With their new B-Sides compilation CD/DVD about to be released this coming Friday, a festival planned as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations, it was about time we caught up with Millencolin to see where they are at with their celebrating. Cassie Walker recently had a chat with Nikola Sarcevic from the band. Expand this post to take a read and to stream the new release in full. You can pre-order a copy now [Here].
In the last 20 years there has been such a change to the punk rock scene, having been an active band in this time, what’s been the challenges you’ve had to face?
It’s been a long process as a band, I mean we’ve been together for 20 years and I think the hardest part for us has been keeping the band together socially, that’s been a big challenge. I don’t think many bands stay together, with the same line up like we have. Of course things are up and down like a roller coaster, but somehow we’ve managed to stay together as a band and I think that’s because we’ve been aware of the fact that we need to do other things besides the band and that’s been important for us, and the reason we are still together. The music scene has changed a lot during our career with the internet and these days we listen to everything digitally more or less so it’s been a big change in the industry too.
Absolutely! Now going back to the point you made, the band has stayed together for 20 years, which is such a rare thing. You mentioned the band has kept themselves distracted to keep the band together. I did catch this DVD that you are about to release, which mentions the break the band took before recording ‘Pennybridge Pioneers’, did you feel that was going to be the end of the band for that time?
We took the break after touring the first 3 albums. Since our first album we were touring and recording for the next 4 years non-stop and I personally, I think the whole band needed a break but I was the one who actually said “ok lets do the next few shows and then I need a break, I don’t care about you guys, but I need a break”, but that break, I think because we haven’t had one before, no one in the band, or I, really knew what the future of the band would be. I moved a long way from my home town and started a new life away from the band but it took about a half a year until we decided to make a new album, which wasn’t that long, but it was dramatic in a way because people didn’t know how long it was going to be and of course it made us think a lot about what the band meant to each member and it was a good time to get a good perspective and we could question if we really wanted to be in the band and what to do next, so it was a good turning point for us, both musically and personally.
And did you find you had to get away from the town, because your home town was in shock, you were the first band who had become successful.
Yeah! I mean people were asking me at the time why and I didn’t have a good answer as to why I was leaving. But I think it was a combination of things. I think I needed some space from the band and I needed to get new inspiration and meet new people and see a different kind of life somewhere else and I’m still in the same city that I moved to in 1998, I think it’s a key factor that I’m not actually living in the same town as the other guys. When you’re in a band you work really close together, when you’re touring and recording and so on, I think you need that space between people.
And since that move, which has inspired the album which was the biggest for Millencolin, ‘Pennybridge Pioneers’, which we were lucky enough to see it live at the Soundwave Festival 2011, after 10 years since the release, playing it live did consider any re-working of the songs?
I guess we had the chance to do that but we never thought about doing something different with the songs. We just wanted to play the songs pretty much how they were written and played on the album, so no big ideas for change or restructure, I mean we’re not that sort of band to go out and experiment or anything! With Millencolin you know what you will get from a live show, we’re just punk rock with no big dramatic things!
You have organised a festival in Sweden in June as part of the 20 year anniversary celebrations. How did the whole idea of a festival come together?
We needed to do something for the 20 years as a band and I guess we realized that through being in a band and playing festivals we thought for the first time ever we could actually make money from selling beer, which we haven’t done before, it’s always someone else who makes the bucks from the booze.
And how did you come up with the line up for the festival?
Well we made a decision to focus on bands that we had played with over our career so we had a focus on very hard bands within our style and have a link with Millencolin’s history and some new bands also.
As well as doing a festival for the 20th anniversary you are releasing the follow up to 2008’s ‘The Melancholy Collection’, ‘The Melancholy Connection’, another release of b-sides, rare tracks and a couple of new songs which includes the DVD of the making of ‘Pennybridge Pioneers’, not only is this a great gift for fans but also you as a band, is this something that you’ve been planning on doing for a while?
We’ve always been talking a lot throughout our career and I guess a lot of the time when we took the break before ‘Pioneers’ we released a collection of footage from the first phase of our career.
There is a crazy amount of footage, we do so much filming so I thought maybe we can do it and not focus on all of the filming we’ve done in the last, 13, 14 years or whatever but just focus on the making of ‘Pennybridge Pioneers’. Even that was a lot of editing! I mean it takes a lot of time. I mean Erich Ohlsson (guitarist) makes all this, so the rest of us just sit and wait for him to do all that work and I guess this was a good / interesting phase of our career where we had a lot of footage saved to get it done.
Going over the old footage to create the DVD, has watching that experience of recording in the USA with your then music idol Brett Gurewitz, inspired new ideas / songs for the band?
I’m not sure, maybe? I haven’t thought about it in that way, you caught me by surprise. Maybe, we will just have to wait and see what the next songs will be.
With all the footage you mention you have, and this one now in the bag, are there any plans to perhaps release a series of DVD’s about each album or period of the band?
The hard part, and problem is that there is so much being filmed and not that much time, plus there is also the fact that Eric is doing all the work! I don’t think he’s that keen on letting other people edit the stuff so it’s a question for Eric that one!
How about we settle at maybe?
Maybe. A lot of that filming we have, I really haven’t seen, I mean most of the footage that’s on the DVD now is stuff that I hadn’t seen ever before and there was some interesting stuff within the Millencolin archives.
MILLENCOLIN - The Melancholy Connection CD / DVD
Available Friday June 1st via Epitaph Records
Order your copy online now [Here]