INTERVIEW: ELUSIVE TRAVEL

This is one of those situations where I knew the people, but not the band at all. But despite having all this catching up to do, I’m glad I took the time. They are a post-metal act from the Rochester, NY area, doing some pretty atmospheric things in the same vein as Isis, Pelican, Jesu, and others of the like. What I love about music like this is the musicians’ approach to subtleties while also allowing the music to breathe. Their most recent release, my final demise, is a big testament to this, with plenty of guitar breaks, long buildups, eerie feedback, and punishing rhythms beneath relentless harsh vocals. Some might remember ET’s new drummer, Michael Adams, from longtime Rochester death metal staples, ORDER OF THE DEAD. Guitarist/vocalist, Chris Dalcin, has had Elusive Travel churning out post-metal goodness for several years now, but when I heard about the recent pairing of Chris and Michael, I started asking questions right away. Needless to say, it’s been awesome getting to know Chris these past few months and taking the “deep dive” into Elusive Travel’s discography.

Here’s what we had to discuss:

1. Tell us everything! Tell us how the band was formed, how you arrived at the genre that Elusive Travel plays, and what your proudest accomplishments are with the band to date!

Chris:

Hey Mike,

We very much appreciate the interview. I started the band back in January on 2000. My reasons were and are still very simple. I was just so sick n tired of starting over and being the only seemingly dedicated person in each line-up. Not saying everyone else wasn’t dedicated, but there were huge differences in what I consider to be dedicated and others seem to just be there for the moment and not think too far into the future about building something lasting.

I mean my first serious band (WINDBREED) was with the drummer extraordinaire Tim Yeung who obviously became very successful in his own right.

As far as the genre we play its been so hard to explain it to people. When we first started it was more goth/black metal. Now we are much more progressive. Meaning a lot of shoegaze,metal gaze and post metal. Of course doom and funeral doom as well.

At the time I was 25 years old and I really wanted to tour and just play music. My favorite accomplishments are probably the little string of tour dates we did. Along with Milwaukee metal Fest excetera and playing with amazing bands like our first two shows AVERNUS, RAIN FEEL WITHIN, EVOKEN, THORNS OF THE CARRION & NOVEMBERS DOOM. But probably the 2006 tour we did with Apostle of Solitude.

Michael: I met Dalcin from being introduced by Jody. I’ve known Elusive Travel as a band since I started playing in the scene but didn’t know Chris personally – then once I joined Order and we practiced in the same building together, I met him a bunch more. As Chris continues to develop the bands sound and my tastes change over the years, what he was doing really started to catch my ear; I’d message him and talk about how much I enjoyed it. I love the guys in Order, and being asked to leave stung for a good while – Dalcin was one of the very first people who reached out as a friend and really helped me to overcome the swirl of emotions I was feeling. I fully credit him for salvaging my friendship with Order and coming to terms with everything that’s happened. He pulled me out of a dark place and helped me see reason and positivity in something that was really negative.

2. How did you guys meet? I know Mike isn’t the original drummer, but maybe you could tell us the story of how you first met the other dudes in the band, then get into the transition of Mike joining.

Chris: Mike and I met because he was in Order of the Dead with my friend Jody Roberts who also was working for me at the time painting. But we never really knew each other until we just started talking via messenger about music etc. Then for about 4 years we became very good internet buddies. We soon realized that we loved a lot of the same bands. Or more so the general style of heavy emotional music. As we got closer his band and him parted ways and I also lost my drummer about the same time. I was kinda nervous to ask Mike to jam because he was really bummed about not being in Order. I totally understood his reservations. I mean ive been doing this band for 22 years and all ive ever wanted was for someone else to care about making music as I do.

Well to be honest I asked Mike to just fill in. He said sure no problem. Then after a few months he surprisingly said he wanted to stay. I wasn’t at all expecting that for what ever reason. But id really have to say Mike has been my favorite drummer by far to work with. And it really has more to do with who Mike is as a person. Sometimes we talk more than we actually practice. I mean its been very seamless to transition with Mike on drums. I think we work very similar anyhow so it was very easy to get things moving. I think regardless if we were not going to play together we would be very close friends. That’s something that hasn’t happened to me in a longtime. And I don’t take that for granted.

