Interview: Millencolin, Live Music Hall (Köln)6. Mai 2015
Erik – Guitar
Lest We Forget: Back in the days you sent your second demo tape to Burning Heart Records and directly got signed and you’re still there till today. Do you think it was easier for bands that time or were you just lucky ?
Erik: That was so way back and we all had bands before Millencolin which were kind of big in the underground scene. I made a fanzine myself and we were sending demo tapes to everybody. We were already big names in the underground scene with demo tapes, fanzines and stuff. When we started with Millencolin we already hat the contacts in the underground scene. It was just the right time and everything. Getting a record contract back then was just so low-budged. Burning Heart was just one guy. It wasn’t a big thing. Then we grew together over the years. Burning Heart was bought by Epitaph and ran along. Burning Heart is still around and it’s still the same guy who signed us, but we have nothing to do with Burning Heart anymore.
Lest We Forget: Every year you and the City of Örebro give away the Millencolin Music prize for young bands or musicians. Isn’t it hard sometimes to choose who’s going to get the prize?
Erik: It’s really really hard. It’s hard since we’re doing it every year, that there are not so many bands who’re popping up. But there is some democracy in the whole thing because people giving us names. They can e-mail us who should win it and then we pick some bands from there. We do this for 8 years now and our hometown is not a big city, so it isn’t that hard to earn this prize.
Lest We Forget: Between the years 1993 and 2002 you released new albums and eps within every two years. But after that, you just released three new albums until now. Did you slow down with producing new music because of Nikolas solo albums and tours?
Erik: We toured so much during the 90’s, we were on the road the whole time. When you’re coming back to the same city for the 10th time it’s not the same thing anymore. We had to slow down. It’s even a long time to be together for a band for 10 years. I needed to explore myself in the graphic design stuff and Nikola had more acoustic ideas which wouldn’t have fit for Millencolin. So everybody had their side projects. That was really good for Millencolin because otherwise we would probably have finished the band.
Lest We Forget: Do you think this solo-projects kind of divided you as a band?
Erik: No, not really. Some people thought that it would but it didn’t effect Millencolin at all. I think it was fun for him to do something different. It’s really good that everyone had other stuff to focus about. And I think we also know how much we love each other because when you’re away from each other, you miss each other. We’re like brothers now.
Lest We Forget: Nearly 23 years passed since you started. How do you succeed with the band’s sound without changing it with every new trend in this music scene and still stay true to your sound?
Erik: It’s important to not follow trends I think. If you do follow trends, then you’re always some years behind this trend. It’s more important that you do what you really like. Especially for our new album, we looked back to what our influences were back in the days. We don’t care if it’s popular or not. I think following trends in music is not good. You should start trends instead.
Lest We Forget: If a band member would leave the band, would you continue making music with this band and a new band member or would it be too hard to introduce someone new in this band?
Erik: Hard question because we’ve never been in that situation. I don’t know. Right now, it feels like the four of us is Millencolin. You can’t take one of us away, it would be so weird. Maybe we would try it, but it probably wouldn’t be the same.
Lest We Forget: With about ten released albums until now, you have a big assortment of songs. Isn’t it hard to just pick few of them for your set lists?
Erik: It absolutely is. We kind of know which songs are the most popular songs, so we always pick some of those, they are always in our sets. Right now, we’ve released a new album and got 13 new songs in it, so we play five of our new songs this tour. Then we pick up some older songs we haven’t played for a while. Before this tour, we had an 20 years anniversary Festival in our hometown. It was a two days festival and we ended every night, like headlining. We did 25 songs the first night and 25 the next night, so we ended up with 50 different songs. We had like 140 to choose from. When we were down for about 80 songs, it became hard to choose. But is was fun to rehearse those songs.
Lest We Forget: And are there some songs you’d never put on one of our set lists?
Erik: Of course. I can’t name one right now but there are some songs which we never gonna play live.
Lest We Forget: Oh, but why?
Erik: We don’t like the songs.
Lest We Forget: But you wrote them!
Erik: When you write it, it’s something completely different than when it’s actually recorded and out on a record. Sometimes you think this is the best song you’ve ever wrote but when we finish the song on the record we just realize that we don’t like it anymore. But we’re actually pretty satisfied with all of our songs on the new album.
Lest We Forget: Which song is your most played live song?
Erik: Over the years, it would probably Mr. Clean.
Lest We Forget: You look unhappy while saying this?
Erik: Oh no, I wrote that song too. It’s just, I could wake up at 3 in the morning at any day and I could play this song. Even in my sleep.
Lest We Forget: Do you choose the songs you put on your set list by yourself or who have the last word over it?
Erik: It’s all us. Mathias has taken up this job. He always write the set lists down and we say what we think about it.
Lest We Forget: If you had a theme song that played every time you walk into a room, which song would it be?
Erik: That’s hard one.. It depends on the mood. It would be so annoying to have the same song all over again. It had to different songs for different moods I think.
THIS OR THAT
Festival or club
Erik: Club. I just realized that because we were in Australia before and we’ve been on so many festivals the last 4 years and had nearly no club shows. It’s great with festivals but then we went to Australia and did the soundwave festival which is like 4 festival gigs and 2 club shows in between, so we did these festival shows which were great but then we had this super club show in Melbourne. We had the crowd in front of us, and a great sound. The sound at a huge stage is always everywhere and we even can’t hear the actual drums, we just hear the speakers I like that small, dark, sweaty club shows.
Day or night
Erik: Day! Night is just boring. But it depends also, like when I‘ sitting at home, doing Artwork and stuff, being awake the whole night and doing some stuff and not getting interrupted it’s really nice too, but I like the sun, so I say daytime.
Apple or Android
Erik: Apple. I’ve never owned a PC or an Android product. I got my first Macintosh back in 1989 because I’m a graphic designer and we used that software. For years, the people were like What, you’re using a Macintosh?! Every design thing you see from Millencolin is done on my mac. When the IPhone came out I used it way before.
Sand or snow
Erik: Sand. I’m not a big fan of snow. I’ve got a house and there is a road to the house. In Sweden we got very much snow and those days are not fun. I got a snow thrower because the guy I bought the house from told me to by a snow thrower. It’s insane, this wet snow is so heavy.
Tea or coffee
Erik: Coffee! I can’t wake up without coffee.
CD or download
Erik: These days, I must say streaming. It’s hard because since I’m doing the CD covers I like to have a solid product but to be honest I haven’t bought a CD for a long time. I’d hate if all the CD’s would go away. But there are not many places you can go and by a CD in my hometown.