Five & Five: Vinny Mancuso of Freestate & Bellusira

Being in one successful band is awesome, but being in two is twice as nice. Vinny Mancuso, guitarist for Aussie bands Freestate & Bellusira has the distinction of being the only member of two bands that have been featured in our Rising Five series. I was lucky enough to talk to Vinny about the awesome stuff that both bands have planned in the coming year. As always, this interview is in two parts. Enjoy EMURGers!

Part I:

CFW: 1. How did you come up with the band name(s)?

VM: Freestate came from a Depeche Mode song title by the same name. We thought it was relevant to our music and free state of mind…Bellusira is made up of two latin words meaning ‘beautiful anger’. I love the contrasting definitions within the name, although I cannot take credit for it as I joined the band later.

CFW: 2. What artists/bands/songs/albums influenced you?

VM: As a kid, my father (being a musician) exposed me to bands and artists like Hendrix, Santana, The Police, Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Creedence and Led Zep just to name a few. In my teens, bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Tool, Faith No More, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai held up most. Then came along Sevendust, P.O.D, Killswitch Engage, Meshuggah, Soilwork and Textures…Most of these artists have had a massive influence on my playing and songwriting. I guess I’ve always loved that place between balls and harmonic beauty!

CFW: 3. What are you listening to right now?

VM: Right now I can’t stop listening to Periphery. Really diggin’ their new album!

CFW: 4. What’s your favorite show/performance been as a member of Freestate? As a member of Bellusira?

VM: Freestate: In Australia- Indycar festival on the Gold Coast and a COG support in Melbourne. In America- Our whole mid west tour! haha…Our U.S fans were awesome and so supportive!

Bellusira: The Misfits support in Melbourne
There’s been so many great shows, but in terms of vibe they stand out in my mind.

CFW: 5. If I want people to remember one song from either band, it would be…

VM: Tough one!

Freestate: I’d say ‘Phoenix’. We lost our best friend to cancer at the time. The song is a tribute to her life and how she lives on through us.

Bellusira: So far ‘Culprit’. Obviously the first track I wrote with the band. A time of new beginnings and renewed positivity.



Part II:

CFW: 1. What is it with the water in Australia? It seems like there is a never ending tap of great rock bands with the two bands you’re in, Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus, Tread, Birds of Tokyo, and many others!

VM: Haha yeah, maybe it is the water!…Australia has so much talent for such a small populated country! Unfortunately, the rock scene just isn’t big enough here to support such a wealth of talent. Ultimately, we all have to travel abroad for longevity. It’s great knowing that Americans and Europeans dig our music though. I saw this post on showing just how popular our exported culture has become, it warms my hearth to be part of it.

CFW: 2. It’s been over a year since Freestate have released Unify and you just released the video for “Chase the Sun” recently. Are there any further plans to push this record both here in the States and in Australia or are you ready to move on to the next one?

VM: Technically, we haven’t officially released Unify yet. We pressed a small run of cds while we were in the states for some pre orders, then things got a little messy in terms of official release dates in both countries distro/label/publicity and budget.

Even though it didn’t work to plan then, we still have every intention of releasing it in both countries officially in a few months. It will be available on iTunes and Amazon along with a new single and video very soon…We are currently writing our third album. Under the circumstances, there definitely won’t be a long wait for that one after Unify has been given a fair go.

CFW: 3. Bellusira have only released a couple of songs and they’re both great (both of which have been featured in our Rising Five), but when can we expect an EP or an album’s worth of work from Bellusira? And any more videos any time soon?

VM: We’re currently recording Bellusira’s debut album. We should complete the tracking within a few more weeks. However the mixing won’t be done till October. It looks like the album will be officially released in Feb 2013. A bit of a wait, but it’ll definitely be worth it! Pretty excited about it!

CFW: 4. I love the acoustic videos that you’ve done with Freestate. Is there any plan to put out an acoustic album with Freestate or are there any plans to do acoustic videos with Bellusira?

VM: Yes, on the down low, Freestate is definitely recording an acoustic album very soon. We’ll keep you posted. Our fans seem to really embrace our chilled side. With our melodies and harmonies, our music seems to translates well acoustically.

An acoustic album or video is not out of the question for Bellusira. Just not yet. We have an extensive period of touring starting next month after the recording leading up to the Christmas break and then album release. Maybe next year some time.


CFW: 5. How does it feel that you have so much attention from the other side of the planet for both of the bands you work with? Any plans to have shows in the States with either band in the near future?

VM: I’m blown away by the support Freestate, and now Bellusira is getting in the States! Freestate’s small midwest tour last year was the highlight of my career so far! You guys rock! So passionate and supportive! We will definitely be back soon! That’s a promise! Ultimately, I’d love to be based over there for a while. We’ll see what we can do. Realistically though, I’m aiming for both bands to be touring there no later than your summer 2013.

I’d like to thank Vinny for granting me the time to interview him. For those of you who have yet to listen to either band, you are seriously missing out. Check out the clips on here and their FB pages!