It’s been four years since the Swedish punks Millencolin have put out a proper record, so the sudden re-release of The Melancholy Connection, complete with several unreleased tracks and a DVD, was unexpected but certainly wholly appreciated.
In an interview recently, guitarist Erik Ohlsson spoke about the four years gap between releases and mentioned that they will only be playing two shows this year. But fear not, Millencolin is not going away, and plan to start work on a new full-length soon. First off though, they will be celebrating the band’s 20th anniversary.
Grab some Swedish meatballs, and let’s catch up with everyone’s favorite Swedish punk rockers.
Innocent Words: What made you decide to release this album now?
Erik Ohlsson: We just finished a 10-year anniversary tour of our album Pennybridge Pioneers, which turned out to be way longer than we expected. The tour was awesome, but really we felt that we had to record some new stuff. We weren’t ready for a full new album though. Our first single compilation, The Melancholy Collection, was released just before Pennybridge back in ’99, and we knew that all the b-sides since then should add up to a new CD in length. A couple of new songs, the b-sides and a film about Pennybride Pioneers felt like perfect product to release now. We named it The Melancholy Connection as a reference to our first collection.
IW: In pulling this collection together, did you come across any songs you had forgotten about?
Ohlsson: I kind of remembered all the songs, but it was still fun to look them up and listen to them for the first time in a long time. Some of them are really good songs, which I can’t remember why we decided they wouldn’t make it onto the albums.
IW: What can you tell me about the DVD that comes along with these songs?
Ohlsson: It’s a 90-minute film I made based on footage we shot ourselves using DV-cameras in the studio from the Pennybridge Pioneers recording. The five hours of footage have never been shown before and just been archived in a box full of dv tapes in my studio. The hard part was to make some sort of story out of the random clips shot with no real intention of making a movie based on that. I mixed it up with new live footage from the anniversary tour and interviews. I think it will be really cool for the fans of that record to see how everything was recorded back then. It’s definitely for the fans we made this.
IW: It’s been four years since your last full-length in the U.S. What has the band been up to?
Ohlsson: First we toured that album, Machine 15, for a year and a half, and then all of us focused on our side projects. Nikola [Sarvecic] got his singer and songwriter thing; Mathias [Farm] sings and plays guitar in Franky Lee; [Fredrik] Larzon’s got his hardcore label DeNihil and crust band Kvoteringen. I got a bit more serious with my design company Eckhouse Design. I’ve always made all of the Millencolin artwork and graphics for other bands and companies.
A local club was closing down, and they wanted us to be the last band on their stage. We thought we’d do something different, so we played Pennybridge Pioneers from first to last song that night. After that show lots of fans from everywhere wanted us to take that concept on tour. We asked our agent if there was any interest, and all of a sudden it turned into a world tour! Unfortunately, we missed out on the U.S. this time, though. We did the last show of this anniversary tour in December and pretty much directly went into the studio to record the new songs.
IW: Do you plan on releasing another album of all new material in the U.S. again?
Ohlsson: Absolutely! We’re focusing on this release and our 20-year festival now, but after the summer we definitely need to make plans for more releases.
IW: Two of the new songs off the new compilation come from the Machine 15 sessions. Are there any other unreleased tracks that you’re holding on to?
Ohlsson: We have recorded four brand new songs this year. Two of them are on the CD Carry You and Out from Nowhere. We still haven’t decided on where the other two will end up; if we’ll hold on to them for a new album or release them in any other way.