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Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with Sibling Punk Band Loki’s Folly’s Annie Kuchenmeister, Talking Debut Album ‘Sisu’

Loki’s Folly is an indie-punk trio that deserves to be on your radar. Based in Minneapolis, this band is quite unique because it is made up of a family of rocking young musicians ready for their voices to be heard. Read to learn more about the band’s impressive debut album Sisu and how it came to be, and to uplift Annie during this Autism Appreciation Month.

Annie Kuchenmeister of Loki's Folly onstage at a First Avenue show, playing guitar and screaming lyrics with Nissa on the drums by her side
Loki's Folly - Photo courtesy of Loki's Folly

Loki’s Folly is an indie-punk trio that deserves to be on your radar. Based in Minneapolis, this band is quite unique because it is made up of a family of rocking young musicians ready for their voices to be heard – Annie Kuchenmeister (22, guitar/vocals), her sister Nissa (17, drums), and their brother Oskar (12, bass).

Loki's Folly sitting on a beach
Left to Right: Oskar, Annie, Nissa / Photo By Mika Larson

Annie and Nissa knew that they wanted to pursue music after falling in love with bands like Green Day, My Chemical Romance, as well as local punk bands such as The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and Soul Asylum. Loki’s Folly was born after the two sisters decided to start learning how to play an instrument – guitar for Annie and drums for Nissa – with the intention of being in a band. “Our mom played violin in school, and she did musical theater when she was young, so she was able to give us some pointers on how to use your voice and how to perform,” Annie says.

Their debut album Sisu is a culmination of songs that they grew up writing. Annie describes making music with her family as a very fun process. “I think since we’re all very close and kind of like each other’s best friends, it works out really well for us,” she says. “And I think it also gives us that stronger connection. We all live together too, so we can work on things whenever we want and have this already built-in pattern of interaction and socialization.” 

As for their writing process, they tend to write with their respective instruments, but also with each other. “It would be me and Nissa with a laptop, looking at songs being like, ‘We should write something like this,’ and kind of slowly growing our style and what things we liked collectively,” she says. Songs have come from them looking around the room and picking a subject they see, or even from pulling a book off of a bookshelf.

Annie and Nissa recording part of 'Sisu' in their basement
Annie and Nissa recording part of 'Sisu' in their basement / Photo Courtesy of Loki's Folly

Annie describes Loki’s Folly’s music to be “definitely loud and very expressive” and a “combination of stuff we want to throw at people.” I asked her why she thinks she gravitates towards this kind of high-energy punk music: “Personally, I think it’s a very expressive genre and very much about taking your emotions, owning them, and throwing them back,” she said. There’s also a communal emotional element to it, she explains. “I get everyone kind of feeling those feelings together when you play live and stuff, and I think that concept really appealed to me, especially being autistic and not really being able to communicate well with other people, especially communicate my emotions,” she says, “while with other people finding this alternative outlet where I can scream or do whatever I want and it’s really accepted and enjoyed.”

Annie’s neurodiversity does not hinder her live performances, but rather enhances them. Loki’s Folly’s loud, big sound provides her with a release from the stresses of her world. “I feel very free to be myself when I’m on stage,” she says. “I can stim and it’s just part of the show, and I can scream if the lights are bright, or things like that.”

Annie performing onstage with Loki's Folly at First Avenue
Annie performing onstage with Loki's Folly at First Avenue / Photo By Mika Larson

Sisu, released Feb. 21 via Kitten Robot Records, had been a work in progress for many years – some of its songs were originally recorded around 2017, with the rest from 2019 and on. It is an album that has literally grown up as the siblings have. “A lot of these songs were written during sleepovers in each other’s rooms, often while sharing new music with each other and dreaming about writing songs like the ones we would listen to,” Annie says.

Annie recording guitar at IPR Studio
Annie recording guitar for 'Sisu' at IPR Studio / Photo Courtesy of Loki's Folly

“Most of the songs have some sort of connection to outsider perspectives and trying to connect with the world in one way or another.” For example, the album opens with “The Love Song”, which is actually quite the opposite, establishing that the siblings will not tolerate any bullying: “I hate you / I hate everything you say and do”. Annie says she wrote the song “Appease the Girl” “about negative experiences in the education system, being autistic and having adults not believe me, and not really getting the support I need, which was frustrating, but very real and therapeutic to get to sing it out.”

“Beaches and Peaches” closes the album, “a song that began as goofing off during a practice session trying to rhyme different fruits and vegetables while slowly intermixing stronger feelings about the state of the world as we went along,” Annie says. “The song’s result felt like the perfect description of the uncertain and uncomfortable future that seems imminent. Maybe trying to bring some humor into the anxiety over things like climate change, politics and where humanity will be in the next number of years.”

Sisu’s songs are all must-listens, as they freely address the complexities of our society and modern adolescence. The word ‘Sisu’ itself is a Finnish word that translates to a general concept for “your inner strength, your ability to persevere, your strength to carry through,” Annie explains. “As soon as we were close to finishing the album, we realized it was the perfect description of both world and personal events, as well as a bit of a running theme in the songs on the album.”

For any other autistic people who want to pursue music, Annie shares: “I guess for me personally, I think part of what’s helped me succeed is finding those people that are willing to support and willing to help you, and really creating this space of a community that likes you and is happy to help you,” she says. “And also being unafraid of being yourself and letting people in a little bit.”

Annie putting on lipstick using a mirror Nissa is holding

Loki’s Folly has previously gone on tour, and often plays at local venues such as The Hook and Ladder and 7th Street Entry, hoping to go on more tours in the future. They are sure to go far. Learn more about the band here, and do yourself a favor and listen to their debut album, Sisu.

Alchemical Records contributor Emma Page

Emma Page

Emma Page, a recent Journalism graduate of The George Washington University, possesses a passion for music journalism and storytelling in all its forms. Originally from Baltimore, MD, when she is not writing, she can be found at a local concert or making music of her own.

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