A dose of Vokadin, a jolt in the head
By Chelzee Salera, UP Cebu Mass Comm Intern
Photos by Amper Campaña
ADD the painkiller Vicodin to Vodka and Vokadin is what you get, a blow your-brains out post-grunge punk rock band from Denmark who toured Cebu and Manila last April to promote their latest album “My Fix Before Yours.”
Cebu got a dose of Vokadin’s music at a number of venues – Sailor’s Log, KOA Tree House, Iamiks Chicken and The Outpost – where this band of five men covered in tattoos and piercings rattled the status quo to the bone.
The Scandinavian band was quite a spectacle. The drummer did his thing, the lead and rhythm guitarists did their thing, as the vocalist screamed, shrieked and screeched all over the stage, crouching, on his feet, or in mid-air. Not to be outdone the bass player danced around barefoot, his fifth bottle of beer in one hand, but hardly missing a note.
Described by the press as the “most hard-hitting and noisy band in Northern Europe,” Vokadin sounds like something that parents should keep their kids from. But beyond the stereotype that their genre of music is all about hate, Vokadin is more than meets the eye.
Upon closer listen, you’d learn that Vokadin – with Mads Aarby on vocals, Sonny Lembke on lead guitar, Kasper Rasmussen on rhythm, Oliver Hunter on bass, and Max Wincentz on drums – does look forward to creating change through their music.
So, is that what brought them here?
Well, Aarby had been staying for half a year in Dumaguete City and was involved in social activities for juvenile detention problems. Despite coming from a highly developed country like Denmark, he wasn’t blind to the fact that there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor, so he brought back his band mates with him here and showed them what he saw.
“Music brought us together. But there’s got to be more than the safe society we are used to back home. Vokadin is here to make a difference through what we have — music,” Aarby said.
Throwback to meaningful music
Formed in 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the group was brought together by their shared passion for rock and roll.
They had a mission: to revive all that meaningful music that has been lost through the generations, music like the ones the old school bands they looked up to played.
Soon enough, Vokadin released their own self-titled album “Against Your Records” in 2011 followed by another full-length album “My Fix Before Yours” in 2013. Both albums were produced under their own label.
“We were pretty drunk young guys who thought, let’s start a band, let’s play some insane rock and roll. And that was the start of it. We started in a really crappy basement with only a drum set and really shitty guitars,” Aarby said.
Yet for all this seeming decadence, the music that inspired them – such as those of The Ramones, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, The Clash and Pearl Jam – tackled timeless themes about the human condition, the ones that really mattered, such as life, love, loss, injustice.
“There’s a lot of injustice in the world and we need to think outside of the box to stand up for something,” Aarby said. “If you’re an angry man like me, like us, then music is the platform for your screams.”
While that sounds like some really loaded stuff, that’s what Vokadin’s music is all about: a raucous jolt in the head that lets the things that really matter sink in.