VOLBEAT Drummer On Songwriting Process: 'Whatever You Do, It Has To Be Natural'

December 8, 2021

In a new interview with Germany's Rock Antenne, VOLBEAT drummer Jon Larsen was asked if he and his bandmates ever write music with the goal of reaching Number One on the charts. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "No. We've never really thought about this stuff, going, 'Oh, yeah, we need to do something that takes it to Number One or something like that. Of course, there are certain songs when we have done the songs where Michael [Poulsen, VOLBEAT frontman and main songwriter] would say, 'I think this one is a single for,' let's say, 'the Danish market' or 'This could be a single for the U.S. market,' but it's not like that we are making the songs to say, 'Okay, we have to do something so we can make sure that it will go to Number One,' let's say, 'in Germany' or 'This has to be for the American market' or stuff like that. We have never worked like that. And in all honesty, I don't think you can work like that for 20 years. I mean, you can probably do it in the pop genre — there's probably some formulas where you know if you put this type of beat to it and we add this element, yes, then it will probably be Number One. And it probably will for maybe six months and then people have forgotten about it. But I guess for rock in general or metal, I don't think you can work that way. Whatever you do, it has to be natural. As soon as you try to force something on people, then I'm pretty sure — that's my conviction — then it won't work; people will discover it and say, 'No, this is not really what they are all about.' And for us, the songs that come out come out the way they are. And as long as people like it, great. I'm sure when the day comes when people say, 'Okay, we've had enough of you guys,' then it's over."

VOLBEAT's eighth studio album, "Servant Of The Mind", was released on December 3 via Republic Records. The LP was written and recorded during the shutdown and quarantine necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Servant Of The Mind" includes the "double barrel" of summer songs the band released this past June: "Wait A Minute My Girl" and "Dagen Før" (featuring Stine Bramsen),the former of which became the band's ninth number one single on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

VOLBEAT has racked up nearly three billion cumulative streams over the course of its career, notched a "Best Metal Performance" Grammy nomination for "Room 24" (featuring King Diamond) from 2014's acclaimed (and gold-selling) "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies", and has grabbed multiple Danish Music Awards.

Since forming in 2001, VOLBEAT has gone from the clubs of Copenhagen to headlining stages around the world, including the famed Telia Parken stadium in Denmark (becoming the only domestic artist to ever sell out the venue). Over the course of seven record-breaking albums the band has picked up number one songs (including nine No. 1s on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart and counting, the most of any band based outside of North America),multi-platinum certifications, awards and accolades all over the planet. Most recently, they contributed a cover of "Don't Tread On Me" to "The Metallica Blacklist", with all proceeds from the track benefiting METALLICA's All Within My Hands foundation and the Børne Cancer Fonden of Denmark.

VOLBEAT consists of Michael Poulsen (guitars/vocals),Jon Larsen (drums),Rob Caggiano (guitars) and Kaspar Boye Larsen (bass).

Photo credit: Ross Halfin

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