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Merritt Island, Florida, United States | SELF

Merritt Island, Florida, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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"Through this is ViliFi's debut album, the band are no strangers to the local music scene."

The Merritt Island trio, comprised of Shain Honkonen (guitars/vocals), Chad Berney (bass); and Jake Hogeland (drums), were known and loved, until recently, as oNe, an outfit than can be said to have improved through this new, more focused incarnation.
With the 13-track Common Eyes, ViliFi make their intentions clear at the outset with blistering opener "Sympathy," a showcase of each member's impressive musical skills. The rest of the album continues apace, with songs like the woozy "Abide" and the funk inflected "Price I Have To Pay" woven around frenetic rhythms, furious guitar shredding, precise bass lines, and Honkonen's warm vocals. Few bands sound as cohesive as this, and the entirety of Common Eyes has a palpably live feel.
Hard rock influences abound on chugging tracks like "Anguish" and "I'm Alive," but ViliFi really shine on the more balladic offerings like "Gone Away" and closer "Take Me Away." All the songs here are Honkonen penned originals and are, as evidenced in the excellent, downtempo "Hanging On Tonight," distillations of a variety of influences, including prop-rock, jazz, and even classical structures. One of the album's best tracks, "Hanging On Tonight," is a song full of color and restraint, and sounds all the more incredible when compared to the urgent intensity of much of the remainder of the album. Other highlights include Honkonen's fluid guitar playing and finely-crafted lyrics, and Berney and Hogeland's solid rhythm section, which is by turns anchored and wildly impulsive.
Melodic, funky, hard-rocking, and refreshingly unique, Common Eyes also suggests that ViliFi have a few more Classic albums in them. Based on these tunes, the band should be around for a long, long time -- perhaps in another incarnation, but in spirit at least, still the rocking same. -- P. Thorpe
- The Beachside Resident


Common Eyes



ViliFi is a power rock trio from east central Florida, realized of passion and molded by fate. Singer guitarist, Shain Honkonen leads an expression of music to test the soul. With Chris Marshall on drums and Dylan Thomas on bass, the sound of ViliFi resonates the bones with a style of alternative rock molded to the intensity of progressive rock. With each musician a solo artist in their own rights, the collaboration of these three musical entities forms ViliFi into the band it is today. The inception of the band formed in 2008 with two former members backing Shain. Early on the band performed exclusively within the Central Florida area gaining a loyal following. The development of their individual skills over the many years playing the local scene has lead them to venture out and pursue greater opportunities. Over time ViliFi has graced the same stages as The Marshall Tucker Band, Saliva, 12 Stones, Authority Zero, Unwritten Law, Dead Letter Circus, Smile Empty Soul, The Supervillians and Eye Empire. Having performed on stages that include The Hard Rock Live, Florida Music Festival, Captain Hiram’s Concert Series and many others, the band has become adept at displaying their talent in front of large audiences. Throughout the development of ViliFi, previous bands members have pursued different musical interests. After the parting of ways, Dylan and Chris have since joined creating the formidable ViliFi of today.

Shain Honkonen

It could be argued that Shain is first a poet and then a musician, if there is a difference. Shain started playing guitar at age 13 and by the age of 17 Shain started playing guitar with Classic Albums Live recreating the albums you love note for note live on stage from artists such as Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Guns and Roses, U2, Queen, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and many more. He works as a full time musician playing acoustic gigs, as a studio guitarist and as the front man of his band ViliFi. His words and his music pull at the emotions while cheering and weeping the storyboard of our lives. He identifies with a motley variety of musical influences; from The Beatles, Incubus, TOOL, Dream Theater and Nirvana. All of ViliFi’s music is written primarily by Shain. “I need music like the air I breathe, it’s never been just a choice to me.” he says when asked why he has decided to pursue a career in this field. His music and his writing are where he places his soul.

Chris Marshall

Currently of Circuit Bender has recently been added as the drummer for ViliFi. After playing only a few shows with the new lineup he has quickly shifted gears and hit the ground running where the last drummer left off. His previous band, Boxplow, has graced the stages of Hard Rock Live in Orlando, House of Blues, Earth Day Birthday Festival of Orlando, as well as numerous clubs in the downtown Orlando/ Atlanta areas, and clubs in the Virgin Islands. Stage experience with Boxplow, coupled with its “pantera-like” metal influences makes Chris a perfect addition to ViliFi for their upcoming U.S. tour in July of 2012. Shifting focus, once again, after the tour Marshall will be attending the Drummers Collective in New York City to further his study into percussion and stage performance, taking guidance from Chris Coleman: Prince, Chaka Khan, etc.

Dylan Thomas

A bassist of 14 years, Dylan has spent the larger half of his life playing live music, and has no intention of stopping any time soon. Coming from a wide variety of musical backgrounds including blues, jazz fusion, Hard rock, R&B, progressive, blues and more, he is the latest addition to ViliFi.

“My father was a bassist in a rock band from Watertown NY when he was my age - so naturally, when I was 8 years old he bought me a bass guitar for Christmas to see if I’d pick it up. I noodled with it, but not too seriously. The next year, he bought me a Rush album. I had never really listened to them before. I heard Geddy’s unique bass style, and said to him “That’s a bass isn’t it? THAT is what I want to play. I didn’t know it could be played like that” “I immediately put the cd in the stereo in my bedroom, and sat down and forced myself to learn how to play that instrument, and persisted for the next few years until I felt I could call myself a bassist. –Because I knew for sure that was what I wanted to be.”

Though Rush was his first big influence, Dylan has taken a lot of influence from several jazz and R&B artists as well over the years. However, he makes a point to credit the local and lesser known musicians he has met through his life for inspiration to pursue music as a career, as he claims they were the people who really showed him where to start. He is the newest member of ViliFi, and is excited to be on board. “I’m both excited and fortunate to be able to work with Shain and Chris, they are phenomenal musicians, and it is evident that we all share one common goal and will stop at nothing to get there.”