"Reading the lyrics made me rewind and go back to my own childhood" - Volbeat's Michael Poulsen talks new album Rewind, Replay, Rebound
Danish metal types Volbeat have carved out a niche all of their own, with their mix of rock and roll, heavy metal and rockabilly.
It's seen them move from eccentric oddballs and into a group who shift records in the hundreds of thousands and fill arenas all over the world.
They return this week with Rewind, Replay, Rebound, their seventh studio album and the follow-up to 2016's wonderfully named Seal The Deal & Let's Boogie.
Recorded with long-time collaborator Jacob Hansen, the album marks the debut of new bassist Kaspar Boye Larsen as well as featuring guest spots from Slayer guitarist Gary Holt and Clutch frontman Neil Fallon.
With the album now on shelves, we spoke to Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen about how they put it all together...
When did you start work on the songs for the new album?
"I think a little bit before we went on the Metallica tour in 2017."
How did you want this album to move on from what you did on Seal The Deal & Let's Boogie?
"I don’t want the record to move away from anything, because that’s not how I think. When I am writing, I’m just writing. But I still like to come up with stuff that we haven’t done before while at the same time keeping our signature sound."
You worked with Jacob Hansen once again, what is it about him that keeps you coming back?
"First of all, he’s a sweetheart, but most importantly he’s a good producer. He’s a great guy to work with. It’s just like going out and finding the girlfriend or your best friend. It’s not easy to find the producer. There are a lot of good producers out there but you also have to be able to work with them and be on the level where the producer understands the band and the band understands the producer. It’s really magical. I’ve known Jacob for many years, even before I was in Volbeat."
"We shared a stage in many places in Denmark when he was active in Invocator and I was active in Dominus. I’ve always liked Jacob, he actually recorded the 2nd demo of Volbeat and we found very easy chemistry that worked out really well. We found a way each time that we came back that we could move forward and he saw us progressing and getting better at everything we were doing, and the same thing with Jacob. So, it’s just like a hand that fits a glove. I can really just make it very simple and say it just works with Jacob."
This is your first album with Kaspar on bass, what did he bring to the writing and recording process?
"It’s a little bit the kind of situation as I was talking about with Jacob Hansen, as I’ve known Kaspar for many years and always liked the guy. It’s not only about being a great bass player because you know that really helps and what is what is needed, but also about being a bass player who understands the Volbeat music and the structure. Someone who understands the life of being on the road and being a good guy."
"He really is all of those things and that’s a part of why I really like him. He’s really dedicated to things he likes in the music scene and he brings ideas into his playing that is very inventive. Which can only be done by a guy who knows what he’s doing, and he does know what he’s doing. He has a certain idea of how he wants his playing to sound which benefits the music and makes it more catchy. He’s a great human being, a lot of fun and his good mood is always inspiring."
Neil Fallon makes a memorable guest appearance on ‘Die To Live’, how did that collaboration come about?
"When I wrote 'Die to Live' one thing I wanted was a piano player and a saxophone player and I was so lucky that the guys from the JD McPherson Band wanted to do that and they did that perfectly. I wanted it to sound like Jerry Lee Lewis and the saxophone sound you hear in Little Richard’s music, they really nailed it."
"When I listened to the song I decided I wanted another voice in the mix that wasn’t just mine and I always loved Neil Fallon’s voice from Clutch, I’m a big fan of them. I presented the song to Neil and he loved it and he was really excited about the JD McPherson Band also being a part of it. Neil nailed it."
Gary Holt’s on there too, that must have been a fun day in the studio?
"Gary Holt is on a song called 'Cheapside Sloggers'. It was one of the last songs we recorded for the album. Rob Caggiano, our lead guitar player, was already back in the US working and we wanted to do something different with that track. We started talking about who we should bring in and I always was a big fan of Gary Holt."
"He is such a sweetheart and I love Exodus, love what he’s doing in Slayer and he’s always been supportive of Volbeat. It became a no brainer. We contacted him and he was totally into it and it worked out great, he nailed it too!"
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"It’s not really a theme, but when it comes to the lyrics and the music it takes me back to my childhood, back to what I was listening to when I was younger. It could probably take the listeners back too. It also takes us back to some of the early Volbeat stuff that we are replaying in 2019 to make it stronger and that’s where we Rebound."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right? And which came together most quickly?
"I don’t remember anymore, it is one big blur! There are always certain people that you have to wait for and let me put it like that. In terms of coming together quickly, it was probably 'Parasite'."
When did you decide on Rewind, Replay, Rebound for the album title? Were any other titles in contention?
"There are always a bunch of different titles for each album. You go through the writing process and suddenly the name you thought made sense doesn’t anymore. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t pick a title before all the material is written. That’s what I did this time, I saw a red line where we were being inspired by our own back catalogue but replaying it to make it sound newer and to make it stronger."
"Reading the lyrics made me rewind and go back to my own childhood and suddenly you can replay that in your mind which made it not so tough to make the album title."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We're still working on it. We are out in the US with Slipknot right now and we come back to the UK and Europe from September for a major headline tour. We've got Baroness and Danko Jones as support for the UK dates, it should be a blast!"
You’ve got seven records now, how will you decide what makes it into your live set?
"First of all, it has to be fun to play live and the songs have to work live. Certain songs work better on the record and also certain songs are really great live that you wouldn’t have thought would be. We try to blend songs from every album we have done so far and it works out great!"
Volbeat's new album Rewind, Replay, Rebound is out now in hmv stores.