Millencolin is one of the most successful bands to come out of the skate-punk scene. With their new album True Brew about to be released through Epitaph Records, we caught up with the band’s drummer Fredrik Larzon to discuss it.
Growing up in the south of England, my first introduction to Millencolin was the track “No Cigar” which featured on the legendary Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 game. Were you surprised by the extra exposure that it gave you?
Oh that’s great to hear! I guess a lot of people found out about us through that game! Tony Hawk’s is still one of the biggest games I’ve heard of, and no we definitely didn’t expect that exposure! It was a great thing for us to be a part of for sure and very fun since skateboarding has been important for this band. As a matter of fact, this wouldn’t be if it weren’t for skateboarding, since we found some of our inspirations from those old movies back in the day.
“No Cigar” fitted perfectly with the spirit of the skate scene from that era, would you ever consider featuring your music in a game similar to that again?
Yeah sure, if it feels like a good thing to do I guess we could do it again. Right now we’re focused on the album release and playing live, though I’m not much of a gamer myself [laughs].
That was a sort of introduction to the genre for me, how did you first get into punk?
I started off listening to heavy metal like Maiden, Sabbath and early 80’s stuff, and then found thrash/speed metal a little later and at the same time I heard some punk bands like Ramones, Misfits, Asta Kask, Anti Cimex and Discharge. I listened a lot to that stuff up until late 80’s-early 90’s when I found Death & Black Metal and also Bad Religion, Circle Jerks and that type of stuff. I loved it right away and then in ’92 I heard my friends Erik, Mathias and Nikola had started this So Cal-ish punk band and I saw their first show. As a matter of fact, I did their sound! Ha! A little while after their first demo tape they asked me to try out for them, then I found bands like Pennywise, Operation Ivy etc and I’m still loving all that stuff.
You’re just releasing your latest album True Brew, your first album in eight years. Can you describe it a little for us?
We wanted to do something new and different to Machine 15, It felt like we couldn’t take that sound much further. We talked and all felt like going for a more straight-on and melodic punk album, modern but still with the real Millencolin vibe. So we recorded like 17-19 songs or something, and picked 13 for the album. It’s an energetic and very honest album. Lyric-wise Nikola maybe wrote a little more political than before which you will notice, and that feels very important these days. We’re very happy and proud of True Brew and can’t wait to go on tour playing that stuff!
Was there anything different about the writing and recording process of True Brew to any of your previous releases?
Yes, we recorded all instruments in our own studio supervised by Mathias and that felt very smooth and relaxed. We started working spring 2014 then we did a bunch of festivals that summer and when fall came Nikola started laying down all the vocals at a studio called Fascination Street with a great guy called Jens Bogren. Jens also did one hell of job mixing the album. Perfect sound for these songs!
Are there any particular tracks on the album that stand out for you?
I like ’em all! If I HAVE to pick a few….. “Autopilot Mode”, “Realistic Man” and “Bring Me Home”.
With the band having such a long and successful career, how do you decide what tracks to include in your setlist?
We pick our own favourites together with the tunes we think the crowd really wants to hear. Sometimes people ask us to play a certain song and sometimes we’ll give that one a shot. If you play a festival or similar we can’t pick the most obscure ones, if we have say, 45mins, the crowd wants to hear songs they know.
You’ve toured with a lot of huge bands, which ones do you admire the most?
I have to say our own band. We’ve been the same fellas for 23yrs now, had good times and bad times but still we respect each other and we still have a very good time doing this! I’m very proud of that.
What are your plans for the future?
Touring! We are stoked to start touring now and play some of the new stuff all around the world. We start off with a release party this Friday in Örebro, Sweden followed by a European tour early May, UK late May and then a whole bunch of summer festivals. We’re still planning fall so soon we’ll have news on that too.
Thanks so much for the interview!