Interviewed by Cristóbal Torres
Chris Porcianko is a very open and straightforward musician which is something good when it comes not only to create music but also give an interview. From the current curfew back in Melbourne, Australia, this vocalist answered the questions from Metal-Rules.com telling us about the latest Vanishing Point album: DEAD ELYSIUM, and the reasons why they kept a long hiatus.
Thanks to Dustin Hardman at AFM Records for setting up the interview.
Pretty much there were lineup changes and life changes to a degree.
It was one of those situations where we wanted to regroup and focus on what we really wanted to do without having boundaries from differences of direction because, when we wrote the music for the DISTANT IS THE SIN album, we felt that we were free to do whatever we wanted and just let the music flow naturally.
Coming from Australia and putting all of our own money into the band especially at that time was a really hard road, the previous record company we were with for both EMBRACE THE SILENCE and THE FOURTH SEASON albums went broke during the 2008 financial crisis and as a result we did not receive a dollar for the sales of those albums, it was actually a really terrible time and it played a massive burden on the band financially and in turn some of the previous members felt it was better to leave which is understandable.
It took a lot of effort and time to get the band back on its feet back in 2010 and honestly we were close to calling it a day; but thankfully we persisted, the music industry is still tough and the industry has changed somewhat but, with that being said, back then we were self managed whereas now we have a good solid management team behind us and that helps is a great way.
It has been six years since the release of your latest album. What are the main changes you have noticed in the musical scene ever since?
I think to a degree the music scene has changed to a point that everything is driven by Facebook likes, etc., to get traction otherwise it’s easy to get overlooked with your music. I personally am not really a fan of the whole “have to be in their faces “ vibe all the time; I’m actually a little reserved in a sense and I like to have the music do the talking so to speak; but unfortunately that is not enough to just keep current, so you have to somehow keep up with the race with all that social media stuff , that to me is a bit lame to be honest, but it is what it is.
I suppose it comes down to how accessible new music is these days; it involves a hell of a lot of touring to get your music out there as well and that in turn helps sell merchandise, which helps the bands make money to fund their future endeavours, coming all the way from Australia it can be a very expensive exercise, he, he.
Also now, with the covid situation, the live scene has pretty much stopped, so we are saving whatever cash we can to fund merchandise ourselves to sell online, that will most likely help and then when it’s safe to go out and play live we will be eager to get out there.
The other thing that I’ve noticed which has been massive since our last album is that Spotify is huge and everyone pretty much listens to music with that platform, in terms of accessibility it’s a useful platform.
I must be honest and say that I’m more of a traditionalist in a sense and that I like to have the physical product in my hands, I like reading the liner notes and wherever I can I always like to buy from the bands direct as well.
And how much would you say have you changed as a musician and as a person since your latest album?
I’m a little bit older (laughs); maybe not wiser (laughs).
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve changed much at all, I’m a realistic guy and relatively positive in my outlook on things and writing and playing this kind of music for me in a sense keeps my mind active and I’m grateful that after all these years I still can do what I do.
As a musician I don’t think I have changed at all because I go with the flow when writing the music for Vanishing Point and at the end of the day if the song is good then it is good.
There’s no formula to what we do; it’s not like we say to ourselves that we need to have x amount of fast songs and x amount of progressive songs on the album, I’m honestly not one to think of those boundaries before writing music, at the end of the day, if the song sounds good and we are happy with it and feel we did our best with the music, then we are content.
How did you find Gaston Chin and Damien Hall and how have they adapted to the band?
So far everything is going great with the guys , they are both extremely talented musicians but most importantly really good people and very easy to get along with, that I think is probably more important than their actual skills.
When previous members left the band it was a case that we really wanted to make sure we found the right people, not people who are amazing musicians but have baggage or entitlement issues because honestly that can be extremely taxing and take the spontaneous fun out of doing what we do.
How did the integration of these two musicians evolve the sound of the band?
Actually that’s a question that I can’t answer at this present time because they did not appear on the album, we had former members in the band back then and they left the band before the album came out so it’s a strange situation.
What I can say is that we are always constantly writing new music and both Gaston and Damien are already putting their own identities to Vanishing Point’s music and we are really excited to hear all the cool ideas they bring to the table in the future.
How do you manage to keep the flame burning as strong as when you started this journey called Vanishing Point? When did you start working on the songs for this new album; did you change your creative process from your early albums?
How do I manage to keep the flame burning? Hum… I honestly don’t know how to answer that because I never have thoughts cross my mind that “it’s all too hard” and ever since I became a musician I suppose the one goal that I had in mind was to find like minded musicians who are like family and just keep on playing music, that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
Being in a band that has a small following around the world who enjoys what we do is a bonus and I’m always grateful that we have people that are following us who like what we do.
In terms of the creative process I think it has stayed the same, I’m always learning new things while writing this kind of music and I like the flow of it, it’s never a case that I have a stopwatch or a planner in my room that says I have to write x amount of new songs per week because I hate that kind of marathon bullshit, for me music is a free spirit and I like riding that wave and seeing where it takes me to be honest.
The songs for DEAD ELYSIUM where written between 2015 and 2016 , there were many more songs written as well but we just felt that the ones that are on the album felt right, truth be known we are always writing new music to a degree, it’s not like we have anything else to do at this present time anyway.
Did you ever feel some kind of pressure in order to keep the level and achieve an album as good as your previous one?
