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Ten Questions with...

B.J (founder / bassguitar) M.ILL.ION

B J Laneby, Million

What are you currently up to?

Just started rehearsals for the tour promoting our new album Thrill of the Chase. It will be released in Europe on May 23. Really looking forward to getting back on the stages again - we're full of energy!

We'll do a string of dates in our home country Sweden coinciding with the release date

May 23 Gothenburg, Musikens Hus Releaseparty / Launch show

May 24 Jönköping, Zaragon Club, (special guests to House Of Lords + support Bai Bang)

May 25 Stockholm, Anchor

May 26 Stockholm, Debaser (including video recording)

European dates are discussed as we speak, the UK looks to be Millionized in early September. We love Britain and after 3 visits we seem to have quite a few fans there, so looking forward to coming over to grab a pint together with our friends!

Just signed a deal with a good label for Japan and Asia as well (Marquee/Avalon).

Also doing lots of interviews at the moment, so things could be worse!

Could you take us through the new album ‘Thrill Of The Chase’ (e.g. story behind the song, song writing process)...

Sure, I'll try. We took our time writing this one. Everybody's been contributing one way or the other and more or less, so we had quite some stuff to pick the album songs from. Some songs are written by a soul member, some are done by two, some or done buy a bunch of people.

Johan Bergquist (Keyboards) gets the working class hero award of this album as we recorded it all at his studio and he was engineering as well, meaning a lot of extra work.

The mixing was done at the major Bohus Studio (ABBA, Status Quo etc) with me sitting in with Tobias Lindell who's latest production recently won a Swedish Grammy Award for best hard rock album of 2007. We were happy to work with him again as he also did our last album Kingsize and we were please with that.


Here are the tracks and some stories:

THRILL OF THE CHASE - Fast opener and the title track. Johan wrote most of the music and I did the lyrics. Double bass drums, good hook and great Hammond solo. Lyric wise it handles an individual in our time when the world are spinning faster and faster and we're chasing things all the time. And as soon as You get what You want (money, bigger TV, career, relationships etc)

You don't appreciate it, it's on to another chase. Many persons are like that and the western world as a whole is like that- the whole life is a big chase. Guess it's part of the human nature, but sometimes You need to stop and ask why? I'm as guilty as anyone and all the way healthy it'is not. As the brilliant Mr Gillan once wrote “It's not the kill-it's the thrill of the chase” (but that song was about something completely different J )

MENACE TO SOCIETY - More or less a group song. I think Ulrich did the riff, but not sure. Heavy and catchy. A bit Ozzy in style, maybe? Our drummer Per's first ever lyric on a record - about becoming a person You don't want to be. He wrote a couple of good lyrics for the first time in his life and this one made the record.

SLAVE TO YOU - Ulrich's song. Great melodic slower piece with atmosphere and great vocals. Pretty simple, but good songs doesn't have to be complicated! One of my favourite guitarsolos on the album by Jonas.

THE ONE ABOVE - Johan's song. Lots of 70's shuffle groove, great Hammond playing and a cool live track. Deep Purple and Uriah Heep comes to mind. Fun to play but with a serious message - reflections when a close one is fighting for his life.

LONELY IN A CROWDED ROOM - A cool midtempo track with a simple but effective riff and great hooks. Thin Lizzy, inspired guitar melody and great playing all over. I think many could relate to my lyric. About not fitting the standard norm!

U.F.O - A song we've been living with for a while. Slow intro, then a fast riff from Jonas and with a really melodic prechorus and chorus which I love. It's , I'm afraid, a true story. I saw something I didn't want to see on my way to rehearsals.

This thing was way too close and way too big to make a joke of. I was totally terrified and fascinated at the same time. It happened some years back and went on for about 15 minutes. One day I just had to write about it. After that night: Don't You ever tell me we are alone in the universe! As the opening lines say “I wish I had been drinking or smoked something bad. But I saw what I saw, it's out there somewhere!”

