VISTA combine classic anthem rock with pop elements to create a refreshing take on the genre. VISTA as a band is something frontwoman Hope Vista had imagined for close to two years. The dream became reality when guitarist Greg Almeida stepped into the picture. The band wasted no time in releasing their EP Versus, which features four tracks of solid, catchy rock. But VISTA was only warming up.
VISTA has released two singles from the upcoming EP Long Live, “Allegiance” and “Henchmen”. These two songs bookend the seven song EP and contain the duo’s best material to date. The concept of Long Live is a commentary of sorts on the current state of the world. In their own words, Long Live “centralizes around the theme of forming an allegiance and finding an oasis in a dystopian society.” After following along with the lyrics it becomes apparent that the dystopian society in question is in fact our own.
VISTA – ‘I Hope You Understand’
VISTA has garnered acclaim, earning a place on the “100 Women Kicking Ass in Music” and “20 Awe-Inspiring Fan Covers” lists in the Alternative Press. They have also found their way onto Rock Sound‘s “On the Radar”. Furthermore, they have received praise from such outlets as Substream and idobi Radio.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Hope Vista and Greg Almeida about their new EP Long Live, which is slated to be released on July 21.
Interview with VISTA
1. The new EP Long Live focuses on the theme of “forming an allegiance and finding an oasis in a dystopian society”. Can you tell us more about the EP’s concept? How did this idea form, and why did you commit to centering your EP around it? After repeated listenings I get the impression that the dystopian society is the one we’re inhabiting now. Is this a connection you want listeners to make?
Hope: You have no idea how happy I am that you made that connection. I personally didn’t know if anybody would have any idea what we were talking about on this record.
Greg: It’s great that you made that connection because you pretty much got the point. Life is weird. America is pretty weird right now. So naturally, as artists, and basic consumers of social media, it’s like…how the fuck do we vent all of this negativity see online nowadays? Where do we put all of it? So yeah.. It got put there.
Hope: Yeah, it all really started with “Henchmen”. Everything was built from that original concept. The whole EP concept was conceptualized from that song and the state of the US during the time we wrote it. Although we created a metaphorical dystopian world on the record and a metaphorical oasis, in retrospect it really was mirroring what is actually going on in the world currently, which is pretty scary I think.
“In retrospect it really was mirroring what is actually going on in the world currently, which is pretty scary, I think”
2. VISTA was “resurrected” in 2015. Can you tell us about the history of VISTA?
Hope: The idea to start a band called VISTA first came up probably about 2 years ago, but it wasn’t brought together until the end of 2015 and then announced 3 weeks into 2016. The lineup was different then, but that’s so far in the past that it’s not something I focus on in interviews. Greg has been in VISTA for almost a year now, so that’s what I choose to discuss instead. He had heard that I was looking for a new guitarist for the band, he messaged me on Facebook as a shot in the dark, and we met up a few days later to play. That was it!
Greg: Yeah, It was pretty simple to get together. I saw the opportunity with someone who *ACTUALLY* wanted to do this for real, so I took it. It’s been going well ever since.
3. What is the best show you’ve ever played? And the worst show you’ve ever played?
Hope: Our last hometown show was wild. We somehow sold it out, first sold out show, and there was a shirtless circle pit in the middle of the floor. I’ve never been so stoked about a show, ever. I hope with everything in me that our EP release show in a few weeks matches up to that caliber.
Greg: Irving Plaza was awesome because I’ve never played for that many people before, but it was also really cool to have our own headlining show and have it go over so nicely. I’m looking forward to many more shows though. I always want to be topping it.
“I always come up with these things like in the shower or at work, or some other inconvenient time”
4. Can you describe the songwriting process for VISTA? I’m interested to know more about your lyric writing process and how that interacts with the actual music writing.
Greg: A lot of times I’ll come up with ideas for cool soundscapes or progressions with a certain beat. I always come up with these things like in the shower or at work, or some other inconvenient time. So I end up making them and making instrumentals and sending them to Hope. Hope then hits me back with some absolute fire verse or chorus and then we just go from there.
Hope: For me I usually just grab a guitar and write verses, then send them to Greg to get his thoughts. If they suck, I throw them away and start something else. If I like it, I’ll write both verses and the bridge and leave the chorus open because writing choruses isn’t my strong suit. But my writing style always starts with just me, a guitar, and a verse.
5. Who are your biggest influences as a band? And as individuals?
Hope: I’m influenced by life experiences and individual sounds and tones for VISTA. I write whatever melodies fall out naturally and personal stories influence my lyrics.
Greg: As a band it’s kinda hard to say cause we all listen to different shit, but whatever can sound epic and dark and powerful is pretty much VISTA right now. I do jam to Carly Rae Jepsen on the daily though.
“New York’s music scene has lots of niches. Unless you’re at every show making friends with people, they don’t really accept you outside your niche”
6. If you could each pick any guest vocalist or musician for your next release, who would you choose?
Hope: I’ve really wanted to work with Cody Carson of Set It Off for a few years now. I think our vocal flairs for the dramatic would fit super well together, and we also have some strong things in common when it comes to life experiences. I think that’d be a super strong collab.
Greg: I’m pretty much open to work with anyone who can get a vibe for our sound. Obviously if it’s someone who has more experience wanted to work with us, that would be preferred.
7. What do you think of the music industry? How is New York’s local music scene?
Hope: I’m from New Jersey, so I’m not crazy familiar with the NY scene because I just moved here last year. We only play on Long Island 2-3 times a year anyway, we focus more on a regional level than anything. It’s interesting from what I’ve seen so far, but I don’t know too much about it.
Greg: New York’s music scene has lots of niches. Unless you’re at every type of show making friends with people, they don’t really accept you outside your niche. My life has been kinda weird cause I’ve been floating around between pop, pop punk, post hardcore, and even a bit of the hip hop scene. I know kids from all of those places and it’s funny to see how it all comes together.
“I really want to see if it [Long Live] makes people feel good, or helps people somehow by listening to it”
8. What do you hope to accomplish with Long Live? What are your next steps?
Hope: I am very, very self critical of any work I’m involved in. I question it all, but for the first time, this is a record I am extremely proud of. I hope it opens up VISTA to many more ears and that this concept is well received and understood!!
Greg: Yeah. I just want a lot of new ears on our stuff. I really want to see if it makes people feel good, or helps people somehow by listening to it. Even though we don’t have the brightest of sounds, It’d be tight to hear stories of how our stuff got people through events in their life.
9. What is your favorite song on the EP and why?
Hope: I THINK “Long Live,” but it’s changed a few times as I keep listening to the record straight through. I’ve had a natural attraction to “Henchmen” since we recorded it in January because that’s where everything stemmed from for “Long Live,” it was the starting point for this concept. I also feel a huge personal connection to “Dominance 2.0,” that track is just extremely special to me because it’s the song that originally gave me my identity as an artist.
Greg: I was just jamming the title track yesterday and I realized how cool it is again after not hearing it for a while. That or “Hellbent” are sooo tight.
“I am very critical of any work I’m involved in… But for the first time, this is a record I am extremely proud of”
10. What would you like to say to people just now discovering you?
Hope: We genuinely hope you enjoy our new record “Long Live” and stop by for a tour date. We would love to say hi and appreciate you lending your ears to our creations.
Greg: Thanks for being here. Thanks for joining us. \/ /\
You can catch VISTA on tour this August on their Long Live Tour in the Northeastern United States. Long Live is scheduled for release on July 21. You can pre-order the EP here and get tickets to their EP release party in Amityville, NY here.
You can follow Hope Vista @hopevista and Greg Almeida @herestogreg