About Me

Interview with Vanishing Point

What better way to discover “Dead Elysium” - Vanishing Point's new album, recently released on August 28th, via AFM Records - than talking to Chris Porcianko (guitarist)? This kind and friendly gentleman spoke to Metal Imperium about the album, the current situation, the team responsible for the sound, the Wacken Open Air, the personal musical taste and much more.
Find out and read more! You won’t be disappointed!!!

M.I. -  Hi there and welcome, guys. How are you doing?

Hi, Raquel. We are doing ok. We are still in lockdown in Victoria and staying safe but, so far, no complaints.

M.I. -  "Dead Elysium" was released via AFM Records at the end of August, specifically on the 28th. How is working with one of the biggest labels on the Metal scene? Do they understand your creative point?

Things are going relatively well. We have been fortunate enough to have AFM on our side and they have patience, which is a really good thing, (laughts) , but honestly we are a relatively small band and they are trying their best and believe in the music that we create, so we are blessed to have a good team behind us.
The other positive development domestically speaking here in Australia, that we have signed to Octane records and they are doing great things for us as well. So, we are very happy with the way things are going right now.

M.I. -  Seven years is how long it took you to create this record. Why all this time? What happened and which obstacles did you have to face?

Much happened to be honest. Our vocalist Silvio, was in hospital twice and he lost his voice for a whole year, in that time he had to basically start from square one and re train his voice with a vocal coach and vocal therapy sessions, it was a very hard time.
Probably the hardest thing also on top of that, was that Silvio’s Mother and Father passed away during those years and, of course, this was something in which we simply had to give Silvio time to heal.
In terms of obstacles, I think they were the most tragic in a sense, because we just had to stick by Silvio and let him sort things out during that time. In a sense it was a hard process to go through and also trying to save as much money as possible and having some band members leave during that whole process was hard as well. It kind of gives you an opportunity to reflect on what is important in life and thankfully we have come through to the other side with the album.

M.I. -  This album is also a reflection of what you had to face, not only as a band, but as individuals. Can we say that this record is biographical, that it helped you going through these times?

Of course! I think that, with every album we do, there is some personal experience there for the world to hear, as we write about what affects us and how we feel.
I think during the time recording the album, it definitely in one way or another dawned on us that there are some songs that have turned out to be personal in a sense, because the situation affected us during that time.

M.I. -  What was more difficult for you? The lyrics or the melody?

To be honest with you, none are too hard. The songs come out the way they do by just naturally going with the flow of life more or less.
We aren’t a band that sits down before recording an album and discusses how many fast or slow songs have to be on the album. That’s never been the motivating factor for us to create the music that we do in Vanishing Point. To be honest, we just kind of do what we do.
I think at the end of the day, we just try our best and work within our abilities, creatively speaking.

M.I. -  The general theme, specifically lyrically, was how you can see positivity on the change, despite the current situation. Why this topic and theme? Can you see this positivity?

Do I see positive change for the moment with the world as it is? (laughts). Probably not, because there seems to be too much instability and I think that, as a whole, we all aren’t too sure what the future will bring, but with that being said, I think we all collectively need to make a change that first starts within and perhaps keeping things in perspective instead of being reactionary.
But with that being said, I’m a relatively open-minded person and I see hope in the next generation, so I am, in a sense, optimistic for the future. We, just in my opinion, need to center ourselves and in a sense think of what is most important to us.
Basically the general theme with “Dead Elysium” is that, this world we have is one world, its our own heaven and hell, it’s a world in which we all need to live in and perhaps live in as best as possible, especially with the environment, providing help for those who are less fortunate and being compassionate human beings instead of having things run by assholes, who are more interested in their bank accounts instead of looking after people in a positive and sustainable manner.
I’m hoping that in the near future, we can all bridge that disconnect that we are all experiencing in one form or another currently.

M.I. -  With all these tracks, which ones were your favorite to write, produce and create the whole process?