3. Name your top bands/artists of all-time, regardless of style!

Chris: Smashing Pumpkins, Kiss & Katatonia

Michael: Deftones. Teenage Wrist. Whirr. Sevendust. Pre-2004 Incubus. Team Sleep.

4. Talk about any new music as much as you can, and tell people what they can expect! Worm gave me a few copies of SOUNDS OF OPPARI and I’ve been jamming! Where are we going from here, dude?!

Chris: Well we actually already recorded 3 songs over the winter. We released one single “Dreamstate” already. Them we are working on adding probably another 5 songs to make another full length. With previous members it was so hard to get shit done in a reasonable time frame. But with Mike helping out I think we will have another album out by end of the year.

So we did release our 4th album “Soul Desertion” over the summer and a cd version just last month. You can get everything on our Bandcamp.

Michael: The new stuff is such an interesting meld of genres. To us it makes total sense because it’s an amalgamation of everything we love as a duo. It’s a new direction for the band but still has strong ties to Elusive Travel’s unique sound. Is it for everybody? Nah. But we’re not really making music for everyone these days, it’s about what we enjoy doing as seasoned musicians. I do hope people “get it” and head into it with an open mind. If you love post metal, shoegaze, nu-metal, or doom- you’re really going to enjoy what we’ve recorded. We continue to push and evolve the sound as we go.

5. For Chris: What are some of the challenges you face as a player when pushing yourself?

Chris: Well I’m not really a guitar player. I mean its just a tool of expression for me. I actually LOVE drums way more. But the combo of singing and playing some instrument is my favorite thing to do. Also Im not that good of a guitarist. I think I’m a good song writer. But I do struggle at times so keep up with amazing musicians such as Mike. I mean he’s so good. Just brilliant drummer. I really love his fills. He brings a totally different vibe than the past drummers. And I have had some really good ones. Cory Olcott was very good. Just different styles. Marlon Smith who I never recorded with when I was in Ohio was like John Bonham. Jake Braun and Chris Campbell were also amazing. But I really like where Mikes style is at. Sometimes he plays things id never expect. He challenges me to think about things in a totally different way.

6. Now that you’ve been around the scene for awhile, talk about the most memorable shows you’ve played, along with your favorite venues!

Chris: As not to repeat but I guess I need to for a second. Our first 2 shows ever were AMAZING line ups. We played in Cincinnati and Cleveland metal fests. With Avernus, Rain Fell Within, Thorns of the Carrion, The Vladimirs, Novembers Doom. And of course our 2001 Milwaukee Metalfest was just a huge dream come true.

Best venue was this place in Greenboro, NC cant even recall the name but it was very cool.

Michael: Some of my favorite shows were at the Penny with my old deathcore band Cobra Kai. Playing with Mercia and Sirens and Sailors was another peak when I was in Arkhem. Big nationals.. man I’ve really been lucky to play some amazing shows. Opening for Mayday Parade and seeing it so packed that kids were spilling off the balcony of club side Water Street was incredible – I’ve never seen it so crowded. Randy has hooked me up with some incredible shows at the Montage, including sharing the stage with some of my all time favorite bands like Fear Factory and Havok. Sage Keeber also has given me some amazing opportunities – Overkill might have been one of the most successful shows as a band Order has played to date. Nearly dodging a tornado in Columbus with Malformed while on the road was hilarious and kinda scary at the same time. Playing Warped Tour and Summer Slaughter we’re probably some of my personal greatest musical achievements. I’ve been really privileged to play with some amazing dudes who helped me reach all of these milestones.

7. Tell us how you each started playing your respective instruments. Some people find gear talk annoying, but I want to hear about your first guitars, drum sets, and vocal setups too!

Chris: My first guitar was this cheap Harmony guitar my folks got me when I was 13. I never took lessons except like 4 when I first got my guitar. My amp was Harmony I think too. I had no distortion only tremolo and I was not happy about that ha. From a early age I starting doing death vocals. I never really had a pa just some crappy amp to sing through. Not until like 2000 did I get a proper pa. I do love my EV ND 96 mic.

