ANNISOKAY – the German quartet sets new standards for modern and melodic rock / metal music and is a fixture on the international metalcore scene. ANNISOKAY are frontman Rudi Schwarzer, singer and guitarist Christoph Wieczorek, bassist Norbert Rose and Nico Vaeen on drums. ANNISOKAY was founded in 2007 in Halle / Saale and was awarded as one of the most talented German bands with international flair. ANNISOKAY‘s musical foundation is formed by driving rock guitar rhythms and a mix of aggressive shouts and melodious vocals with goosebumps guaranteed. The band has already toured Europe / UK, Japan and the USA. With millions of headline shows in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, the band also have a loyal and massively growing fan base there. Highlights were support shows for PARKWAY DRIVE in the sold-out halls in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The guys from ANNISOKAY came up with the unusual band name during a discussion about exciting song lyrics. In Michael Jackson‘s song ‘Smooth Criminal’ an Annie is mugged in her apartment. But why? And is Annie okay? To give a positive answer to this question is the idea behind the band name ANNISOKAY. In 2016, a cover EP was dedicated to the musical genius Michael Jackson, who served as inspiration for the band name.
The established independent record label SPV signed the band in 2014. Since then, ANNISOKAY have released four studio albums. All releases made it into the top 100 of the official German album charts. In 2018, ANNISOKAY switched from SPV to Arising Empire and released their current album »Arms«, which reached number #26 on the official German album charts.
After four published studio albums, the big change followed in 2019. Rudi Schwarzer was introduced as a new shouter and front man in December 2019. In the same month, ANNISOKAY was already playing as a support band of EMIL BULLS on their X-Mas Bash Tour 2019. The new man at the microphone was immediately able to completely convince. The first music video with Rudi was released on April 17, 2020. The song ‘STFU’ got a lot of attention straight away and achieved high clicks on all streaming platforms. Lyrically, the band hits the pulse of time with ‘STFU’. In a completely unsettled society, threatened by a virus scenario like that of a Hollywood film, conspiracy theorists are booming. In the song ‘STFU’, ANNISOKAY describe exactly the danger of conspiracy theories, which can recklessly have common public consequences on our society.
What sound and what kind of music do ANNISOKAY stand for? After three studio albums, the (still) current album »Arms« stands for the hoped-for fresh wind for modern rock music. »Arms«, a short title with great 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 stretch his arms up to the sky or is it a sign of helplessness? A closer look is necessary. The diversity of meaning gives the listeners the freedom to decide whether we are concerned with arming or disarming. Do we close our arms or spread out for a hug?
Guitarist and singer Christoph wrote the first »Arms« demos when the band was still on tour extensively in 2017. The declared goal was to write “easy” good songs that are completely free of typical clichés or current sound trends.
“I stopped listening to new bands and wondering what sounds or ideas I could try for ANNISOKAY and what fans could find good about it. Instead, there was only me and my guitar and I started to write! It’s about emotions and about wrapping the stories of the lyrics, which are initially mostly written by bassist Norbert.” says Christoph, musical mastermind and producer of ANNISOKAY.
Christoph Wieczorek is a full-time music producer and owner of a modern sound studio in Halle / Saale. Thus ideal conditions to write songs with your own band “at home” and finally produce them. “The recording process for »Arms« was very long and intensive. “Sleepless but creative nights became normal during this time. 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 “ANNISOKAY-sound” should be significantly raw and real than with all albums before. The drums were recorded without any digital drum samples. The aggressive playing style of drummer Nico Vaeen was captured completely unadulterated on the record. Furthermore, instruments such as violins and pianos were recorded live for the first time to give the whole thing an even more organic character.
As a further producer besides Christoph, Benny Richter was brought on board this time. Benny is a gifted pianist and songwriter. He has already produced various albums for big acts such as CALIBAN or EMIL BULLS. “Working with Benny was great! We looked at each of the song ideas down to the smallest detail and analyzed the weaknesses and strengths of the songs. Often, small changes have arisen that ultimately big difference. Benny has a great understanding of harmonies and chords and so he partially brought a musical influence to the songs that you rarely hear in this genre these days. With my own music, I’m actually very resistant to goose bumps. But this time I got that feeling in many musical moments, even after weeks of working on the songs.” says Christoph about the collaboration.
Electronic sounds have always been an important part of ANNISOKAY‘s sound. “With this album, we used sounds from the 80s and early 90s. We love the sound aesthetics of the synths from this time and found the atmosphere to be a perfect match for our new songs!” says Christoph.
With the new album in their luggage, ANNISOKAY not only set off musically to new shores! For the first time the band got the opportunity to enter American stages. For a total of four weeks, ANNISOKAY toured with the band I SET MY FRIENDS ON FIRE across the United States, from New York City to Los Angeles.
Rudi Schwarzer | shouts
Christoph Wieczorek | clean vocals/guitar
Norbert Kayo | bass
Nico Vaeen | drums