Ah! You’ve got me there, (laughts). This question always comes up and with each album. I think which song is my favorite and it is a hard one.
I suppose the song “Free” is probably my personal favorite as it reflected on a time during the album, where a person close to me hit rock bottom and thankfully there was light at the other side of the tunnel .
I like all the songs to be honest, but that song probably for me is my favorite, as it’s a little different to what we have done in the part musically speaking and, initially, I remember writing the song and thinking it really wasn’t something that I was comfortable with, but it slowly turned out to be a song that surprised me in terms of how the music flowed with it and ,personally speaking, I think it is one of Silvio’s best performances in the album. I was in the studio when he was singing that song and he was pushed a little by Dean, our producer, and myself to really go for it and the proof is in the song, especially towards the end of it when it all goes to just Silvio and the piano. That, for me, was one of those “Oh yeah! This is something magical “, if I must say myself.

M.I. -  This album is amazing and, although it is heavier and louder than the previous ones, it has the “Vanishing Point” essence. What kind of sound were you looking for?

Thank you for the kind words, we really appreciate it! 
I think sound wise we just wanted to have something that sounds big and energetic to a degree, as the songs have some raw energy to them and we really wanted to have a punchy sound with some heavy riffs thrown in there and I think we captured that this time.
Working with Dean Wells was good in a way, because he understood where we were coming from. We didn’t want the album to be “too nice”. We wanted something that has all the elements that Vanishing Point is known for, as well as some heavy drive.
I think it was more a case that the songs have a lot more energy to them this time in comparison to our last album and I think, judging by what we were going through in terms of the time it took to record the album and under the circumstances, it naturally put a bit of “pepper” into the recipe, (laughts)! 
Honestly, though we aren’t a band that upon every new album we do say “we wanted it to be the heaviest and fastest sounding album”, because that kind of approach in my opinion is kind of cliché, we like to let the music do the talking to be honest.

M.I. -  How many tracks have you written and why did you choose these? Were you all in agreement with these songs or each one of you had a different point of view?

That’s a really good question! Normally it’s me who comes up with the basic ideas of the music, but with that being said, everyone puts their ingredients into the mix. For example, songs like “Salvus”, lyrically were rewritten by Silvio and myself several times over, until they felt right and that was probably the first time we had an outside ear help us develop the song to a degree, as Dean Wells has a great ear and there is no doubt he was instrumental in pushing that song in the way it is with the vocal phrasing to what it is now, we learnt the “less is more” approach with him and we are thankful for it as it worked really well.
In terms of deciding the songs that make the album cut the general consensus is if the songs sound good then they make it onto the album, it’s not really a massive thought process that we all sit down and tear each song apart from start to finish and deliberate what twists and turns the music should go through. We are relatively easy going with it to a degree that of the songs make us feel good then that’s the important thing first and foremost.
I sometimes have this creative urge that when I get inspired musically, I tend to write really quick, so in a sense it’s sometimes a curse, because when the guys hear the pre-produced ideas I send to them, then I’m already writing the orchestrations for the songs. It’s weird, (laughts).

M.I. -  Who was the responsible for the magic? The sound engineer and the staff?

I think it was all a collective effort to be honest. There were times when I have to push for a sonic idea, especially with the string orchestrations to really shine through in the mix, but overall, it was a good effort on everyone’s behalf.
I think the person at the end of the day who was most relieved, was the producer, as he sent us various test mixes and, while many of them were close, we pushed to have certain elements in there as well. Mixing this type of music with so much going on, is a really hard task and I’m thankful to Dean that he got there in the end, because we wanted the sound to be the best it could be and I think we all did really well with this album.

M.I. -  The album cover is phenomenal. Who designed this and how was it working with the artist?

The album cover design for “Dead Elysium”, was done by Colin Marks @ Rain Song Design. He was really easy to work with to be honest. We just sent him the ideas we had visually speaking and the album title, and he just went for it and provided us with this really cool cover, which we are all very happy with.
The inner sleeve artwork was also done by another artist, who’s been a long time Facebook friend of mine from Portugal and his name is Augusto Peixoto, @ Irondoom Design.
Both guys are awesome to work with and very talented, so I would definitely recommend any bands looking for some killer artwork to speak to these guys.

