Volbeat Talk Metallica’s “Orion Music Festival” and New Music - Interview

Volbeat is probably the band I’ve been asked the most about over the last couple of years. Their popularity seems to be spreading very fast. This is in large part due to Metallica taking them out on the road and if you can hang with Metallica, then you can hang with anybody and they did just that when I saw them opening for Megadeth and Motorhead. Check out my interview with Volbeat below.

 Listen to it here:


 Z!: Thanks for taking the time to do this with us.

 V: That’s okay.

 Z!: Right now you’re in the middle of your North American Tour with Hell Yeah and Iced Earth. How is that tour going so far and what can fans expect from the show?

 V: I think it’s been going pretty good so far. This is only our fifth show on the tour, but definitely so far I think it’s been pretty good. I mean, you got three different type sounding bands performing under the same bill and we have an opening band as well so essentially four bands.

 Z!: Cool. Your guys’ music has rapidly spread internationally; you guys have been together for a while. What is the transition to international success been like? Has it been hard to wrap your head around?

 V: Well I don’t know. It’s pretty hard to say actually. Success is success I guess no matter how you see it actually.

 Z!: You guys are going to play the Orion Music Festival tomorrow which is Metallica’s festival, how excited are you for that and what has Metallica meant to your career?

 V: Well of course we’re pretty excited. I mean, we were invited by Metallica and you don’t really say no to those guys. As everybody knows we toured with them a few years ago in America and in Europe as well so of course they have definitely helped opening a few doors here in America because when we toured with them it was big indoor arenas in the whole of America so of course we were exposed to a lot of people who might have heard the band, but had definitely not seen the band before, or maybe had heard the name but didn’t know who it was so of course that has helped a lot.

 Z!: Metallica has a very loyal and very stubborn fan base. I saw you guys live on the Gigantour tour with Motorhead and Megadeth and they have a very loyal and stubborn fan base, but you guys managed to win over the entire audience. What is your preshow preparation and does it change depending on who you’re playing with, whether you’re headlining, etc?

 V: Actually we don’t really change anything except maybe change a few songs here and there, but we basically go out and do the same thing no matter if we’re headlining or we’re supporting like you said Metallica or supporting Megadeth and Motorhead, we just do what we do you know? And it seems like we must be doing something right because a lot of people seem to like we do.

 Z!: You had mentioned earlier that touring with Metallica got people to know your music, not just your name, I was one of the guys who knew your name, but hadn’t really heard you, and when I saw you at the Gigantour tour in Chicago, I believe you played like a Johnny Cash or a Johnny Cash sounding song, and then later you went into a note for note version of “Raining Blood” by Slayer. What influences your band’s sound?

 V: Our influences are basically what we grew up on. Michael grew up on stuff like Elvis and Johnny Cash. I grew up on the Beatles and the Stones, stuff like that, and of course we were both in the Danish death metal scene way back then in the late 80’s, early 90’s, and of course again bands like Motorhead, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, whatever, made and have become influences for us as well so we just decided let’s put everything together that we like and try and see how it goes, and a lot of people seemed to, fortunately for us, be picking up on it and think that it’s a great idea that we had, but we just basically went out and played what we wanted to play and so yeah of course we have the song that kind of simulates Johnny Cash, but it’s not a Johnny Cash song, a lot of people think that, but it’s not. And yeah of course you can hear the Metallica influences here and there, you can probably hear a bit of Slayer here and there, and the “Raining Blood” thing, well we had done that for years and years and years and it’s not that we’re making fun of it, on the contrary and we just think it’s a great way to end our show actually by pounding that “Raining Blood” thing, and everybody knows “Raining Blood.” 

Z!: That was amazing. Even at that show, everybody I had talked to, and I didn’t talk to everybody, and I was there covering Megadeath, but they were like oh we’re here to see Volbeat. You guys have really, people I’ve talked to here in my home town, they’re like have you heard Volbeat? They’re one of my new favorite bands. I mean what is your writing process like to get the sound that you have?

 V: Well, like I said in the beginning. We just basically, Michael threw everything inside a huge pot and stirred it around so we had punkish kind of sound in one sound and the sound of Black Sabbath to an Elvis song, but again it was just like you know we play what we feel like playing, we play what we want to play, and it’s basically the same thing now. Michael has perhaps a bit more clear vision of what he wants from the harmony, but we still blend in everything. We still do some more full on metal songs. We still do a bit more punkish kind of songs, a bit more country influences; it hasn’t really changed at all.

Z!: You’re most recent album came out in 2010, when can we expect more music from Volbeat? 

V: Well if everything goes to plan, we should hopefully enter the studio late this year around November to record the new album so hopefully at the beginning of next year, don’t really know when, but early next year hopefully there will be a new album out.

 Z!: Cool. Who are some of the bands you’re listening to today?

 V: Let’s see what are we listening to today. Well we are four very different people so we are listening to different stuff. Well the other day I was listening to King Diamond most of the day actually. What else. I mean, Michael was really up listening to Ghost a little while ago, he got a great kick out of listening to Ghost actually. It kind of depends and it’s different you know, but we listen to almost everything.

 Z!: You guys have been around since what like early 2000? What’s kept you going to make it to this level?

 V: Well what keeps us going? I guess dedication, the love of playing music, stubbornness I guess is also another thing, and we could see things progressing after the first two years. We could see things starting to progress slowly and since now we can pull in maybe 50 people, 100 people, let’s see if we can pull in 200 people, so we just kept going and going and going and that’s what we still do actually, but of course it’s a love of playing the music, a love of playing live, and possibly still a bit of stubbornness. We refuse to lay down and die.

 Z!: The music industry has torn several bands apart just on the business side of the things. How do you keep the business and the creative separate?

 V: Well we have people to take care of the business actually so we can kind of concentrate on just playing, but of course Michael is in on the business thing as well. It is his band, it is his dream and his life actually, but of course we have people to take care of the business side.

 Z!: What advice would you have for a young band starting up on how to create a successful career? Not necessarily as successful, but a career in music?

 V: Well what to say about that. I guess you have to believe in what you do. You have to have your heart with you and just don’t take no for an answer. Keep going and just enjoy you do and hopefully you can make something out of it.

 Z!: Cool. Thanks so much for taking the time. That’s all I had. I really enjoyed your guys live show and I enjoy your music. Good luck with the rest of the tour and the show tomorrow night.

 V: Thank you so much.

 BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.
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