VISTA, made up of frontwoman Hope Vista and guitarist Greg Almeida, are the anthem-rock duo who are ready to take on the world.
2017 has been an incredible year for them so far, having supported Against The Current at Irving Plaza, in addition to selling out their first two headlining shows. Now, the band have unveiled a new body of work which is bound to impress their loyal fans and critics alike.
VISTA’s sophomore EP Long Live was released today, which lyrically focuses on forming an allegiance and finding an ‘oasis’ among a dystopian society. The band’s sound has developed so much from their debut EP Versus, and it seems as if Hope and Greg have truly found their feet as a duo. From the thumping ‘Hellbent’ to the reworked ‘Dominance 2.0’, VISTA have created a special EP which highlights their passion for music.
We recently caught up with VISTA to discuss Long Live, the development in the band’s sound, their upcoming tour and much more.
Congratulations on the release of your new EP, Long Live! What can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
Hope: Thank you!!! We’re so SOoooo stoked for this one. We poured so much of ourselves and our thoughts into this one. It was really inspired by the current state of the world and how it honestly has a pretty apocalyptic feel to it, unfortunately. On the opposite end, we also wanted to create a metaphorical ‘oasis,’ where listeners can hopefully find comfort and some sort of safety in our music and at our shows.
Greg: Very well said. We didn’t really have to look hard for the (unfortunately negative) inspiration. It found us, between social media, politics, TV, and general life living in today’s world.
What was the creative/recording process behind the EP like?
Hope: Really hard, and really stressful. I’m not going to lie and say the process was easy and that Greg and I didn’t have arguments, because that wouldn’t be authentic. We argued quite a bit, and at the end of the process, we realized that the arguments strengthened our relationship as both bandmates and genuinely good friends. We had to find a groove, a good working relationship that involved compromise. Greg was not a part of the creation of “VERSUS,” so the studio vibes and the working relationship really wasn’t tested until we started working on this EP. We were both drained after we made this, but I think “Long Live” Is a good, solid testament to who VISTA is and what we can accomplish through stress and struggle.
Greg: That’s pretty well said actually. Yeah, there were disagreements but everyone has that when in the studio, especially when starting out. I just saw it as normal so I didn’t really take it personally at all. I’ve been through it before when going through growing pains with bands.
How do you think your sound has developed since your debut EP, VERSUS?
Hope: This EP actually IS developed. “VERSUS” was extremely underdeveloped and premature, and it never really got a shot because of what the band was dealing with at that time. We’ve spent the last 8 months developing this dystopian concept and branding, planning out absolutely everything. I think that’s going to show.
Greg: Yeah, I think instead of having essentially Hope make all the songs, we collaborated way more. It has another person on it, whereas VERSUS just essentially had Hope it felt like.
You’re now a duo and seem stronger than ever as a band. How has the band dynamic changed?
Hope: Greg is straight up one of my closest friends. He is not just a bandmate. I tell him almost weekly, “I am so scared you’re going to decide one day to just leave the band,” it’s a fear that I just have because I don’t ever want to lose him as a friend or a bandmate. This is someone that I can confide in, work with, argue with, and no matter what, still come out on top at the back end of it all. He’s concentrated, he works hard to create, and is always down to help with anything.
Greg: And I respond with “I’m not going anywhere!” lol. Yeah, it’s a shame that we couldn’t have met at a sooner time, but we’re here now and that’s all that counts. I’ve been looking for a serious project for all my life. One that will be my full time job essentially. This is it. This is what I’m here to do.
We know that this is like picking a favourite child, but which song is most special to you and why?
Hope: Ugh. I have no idea. It changes every day. It was “Henchmen,” but now I think it might be the title track, “Long Live.” I also really love the new version of “Dominance.” The title track just clicks with me because it’s about VISTA. The lyrics are about members who left, fans who left, any struggle we’ve faced throughout the tenure of this band so far. That’s where the EP title came from, and to have a track about it, that’s what wraps it all up. Long live VISTA.
Greg: “Hellbent” is one of my personal favorites. That song was argued over a bit, but the general feel of it is SO fun. Also “Long Live” sounds so amazing and came together so quickly, so that was really cool.
One of the most interesting tracks is ‘Inside Anxious’, can you tell us about it?
Hope: This was very, very emotionally draining for me personally. This isn’t something I discuss much, primarily because it’s something I’ve been dealing with since I was 8 years old, it’s just normal life to me at this point (I’m about to turn 24 now). But I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was 8, directly after the 9/11 attacks, because my mother is a 9/11 survivor. Having anxiety has become such a norm to me, and it’s something I regularly work to maintain so my head doesn’t turn into this huge, jumbled mess. Lately on social media, I’ve been seeing two ends of the spectrum; A) more people struggling with both anxiety and depression and B) the opposite end, the stigma surrounding mental health and treatment for it. This was another one of those topics that was risky, just like “Henchmen.” I brought the idea to both Greg and our producer (Okan Kazdal), and I said, “this is the idea I have; this has to be done the right way, or it’s not going to work, and the BPM needs to be the same as what my heartrate is when I’m having an anxiety attack.” So it’s a 140 BPM track, and the goal of this track was to either educate those who don’t understand/believe in the physical toll anxiety takes on your body, and also to show those who do struggle with anxiety that they are not alone in their struggle. It still scares me, this track. Because my first thought was that this could trigger someone to have an anxiety attack, which is why we’re choosing to not perform this live. It was created to sound like an anxiety attack. I want people to understand what anxiety truly is, show how serious having it is, and realize that treatment for this is so genuinely important. I hope those who also struggle with the same as me find comfort in the fact that this is not an abnormal feat.
Greg: This is such a cool song. It was a bit of an experiment to me because I’ve never gone in the studio having absolutely nothing and then just making a fully fledged out song from scratch. I’ve always written songs before coming to the studio. Anyways, me, Hope, and Okan (Kazdal, producer) just starting messing around with some sounds with the intention to create this anxious feeling track. We all molded it from the ground up which was pretty cool. The concept was fleshed out really well. I’m a fan of it.
You’ll be heading out on tour in support of the album in August. What can fans expect from your tour this time around?
Hope: Dude, yes, I am so excited for “The Long Live Tour.” It’s our first headlining tour, I’m petrified no one’s gonna show. But people can expect a hell of a lot of energy as always.
Greg: Some new songs for sure!
What can we expect from VISTA during the rest of the year?
Hope: Just mostly touring! We’re gonna ride out this record for the rest of the year, keep touring to promote, and hustle!
Greg: Yeah, now is gametime. We gotta keep playing shows!
Thank you to VISTA for their time!
Long Live is available now. Check out our review of EP here.