M.I. -  Jennifer Borg was the guest vocalist on "Recreate The Impossible". Why did you choose this song to create such a perfect collaboration?

“Recreate” is one of those songs lyrically where it’s verging on a kind of pre dystopian existence and I really wanted to capture the dark elements of the song with some positive light so to speak, and I always had the lyrics in my head over the orchestral section there with “in my dreams. All I see is blue “, as it felt like it is taking the listener away from the chaos for a quick moment, (laughts).
Working with Jen is really easy. She is the lead vocalist of a really cool band, called “Divine Ascension”, and I’ve loved her vocals ever since I heard one of their songs, called “Stronger”, which is from their “Liberator” album.
She’s really easy going and a total professional, plus they are a great band that we have here in our local metal scene in Melbourne. We are all friends, so it’s relatively easy to connect and ask for a favor.

M.I. -  The self-titled track was released in June. Why have you chosen this song to introduce the fans to the album?

I think we just felt it was a good introduction for the new album and it’s a pretty good reflection of the album as a whole to a degree.
It’s crazy, because we didn’t think we would be where we are, in terms of the state of world affairs at the moment with the whole pandemic going on, etc., but we honestly felt it was a good song to represent perhaps what the general feeling is at this present time.

M.I. -  “Salvus” was the next single, released on the 16th July. Who is this character and what does he represent?

Actually that’s a really good question and, to be honest, even we don’t know who the character is, (laughts) , we had both lyric videos for “Dead Elysium” and “Salvus “, created by Wayne Joyner, who has worked for Dream Theater and Devin Townsend, amongst so many others, and we just let him do his work and he came up with these cool concepts.
Truth be known, we never, in a million years, thought of the “Salvus” lyric video being a Sci-Fi theme, (laughts), but there you go, (laughts)! 
It’s interesting, when you get to work with some of the best out there in the industry and you let them create what they do with how they see the song/concept.
We definitely didn’t see that one coming, that’s for sure, hahah! But we like it and it’s a great interpretation of the song, at the end of the day if it’s good, then it’s good, (laughts)! 

M.I. -  Both videos were lyric videos. How did you find the team responsible for them and what new fresh vibes did they bring in? Why did you choose to do two lyric videos?

Honestly, we didn’t have much to provide visually / conceptually speaking for the lyric videos. We just wanted them to be catchy and appealing to the listener/ viewer.
I think the reason why we chose those two songs for lyric videos, is more or less a case of the songs being light and dark to each other, nothing else really.
We met Wayne way back in 2016, when we played live at Prog Power in Atlanta, and he mentioned that he liked our music and would like to work with us on future material, plus seeing the awesome work that he does, was pretty much a no brainer for us, as he does great work and he’s equally a great easy going guy to deal with.

M.I. -  Will you release a new video? Which one will it be? Could you give us a little taste of it?

Yeah! Sure! The next video will be “Count Your Days” and its not an acting video clip or anything like that. It’s just the five of us playing the song in a room, headbanging like idiots and having a good time.
We just wanted something a little more real, a little rawer this time and so far, the edits I’ve seen are really good. We have a guy here in Melbourne, called Miki, who we’ve never worked with before, but he’s an up and coming guy, and he was actually easy to work with.
I can only speak for myself, when I say this, but I find the whole process of filming a video clip cheesy, so I’m not really into acting, and there are no dungeons and dragons, and all that bullshit happening, (laughts)! It’s just the band playing and doing what it does! 

M.I. -  You’re now a five-piece band. Gaston Chin is the new bassist and Damien Hall is the drummer. Was it difficult to choose these guys? What kind of new sound will they bring to the band?

Actually, when we came across Gaston and Damien, it was really easy because, we knew they could play well and thankfully, they are really great guys as well. We all get along great, which is the most important thing, I think.
We’ve only had limited time in the rehearsal studio with these guys since the pandemic broke out. So, we are excited to get back into it then the time comes.
The thing that I also really like with Damien and Gaston, is they know very well how to play their instruments and truth be known, when I send them the songs for the audition process months ago, I didn’t provide them any notes, other than to just go for it, give us your own vibes of the songs, and they honestly just nailed the songs so well .
They are great players and great guys, and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table with the newer songs we have written already. They have great ideas and they are proficient at their instruments, so we are really happy, and the band is complete once again. 

