Interview: Walter Schreifels of Vanishing Life

Over the last 30 years, not many musicians have been as prolific as Walter Schreifels. From playing guitar in 80s hardcore mainstays Gorilla Biscuits and bass in Youth of Today to fronting influential post-hardcore band Quicksand and Rival Schools, the man has stayed busy. His latest project is Vanishing Life, a hardcore supergroup featuring members of …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (Autry Fulbright), Bad Religion (Jamie Miller), and Rise Against (Zach Blair). We got a chance to talk to Schreifels about how supergroups form and what fans can expect from Vanishing Life’s debut album, Surveillance–out now.

Who approached who about starting Vanishing Life?

Autry (bass) ask me about forming a band at the Groezrock Festival in Belgium in 2014, Jamie was there, Geoff Rickley and Jason Reece too. I thought it would be fun but was surprised that he and Jamie followed up. The demos that got sent around were very basic but good and had a style that I connected to, somewhat hardcore sounding.

What was the songwriting process like for Surveillance?

Most of the music came from Jamie with me writing the lyrics. In the end Zach wrote music for a couple of songs and I wrote a few myself. Once our style was established, we all intuitively understood what a Vanishing Life song sounded like. In the end, it became very collaborative in that sense.

How do you think Vanishing Life compares to the work of your previous band(s)?

I joined Vanishing Life because I wanted to just sing. While I played guitar on Surveillance, I didn’t write my vocals with guitar in mind; this makes it closer to the approach I took with the early Quicksand songs. It was also different for me to sing to someone else music, be it Jamie’s or Zach’s, that spurned different and new ideas.

You are embarking on your first tour later this month. What should fans expect from your live shows?

The live shows are going to be sick. We’ve added two guitarists, Don De Vore from Ink And Dagger and my Dead Heavens bandmate Nathan Aguilar. We’ve a got a more swirly My Bloody Valentine sound compared to the record. I’m psyched to get to it.

Since many of the members are in other active bands, do you think Surveillance is more of a one off or do you think Vanishing Life is something you guys will return to?

It was so easy to create with these guys and we definitely have a style all our own, I hope we’ll continue on. Meanwhile I’m focused on the fun ahead and to celebrate how well this record has come together.

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