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.:Interviews:.

23/09/2005 – Interview with VANISHING POINT

VANISHING POINT (official website), one of Australia's best Progressive bands, released their third album, "Embrace The Silence", earlier this year on Dockyard1. You can check out the review of the album at this location.

As a result of this release, I had a little interview with singer Silvio Massaro, about the album, earlier works, touring, and more.

VANISHING POINT logo

Hi Silvio, thanks for taking the time. Now, it took 5 years to make "Embrace The Silence". Did you guys take a break after "Tangled In Dream" or were those 5 years filled with working out ideas and creating new songmaterials, not necessarily for "Embrace The Silence"?

Well, the first years after "Tangled In Dream" we toured a lot and weren't writing any new material. We didn't even have time for that. Touring did take a lot of time. After that, we went into the studio, so we would have a rehearsal situation and we started writing for the new album, which took one year before we started recording.

The whole recording process took quite some time, also because we've got dayjobs as well. So, it was a ver lengthy process. Some bands go in and do it in a couple of months. With us, it's all self-financed. The label (Dockyard1) came afterwards, after the recording. But in between, there were some illnesses, like with me: I had - apparently - one of the worst cases of tonsillitis, but it has nothing to do with the vocal chords...

Was your singing career ever in danger? And would the band go on without you?

Everyone in the band was positive, thinking it would all be alright. Health is more important than anything else. Not being able to sing would make everyone disappointed. The doctor said it's just a matter of recovering.

Coming back to the first question: we wrote and recorded "Embrace The Silence" in one and a half years. Rest assured, the next album won't take that long. ;-) We write music that we enjoy hearing. When we're writing, we're thinking of a person who would spend money on music that is worth it. It's difficult to survive if your music doesn't sell. That's why we come with music that is emotional, powerful..

How are the responses so far from the public?

My head/heart isn't big enough. :-), it's very humble, very heartwarming. I can't thank people enough. You always have responses like "your music has helped us through emotional problems". Music is meant to come alive. and if it hits the right spot in the heart, all the better.

The next release will be just as emotional, powerful. But it's gonna take another year.

The running time is 79:38.. well, you practically filled the whole cd. This wasn't planned, was it? Or did you have so much material you couldn't cut some parts out?

Everyone had their favourites and we didn't expect it to be that long. We actually removed some intros, bridges, etc.. so initially it would have been much longer. We had a plan to remove songs and release them with the next album, but it wouldn't be the same. We like to write for the moment, we don't like to hold on to the past. In a year's time we could be feeling different. So these are the songs that represent us this time.

Who did the artwork and what's the correlation with the songs? Speaking of the songs, what are they about?

Vanishing Point - Embrace The SilenceMichael Levatic, a friend of Joe (bass). He only works for himself. I've seen some of his other works and they could all be covers of any cd.

The correlation refers to the album title. It's something that grabs you. what the whole album represents is that people should think about life. They should take some steps back and consider that life isn't bad at all. There are worse problems in the world than your personal ones. If you focus on the positive side of life, then you'll get much further in life.

Which are your favourite songs?

"Seasons Of Sundays", "Once A Believer", "Hollow". I'm a very emotional person and I love songs that bring out emotions. I also really love "As I Reflect", the ballad. This is one of the best, one of my favourites to sing. I could of course also pick all 13 songs, hahaha. :-)

Looking back at the previous releases, what's your view on the band's and/or music evolution compared with "Embrace The Silence"?

Vanishing Point logoIt's a big step in evolving every album. "In Thought" was an experimental album, initially first stating out. There were also different music tastes: one liked Melodic Death, the other Progressive, someone else Powermetal, etc.. country.. hahaha, no I'm kidding. But who knows, maybe on a next album as a bonus track so people would have to listen for half an hour. ;-)

For "Tangled In Dream" we put more of ourselves in it, also to make it catchy. We were in a Prog kinda fase. As I said earlier, we make music we like listening to. But we were completely satisfied with "Tangled In Dream" and with the moving on to "Embrace The Silence", we looked back and said "what can we do to better ourselves and the songs?". We had listened to previous songs, so how could we make them sound more mature, more produced? The end result speaks for itself, when you take more time for it. Speaking of other bands, if a chorus sounds good and the verses mediocre, I feel like "why didn't you put more time and effort into it?".

You also found a new label to release the album. What are the advantages of DY1 over LMP?

Speaking from experience - just an opinion - when we were at LMP, we didn't get the treatment we would have liked. Some things, like marketing and promotion, weren't handled that well. But I do respect the people at LMP. Dockyard1 give every band an equal opportunity to prove themselves that they're good bands, equal in their own right. When the album came out, I was doing 5-6 interviews internationally plus the ones locally here in Australia and New Zealand. Totally differnt with LMP, the people at Dockyard 1 are more hardworking. Bands not only provide music to fans, but also need the right support. It's important that people hear our music so they can buy the album(s).

I take it you'll be touring the coming months. Which continent/countries are planned so far?

There's an Australian tour planned and a few other shows here. It's expensive to come over to Europe for one or two festivals. For us, it's a 24-hours flight. In 20001 we toured with GAMMA RAY and this was worth it, but otherwise it's very expensive. Dockyard1 would support us but it has to be worth it, like a huge tour and do Graspop, Wacken, Sweden Rock, ... That's what we long for.

How about an 'Australian Alliance': VANISHING POINT, BLACK MAJESTY, DUNGEON (though now defunct), ...?

That would be great, though it's a sad thing about DUNGEON. They're good friends of ours.

Will Leonard Kopilas (keyboards) join you guys on tour?