To be honest, not really. I think our general motto has been that if the song is good then it’s good.
Working alongside Silvio all these years has always been good in a sense because he’s honest, he’s not going to say something sounds great when he doesn’t feel it.
With James co-writing the new stuff with me that’s yet to be released we are always just doing what comes naturally and thankfully that’s the Vanishing Point sound, we are big fans of melodic music and we are big fans of hooks and emotion in music.
This is where the next chapter will be with Gaston and Damien included and I look forward to having them partake in writing stuff as well, I think it’s always going to sound like Vanishing Point but with the level of musicianship we have now we might throw some more twists and turns, who knows.
Now that you can see this album from a distance, what were the emotions that emerged the most when composing it?
I think it was more or less a case of going with the flow and not holding back in terms of what we could do with the songs.
We just wanted to go with something more energetic and the songs after a while naturally came out that way in a sense because there sure is a lot of stuff going on with the album but at the same time we also in part of the album took a less is more approach especially with songs like “Salvus”.
When I started writing that song at home it just felt good, simple and atmospheric to a degree, truth be known when I originally sent the song to the guys via email as an idea I thought they might not like it (laughs), so it was a nice surprise and something a little different for us but thankfully it has come out great and I must mention that this time recording the album and having a producer with Dean Wells it definitely helped because we had somewhat of an independent ear with him and he understands where we are coming from in terms of what our sound is all about.
I think the general consensus with the album that we have is that ii is something we are proud of and we wore our hearts on our sleeves with the songs, that to us is most important, giving a listener a view into what makes us tick so to speak.
DEAD ELYSIUM brings to my mind some post-apocalyptic landscape. Which was the atmosphere you tried to create in this album musically and lyrically speaking?
In a sense there is a post apocalyptic, almost dystopian theme to it in a way especially with the songs ”Dead Elysium”, “Recreate the impossible” and “Shadow World” yet, at the same time, it is also an album that lyrically speaking we wanted to channel hope and a little light through the darkness so to speak.
I think naturally the name of the album and the overall concept to a degree came about with how we are seeing things happening in the world right now with so much instability and disconnection with the environment and within ourselves.
We seem to have all these methods of communicating, all these platforms but are we really connecting or just pretending to connect? We’ve never been ones to shy away from how life affects us lyrically speaking but at the same time we like to leave the lyrics open for the listener to interpret the songs how they wish to with their own thoughts and feelings.
As a band, what are your thoughts about the livestream concerts happening recently, are you planning something like that in the near future?
I think, given the circumstances at the present time, it is definitely something that we will look into ourselves because live concerts with interaction with the audience seems a long way off in the future at the moment, so who knows? It’s something that I can see us doing for sure, but it’s gotta be right.
At the moment we have been doing as much press as possible given the fact that here in Melbourne at the moment we are currently in the middle of a stage four lockdown and we have curfews here as well, so it’s something that I can see us doing but at the moment we aren’t even allowed to get together and rehearse our songs because of the second wave here.
It’s a strange situation, that’s for sure.
With that being said, I really hope that things will be safe to play live to an audience in the near future because we love that connection with the people.
You signed last year to Hard Drive Agency. How important is it for a band to make this kind of deal in order to hit the big stages; do you think this could be the difference between make it or not? You have already played in Wacken and toured all over the world, however, do you think that experience plays in your favor on this comeback or you are starting from scratch again?
That’s a great question and I suppose I must be honest and open up a bit here personally about it, years ago we were self managed and I was doing a hell of a lot of work behind the scenes organising flights, shows, schedules, finances, etc., and, to be honest, it got to the point that I felt burnt out.
My wife and kids hardly saw me, I was also juggling my own business as a sole trader and it all got a little bit too much to handle.
It’s not like we were getting bigger and needed someone to take the reins with all that stuff, it’s more a case that I like to concentrate on doing music, creating, recording and playing it live and connecting with the people who support our music.
Whenever we were playing shows I was the one at the end of the evening collecting the cash and making sure our flights were on time for the next morning, etc., it got a bit too much and I hated it.
With the team at Hard Drive Agency we have good management there, they look at things from a business perspective and they make sure that things are on time, everything from the album release to the lyric videos and video clip, etc., they take care of the things that in an ever changing industry are needed to be done.
In terms of playing Wacken and massive festivals like that we of course would love to do them once again and I think it’s a case of taking things a step at a time because of this whole pandemic.
There are of course already things we are looking at doing on the horizon for next year and I’m grateful we have a good manager in Bailey who is an organisational freak because, if I had to do it, then I think I would have lost my mind a long time ago (laughs).
I think the overall touring experience the band has had over the years has been great in shaping us to who we are as individuals and as musicians, so honestly we just do what we do and enjoy every moment as best as possible.
What are your plans for the rest of the year keeping in mind that it is not possible to do any gig yet?
Pretty much just doing press while there is an interest in the album and writing new music, we are really hoping that we can start rehearsing as a band again real soon because we are all getting a bit itchy and would like to make a bit of noise.
Apart from that we are very active online with our fans and whenever we get any messages from them we are always happy to chat with them as they support what we love doing.
Thanks a lot for your time! Do you have any final words for all the readers?
I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all our friends and fans out there as well as the readers at metal-rules.com, who have taken an interest in our new album.
We are grateful to everyone for their support and hopefully, if all is clear in the near future we will be out there playing live.
If not, then we will be getting ready to record again because we have more new music to share with you all in the future.