FROM HEAVEN TO HELL - Heavier track and using some different scales. Big chorus and hook and with another serious lyric. It's about the big Tsunami disaster in Thailand and other Asian countries in Christmas 2004. Thousands and thousands of people were swept away but that wave and many of our countrymen among them. Almost anybody here know someone that was affected by it. Terrible thing, that shook us all really bad, but a good track and I hope we treated it with dignity.

SON OF THE SUN - Historical lyric from Ulrich on a heavy but beautifully melodic and big song. Great singing from Ulrich.

THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD - Midtempo, melodic and with a lyric about watching the news. If we, the so called grown ups, think the human race is acting bad. How does it look through the eyes of a child, then?

BEWARE OF THE WOLF - Basically my riff and the fastest track on the album. Johan did a lot of the music and Ulrich wrote another historical lyric about the witch hunting days. Walking the fine line between Rainbow/Purple and power metal I think. I prefer the former!

FIRES OF SIBERIA - Another one of the songs that was early written. Jonas did a lot on this heavy and groovy track. Big chorus. My lyric is another story of what happened when we flew to Japan. Me and Ulrich where on a plane with our manager at the time.

We were heading for Tokyo to participate in promotion activities supporting our last album Kingsize. About6 hours into the ride on this huge plane with all facilities it looked like all hell was breaking lose in Siberia beneath us. Huge fires everywhere.

Put things in perspective for sure. I am up here, a rock'n roller having fun and very close it's a totally different and scary world. Must admit it was a bit shaky. What couild we do? Me: I ordered another drink and wrote a song about it! (Japan was great b.t.w J )

NEED TO BELIEVE - Album closer and a groovy song with a bit of Whitesnake in it, I think. Lyrics about thoughts in Your head at sleepless nights. We did a fun thing here, the beginning is recorded in the rehearsalroom with just and old tape cassette player, then it swiches to the bit more powerful studio sound.

That's Thrill of the Chase for Ya. Hope I haven't scared people off before listening! There's no party til You puke, dragons and steel & fists in the air forever kinda lyrics on this one, we let other people take care of that, but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy what we're doing and we defenately party, hahaha! To be serious: We're all very proud of the album and the early reactions are great. I think it rocks with a thought, so give it a chance!

What sort of set can fans expect on your next set of live dates? Will you be playing many off the new album?

This is album no. 6 so it's getting hard to pick the right setlist. Is there one? Of course we like the new stuff and it looks like 3-4 new songs will be in the set, then a couple from the latest album Kingsize which was well received and some from the older albums.

The setlist is like an album, the flow must be good, but then You add the live energy factor, which always will be high when You put a band like us on stage. We treat our shows as a combination of hard work and a rock'n roll party together with the audience, so come and see us and join the Rock'n Roll Nation!:-)

Like many other bands you have suffered with record labels going under or failing to promote an album well enough. Now you have signed to Metal Heaven do you think they will do the business for you promotion wise?

Tell me about it! Looking good at the moment, though. Promotion just started so we'll see where this one goes. I'm optimistic!

How did you hook up with them?

A couple of labels where recommended to us and we let them know we were available. George Siegl, the boss at Metal Heaven, was one of them and he immediately got in contact, told me he really like what we're doing and that he would promote us well. A couple of weeks of negotiations and then we signed, I think it was in September last year. In November we hit the studio.

All of the band’s albums have been very strong and this new album is no exception! How does the band keep coming up with such string melodies and songs each time?

Thank You, Jason- appreciate it. I'm the only one who's been in the band from day one so I'm glad You think we have delivered through the years. And I think we get better and better all the time.

All the M.ILL.ION members write more or less and that's often been the case - everyone brings something to the table. On this one Johan Bergquist wrote a lot of stuff - a really good overall musician. Our drummer Per Westergren did his first ever lyric, I have always been involved with riffs, arrangements/lyrics/melodies and Ulrich and Jonas also write cool stuff so we're all part of it.

No matter who's done the most part, the songs are picked by the band on democratic bases and the more good stuff we can choose from, the better the final product will be. And as soon as we play together somehow things get Millionized.

