Australian power metal institution Vanishing Point finally head out on tour next week in support of their now two-year-old ‘new’ album Dead Elysium… so what better time could there be to catch up with the band’s vocalist Silvio Massaro about what’s been going on with the band?
How have you been keeping? “It’s been a busy time juggling work, family and rehearsing. With all these gigs coming up, we’ve been keeping ourselves fairly busy”.
Last time we were chatting, we were talking about the new album, upcoming tour, et cetera. How much of a nightmare has it been logistically to reschedule these gigs? “Logistically it’s difficult. I mean you know there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into putting on these live shows. Not just for us as you know, rehearsing, and putting all the time and effort into their refining the show. But just even putting a call out to all of the venues and having to reschedule, figuring out dates that are relevantly grouped together from one venue to another. It’s very, very difficult. We weren’t the only band that had to cancel and then rebook, there was probably a plethora of bands in the same position with all these kinds of venues. I can only imagine how stressful it would have been for people rebooking shows trying to juggle all these cancelled events. Then put together another live show at a time when we’re able to do these live gigs. Very, very challenging”.
I had been speaking to the owners of The Basement in Canberra and the challenges they were having all the way up to April. They were on tenterhooks awaiting the next cancellation. “It’s difficult, even when you were allowed to do some shows, especially here in Melbourne, a lot of the shows were capped with the number of people that could attend. You could come to the shows, but in some places, you weren’t allowed to dance, others were you could stand, but no more than a group of five. Things like that, it was so ridiculous at one point. But we’re out of it. We’re back into it, full steam ahead.
Dead Elysium has been out since August (2020), how do you feel it’s been received? “It’s difficult to say. I know it’s been received well which is which is really good. Look, what I mean by it’s really difficult is it’s been released now two years. We haven’t been able to do any live shows with those songs. As far as getting a good feel, with these songs, from the general public, we haven’t had that experience as yet. So, this is really exciting for all of us, knowing how that these songs from Dead Elysium will play out live. In amongst all the other songs we’ve got in the set. We’re super excited to be finally getting to come out and play these live for the first time”.
I can’t imagine the ups and downs you would be going through, I spoke to Paul Martin of Devilskin recently, and he had a similar experience with releasing an album and not being able to get out and play the songs live. “Yeah, I echo those sentiments. You know what, we’ve come out of it and bands are starting to get out there. All we need are the fans to start getting out there. There was a time where it got to, I think people just gave up going out because they couldn’t. But it’s now to a point where we’ve got to get people out again going to some live bands again. It’s not just important for the bands, but the venues. The venues are screaming for live shows to come back out again, and the punters to come out and enjoy themselves, like we used to”.
Talking to people while I was down there in Melbourne on the weekend you could tell the sense of optimism is back. “That is so good to hear. Hopefully it’ll keep going”.
You put out the album through Octane Records, it was your first experience in doing this, is the experience still going well? “So far, so good. They are a very on the ball, professional outfit and a great set of guys who are running this. First time with them and the experience has been pretty good. It’s been as good as it could be considering the circumstances. Releasing an album in the middle of a pandemic, you have to give them a lot of credit for that. It’s not easy pushing something that you can’t physically get out there and push in a typical sense. A lot of the work was done online and that in itself is just amazing, it was an immense amount of work from the guys. We are very grateful for that. Hopefully in future things will be different, we don’t need another pandemic to ruin things”.
It’s great, from a timing perspective, you guys normally did all the heavy lifting. To have someone else doing that, it was pretty decent timing in that regard. “It was, it was an experience that we weren’t sure how to handle. How do we do this, when our normal psyche of we release an album, we get out there and we do these shows and we do that hard slog of playing live. But how do we do that, our hands are tied, we can’t physically promote this album. Apart from phone calls and zoom calls, we weren’t able to play these songs live which is where they need to be to give them some sort of substance or justice. This is what we are hoping for, it’s been a couple of years that we’ve been waiting for this moment. To be able to get out there and play it in front of people. I feel that I’m doing my first gig ever. It’s been so long, well especially for me. The last time the boys went on a tour, before the pandemic, I wasn’t actually a part of that. So for me, I’m extremely nervous, but in saying that I get that way. But I’m extremely excited about getting out there”.
