"We have to bring people together not divide them": Electric Callboy don't mind being tagged a 'novelty' band so long as they can make metalheads smile

Electric Callboy
(Image credit: Press)

Electric Callboy pioneers of ‘dance metal’, meshing EDM and metalcore together to create something that sounds like you put a bunch of metalheads in a bottle, gave them Monster Energy, and shook it all up. They started out in 2010 as ‘Eskimo Callboy’ but rebranded in 2020, replacing original vocalist Sebastian ‘Sushi’ Biesler with Nico Sallach, changing their name, and removing offensive songs from their streaming platforms to be more inclusive. 

During the pandemic, they became a viral sensation thanks to their insidiously catchy tunes and ludicrous videos (garish workout gear, anyone? Dodgy bowl haircuts?). Hammer sat down with Nico and co-vocalist Kevin Ratajczak to ask them your burning questions – which, surprisingly, didn’t include ‘What the fuck is going on?’. 

Metal Hammer line break

What’s it like touring in Electric Callboy?
Andi Guy, email 

Nico: “We’re having the best time of our lives right now [in Europe]. This is the biggest headline tour we’ve ever played. It’s the longest set, too – it’s pretty exhausting, to be honest. We’ve never played so many tracks, but we have such a great time. So many people are coming out to our shows. We took a ferry from Sweden to Finland and I’ve never seen anything like it before. We travelled from early in the morning to the evening. I was completely drunk, having a party on the boat and we got… involved pretty soon into the journey. We started dancing early in the day, so that’s my craziest memory of this tour.” 

Which one of your future shows are you the most excited about?
Nnita.x, Instagram

Kevin: “The UK is always special. When we played Slam Dunk last year, we got our first taste of UK festivals. We’re headlining bigger festivals in Europe and Germany for the first time this year. It comes with a responsibility when you’re the headliner. You have the biggest logo, so people expect something. It’s a lot of pressure on you, so we try to cope with that. We have a wonderful team and crew around us, so it’s going to be something special.” 

How do you feel about being pigeonholed as a novelty band?
WKD Power, Twitter 

Kevin: “We love being in this position. Our band got much bigger during the pandemic. It helped us to find ourselves again and we could help people with the funny stuff we made. We got so many messages that said, ‘My life is depressing, sometimes I just need one of your videos or songs to get me through it.’ That’s what we wanted to do.” 

What inspires you to create the music that we all share and love?
R_fant, Twitter 

Nico: “Being on tour is pretty inspiring. So many things are happening, and we’re far from home, it really pushes our creativity. But you know, we get inspired by so many things, it’s hard to pick out a specific band or video. I think new music is always good.” 

Are there any artists you’ve recently discovered that have inspired you?
Ellie Mae, email 

Nico: “Not ‘new’, really, but Nothing But Thieves, While She Sleeps, Don Broco, Mac Miller, Post Malone…” 

Hammer: We would love to see a Post Malone track with Electric Callboy! 

Nico: “That would be fucking amazing.”

How did you settle on ‘Electric Callboy’ as a new name?
Lisa Edwards, email 

Kevin: “Every other new name we came up with felt wrong. Eskimo Callboy was our name for more than 10 years, so having a new one felt wrong, but we knew about the responsibility that we have as a band and we don’t want to be a band that doesn’t give a shit about other people. We have to bring people together, not divide or separate them. 

I became a father for the first time, and finding a new name for a band that already exists is like finding a name for a newborn. For example, ‘Kevin’ in German is not a very cool name. Kevins are like the assholes in Germany. So, we wanted to keep the ‘EC’ initials. With ‘electric’ it was pretty fluid and the initials were still there. We thought it’d be such a big problem rebranding, otherwise. Like, ‘Holy shit, will people accept it?’ So many fears. But it didn’t take us more than a month maybe, and we forgot about all that. This new name is so cool.” 

What’s your go-to dance anthem?
Em Loydon, email 

Nico: “Right now we listen to a remix of [90s dance artist Reel 2 Real’s] I Like To Move It before we go onstage.” 

Who is your dream collab?
Whathedilly, Twitter 

Nico: “Every musician has their idols. For me, it’s Brandon Boyd from Incubus, or Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach. Chester Bennington would have been good, he’s my biggest idol.” 

How are you funny and heavy at the same time?
Mkh9393, Instagram 

Nico: “I don’t know, we’re a bunch of friends and we’re lucky to have a similar sense of humour. The funny part wasn’t that much work; that’s just who we are. This is how we are together. We work together – everything we did in music videos, in vlogs, that’s us. We’ll never stop being like that.” 

What’s your biggest influence when you go in to make a new video?
Terri, email 

Kevin: “We have a good crew when it comes to music videos. Our guitar player, Pascal [Schillo], studied cinematography. He has his own company. When we think about music videos, we come to the table with general ideas. Everybody is involved, everybody has a voice. We never say no, like the most stupidest ideas can be the best. It’s the tiny things. Music videos are always a lot of work. Because we like to work on everything in detail, whether it’s two more hours, or in the middle of the night, we do it. 

One very special video was during the pandemic, We Got The Moves, because it was during a time when everybody had to stay at home. We couldn’t have parties, we couldn’t have shows. We had this video shoot, where we were allowed to come together as a little crowd for the first time. We had some cool people from everywhere in Germany that applied for that video shoot, and we had a great day together.” 

Are there any aspects of being a smaller/less recognisable band that you miss? Elenuvien, Twitter

Nico: “People expect much more. They’re paying for tickets for the show, you need to be killing it every night. Back in the day, everything was super-fun, at no time did we feel like it was work. It was just a hobby, just doing what we wanted, being on tour with our best friends. It’s still the same, but right now we can actually call it our job and I think that’s the biggest difference. There was a lot of pressure. It felt like in the big bubble of the internet, people were saying ‘Electric Callboy have so many clicks, their songs are going viral, but can they bring it to the stage?’” 

As a band that has gone viral, is there any vital - and cautionary - advice you’d give to other bands?
Oon P, email 

Nico: “The most important thing is stay humble. Enjoy every minute but never stick your nose up. You have to work. You have to be consistent. You have to be authentic.” 

Did you really steal a Cadillac [like in the lyrics/video to MC Thunder]?
Evil Jesus, Twitter 

Nico: “Ha ha ha! No.” 

Do you even lift, bros?
Ricky Doodey, email 

Nico: “Oh, no! No, no, no, no, no! I used to do sports, but I have enough to do right now every night onstage. I should be honest, my body’s changing. I’m getting old. Being in a live band is such a workout. People don’t understand all the running around onstage, loading equipment in and out of the venue, setting up – that’s a gym session in itself. It’s not that easy. But we have a big crew. It makes it easier.”

Tekkno is out now. Electric Callboy tour the UK in October.