M.I. -  Will this album have a tour and who will be the supporting band? Could you give us an update, please?

Sure! For the moment, unfortunately there are some dates penciled in for Australia, only for the moment, and it looks like they will happen next year, as we are in current lockdown. So, it’s really hard to gauge, when we will be free to proceed and tour the album. We are hoping that it won’t be too long to wait, but honestly, we aren’t sure at the moment.
In regard to touring internationally, we can’t wait to come over and play, but it’s more or less a case of now knowing when things will settle with the whole pandemic, unfortunately.
For us, playing live, is where it’s at and once the borders are open, then we will be out there for sure. 

M.I. -  You’ve escorted big names, such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Finnish Symphonic masters Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, power-Metal pioneers Helloween, Joe Satriani, Edguy, Dragonforce and even the legendary Iron Maiden. How does it feel to tour with such big name? Which ones would you love to work with on a collaboration and tour? Could you tell us a story that you remember?

Some we have toured with and some we have supported on one or two shows and, to be honest with you, they have all been really great and friendly people.
Obviously, our close friends in Sonata Arctica are always a band we have had fun touring with and hopefully something will happen again with those guys, as it’s more of a gathering than a tour, (laughts). We’ve known each other for nearly twenty years. So, touring with them has always been a great experience.
Probably my collaboration dream would be to work with Toumas, from Nightwish. I find his work to be inspiring and he has an incredible vision, in terms of what he does, and I have a lot of respect for that.
Stories from touring? Hmmmm… There would be so many and crazy ones, (laughts). I honestly would not know where to start. One I will mention, is kind of scary and funny at the same time, because we were at the Hungarian border back in 2008, and one of the touring crew/ roadies liked to smoke pot, which is his thing and there we were at minus 3 degrees standing outside in our underwear and watching the tour bus slowly drive through this massive x-ray machine, which shows absolutely everything, (laughts). When we looked at the crew member, we said: “Are you ok??? “and he smiled at us and said: “Yeah! I’m good. I just ate it all.“, (laughts). Needless to say at the next show, which was in Budapest, the guy was completely and utterly chasing unicorns or some extra terrestrial shit. It was kind of annoying then, but looking back at it, it’s a funny memory, (laughts).
Honestly there are so, so many to mention, if I were to mention every one of them, then this interview would go on forever, (laughts).

M.I. -  Your debut at the festival season was on Wacken Open Air as the first unsigned band ever. How did you feel about that and what do you remember of the experience, on playing at one of the most important festivals? Did you see any bands, while you were there? Which ones?

We were very fortunate and blown away from the response. It was a great opportunity and it opened some doors for us, which we will always be grateful for.
For me it was a great experience, as I saw so many awesome bands and the overall atmosphere was magic. One of the highlights for me back then was of course seeing Gamma Ray live for the first time and then we were luckily enough given an opportunity to support them all over Europe, alongside Sonata Arctica. Man!!! That was back in 2001!!! It was a while ago, (laughts).

M.I. -  What are your favorite bands, the ones that have had a huge impact on you?

Of course, there are bands like Queensrÿche and Dream Theater, but I also like a lot of Death Metal, as well so it’s hard to pin point which ones have really blown me away, because there is so much great music out there.
I’m a big fan of the Death “Human“ and “Symbolic “ albums, as well as The Scorpions and then all the way to stuff like Tori Amos and Yanni. So, my tastes in music are all over the place to a degree.

M.I. -  Thanks so much. Any final words for the Metalheads that read the webzine?

I’d just like to thank everyone that’s taken an interest in our music and we really appreciate all the support. It is really nice to have people stick with us throughout the years and this we are very grateful for.
Also, thanks to you guys for the support as well. Without the media spreading the word, it would be much, much harder to get our music out there! 

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda