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Interview with VOKONIS

by Vpower

The Band: Vokonis

Country: Sweden

Answers: Simon Ohlsson (guitars, vocals)



Fourth studio album of Sweden’s VOKONIS! “Odyssey” is the band’s first true prog record – a record for the new decade. After the success of their critically acclaimed third album “Grasping Time” (2019), VOKONIS immediately went into recording more material, the new album features guest musician Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Kamchatka) on Keyboard.

Hi Simon, Vokonis is a band with four studio albums and a solid career, but maybe out of Sweden you are not that much known, which is a bit weird, what do you think?

Hello! Thank you! The metal scene is full of competition. Maybe it’s because there are so many great acts out there. Hopefully we’ll get more recognition with this album.

In May you are releasing your fourth album through The Sign Records. You continue to deliver an album every two years, it’s a very good ratio especially considering the good quality of all your albums

We try to write material in between gigs. We want to be able to deliver an album or a piece of music every year. It’s a lot about growth for us.

After the success of your critically acclaimed album “Grasping Time” (2019), I think this Odyssey will not disappoint anyone, or at least it should not

We always hope for a great reception. This time around we’re probably more satisfied than ever with the end result. The steps we began to take on Grasping Time felt very natural. It was very important not to take too big steps back then. But now it’s fall game.

However, let me tell you that i have noticed a progressive approach that was not present in previous albums, do you agree?

Yes. I have listened a lot to progressive music earlier in my life and I went back to that a couple of years ago. I take huge inspiration from bands like Opeth and Mastodon. But also older bands such as Yes and Pink Floyd.

In this sense do you consider Odyssey the hardest or more complex task in your career?

In some ways yes. But it came together more quickly than Grasping Time. I think that it was the most fun I’ve ever had creating music. So in my opinion it wasn’t hard or complex but incredibly fun.

When did you start composing the new album and how was the recording process?

We had started writing more music quite soon after Grasping Time was released. We started recording in late 2019 and finished up in 2020. We originally set up to release an EP since we just got a new drummer, Peter. But the material just turned out so good we recorded more material and it turned into Odyssey.

You are only 3 guys in the band but you are able to deliver so many shades…

I think there’s only limitations in the sound if you impose them. We feel like a whole marching band in terms of sound sometimes haha!

They say some bands create the music they wish, others do what people like to listen and others do what they can… Where would you place yourself in that picture?

We definitely create the music we wish. I’m very inspired by a lot of bands and artists but in the end i don’t want to emulate anyone. It all goes into trying to bring out the best version of Vokonis there can be.

This album might be different to the others but it’s undeniable that the artwork continues to be awesome and actually very much your own

Kyrre Bjurling is amazing. He definitely creates some very inspiring art. I always want him to start out at the same time we are rehearsing new material so we get inspiration for the music.

What are the lyrics about?

It’s about traveling in a landscape that’s new to you. The odyssey takes place in a world falling apart from environmental destruction and war. It’s what we see in the world. The way humanity neglects each other, or hate each other and in turn hate the planet we are on. We only have this one and we only have each other. Let’s take care of it and each other.

Odyssey has “only” six songs, but each one of them is really fantastic. It was your original idea to release an album with only six songs or it turned out that way?

We really don’t try to think about that. We wanted to have 40 minutes of music so we could release an LP. It could be three or 8 tracks as long as it all sums up into 40 minutes!

An important element in your music is the game between the 2 voices, it works really well

It’s a huge part of our dynamic. We always try different voices for different parts and try to see what works the best for that part. We have no prestige when it comes to that.

You end the album with Through the Depths, a 12 minutes song that really leaves you begging for more, it’s the longest song you have ever composed and moreover it has an outstanding guitar solo

Thank you! I always wanted to do a song with a huge jam in the end. I love the vibe we got with it and I hope that can turn into a closer in our live-shows.

Will Odyssey mark a new path for the band regarding the first few albums?

I think Grasping Time was the start of the path and Odyssey is part of it. Hopefully there’s a lot more down this road.

Great news. How are you dealing with the pandemic? Any plans for the future?

We are all following restrictions and are doing our best to not go mad with isolation lol!

Thanks for your attention and congratulations for the big album, if you wish to add

Thank you for taking the time with us. We hope you stay safe and are well!

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