ANNISOKAY – the German five-piece act is setting new standards for heavy and melodic rock/metal music. ANNISOKAY are frontman Dave Grunewald, singer and guitarist Christoph Wieczorek, second guitarist Philipp Kretzschmar, bassist Norbert Rose and drummer Nico Vaeen. The band was founded in 2007 in Halle an der Saale by Christoph and Norbert. Christoph was already a well-known guitarist of the local metal scene before and started to build a new band in which he wanted to sing for the first time.
ANNISOKAY have already released three full length albums and a 4-track cover EP of Michael Jackson’s classics, to honor one true musical genius – who is the inspiration of the band’s name. The unusual name came to the founder’s minds when they discussed about interesting lyrics of other artists. In Michael Jackson‘s song ‘Smooth Criminal’, a girl called Annie is attacked in her apartment. But why? And is Annie okay? The idea of the band name is to give a positive answer to this question, so: yes, ANNISOKAY! The well-established indie record label SPV signed the band in 2014. Since then the band is validated as one of the most talented German bands of international distinction. Both of their last records hit the top 100 of the German album charts (»Enigmatic Smile«: #68; »Devil May Care«: #74).
ANNISOKAY have laid their musical foundation with a driving rhythmic and melodic backbone that brings to life both soulful singing and aggressive shouting. They’ve toured several times throughout Europe and the UK and even Eastern Europe. The band have played several headlining-shows in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and already established a massive following and an ever-growing fan base. Highlights include sold-out support-shows for PARKWAY DRIVE in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
ANNISOKAY are going to release their fourth full length album in2018. To accelerate the pace, ANNISOKAY has inked a record deal with Arising Empire. The new album will be titled »Arms« – a short word with a huge meaning in many ways, both positive and negative. Nothing in this world is just black or white. Is armament a sign of strength or just an expression of one’s own weakness? Does the winner raise his arms to heaven or is it a sign of helplessness? A closer look is necessary. Thus, the variety of meanings offers the listener the freedom to decide whether we are dealing with arming or disarming. Whether we close our arms or open them for a hug?
But what kind of sound has ANNISOKAY? After three studio albums it was time to find out about this – and the expected new fresh wind came along. Guitarist and vocalist Christoph wrote the first song ideas and demos when the band toured extensively in 2017. The goal was to write “good songs” that are completely free of typical genre clichés or current sound trends. “I stopped listening to new bands and wondering which of these sounds or ideas I could try for ANNISOKAY and what their fans like about them. Instead, there was only me and my guitar and I started writing! It’s all about emotions and about translating the stories of the lyrics, mostly written by our bassist Norbert, into the music,” says Christoph, musical mastermind and producer of ANNISOKAY. Christoph Wieczorek is a full-time music producer and owner of a brand-new and modern recording studio in Halle an der Saale. Thus, ideal conditions to write songs with his own band “at home” and also produce them there! “The recording process for »Arms« was very long and intense. Sleepless but creative nights have been a normal thing during this time but that’s okay because we prefer to work at night. Nobody bothers us, everything is calm and the whole mind can concentrate much better on creativity,” says Christoph.
The guys wanted to have the “ANNISOKAY sound” much rougher and more real than on previous albums. The drums were recorded without any digital drum samples so the aggressive playing style of drummer Nico Vaeen was captured completely unadulterated and immortalized on the record. Furthermore, instruments such as violins or pianos were recorded live for the first time to guarantee an even more organic sound. As another producer besides Christoph, Benny Richter got involved this time. Benny is an exceptionally gifted pianist and songwriter and he has already produced several albums for genre leaders like CALIBAN or EMIL BULLS. “Working with Benny was great! We have checked each of the song ideas together down to the smallest detail and analyzed the weaknesses and strengths of the songs. That way some small changes came out that have made the big difference in the end. Benny has a great feeling of harmonies and chords and so he brought some musical influence into the songs that you rarely hear in this genre these days. In my own music, I am actually very resistant to get goose bumps. But this time I got that feeling in many moments, even after many weeks of working on the songs,” says Christoph about the collaboration. Electronic sounds have always been an important part of the sound of ANNISOKAY. “For this album we have used sounds from the 80’s and early 90’s. We love the sound aesthetics of the synths from that time and we think that the atmosphere really suits our new songs!” says Christoph. Also artwork, booklet and band photos are based on the 80s theme, which is particularly exciting for shouter Dave. The front man is a big fan of movies, fashion and music of the 80s and early 90s and is called the “Screaming Retro Dude” by his fan community. His passion for this time period can be recognized at first glance: 80s icons Madonna and Silvester Stallone, in his role as Rambo, are immortalized on Dave‘s hands with tattoos. Following the style of the 80s, the entire recording process was documented with Polaroid photos. These can be found in the booklet of the new album. The cover art also shows a bunch of Polaroid photos.
The new album will be a declaration of passion and commitment to becoming an even bigger name in metal scene. ANNISOKAY will be setting sail to new shores and tour around the whole world from USA to Japan, e.g. with I SET MY FRIENDS ON FIRE. More to be announced soon!
Rudi Schwarzer | shouts
Christoph Wieczorek | clean vocals/guitar
Norbert Kayo | bass
Nico Vaeen | drums