Julian interviews Mathias of Millencolin

how was the flight over?
it was great, it was kind of long… it took us 24 hours to get here but we're happy to be here.

what made you guys decide to play in canada and south america and skip the usa entirely, it seems like it would be a huge market for you guys especially since you're playing all of pennybridge pioneers?
i don't really know why we're not going, it's a question of time you know, canada has a special place in our hearts because we love being here and um we're probably going to do the us too but not now, it's a question of time you know. so we do this now, we were supposed to just do one festival in quebec city but now we're here and decided to do 3 more shows

what made you decide to play the whole record on this tour? and was rehearsing for it easy?
no it was not easy, we rehearsed once… we're professionals! because pennybridge pioneers contains 14 songs and we played 7 of them live before and 7 of them were never ever played live before, so it was a challenge but it was a lot of fun to do something different… it's a cool thing to do.

have you guys ever done something like that in the past?
nope, we actually did one show … they asked us to do a special show in our hometown because one of our favourite rock bars was closing so they asked if we could play and we said no we can't and then they asked even more and we decided okay we can do this but we're only going to do this album, the whole one from start to finish. and that's the first time we did it, today was the fourth time. it's a cool thing!

with cd sales diminishing everywhere there seems to be a huge resurgence of vinyl/lp's, have you guys noticed any increase in your vinyl sales? do you like listening to vinyl or do you like the cd sound?
i don't really care, i get a ton of vinyl, when i started listening to punk rock i bought everything on vinyl because that's the one thing you could buy, but for me i don't really care it's all about the music you know, vinyl has the romantic record collector thing about it and it's all good but for me i don't really care and um the vinyl sales, maybe… i mean every time you release a new album you'll do like 2000 new vinyls and they disappear so, vinyl is safe… maybe the next album will only be in vinyl! but it's harder to copy!

there's a lot of bands from sweden who have done exceptionally well in north america (satanic surfers, refused, raised fist, opeth, at the gates just to name a few) do you think this trend will continue and have you heard any new swedish bands?
of course the trend will continue, the swedish music scene is very special because it's more like … i mean canada is a big country but you only have 30 million people, sweden is a huge country area and it only have 9 million people, the scene has a lot of good bands, but its not like a punk scene, there's music scenes. Of course there's gonna be tons of good bands from Sweden but, from me, I'm just a guy who likes music, so I don't really know that much about the scene. But of course you'll get hit by a lot of good Swedish bands. Its gonna happen, all the time.

What do you think about the way the punk scene is evolving? I've noticed a lot of new ramones-y influence kinda mixed with 90's skate punk. What do you think about that?
For me, music is music and there's no rules in punk rock. You do what you wanna do, you do what you feel like doing. And for me, thats the way its been for me my whole like. Yeah, Ramones is a good band! And if people want to do that, its awesome. I just write the songs I feel like writing when I do music, and, it might be a small portion of Ramones in the new stuff! Maybe I've been "hit by the trends"

Would you say its a good thing for the evolution of punk rock?
Of course it is! As long as people are liking what they hear, its good!

What's the coolest show you've ever played?
coolest show, oooooooo, in my band, we've done a lot of shows I've had a good time on. We did this one show, back in '93, long time ago! In Sweden at a festival called Arvika festival. And that was actually before we released our second EP in Sweden, and we didn't really expect much from that show. And they had like, a curtain in front of the stage and we were like ready to play, and they dropped the curtain and there was like 10,000 people there, and that was a really big surprise for us. That was a really cool show. Thats how it all started!

Now i read somewhere about your van burning down to the ground a long time ago, how did that happen?
We just had a shitty van, it had an electricity problem and we just drove. We played a show in the south of Sweden and we had a 5 hour drive home and we just wanted to get back home, so we drove the van SO hard and it was like making weird noises like 'CKRRWWRRWR' and it just, caught on fire!

What did you guys do?
We got out, and it was like on the highway. And they had to close down the whole highway for like 5 hours and it was a mess. I was really afraid because we just filled it up with gas, and I thought it was about to explode, like you see in American action movies. But it never happened. It just burned. But the funny thing was that we jumped out, but it started to, it wanted to start the engine by itself. It short circuited and was like 'brmmmbrmmmbrmmmbrmm' and started to move on its on. On fire! So it was a surreal experience.

So would you say that is your closest near death experience?
No, no. One of the really close ones was actually, we toured Canada back in '98. We started tour in Florida, we toured Atlanta, Texas, blah blah, the whole of US, we went up to Arizona, Los Angeles, San Diego, Vancouver, and we toured the whole Canada, all the way to Quebec City. In the middle of the winter. It was crazy, it took us 6 weeks. This was back in '98, we started in '97 and ended up in february '98. Canada is a very wide country. So after every show we had to jump in the van and drive the whole night. One show we did in Thunder Bay, and the day after was Toronto. It was 19 or 25 hours, and on that drive we woke up in the middle of the night and our tour manager was screaming like "WARGHHHHH" and it was icy roads, and we were like, facing the wrong direction of traffic.

Did you have a trailer?
Yep. We were driving, and it was like cliffs. And it was like, big trucks, we were really close.. but we pulled it off. and I'm here now. But it was crazy, really really dangerous. Punk Rock.

Now you guys are entering your 18th year as a band, next year. Any plans?
New album! I've got a lot of songs, Nikolai has a lot of songs. we're gonna start working on that really soon.

Do you guys think you'll hit your 20th anniversary as a band, or do you think 2012 is gonna destroy the world?
We're probably gonna hit our 30th anniversary. I just watched that documentary about the Toronto band, Anvil. It was amazing. A little bit sad though, but it was, very touching. They were so close, they just started off! They had a lot of bad luck, but it was very emotional. I watched it today and I was like, "Ahuuuu", I was crying. Thats a greaaat documentary. One of the best I've ever seen, in a rock thing. That sums it up.

Any final words?
We'll be back with a new album with even better songs, and better times. Yeah.