I sure hope so. He's a good friend and was he generously lending his services. He sent us a very innocent e-mail offering his services and it's grown into a full job. I don't think he realises what he has started, hahaha. :-) We're very grateful.

He's got other music musical projects, like MANIC OPERA which is more Progressive, technical. I've sung three songs, but nothing's happened with them so far. Maybe Dockyard1 will release them on an EP, but that remains to be discussed. I still listen to them from time to time and it's really strange to hear your own voice. But I like it. We consider Leonard as much a member as the others.

If he can't make it on tour, then we'll hire a session musician or use samples (backing tracks). Samplig is more accepted now, unlike many years ago. But it's gone beyond that. People want to hear it like at home. If you can't deliver, you disapppoint a lot of them. The sound has got to be very good.

You've played on festivals and clubs. Which do you prefer and what are the advantages of one over the other?

Festivals have a mass audience and offer more exposure. The bigger, the better, you know. In clubs, you hare more intimate with the crowd - no, I'm not talking about sex ;-) - there's more interaction. you can talk to the fans, shake hands, etc... But I enjoy both. Each has its (dis)advantages.

What does metal mean for you? Why do you play this kind of music and not pop or another genre? Also, did you grow up with metal?

Metal is a way of life, not only through music but also the way you look and act as a metalhead. It's so much different than pop as it's self-expression for the love for this music. People would relate more to Heavy Metal as it's a good outlet for your feelings and emotions. Heavy Metal is definitely a way of life, more than anything I've heard. It starts from your childhood, the people you get along with, ... I started early, when I was nine years old. Some family friends introduced me to this music.

What other music do you listen to? And do you use it as an influence for VANISHING POINT?

Being a musician, you have to appreciate other stuff too. I like music that has well written lines and of which I can say "yeah, that's cool", but there are cases where metal doesn't do that. I like strong vocalists like Josh Groven, backed by orchestrated instruments. He's been in many famous clips. Another vocalist is Lara Fabian. Power in a human's voice, that's what I'm paying attention to.

What's the funniest/craziest thing that ever happened to you or the band on tour?

Hahaha, that must be the GAMMA RAY tour then, when I was naked on stage. :-) It was the last show and then the crew and other bands always play pranks. We were the first band and when we got on stage, our mic stands were lowered to knee height, and there were condoms. Then out comes Toni Kakko (SONATA ARCTICA) brushing his teeth and with a big toy on his back. Onece we finished uour performance, I thought of what I could do that was twice as shocking. So I put shaving cream on my face and a towl around my waste. But I did have a sock on my cock, because I knew someone was going to take away the towl. :-) I had a mirror in one hand and the razor in the other. I gave Toni the mirror while I was shaving. It was very funny to see. The whole crows in Finland was in tears of laughter. :-) I think there's some footage on our Yahoo Groups.

Is VP the only band or are you or other members also involved in other bands?

VANISHING POINT is indeed our only band, but it's not like we would be doing something else, as it's a full-time job at itself. We rehearse three times a week ad if we're not working, we're working for the band by doing interviews, merchandise, gigs, ...

As much as I'd like to, I just don't have enough time to do something besides VANISHING POINT. But I would enjoy doing guest vocals or a side-project, yes.

What are the plans for the future? Live-album, DVD... something else?

We have a lot of material for a DVD, we speak about it a lot. It's live footage, but it's a bit too early and we're going to wait some more until we have more recognization internationally. Financially it would not be the best option now.

I can tell you that the first album "In Thought" will be re-released very soon. Back in the days, we made three videoclips for that album and they will also be on the re-released version. The album has been remixed and remastered. The videos too have been remastered. With this re-release the people can understand where we come from, how we started, how we looked back then, how we sounded. And see how bad the videos were, hahaha. ;-)

I'm out of questions. Thanks a lot for the talk and 'till next time or at a gig in Belgium.

Thank you for the interview. See you later.

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We also talked about other things, like Dimebag's death, making music for money instead of for the love for music, the Metal community in general... Silvio said some interesting things, which of course I could not neglect to write down.

About Dimebag's cruel death: "As a musician, regardless what genre, it's still Metal. We all fight under the same flag. And to have someone like Dimebag dying is just heartbreaking. It brought me to tears." VANISHING POINT also have a picture of Dimebag hanging in their rehearsal room. "It's also great to see the whole community coming together as one."

About the Metal community: "There are for example Death Metal fans saying Powermetal is cheesy, lame and vice versa (any genre versus the other), which tends to seperate us. But Metal = Metal. The \m/ sign unites us, everyone does it. We should all be supportive. We should all be united, not divided."

About making music: "If you start making music for the money, then where's the meaning to it all? Where's the depth? It will just be hollow, like the music your hear/see on MTV. We don't make music for the money, we do it because we like it."

About metal operas: we discussed projects like AVANTASIA and AINA and how you see all those big names (members from NIGHWISH, SHAAMAN, GAMMA RAY, STRATOVARIUS, EDGUY, etc...), but never are there members from underrated bands like VANISHING POINT. And I thought it would be a good idea to release such an album (or more) with such musicians, since they also have great talent and the exposure would do them (and their band) good. Said Silvio: "If Tobi would do a Part 3 of AVANTASIA, send him a mail about this. ;-) But yes, you're right. It would be a good idea to do this."



I also found out that Silvio is not only a modest person, but also a huge BACKSTREET BOYS fan and that he would love to do a tour with them. The BOYS being the support act of course. ;-) Also, one day, he'd like to implement some Country-elements on a VANISHING POINT album. ;-)



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