There was a time when Millencolin seemed to practically live in Australia
Such was the reliability of their touring schedule in bringing the Swedish punk icons down to our sweatiest venues.
Of course, a certain spiky viral interloper intervened and threw the global touring industry into absolute chaos for a number of years and we’re still getting back on track.
BUT! Nature is returning because Millencolin is coming back, in the form of a primo slot on the Good Things Festival tour alongside Bring Me The Horizon, Deftones, NOFX, The Amity Affliction, Gojira, and the return of the mighty TISM.
Read up on all the latest interviews, features and columns here.
“It’s so great for us to finally come back to Australia again,” says Millencolin guitarist (and graphic designer) Erik Ohlsson. “We were supposed to announce this before the pandemic, so I guess two or three years ago, I can’t even remember. Then it got postponed and postponed, and finally the lineup is there! I haven’t seen all of who’s playing yet but from the ones I’ve seen it’s going to be great.”
The plan was initially to tour in support of the band’s 2019 album SOS, ninth overall and a perfectly solid chunk of Millencolin punk, but that album cycle was well and truly disrupted. “The pandemic began right in the middle of our last album tour, so we had a full spring and summer for us, and then fall with the Good Things Festival in Australia, and then South America. We had almost like a year booked.”
Initially the band went on standby to wait out the situation, but it soon became clear it would be a while before stepping on a stage again. “At first it was just like waiting it out a little bit,” Ohlsson says. “You never know when they’re gonna ease off on the restrictions and stuff. So we didn’t start to record anything new because we thought that the album was still pretty fresh. So we busied ourself with practical stuff and our web shop and stuff like that. But we’d mostly been sitting around and doing projects on the side.”
The return of Millencolin as a live experience happened slowly with an Austrian festival last Northern summer, then a three-night stand of Swedish club shows as soon as the band’s home country lifted restrictions in October. “We did three club shows right that weekend, which was amazing, to be back on a club stage. But now we’ve been playing every weekend and travelling a lot.”
Ohlsson will be bringing his favourite guitars down to Australia: a clutch of Gibson SGs that he’s been hooked on for a while now. “I’ve been using the same SGs for what must be close to 15 years,” he says. “I got one white and one black one where my goal was to have two guitars that feel the same, and they are. I used Strats in the beginning and I tried to find two that sounded and felt the same way and it was impossible. And then I went to Guild right around the time when Fender bought Guild and I got some deal there in the States with them and so I ordered and I got number 0441 and 0442 or something, and they were still different! Like, this was ridiculous! One neck was thicker than the other even though they’re supposed to be identical. They felt completely different as well.”
After getting bitten by the SG bug, Ohlsson found himself with five of the pointy little buggers, among which are the two that he relies on for live shows. “These two are the most similar ones, but they get a lot of beating with all the flights and all the shows and all the sweat and everything, so they need to be maintained.”
Amp-wise, Millencolin tried Kemper profilers for a little while, but they just didn’t provide the visceral thump the band needed. “The thing is our sound guy, he just wants a solid signal to the front house which he can rely on and not be dependent on the mic positions and different rental gear and stuff. So we tried Kempers on some festivals with quick changeovers, and they’ve been messing with the sound. Something with the feedback and the digital stuff is just messing with our heads.”
So they were jettisoned from the rig in favour of the same Mesa Triple Rectifier that the band has been using since the early 2000s. “We got sponsored by Mesa in the states back in early 2000 and we use both Dual and Triple – I think the first one I had one in the states might have been a Dual, and a Triple in Europe, I’m not sure, but we still use the same ones, just tonnes of tubes later! Digital stuff, we tried it in the studio and it sounded awesome but it’s a completely different thing live.”