It’s impossible to start a conversation about Swedish melodic punk rock without mentioning Venerea. These guys are going strong for more than three decades and have plenty of excellent albums in their catalog. They recently released Summer Of ’94 and A Case Of Corona, two rad singles that announce their upcoming full-length album named Euro Trash, set for release this year on SBÄM. I caught the opportunity to speak with Mike (vocals/bass guitar) about these tracks, the new album, plans about the future, and many other things along the way. Enjoy!
Hiya Djordje; Mike from Venerea here.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions.
Thanks for asking.
How have you been?
Not too shabby.
Summer Of ’94 is your debut single from the upcoming album? Can you please elaborate on what’s the song about?
Daniel (guitarist) asked me to write a lyric about that lovely hot summer when a lot of people our age got into punk & the Swedish footyball team took the World Cup bronze. I’m not a sports guy but it was fun to write an unashamedly nostalgic song about a happy time when it seemed everyone was celebrating, especially during the lockdown.
You also had some guests on the beforementioned track. Who participated in it?
Kola from Millencolin, Ingo from No Fun At All & Geir from Adhesive sing a line each. (Rodde from Satanic Surfers was going to sing one too but couldn’t make it in the end.)
Is that collab something you’ve been planning for so long, or did the idea just landed spontaneously while writing the new record?
The latter. I mention those bands in the lyrics so it seemed a no-brainer to ask; very stoked that they agreed though!
Speaking of the Swedish skate punk scene in the mid-nineties, Venerea formed in 1991, even before Green Day and The Offspring popularized the genre. How difficult was it for you to start and maintain a melodic punk rock band in Malmö back then?
We started out in a smaller town up the coast called Falkenberg that had next to no live music scene anyway & probably got unusually popular among our contemporaries because they didn’t have much else to do
Now, fast forward three decades later. What keeps you motivated to continue playing, touring, and recording after all these years?
Camaraderie & the love of music. Personally, I look at playing music the way kids play; being creative for the fun of it rather than some sort of career. Some of my best songs were written for bands that never released anything & I’m just as pleased with them, but the fact that Venerea still have some listeners is definitely icing on the proverbial cake.
What are, in your opinion, the pros and cons of the Swedish/global skatepunk scene back then compared to nowadays?
Not sure I understand the question. It’s timeless music to me. The big difference is that it was a sorta insular underground thing when we started because not a lot of our mates knew about it & the hunt for records was fun, whereas post-internet it’s all out there for anyone to explore & get into, but because local bands all over the world now have a global platform it’s easy to get buried. Also, Sweden is rather a large country with mainly small towns few & far between, so there wasn’t much of a live circuit then & I don’t think that’s changed. With a few exceptions, we mainly meet our friends in similar bands touring in Europe.
Your sound definitely spans from melodic hardcore over skatepunk to even some mellower, almost pop-punk tracks. How have you developed your sound over the years, and what bands inspired you to do so?
When we started out we covered other bands like Bad Religion, Misfits, Ramones & especially Hard-Ons. Then when we started writing & recording NoFX & the other Fat/Epitaph bands were on the rise & that was hugely influential for the whole emerging Swedish skate punk scene I think. It felt connected in a way. Then Flygare joined in ‘97 & he was into harder & less silly stuff, which rubbed off on us too.
A Case Of Corona is the second composition off the album. How have lockdowns, restrictions, and pandemic in general affected your work ethic?
It didn’t effect our work ethic as such but it contributed to the delayed release of the record, which was pretty much finished in May last year, apart from some later vocal overdubs. With no live gigs, the vinyl pressings plants haven’t been able to keep up with the demand. & now all the bands want to tour at the same time but we’ve heard that several tours have been cancelled/postponed due to lack of ticket sales but hopefully it’ll balance out soon.
Do you plan to release more singles before the album hit the streets?
There’ll be one more soon; Blind Faith I think.
What can longtime fans (including myself) expect from a new album? Can you reveal some details?
It was recorded at Tambourine Studios with Gustav Brunn (Atlas Losing Grip) producing so it sounds better than anything we’ve done before, except maybe One Louder. It’s the first record with John behind the drum kit, which I think was a re-energizing factor. There’s a lot of songs on it & pretty much all of them are fast & melodic. Subterranea is my favorite Venerea track so far. The music for one tune (with new lyrics) was written about 25 years ago, around the time of Both Ends Burning; see if you can guess which one that is, he he.
You have re-released Shake Your Swollen Booty and Both Ends Burning. Also, there’s a recent vinyl compilation of sampler and an out-of-print tracks called The Shit Hits The Fans. Do you maybe plan to reissue the remainder of your catalog?
I’d be delighted to if any label is up for it.
What are your plans after you publish the record?
The plan is to tour with Satanic Surfers, which is always a pleasure, & then hopefully write some more tunes. I’d love to record a 7” EP with six tracks or so live in a cheap studio, but that’s probably only me.
That’s pretty much it. Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
Let the jukebox keep on playing.