In March 2017, I had the pleasure of chatting to Annisokay bassist Norbert Kayo before they set off on tour for the UK, supporting their brilliant album Devil May Care. We talked about the band’s origins, the album, touring Europe and their relationship with the UK.
Jack: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Norbert Kayo (Bass): We’re really good. Soon we hit the road to start our Devil May Care Tour 2017 and the first shows are in the UK. We’re really looking forward to this!
Jack: How did Annisokay form?
Norbert: We started this band already in 2007. But it took a while to create a foundation of talented and passionate musicians. So this final line-up has been together for about two years. Ever since we can remember we’ve been 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 lot of hard work to create this band but now we feel that we’re an ideal mix of young dynamic and talented people who go hand in hand – we’re ready to take on any hurdle!
Jack: What are the main musical influences of Annisokay?
Norbert: We’re not able to name any bands. Maybe because the band who inspired us the most is ourselves. We had really short time to write this record and maybe the best thing about it was that we just didn’t had the time to look at other bands or up-to-date trends. We just do what we really like.
Jack: Have you been influences by any films, books or pieces of art?
Norbert: No not really. Our big influence for our latest record was our daily life.
Jack: Has being from Germany influenced the band?
Norbert: That’s a hard question. It doesn’t really matter where a metal or rock band is coming from. But we think it’s hard for a German band to come to the US or the UK, maybe even harder as for a US or UK band to come to Europe.
Jack: What’s the metal scene like in Germany?
Norbert: The scene in Germany is great! Touring our home country Germany is always lovely, and for most international bands one of the more comfortable places. Even if you’re playing in smaller clubs you will always get catering, and the German fans are really open for new bands.
Jack: Do you feel that German bands get unfairly compared to Rammstein?
Norbert: Actually no, because Rammstein is so unique, and we’re singing in English so there is not much comparison.
Jack: Why do you perform in English?
Norbert: We think it sounds the best for the music we play. It’s mainly about the different accentuations and all about the sound.
Jack: In November 2016 you released your excellent third album Devil May Care, are you happy with the response?
Norbert: Yes, we’re very blessed but still nervous about the reaction. We will hit the road soon and finally play a lot of the new songs, so we’ll see how people react to the new material; but the feedback through social media is really good!
Jack: Did you approach the album differently from previous releases?
Norbert: With Enigmatic Smile we found our own signature style. With our third record we knew what we were comfortable with. Our previous records The Lucid Dream[er] and Enigmatic Smile had heavy songs with dark fictional lyrics. This time we wanted to write about strains of everyday life. A lot of things run wrong in this world. We’re not trying to be a political band and we don’t want to tell you what to do. It’s simply unavoidable for us to not write songs about the society we live in.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Norbert: Devil May Care was recorded in Summer of 2016 at Sawdust Recordings in Halle, Germany. Produced, mixed and mastered by Christoph Wieczorek, who is also the clean singer and guitarist of Annisokay. William Putney co-produced a couple of songs on the record, he worked on the structure of the songs, melodies and lyrics.
Jack: Is there a theme to the album?
Norbert: Devil May Care stands for that selfish attitude that inspired us for most of the socio-critical lyrics. A lot of things are wrong in this world, there is so much injustice and unfairness and we’re killing our planet like it’s no problem to get a new one. That’s the statement of the album.
Jack: You’re going to be touring in March and April, will you mainly be playing material from Devil May Care?
Norbert: It will be a mixture of our three albums but mainly songs from our latest album Devil May Care.
Jack: What is the best thing about touring?
Norbert: Simply playing music, that’s what it’s all about. To feel the energy of the crowd and getting wild and sweaty!
Jack: Has your approach to touring changed at all?
Norbert: No, touring is the reason we’re in a band. To hit the road is always a big exciting adventure. It’s all about having a good time!
Jack: What do you like about the UK?
Norbert: The UK has so much flair. The cities are full of Rock and Metal history. Most of the best bands and solo artists are from the UK, plus we really like the people. For us as a band from a small town in Germany it’s really a honour to play shows in UK.
Jack: What are your plans for summer?
Norbert: We’re going to play a lot of festivals, we’re really looking forward to it!
Jack: Finally, can you recommend some obscure German bands for us to check out?
Norbert: Check out our good friends in Arktis, a really talented German rock band who are singing in German, but it’s impossible to compare them with Rammstein.