You just touched on it then, your voice challenges you faced. How’s that going? Is there anything you have got to do in the build up or while on tour? “The rehabilitation has been really gruelling. If you’re a marathon runner, for example, you can run ten Kilometers no problem, but now you’ve busted your leg. You’ve been off your feet for a while, the muscles deplete, the same thing with vocal chords. You don’t keep these vocal chords limbered and exercised, warmed up and doing your scales, it definitely does put a dint in how the performance comes out. And that’s what I’ve been doing, I’ve been pushing myself and exercising them back to a point where I’m able to do a full set. Let’s put it that way, because there was a time where I couldn’t do half a song. When you think about that for a second, you’re a vocalist and I can’t even sing half a song without being in excruciating pain. That sense of defeat kicks in, I wouldn’t say depression. But it’s that sense of defeat, I can’t believe I can’t do this, something that came so easily to me for years and now it’s just like what the hell I can’t even do this anymore. It’s very disheartening, but I didn’t want to give up. I knew it was something I could overcome, but I knew it would take a lot of hard work. I’m pretty proud of myself. I wouldn’t say I’m a hundred percent in the clear, but I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to perform these shows without too much trouble”.
That speaks to your mental strength, you’re not giving up. “Yeah you don’t want to give up. As soon as you start giving up on these things, you find yourself in a spiral that you can’t get out of. That was something I was determined I’d never get myself in. As soon as your back’s against the wall, they say the only way is forward”.
So, ten days, you’ve got your first gig in ten days. “Are you counting the days mate?” (Laughing).
I actually have the tour dates right in front of me. So, you’re kicking off in Sooki Lounge in Melbourne? “Yep, Sooki lounge, in Belgrave. We’re playing with Black Majesty and Ironstone. It’s our first time playing with Ironstone, so we’re pretty excited about having a new band on the tour. And Black Majesty, these guys are phenomenal, and we’re stoked to have them on both shows in Melbourne. The second gig is at the Stay Gold, and we’ve got Carthus supporting us, so we’re excited about having those guys with us as well”.
If the feeling is like what I experienced on the weekend at the Melbourne gig for Devilskin, you’ll have a lot of happy people there, it’ll be great. I’m waiting for June 3 at the Canberra gig (fingers crossed work doesn’t get in the way). It’s 2008 I last saw you guys with Iron Maiden“.
“Wow it has been a long time. Canberra is one of my favourite places to play”.
What makes it so special? “I think the venue and it’s just like a community there, a smaller city in comparison to most of the other places we are playing at. It just feels more intimate in comparison to some other venues we’ve played. I’m not the only person thinking that. Well let’s keep pushing that feeling and keep coming back. It’s definitely not a stopover”.
We touch on The Basement and it’s live scene. “Full credit to that venue. It’s a great place to play at”.
We’ve spoken a lot about COVID being devastating around the world, but on the flip side there has been some positives coming out of it. More time to spend with the family, time to write et cetera. What good came out of COVID for Silvio Massaro? “Apart from the obvious of spending a lot of time with family. That was a blessing in disguise, let’s face it you can get caught up in the mundanity of life and everything it throws at you. But to really be that at a point where you are spending close and quality time with your close family, you get to know things you didn’t know. About your kids or anyone, that was pretty special. The obvious for band related stuff was that we had a lot of time to write new material and that’s pretty special too. You don’t normally get the luxury of just keep going and write some stuff. Chris (Porcianko, guitars) will tell you we’ve got enough material for at least three albums (laughs); I don’t know if it’s three but at least one and a half”.
That’s great, more music coming from you guys, that makes me happy. The band runs along like a well-oiled machine, and you can hear it in the music. To see you guys coming out again, it’ll be great to see you on the road. “It is a great feeling to know we are going to be back out there, it’s almost given us a new outlook on things. Things we’ve known for so many years, to not be able to do those was a difficult thing to process. But we are going to turn that around, we want to see people out there and experience these new songs in a live sense. Seeing the looks on people’s faces. For us it’s also about getting out there and having some fun”.
DEAD ELYSIUM AUSTRALIAN TOUR – MAY/JUNE 2022
Thursday, May 19: Sooki Lounge, Belgrave
Friday, May 20: Stay Gold, Melbourne
Saturday, May 21: Enigma Bar, Adelaide
Saturday, May 28: The Brightside, Brisbane
Friday, June 3: The Basement, Canberra
Saturday, June 4: Crowbar, Sydney