Universal - Volbeat's Michael Poulsen discusses the impact guitarist/producer Rob…
- Posted on Mar 16th 2010 10:04AM by S. Carrie Dickerson
Describe your sound in your own words.
As a band we have recently come up with the title of our genre. First of all, our genre is called trans-genre because we kind of get into several different genres, but several times we've call our music "shredding at the club." Our music a lot of club beats elements and guitar work. I guess we think of our music as really queer positive and queer party dance music pop.
How did your band form?
MEN actually started as a DJ remix production duo that was comprised of myself and Johanna Fateman, who was also in Le Tigre [with me]. And our project started writing original music quickly after we decided to start DJing and doing production together. So we wrote original music and at the same time I had been working on a project with some friends of mine. Johanna got pregnant, so we all joined forces and created a project all together under the name MEN. Johanna still does production collaborations with us still.
What are your musical influences?
Well, I've always written programmed beats. My specialty is programming so I'm really influenced by my friends who are doing programming in a new and interesting way. I really love bands who create dance music with melodies. But I'm also really inspired by people like Joan Armatrading, and post-punk bands like the Bush Tetras, and people who basically work outside of a specific genre and like bringing a lot of things together and aren't super crazy about making everything perfect. I'm really interested in making new things happen. The birth of a new genre -- that's what inspires me the most. I think specifically Joan Armatrading inspires me in her vocal melodies and her rhythmic vocals, that's something that's really exciting to me when I listen to it
How did you come up with your band name?
When Johanna and I had started the project together, we didn't have a name and we decided it would make sense for us to have a name instead of "JD and Jo from Le Tigre." We were in an airport in Wisconsin trying to come up with names, and earlier in the day Johanna had told me about an interesting kind of philosophy of living that she had started living by, which was called "What would a man do?" And it was [a] confidence-boosting way to be in the industry as a woman and kind of demand what you deserve, which is basically equality in every sense. We had been playing a lot of DJ gigs, where obviously men were the norm in terms of what other people/promoters had brought in. We felt at times really mistreated, we didn't feel what we got what we deserved. Johanna started this new philosophy of life, so when we tried to pick out a name for a project, I was like "let's call it MEN. We can get what a man gets! We don't have to apologize all the time."
So the band MEN is mostly female?
Well, nowadays, I think the name means a lot more even. We are really interested in kind of making sure that we represent a fluidity of gender. There isn't a duality of male and female in terms of gender expression, and I think we are kind of here trying to teach people and open people minds to [that]. Who really is a man anyways? We can all be whatever we want to be.
Have you ever been to Texas?
Yes. I've been to Texas a bunch with my [other bands]. I did a tour with Peaches and we were in Austin, but MEN have played in Austin twice. We played once at the Beauty Bar, and we played there with Peaches and Butthole Surfers at Stubb's.
What other bands have you been in?
[Jo and I] both were in Le Tigre, and that's the only band that Jo's been in that put out any records. I was also in a band called New England Roses with some friends of mine, which was like a really small thing, but it was a really fun project. And I was in Peaches live show. I mean I played keyboards and samples and stuff for a yearlong tour, so that was really awesome. And then I started MEN. So, that's my history.
What instruments do you play now?
MEN is a totally live now. It started as a DJ project, but now it's totally live. We have two guitars in the band. Ginger Brooks Takahashi is the guitarist, and Michael O'Neal is the guitar, and I play keys and I sing. The only thing that isn't live are the drums.
What's your biggest vice?
My greatest vice as a person is probably, working too much and not really spending much time relaxing. I'm a workaholic, I guess. And as a band, I think we tend to spend a lot of time over-thinking things instead of just being, having an idea and going with it. We tend to spend hours debating.
Do you have any advice for artists or musicians?
I guess my advice to people who are making music is to break the rules and have fun and not worry about anything. I guess my best advice for living is to work really hard, try your best, and be really, really kind.
What's in your festival survival kit?
When we're on tour, we have this thing called Space Cleanser which is this really amazing spray you can get Whole Foods or something, and it has lavender and a bunch of essences in it, and it really clears the air of crazy emotional feelings. It just also makes you feel really refreshed. So that's one thing. We're also really into Purell and making sure we don't get any germs on our hands. We like to go to really good restaurants so we're always searching for wherever we are on tour to make sure we're eating the most delicious thing we can. We're all kind of foodies, so we want to try everything. So we're into eating crazy.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Well, we're really into the classic lesbian songs by the Indigo Girls and like that. Pretty much anything super gay, we love it. It's our most favorite thing in the entire world, no matter how cheesy or poppy it is. I guess we don't feel guilty about listening to it, because we're really into it, but some people might thing it's really lame. Also, me and my bandmate Michael went to see a Phish show this year because I didn't even think I was going to see Phish, but it was amazing, and I thought it was one of the best shows I've seen in a really long time. That's definitely one for us. Except for Ginger would be mad because she doesn't like Phish.
Beatles or Stones?
I think we would say Beatles actually.
S. Carrie Dickerson is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.