Danish rockers Volbeat are primed and ready for this month’s UK headline tour following a run of ear-bleeding Knotfest shows. Simon Rushworth caught up with bass player Kaspar Boye Larsen.

Rushonrock: You’ve just come off a monster run of Knotfest shows in the US. How did the Maggots respond to your shows?

Kaspar Boye Larsen: Pretty good, actually. We feared tomatoes and bottles being thrown at us, but instead there was a lot of singing along and even some mosh pits, maybe the break from blastbeats turned out okay!

Rushonrock: Did you see it as a challenge lining up alongside two metal heavyweights in Slipknot and Behemoth?

KBL: We definitely were the odd one out, and we were, as always when we’re playing shows and festivals among super heavy bands, a little insecure about the setlist, but again we ended up playing a typical Volbeat set. You gotta do what feels the best and most natural for you, otherwise the audience will notice you’re faking it instantly.

Rushonrock: What was the best experience during the two-month Knotfest run?

KBL: To see killer sets from Behemoth, Gojira, and Slipknot every day was definitely a great experience, but also getting to know new people and meeting up with old friends is always cool!

Rushonrock: You’re switching up from support to headline act for the European tour – are you relishing the elevation in status?

KBL: Indeed, it’s something different to headline for sure. To be able to play a full set on your own stage is awesome. We have played a thousand support gigs and it’s great and we love it, but to headline is fun in a different way.

Rushonrock: Given that you’ve been out on the road would you say you’re in perfect shape to lay waste to the UK later this month?

KBL: We’ve already been on two US/Canada tours this year so I would say we’re in pretty good shape but we have not played the new songs much, so these shows will be a first for a lot of them…

Rushonrock: And you’re bringing the brilliant Baroness and Danko Jones along for the ride – what do you like about both bands?

KBL: I love the raw energy and great songwriting of both bands. Danko is high energy rock’n’roll with a touch of punk, right up my alley. And I really like how Baroness has developed their sound on their new album, still heavy but with a focus on melodies, can’t wait to hear them live.

Rushonrock: Just like the Slipknot package, it’s an eclectic line-up – are Volbeat perfectly positioned to play with anyone, anytime?

KBL: I think we would fit the bill for most shows out there. We have played with a lot of heavy bands, but I think it could be fun to play with some ‘alternative’ indie kind of bands. I would personally love to play with the likes of Weezer and Joyce Manor.

Rushonrock: Is the fact that fans and critics alike find it difficult to categorize Volbeat a help or a hindrance?

KBL: A little of both I think. Some people seem to believe that we were once a heavy metal band because of double kicks and downtuned guitars when, in fact, we always were a rock’n’roll band with a metal inspiration, and still are, though we try to incorporate other genres as well.

Beat That

Rushonrock: On latest album Rewind, Replay, Rebound you’re as ambitious and bold as ever – what do you love most about the new record?

KBL: The diversity of the songs, we tried to do something we hadn’t done before, some songs are more obvious than others – there’s no point in doing what you have done before.

Rushonrock: Thrash metal legend Gary Holt pops up on Cheapside Sloggers (a brilliant collaboration and even better title!) – why Gary and how did his involvement come about?

KBL: The other guys know Gary from way back and we always dreamt of collaborating with him on a song and it seemed the perfect riff for him, so we wrote to him and he was pleased to do it!

Rushonrock: And Neil Fallon makes his presence felt on Die To Live – did you ever dream of featuring Clutch’s frontman and a saxophone in the same Volbeat song?

KBL: Personally, no! But in the studio it felt like the natural choice, it would never had become such a great song without these guys.

Rushonrock: Seven albums in what more can Volbeat achieve? Is there plenty of life left yet in a band that defies convention and loves taking risks?

KBL: We have so many ideas and songs we need to write, new places to play, other bands to play with, we are just getting started.

Rushonrock: You’re kicking off the UK tour in Newcastle – given the choice of meeting one of the city’s most famous sons would you choose A. Brian Johnson B. Sting C. Sam Fender…and why?

KBL: A legend like Brian Johnson would be awesome to meet and I could imagine he had a lot of stories to tell. Same thing with Sting – sure he could teach me a few tricks on the bass. But I would love to meet Andrew M McKenzie from The Hafler Trio – that’s interesting and challenging music right there and he’s from Newcastle too!

Volbeat kick off their UK tour at Newcastle O2 Academy on September 23. For a full list of dates visit www.volbeat.dk

Images by Ross Halfin