Michael: My dad is a professional sound engineer, so I grew up around music and loved his stories about touring on the road. They fueled me to create stories of my own and it came around full circle. I started playing on pots and pans to Michael Jackson songs when I was 3. I sat at my first drum set at a local church when I was 5 and it was all downhill from there. My first drum set was from BJ’s or Sears haha you’d have to ask my parents. There’s a VHS somewhere of me getting them on Christmas day.

8. Tell us who your favorite underground bands in the WNY scene are!

Chris: That’s easy for me. 137,CHRMR & Dark City as far as my personal style goes. I’m much more into euro-metal and post metal which Rochester has none of.

Michael: That’s tough, I haven’t seen a show since 2019 thanks to the rona. At the time – undoubtedly Revenant Subject. They’re amazing dudes and their live show is a whole experience. Shepherd of Rot have been killing it steadily and I saw some recent clips of them last month and I was majorly impressed – those guys are my homies. (They’re playing with Suffocation soon – check their page for tickets!) One band that really stands out for me is In the Shadows of Giants. I listened to their latest album and was blown away. The Berry brothers are super talented and both Matt and Jeff have grown so much as musicians over the years it’s insane.

9. Plug any relevant links to your online presence. (the simpler the URL, the better)

https://elusivetravel1.bandcamp.com that is our main.

10. Shows seem to be getting “back to normal”, whatever that means. Tell us about the first shows you worked or attended where you felt as though the pandemic was on the verge of becoming past tense in conversation.

Chris: Well it was the Sulaco CD release show last June which was epic.

Michael: We haven’t yet. We’ve tried but venues want money in the door and we can’t deliver until we grow the fan base a bit more. I don’t want to tap on my business relationships until we can deliver a good profit for my partners, which means we need to grow our fanbase more as a band – it simply wouldn’t be good business to over promise and under deliver, and would damage the relationships and mutual respect I’ve worked hard to build over the years. The venues we -have- made attempts with have been kinda unprofessional which is unfortunate. Hopefully that turns around and more doors open as jab mandates fall away.

11. For Chris and Mike: What’s your chemistry like now that you’ve been working together for a hot minute? I’m especially curious on Mike’s take, since Elusive Travel is nothing like Order of the Dead.

Chris: For me I really think Mike and I have a long bright future together. Since January our bassist, left its just us. I think we are both old and experienced enough to make things happen. So within a few months we were in the studio recording 3 new songs. That’s the type of work ethic I really am looking for. There’s no need to wait 5 years between records. I’m an artist. I could die tomorrow. Its very important to make your mark while your still here. Mike is like 15 years younger than me so hes still in his drumming prime. I think we will be like old dudes in there 70’s jamming acoustic doom metal songs ha!

Also most people don’t know this but Mike drives over 2.5 hours round trip to jam every week. Now to be that really shows me huge dedication. So I try to show up with a good attitude and not waste anyone’s time. I think Mike and I have a deep respect for each other which is something that has been a problem for me personally with past members. Live and let live. But I am so grateful to have finally found my musical partner after all this time. I’ve been through like 30 members so its been rough but I keep on going. Now all we need is that 3rd member a bassist and we are all good to go.

Michael: In a word – inspiring. Another – healing. I never knew we had so much in common until we started working together and hanging out more often. Chris is a giant trolling goofball on the outside that everyone knows him for but if you get to really know him he’s highly intelligent and has great vision. Musically we are ALWAYS on the same page and we are both super easy going during the creation process so everything just works. It’s so easy to write when you’ve got that kind of chemistry. It makes being in a band fun again, and honestly unless the perfect person comes into the fold – it might just be a duo effort from us moving forward. That’s how well we click. As for coming from Order – I’ve never considered myself a very good metal drummer. I grew up listening to jazz fusion and my dad always taught me that groove gets you the gig and being a solid drummer is better than being fast or flashy. I’ve really applied that to my playing, so while I loved holding down the drums in Order, playing with Elusive Travel has been such a natural progression for me – especially since it more accurately reflects the music I listen to in my every day life. Playing with Chris has been as much a healing experience for me as well, it’s grounded me, brought me back into music, and taught me to forgive and forget which is one of the most important lessons of all.

*Taken from our April 2022 issue: “Lessons in Dissonance”

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