VOLBEAT - Interview with Rob Caggiano


Interview with VOLBEAT guitarist Rob Caggiano on the occasion of the concert in the Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria, on November 2nd 2016. Thanks go to Bence Thoroczkay from Universal Music for making this interview possible. (Images, interview and transcription by Tamas Künsztler)




Rob, welcome to Vienna. Did you had any chance to walk through the city today?


Not yet. Soon as this interview is over I go outside.  I know, the weather is shitty,  but I love Vienna.  I’ve been here many times.


So you have a new album.  It’s the sixth album so far,  called „Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie“.  So how was the recording process for it? What were your parts to record? What was your influence into this album?


Well, I start with the fact, before we even stepped into the studio, we spent a lot of time in our rehearsal room in Copenhagen. Really going through the songs, the structures and the arrangements.  Just trying to figure out, which songs are going to make it on the record. Some songs come together really easily, some songs take forever. They are like pain in the ass. But a lot of time it’s worth it. You spend a lot of time on different songs and the song kind of envolves and changes over a period of time, and at the end you hope you have something that’s really great and you are proud of it. But sometimes, the song never comes together.


I mean, they are quiet a few songs on the album. I believe 16 or 17 on the deluxe version.


Yeah, basically we were very well prepared before we went into the studio. So the recording process was pretty easy.



What kind of equipment did you use, in terms of guitars and amps?


We started recording in Jacob Hansen’s studio in Denmark. Obviously, we have our own amps,  John has his own drum set, which he loves. So our main gear was all from us and it’s the same which we use live. Of course, we tried different microphones and different things here and there, mic presets and so on. Jacob’s got some nice and cool mic presets. So we did the initial recording phase, I call it phase one, at Jacob’s place, and then we kind of split up and we went into another studio down the road, called Loom Guard Studios. Very nice, beautiful studio. So I set up there and continued on with the overdubs and solos, acoustic guitar parts, percussion,  you know, stuff like that. And then we kind of just went back and forth with the files.


In terms of solos and regarding the songwriting process. How much influence do you have into it, since I believe that Michael is doing more or less the main stuff.  How much does he let you get your influence into it?


Well, I mean quiet a bit actually!  Their are a few songs on this record which we collaborated and worked on together.  And they came out great! As far as my solos and overdubs, I wrote all them myself.  That’s all me.



I believe in 2013, so before you joined the band, you produced their album with them?

"Outlaw Gentleman & Shady Ladies"?


Yes exactly that one!

Yeah, I mean, I produced the album, but I also joined the band right in two weeks into the process.


Very nice! So that went quite fast. Regarding your musical style with VOLBEAT. On the new album,  especially the song "Gates of Babylon", the chorus catched me with some pop influences. So nearly going into, I wouldn’t call it mainstream, but close to this stuff. Is it on purpose to go into this direction, or is it something which came just right through the song writing process?


Yeah, I just came, it just felt right. It’s just kind of happened and it works really well. I think that’s all.

Do you have any goals which you want to reach with this style of music?


You know, we just work on songs, we just put songs together.  We just make them so that we are proud of them and that we like them.  That’s really the only thing which we can think about it.  We can’t think about a formula or something like that, or trying to please other people. We as a band have to feel strong about our songs, we need to be happy about what we are creating. And then, if the fans and the public like it in general, of course, that’s amazing. That’s a bonus. And we are very lucky in that sense I guess.


It went well for sure.

Yeah it did! (laughs)



You are now part of VOLBEAT since 2013.  Before, you have been member of ANTHRAX. How did this change came, to join VOLBEAT and leave ANTHRAX?

Well, I was friend of VOLBEAT for a while. Since 2010,  I had another band called THE DAMN THINGS, with some guys from ANTHRAX and FALL OUT BOY.  We put a record out with that formation. When it was time to hit the road, VOLBEAT was kind enough to take us out as the opening act. That’s where I met the guys and we became friends, which hit that off in general.  Every night, we went out and played a Misfits song.  For me, it was a blast.  It felt really good to jam with this guys on stage, you know. We talked back then about the possibility of me going into studio with VOLBEAT. You know, talking about producing a song or two, or even a record, we didn’t know. But yeah, it definitely seemed like a very cool idea, but at the same time also really far-fetched, because of our schedules. They live in Denmark, I live in New York...  the whole thing seemed a bit complicated. But a few years after that I decided to have a change from Anthrax .  I needed to do something different. So yeah, I left the band and coincidently Volbeat was just about to go into the studio... Everything was kind of the right place to the right time, I guess. Michael called me up to see if I am still interested in producing VOLBEAT.  And of course, I was interested.  We got together a few days later in Copenhagen and just fucking hit it off. That was it.


It looks like you are happy with this situation.

Yeah. (laughs)


Since you have that much experience with different bands, what would you recommend for a musician or a band in the early stages?  What advice can you give them to become successful?

You got to make sure your heart is in the right place and you are doing this for all of the right reasons. Since it’s really difficult, and it’s getting even more difficult out there to be a musician. Yeah,  at the end of the day you need to be a certain type of person to do this. For me, I don’t have a choice it’s, in my blood. This is what I am. I don’t even know what the fuck I would do without the music (laughs).


So that’s how you got to be,  to go after this, to be successful. And of course, musically  keep holding your craft and keep writing and getting better in what you do, like your instrument,  or vocals, or what ever it is. And always collaborate! You know, one of the cool things about music for me was always collaborating with different artists and different people.  I am a record producer, so I worked with a lot of different musicians over the years and I learned from every one of those experiences.  It made me a better musician overall.  So yeah, I would say,  just be receptive to different stuff and don’t be close minded.




Do you have any specific plans with Volbeat for the near future? Something special?


Yeah, WORLD DOMINATION! (laughs)


Excellent! (laughs)


Yeah, I mean, we are going to be out touring for a while. Our record just came out not too long ago. So yeah, we are out there working.


Thank you very much for this interview!

You got it!



(Pictures by Tamás Künsztler Photography)