Interview: Erik Ohlsson from ‘Millencolin’
Ready yourselves and prepare to stage dive ’cause Millencolin are coming back to Oz and bringing with them an album of absolute mayhem! We had a chat to the Swedish group’s guitarist Erik Ohlsson earlier in the week and spoke all things tour, Swedish music, and how to avoid killing your band mates.
Let’s talk ‘True Brew’. The full length album came out last year but last month you dropped an EP of the same title with two new songs on it and a Swedish version of the title track. Tell us a bit about the thought process behind that?
Confusing isn’t it! (laughs). But nah, we recorded those two songs at the same time we did the album and we always knew that they were two songs that wouldn’t make the album and that they would make up some sort of a B side. So we thought it was a good time to release them cause they were burning a hole in our hard-drives (laughs). But yeah we wanted to do something extra! We did the song Battery Check from ‘Home From Home’ in Swedish in 2002 or something and it became a really big song in Sweden so people have been asking us ever since “will you record another song in Swedish?” so we thought, to make this release just a little bit extra we’d rewrite the lyrics for True Brew and do it in Swedish as well.
Yeah awesome man! So in a way it was kind of a tribute to the origins of the band in a way!
So you said that the two new songs were recorded at the same time as the album, was there any particular reason they didn’t make the final cut?
Yeah they are the two worst songs (laughs). So we had all the songs then we made our own playlist with them and we got other people to listen to them and our management and stuff and we all agreed they just didn’t really fit. They were good contenders though! It wasn’t an obvious choice for the ‘worst songs’ so we’re still happy about the two songs.
And you’re hitting Aussie shores for a tour next month, it seems you guys are here almost every year which is awesome! What is it about Australia that keeps you guys coming back?
Yeah it almost does feel like we’re coming back every year (laughs). I’m not sure how many times we’ve toured Australia but I just realised that it’s our 20 year anniversary of touring Australia, cause 96’ was the first time we came over! Shows have always been so great and we love your country so of course we’re coming back!
Well you’re always welcome that’s for sure (laughs). Speaking of the 20 year anniversary, I read Millencolin has been a band since 1992, which I thought was amazing! To be a professional touring band for such an extended period of time, what’s the secret behind not just losing it and killing each other?
Yeah we’ve been close to killing each other a few times over the years (laughs), but I guess you learn each others pros and cons overtime. You know we’ve been a band for so long, we’ve done everything together from day one, it’s not just one guy doing everything, so we split all the work and profit so there’s no big egos or just one guy writing everything and getting all the royalties. So in doing that, we all start off on equal ground and I mean we’ve been friends for a really, really long time so over the years we’ve learnt how to turn the other cheek when one guy isn’t behaving himself cause then the next time you’re the asshole (laughs).
The last few times you’ve played stages here have been mainly festival vibes, with the likes of Soundwave last year and Warped tour a few years back, will it be a nice change to play an all club tour?
Well me personally, I love club tours, I think that’s the most fun way of performing shows. And I think the last time we did all club shows was back in 09’, which is like seven years! I mean stuff like Soundwave and that, that’s something we’ve done a lot so club tours in Australia are kind of like a new thing now for us so that’s going to be great! Much more intense and much closer contact to the audience.
Yeah! So is the close interaction and the intimacy of a club show what wins out over a festival? Is it easier to connect on a personal level at a club show compared to a festival in your eyes?
Yeah I mean of course! You always want to do a club tour on an album and I mean we did Soundwave, which was before the album was out so even though we played a few new songs at the time, this tour coming feels like the first official leg of the Australian tour for the album! We wanted to come sooner but problems with promoters and stuff halted it but now it’s time finally!
And the reaction to the tour has been unreal so far! I saw that Melbourne sold out and you guys had to add a second show due to more demand. It’s shaping up to be absolutely huge…
Yeah I mean we’re super stoked to have this response way before we come over and it just makes us even more excited to come down!
So what should Aussie fans expect with the greater intimacy of the club shows over the likes of the bigger festival runs?
Umm, there’s always just so much more energy when you’re playing club shows, you’re much closer to the crowd and it’s just like, this is how punk should be performed. I mean it’s great with festivals and all but you’re so far away from the crowd and you don’t have any personal contact with the people right up front and it’s almost like playing in front of a TV camera or something. But a sweaty, club tour is the real deal for us!
Millencolin will return to Australian shores in late April bringing their classic skate punk vibes and a show not to be missed. Check out the tour dates below!
Millencolin Australian Tour
TUE 26 APR
THU 28 APR
FRI 29 APR
SAT 30 APR
Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta
SUN 1 MAY
The Tivoli, Brisbane
MON 2 MAY
170 Russell, Melbourne
TUES 3 MAY
170 Russell, Melbourne (SOLD OUT)
Get Tickets HERE