The music is sometimes a bit rougher, sometimes smoother or heavier but good melodies and a combination of energy/atmosphere/rock'n roll is and will always be what we're about. Classic rock for the 21:st century, someone described us. I like that description. When we can't come up with that anymore - please tell us to drink up and go home.

Also given the current spate of many bands releasing covers albums would the band ever consider releasing one or maybe even just an EP?

Why not? For fun, maybe.

The old line up actually did Deuce for a KISS tribute in the late 90`s sometime, a song we actually rehearsed the other day!, Who knows, we might do it for fun on some shows if we feel like it. Before record contracts and in the early days we played songs by everyone from Deep Purple and AC/DC to Rainbow and Queen, but these days we prefer to play our own stuff J.

We were asked to do a bunch of cover recordings for Japan a couple 2-3 years ago, but that never happened. Might be fun - who knows!?!

What have been the live highlights so far for the band and who ideally would you like to tour with & why?

Headlining one stage at Sweden Rock Festival 2002 and breaking the attendance record then was great. Some of the UK shows on the Detonator and Kingsize tours as well. Firefest was cool.

We've played and toured with everyone from Magnum and Nazareth to Oliver/Dawson Saxon and Michael Schenker Group and made a lot of friends and got lots of respect from childhood heroes so that's cool. If Maiden or KISS gave us a call I'd grab the phone - we love big stages J

On a bit lower level, I'd say bands like Gotthard, Thunder and Pretty Maids would be cool to tour with. Why? I think their audiences would like our music and vice versa.


How did you get your first break into the music business?

When I formed the band we picked each and every member because of a combination of talent, ambition and personality. Everyone was committed to the band and to working hard.

We rehearsed and wrote material 4-5 days a week for a year, played a lot of gigs and our goal was to have a record deal within that year. After two demos and a TV performance, I think it was 1990 or 1991, we got it. We were determined.

What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

If You're in a band: Set up goals, work hard to achieve them and have fun doing it. Be a team & be true to yourself. Write a lot of stuff and do every gig You can. When the band is ready, let the business people know about you. Or: do it yourself! These days the internet allows you to release and promote on your own.

If you want to make a living being a hired gun musician. That's another story. You are on your own and you must be open to do a lot of stuff, You wouldn't dream of doing within a band situation. Be prepared to play any style and anytime for anybody to get paid.

Learn a lot of stuff and techniques etc and get recommendations. Some call it diversity and being “a real musician”, others compare this to the oldest job in the world, if You know what I mean. Anyway, we're all different so if this is what You want, go and get it!

What other bands out there would the band members recommend and why?

Speaking for myself: Of the old stuff there's plenty. KISS are my personal no 1 childhood heroes, Deep Purple and their offshoots, I like all the different versions of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy (Lynott = the man), UFO, Blue Öyster Cult, Magnum, but am I also a big Springsteen fan.

These days, I think Gotthard, the Avantasia project and Black Crowes represents good rock music. Why? Good songs, good playing and good singing. Simple as that.

Within the band there's a broad spectre of tastes, including everything from AOR to the blues, garage rock, pop and heavy metal. You have to be broadminded and listen to a lot of different music, but hardrock is what we have in common. Johan likes a lot of AOR but also Saxon, Jonas like everything from KISS to the Foo Fighters and pop, Ulrich: Sabbath & Queensryche a.o and Per is a big Motley & Purple fan etc.

What do you like doing with your spare time outside of music?

Personally I watch a lot of football games. Liverpool is my team in the Premier League - big fan since childhood! Steven Gerrard!!!! The most important games are played by my son's teams though. One guy is the goalkeeper and the other score a lot of goals. Proud father cheering on!

Movies, books, and having a cold one or two by the pooltable are other relaxing parts of a good life.

There aren't much sparetime though! Having a band, a family, a house and lots and lots of travelling restricts that a bit!

Message for your fans...

Hope You like the new album and looking forward to seeing You all at the shows!

Thanks for the support - You are truly appreciated and the first round's on me!

To be updated on M.ILL.ION news, blogs and tourdates, or just say hi: check out the

My Space site or the web

Cheers everyone!

B.J Laneby
Founder & bassguitar M.ILL.ION


Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.

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