Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Sunday Conversation With. . . Simon of Vokonis

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

The band that redefined my views of what metal can be is Mastodon. Every album brought something different to the table and they never get boring. Since it's release I still listen to Once More Round The Sun in my car commuting to work, like on a weekly basis.

A more recent discovery that made me fall in love with doom is Monolord.
They're certainly a love or hate band. I love them. Crushing riffs, catchy and very groovy in ways you don't imagine at first.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

Riffs, riffs, riffs. That's the way it's been so far. The songs that we've written after we recorded The Sunken Djinn just came to be after we talked about how we wanted to progress as a band. We never want to stand still and not evolve our songs. But the central part is for us to get together and play some riffs. See if it leads to something better.

Who has influenced you the most?

Countless persons and bands. Black Sabbath is the foundation of it all though. More recently I'm inspired with bands we play with first and foremost.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

The world is constantly changing so it's not hard to get inspired by it.
That's where i get inspiration for all of my lyrics and songs in general.

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

We're from Borås, Sweden. And Borås is known for it's rain. So we have plenty of excuses to stay inside, rehearse and create new music haha..

Where'd the band name come from?

It's taken from a song of ours, King Vokonis Plague, Doesn't really have a meaning though.
We just liked the way it sounds and hopefully it grabs peoples attention.

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness. Just feels like we could do something with those awesome movies.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

Probably one of my favorite Swedish songs called Äppelträdet. I'd need about 1000 words just to try and describe the awesomeness of the main-riff.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

We've had some. None stranger than when we went out in the woods to a fans house to eat pancakes. That was really weird, but it ended up as an awesome evening with great food and a vinyl listening session.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

To play live is an opportunity to convey our music directly, so it's probably the coolest aspect of being in a band.
We always try to add a death-metal edge to our music live. We want to give fans the feeling of an intimate action-packed show that's filled to the brim with fuzz.

What makes a great song?

An identity. If we cannot give a song an identity of it's own, if it feels like some riffs thrown together, we just scrap it then and there. We're relentless haha!
We try to create dynamics which can be a challenge when the main portion of our songs are so fuzz-heavy. But we aspire to make direct, dynamic songs that grabs your attention and won't let it go.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

Don't remember the first actual song. Must have been some punkrock song. The first we wrote as Vokonis was Shroomblade I think. We rehearsed that when we were known as Creedsmen Arise.
Just felt right then and there.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

Our upcoming record The Sunken Djinn has some great moments. We feel like we really got songs that gives the album a nice flow all the way through. My favorite from the new album is probably one of the last songs, Rapturous. Love playing it. I would say that Rapturous song encompass what we try to do now and forward.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

A number of bands. Skraeckoedlan, Monolord and Domkraft. Probably a lot more. But the thing about the scene today is that there's no competition. Just a lot of camaraderie.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

All! Any format that supports music is a good format. I have to admit to being a digital listener first and foremost. Just for the simplicity of it. I tend to buy so much gear that vinyl has become an afterthought!

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

Whiskey, just one glass of fine whiskey is enough. We're not heavy drinkers.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

AA Musik! Easily.

What's next for the band?

Besides our new record that will be out June 9th we are gonna be in The Planet of Doom and have quite a few gigs planned, including an appearance at the esteemed Krökbacken festival in northern Sweden. 

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

Volume over hate, Revel in Fuzz. Thank you for all of the support.

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