Profile: Simon Ohlsson of Progress-edelic Metallers Vokonis

Vokonis

Progressive and psychedelic (hence progress-edelic), in metal, can mean varied results that most often lean towards too much effort and not enough payoff, but in the case of Vokonis’ third full length Grasping Time, it means a band that is forward thinking AND top of the class in these particular styles. The album effortlessly meanders between the sensibilities of Ufomammut and the heft of Khemmis without ever being a copy of either on this 45 minutes of sheer bliss – seriously, this album is great and the band finally has a clear and unique identity. On top of that, Grasping Time is their best and tightest effort yet; the songwriting is better and never falls flat, the riffs are huge, the melodies are addictive, and the vocals are pristine with exceptional range. Just ahead of the album’s release we reached out with our set of Profile questions to get the backstory and Simon Ohlsson (guitars, vocals) responded, so head directly below to see how it went down and DO NOT miss this opportunity to grab a copy for yourself – links contained within.

Vokonis - Grasping Time

How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?

I played a lot of Guitar Hero and felt like I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. It was a trip down the rabbit hole for sure after that. I think it’s hard to say anything regarding success of the band. We’re so thankful for having people following and listening to us. That’s more than I could’ve ever thought possible when starting the band. So I feel like we are incredibly successful in that aspect.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)

We had to cancel our latest tour due to me getting the flu mid show in Hamburg. It was a total nightmare. We played on this enormously cool ship called the Stubnitz. The crew were so nice to us and we felt great about that. But only one person showed up in the audience, and in the middle of the show I lost my voice completely. After our set I went straight to bed and couldn’t get up at all. So when we had to get out we just had to go straight home to Sweden. That was some uncomfortable ride let me tell you that.

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

There’s a surge in creativity with a lot of cool bands coming up. So I think that’s awesome. Music is better than ever in my opinion. Worst thing is I think a lot of bigotry and sexism is still present in the scene.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?

Music has always been very political and we are no exception, we stand against sexism, racism. We’re against animal abuse and are vegetarians/vegans. We think it’s important to be vocal about stuff like this as it destroys the environment and the lives of so many people.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

I was probably 15 or 16 when I got into Rage Against The Machine. My dad told me to stop listening to such destructive music haha!

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

To get to know the bands before approaching them for an interview.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

Our goals are to just create as much music as we can. To challenge ourselves musically and to meet new people. To get out and tour for a lot of new people.

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

I listen to a lot of Pink Floyd, Mastodon, Thin Lizzy, Dinosaur Jr. or just old Motown records. Anything that’s good with a groove basically!

What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?

We’re releasing a new album September 6 on The Sign Records called “Grasping Time.” We are playing some shows later this year, including the Close-Up boat with Monolord, Eyehategod and Gaahls Wyrd. We are also planning to record some new material later on.

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for publication)

Dynamic.

Many thanks to Simon for his time!


Grasping Time will be available September 6 on The Sign Records. For more information on Vokonis, visit their official website.

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