Six albums with a seventh one to follow, a dozen tours around the world and getting the chance to play one of Zak wyldes guitars. I caught up with Millencolin's Frederick Larzon and Erik Olaffson to get the low-down on life in the band prior to their gig with Good Charlotte at Brixton academy.

R13: Hello, would you like to introduce yourselves?

FL: I am Fredrik Larzon and play drums in Millencolin.

EO: I am Erik Ohlsson an play guitar in Millencolin.

R13 Right so your new album is coming out in a week, what can Millencolin fans expect from 'Kingwood'?

EO: I think that they can expect the most 'Millencolin' album ever; possibly because the last album we recorded we tended to be more rock and roll than punk. It's certainly a lot faster and a lot more punk than 'Home from Home'.

R13 Some people claim that you have gone towards a more of a Hives sound, would you agree with that?

EO:I would agree with that when talking about the last album but it certainly isn't like that for the new album We have one song that has that Home from Home style riff then the rest is much more punk.

R13: Has Nikola's solo release had any effect on the song writing of the band's new album?

EO: Nikola had a lot of dominant ideas for songs and when tying to play them with the band, they never really fitted in. Then he discovered that he could write a solo CD whilst writing other songs for Millencolin too. In writing the solo CD he was able to leave that punk rock sound and try something a little different

FL: His lyrics weren't as personal as those he had written in other Millencolin albums so that made him write a little bit different. This different type of writing definitely shows in 'Kingwood'.

So after a year after announcing your departure, what made you decide to go back to Burning Heart?

EO: We kind of always knew we wouldn't stay on Burning Heart but since we were out of contract for a while, we would have been a bit stupid not to see what other labels are interested. We were getting interest from both majors and Indy labels. But in the end we chose to stay with Burning Heart.

R13: So why didn't you go to major? Weren't you Fashion-Core enough?


EO: No, in the end we had three labels to choose from. One was Burning Heart and the other two were majors. We got the best deal with Burning Heart. It's such a great label and we already know the guys there.

R13: I think a lot of fans respect your decision to stay with Burning Heart rather than go to a major. I know a lot of bands lose fans when they decide to make that transition to a major For example; Against Me often consider moving to major. I mean when they moved from No Idea to Fat Wreck two years ago, a lot of their fans lost interest in them and slanted them as 'sell-outs'. So I think that for you guys to stay at Burning Heart really deserves some respect since its shows some consideration towards the fans as well.

EO: I think Millencolin suits the style of Burning Heart since we are our own managers. We book our own tours, plan all the financial side of things, design all CDs. All of that side of being in a band is done just by us four. I don't think we would be too happy letting a major label taking control of us.

R13: Did you do the album art for this new release?

EO: Yes

R13: So you still do all the artwork, because I know you did life on a plate and Pennybridge Pioneers.

EO: Yeah I've pretty much done everything graphic-wise for all the Millencolin stuff

R13: So what bands are out there at the moment that you believe to be underrated because they sing in their native tongue?

EO: Kent (Larzon nods in agreement) are a great band who are Swedish although they tend to switch between English and Swedish in their lyrics. Their new album is in English but they have released stuff that is in Swedish too. They are huge in Sweden, they should really be big but for some reason they haven't really caught on in the UK or the US. They sound a bit too Swedish though (laughter) I mean they don't have a sound that is American. So that could be why.

R13: Would you say your band have an American tone then?

EO: Yeah

FL: Well there are tones of bands coming out from all over the place but it makes it quite difficult to be a successful band without singing in English. But the reason we have such an American sound is because when we grew up, we listened to bands such as Bad Religion who sing in English., so we were brought up playing that sound rather than deciding we wanted to sound American.

R13: Since your touring the states quite often and are part of Epitaph records, is it hard to separate yourselves from the American politics?

EO: Well yeah…….We aren't American…….we don't have much to say about what happens with the politics over there……but the stuff what's happened with this whole Iraq thing is really fucked up. George Bush is fucked up. I hate him I mean we wrote a song called 'Afghan' and we wrote that whilst we were in the studio recording Home from Home. 9/11 had happened just before; we had a song lined up and Nikola had written the lyrics that week so we decided to put it on the album.

FL: There are some bands that write all their songs around politics but we prefer to keep away from all that. We keep to talking about growing up and relationships and we just want Millencolin it to be about having fun. There's so much politics involved in today's world that we would rather be a band who escaped that.

R13: So are you guys all vegetarians?

FL: We all used to be vegetarians, I still am.

EO: I became too lazy and gave up a couple of years ago, but I was one for 10 years I think.

R13: Lazy?


(Erik-lighting up a camel cigarette)

EO Yeah I just became lazy, I try to keep to eating as less of it as possible but I mean I try to keep to seafood. But being vegetarian and travelling round the world used to get slightly boring. With only one vegetarian meal on the menu which was kous kous and a bit of egg slopped on top. (Laughter) I just wanted to have a wider section in the restaurants.

R13: So what is it like for you (Larzon) to tour being vegetarian? Do you find it hard?

