Published in The Music (VIC, QLD, WA, NSW) and on theMusic.com.au, Apr 2015
With the same line-up since forming in 1992, it hasn’t always been an easy ride for Swedish punks Millencolin. Frontman Nikola Sarcevic and drummer Fredrik Larzon tell Daniel Cribb how they defused a band implosion and returned to form.
If the phrase ‘you are what eat’ also applies to the consumption of beverages, Millencolin are a fine craft beer. Each album they release delivers a unique flavour and evolves from the previous. “If you’re brewing beer, it’s boring to do the same thing every time. If you’ve done an IPA, you will feel like doing a Stout, maybe,” Sarcevic says, resting an ice-cold pint on a coaster in a Melbourne pub. The band is halfway through their Soundwave run, and a successful sold out headline show the previous night sees the members a little slower than usual. “We’ve played so many festivals for the last couple of years, so it was really nice to play a club show,” Sarcevic comments. “Hopefully other people had fun, too. We had a great night,” drummer Larzon adds in his thick Swedish accent.
The punk rock atmosphere of their headline club show reflects vibe of the band’s new record, True Brew. Album #8 sees Millencolin return to a more DIY punk rock frame of mind, and while it blends elements from their previous seven records, it’s a complete sidestep from 2008’s Machine 15; a release that went so far as to feature orchestral elements. There was also a seven-year gap between the two albums.
“The day after we finished Machine 15, we thought, ‘This is as far as we can go that way, now let’s do something to get back to our roots,’” Sarcevic tells. “But then, you need to have the right feeling and recharge your batteries. You need to sit back once in a while and kind of wait for the right feeling – and that’s what we’ve been doing. We were so busy with other stuff, and I think it’s good to do other stuff to get that kind of perspective on what parts in your life are the most important. After all these years, we know that [Millencolin] is one of the most important parts of our lives.”
True Brew is refreshing and sees the band as cohesive as ever. With Larzon titling the album, Sarcevic taking control of writing and guitarist Erik Ohlsson creating the artwork, the album came together perfectly. But it hasn’t always been an easy ride.
“Halfway through the band, we wanted to split up because there was too much of everything. We were touring all the time, and when we were home we had to go back into the studio, and we just had too much of it… Then we decided to take control of the schedules and how much touring we committed to, and we tried to keep it fun,” Larzon explains.
Sarcevic hints that we might not have to wait as long for new material after True Brew. “I woke up jetlagged yesterday or the day before, and I had, not a vision, but I got a clear idea of the next album. I won’t say the direction, but in my mind now it is going to be something that this album is not.”