely to their staple sound, with the powerful bassline in the first verse nearly overshadowing the weak breakdown later in the song – its build-up with the solo vocal takes away the effect. However, the final chorus makes up for it with its lead-in cleans, enhancing the final drop to finish on a satisfying note.

Another standout track from Devil May Care is Blind Lane. This track flows beautifully, combining haunting layered vocals and flawless harmonies to create the structurally most perfect song on the album. Lyrically, the track is nostalgic in the most painful way, with lyrics such as “I touch your skin, I hold my breath // The time has come, our love is dead” and “There’s nothing wrong with being wrong for each other // At some time or another” conjuring a bleak image, which, relayed over an infectious rhythm and layered melodies, is set to stay ingrained in listeners’ minds even after their first play through.

The Last Planet ends the album perfectly. This reverb-heavy track includes everything that has made ANNISOKAY such a success, displaying their cultivated ability to blend smooth, clean vocals with grittier growls flawlessly. The guitar tone in this piece is thrust to the listener’s attention by a consistent drum rhythm, highlighting the talent of the five-piece, showing just why this album is so highly anticipated. Their undeniably fantastic sense of melody is also demonstrated in this closing track, contributing to an impeccable end to ANNISOKAY‘s global breakthrough.

Devil May Care sees ANNISOKAY refine their sound, and the step-up from their last album is clear to even the most dedicated listener. Despite the rising global platform Enigmatic Smile gave them, this release is the five-piece’s declaration of passion and commitment to becoming an even bigger name in metal scene, and it is executed almost flawlessly with the whole record leaving the listener with goose bumps. Even after some weak layering on D.O.M.I.N.A.N.C.E and yet another disappointing breakdown, each track is still a showcase of masterfully crafted guitar riffs and progressive drums. ANNISOKAY‘s talent is clearly displayed throughout, and Devil May Care is an explosive third instalment to their catalogue which is sure to win them global success on a huge scale.

You can watch the video for their recent cover of Michael Jackson‘s Beat It below, and pre-order Devil May Care on Long Branch Records here.