FL: No not at all. It used to be back on the US tour about 10 years ago. It was all processed food and not much for the vegetarian but now restaurants are much more flexible and it's easier to get hold of alternatives. I am still the only vegetarian in the band. Nikola stopped around the time 'Pennybridge Pioneers' was made, Erik and Matthias stopped around the time of 'Home from Home'.

R13: I know a lot of bands get involved in campaigning with PETA 2 and other animal rights protections. Are you guys involved in any of those?

FL We are both members of a Swedish animals rights group who focus on testing on animals and trying to prevent it.

R13:So this is your third date on the tour so far, how has it been going?

EO: It's been good so far, different since we aren't really playing in front of our type of crowd and it's a chance to try out some new stuff from the new album before it is released plus the chance to prepare for our European tour next month. It's certainly fun.

R13: So are Millencolin planning on coming back and doing a headlining tour?

EO: Yeah, we are hoping to do a couple of dates in September and we are doing about 4 or 5 festivals over here in the UK.

R13 So is Reading Festival on the cards?

EO: Ummmmm download is supposed to one possibly Leeds and Reading too.

R13: You played Ozzfest a couple of years back. Any peculiar stories you could tell us about that?


EO: It was the strangest thing we have ever done. First (Larzon) was unable to make the festival because he broke his arm so we had a replacement drummer and when we got there, we found out that we were between Cradle of Filth and Drowning Pool on the order of bands. None of our equipment had turned up for the event so we ended up having to borrow everyone else’s equipment. We ended up with Zak Wylde's guitar, Slayers drum cymbals and all this other stuff from other bands. It was totally crazy because to get to the front you had to buy a pit pass. So in the pit we could see 10 Millencolin fans and then the rest of our fans were really far way from the stage. Right up front we had all these horror painted dudes, and some of them started getting bottles or something then filling them up with mud. The next thing you know, I heard a 'wwwwwwhooooosssshhh’'right next to my ear. Totally mad.

r13: So would you play there again?

EO Not if we are the only Punk band on stage.

R13: On Pennybridge Pioneers, the ballad is a really emotional song, does that have any personal references?

EO: No not really Nikola made that character up. But it's supposed to represent the guy in every classroom who is the outcast or 'the loser'. Somebody those people can relate to. It's not supposed to be him (laughter)

R13: A lot of Ska fans are dying for the return of the old Millencolin. Life on a plate Ska. Will that happen?

Both: NO (laughter)

EO: Matthias never really liked playing Ska, he hated it.

FL: Plus we were never really that good at it

EO: Yeah we weren't that good, I grew up listening to lots of Jamaican Ska but bands like Rancid and Operation Ivy, they have been doing it so well. What we play now is what we do best

R13: Every year you hold a festival in Orebro. What is that all about?

EO: It's not really a festival; it's more like a skate jam, which is held in the same building as the Burning Heart office (By coincidence). Back in '99 I wanted to help out to build the ramps and stuff. Three years later we start holding the Millencolin open there and now people from all over Sweden and over countries come from abroad to take part in the tournament. The minute team from the UK has been over before and so have some others. Then at night we have parties and lots of fun. The last time I was at the Skate Park, this was three weeks ago, I went just to help maintain some of the ramps and help build them. Sometimes we would stay up until 3 am in the morning just to do the ramps. I started helping out because the park wasn't doing too well and doing this Millencolin open, we thought we could raise some money to maintain the park. We get skaters to pay to become members and then they can sate in the park for unlimited time and stuff.

R13: So do you still skateboard now?

EO: Yeah, although I tend to fall off a lot more now.


FL: No I never have.

EO: I am not as good as I used to be. Since I've not been going skating as often as I used to, I tend not to have so much board control but after like 3 days straight skating, I can usually get back to my standards. I mean I was skating a couple of weeks ago went to do a kick flip and where I had no board control I just went 'ddddddddddddddooooooooooooosssssssh' to the ground and your just like 'wwwhhhooaaahhh' shocked by the fall on your ass.

R13: So you guys know Steve Caballero I hear?

EO: He showed up to one of our shows back in 96 and he walked straight to our merch booth and brought every single one of our T-shirt designs we had for sale. Our merch guy came running up to us and said 'you'll never guess who just brought al the T-shirt designs' when we went to talk to him he told us he had all our albums and singles and everything. That's how we became really good friends. He even made his own t-shirts with our band on. We've also had him come up on stage and play a song with us at a show or two.

R13: It must be pretty cool having a skateboarding legend that you looked up to when you were skating as a kid, being such a fan of your music?

EO: Yeah it's pretty weird how that works.

R13: So last question, who's farts smell the most?

FL: Nikolas's

EO: No, Matthias. His farts are weird. There's no sound but his smell is totally weird.


R13: That's it guys thanks a lot, pleasure to meet you both and good luck with the show tonight.

Erik and Larzon: Thanks.

Kingwood, Millencolin's next album, is released on the 28th of March on Burning Heart records.