Interview with: Philipp Wyssen (vocals)
Calarook, formerly known as Calico, recently released their first album “Surrender or Die”. It’s interesting to see a band so connected to the sea even if they hail from the landlocked country of Switzerland. Fear not, they can be alpine, but their Piratitude is strong, and the rum flows easy. Upon listening to the newest release, I wanted to learn more about these pirates so I asked them some questions. Philipp Wyssen (vocals) was kind enough to answer them.
The first and most important thing, how did you celebrate “Talk Like a Pirate day” (19th of September)? What type of Pirate rituals do you follow?
For us, every day is “Talk like a Pirate day”! Just kidding, but since we switch to our roles very often, especially at concerts, we do not really need a specific day to celebrate this. But this year was a special one. We celebrated the release of our debut album on September 19th. Maybe we can make this to a tradition. Play a concert every year on that day.
What’s your story? How did you meet and start playing together?
Nico had the idea to start a Pirate Metal band for a few years. In 2014, he met Yves, whose band quit a few months before. They started writing songs and search for the other band members. Until 2016, we were complete and had a full live set ready. Most of us did not know each other before, but we all became very good friends over the years. In the fall of 2016, we played our first show at a birthday party of a friend. There our quest for the seven seas really started. In the meantime, we had an exchange at the violin and the bass and there will be soon another exchange at the violin. And we are searching for a second guitarist.
How’s the reception to the album been so far?
Very good, most of the people like it very much. Also, the reviews are mainly positive. Of course, it is not possible to satisfy everyone. Most of them were surprised about the style. The expected something like the well-known pirate metal bands and not the hard sound that we are playing.
Still connected with your imagery, what is the story of the pineapple? It immediately caught my eye in the album cover, I wonder how you got to be fans of pineapples?
Nico picked up somewhere the phrase to crush invisible pineapples when make an evil gesture with the hands. He then came to me and said I should write a song about invisible pineapples. And yes, that was not easy. Then we thought that a jolly roger with a pineapple would be a great idea. And there we are now. In addition, you also can make Pina coladas with pineapples.
Why did you change the name? Calico was a great name, Calarook as well. What was your evolution process?
Calico was the nickname of the pirate captain Jack Rackham. But we decided to change our name in November 2016 after a hint. It was almost impossible to find us over the search engines. You mainly got results for cats, useless guns and other bands with the same name which do not play metal. Therefore, we decided to rename the band before the release of our first album. Calarook is a fictional word with no meaning. This way we are always the first hits on the search engines.
If you could do the opening show for 3 bands, still active or not, no specific rules, which bands would that be?
Difficult. But I think it would be Amon Amarth, Alestorm and Finntroll. This would result in a huge Viking-Pirate-Troll party! Of course, there are many bands more where I would like to open the evening. And also, many more bands which I would like to party with them where we would not fit.
What has been your routine during the quarantine? You obviously have been busy preparing this album, but is there anything else?
I still had to work 42 hours a week. We were able to ensure the social distancing at there. But we paused rehearsals for around two months. In this time, I was a lot at home after work. I used this time to slow down a bit and have a break after the busy time we had with the recording, mixing, mastering and everything else concerning the album. Of course, I still did stuff for the band like preparing marketing or order merchandise. But it
was not that stressful anymore. I think unless of the closed bars and the paused rehearsals I did not had to change my routine that much.
Any tour plans (for when the stupid COVID is finally out of the picture)? Where are you going? I’ll be expecting you around Europe.
We are planning some shows here in Switzerland and even two tours abroad for 2021. One tour will be in the UK in March together with Red Rum and Iron Seawolf. About the other tour, I cannot say more at the moment. But stay prepared. I hope we can make some more tours in the future in other countries too
A big thank you to Philipp, all Calarook members, and Markus at METALMESSAGE.
- Philipp Wyssen: Vocals
- Lukas Mischler: Violin
- Nico Wiget: Guitar
- Flavio Pompeo: Bass
- Yves Locher: Drums