Exclusive VISTA Interview: “Chicks are sexualized way too much in the music industry”
VISTA are the anthem rock band from Long Island ready to start a movement.
Fronted by lead vocalist Hope Vista and guitarist Greg Almeida, VISTA aims to create a safe space (dubbed The Oasis) for listeners from today’s dystopian society with their upcoming Long Live EP, dropping this Friday. I had a chat with the band about the very enjoyable and ambitious Long Live EP, their anthem rock sound and, as always, their views on women in the music industry.
‘Anthem rock’ is an interesting genre to distinguish for yourselves. Are there any other genres you’d consider incorporating into the VISTA sound?
Hope: I mean, it’s pretty alternative rock. We just call it anthem rock to identify ourselves and identify what our goal is as a band; to write anthems.
The premise of the Long Live EP (“forming an allegiance and finding an ‘oasis’ among a dystopian society”) uncannily resonates with today’s almost dystopian society. Was this intentional, and how relevant are social issues to your ‘anthem rock’ music?
Hope: That’s how it was created. It started with “Henchmen,” I had the idea and brought it to Greg last year. That was genuinely how I felt. We are living in this eerily negative dystopian society. It may not look like what people imagine or how it’s portrayed in apocalyptic films or TV shows, but this is more or less a dystopia. And I was intrigued by that. I wanted to explore it more and create a whole body of work diving into this concept.
Greg: It was pretty intentional. There is a lot going on in today’s world, and for some people, even including myself, it can be all too much. However, prevailing amongst these difficulties of normal life is something to be proud of nowadays. Being a person who consumes most modern media is really taxing on the mind.
“Allegiance” is such a captivating opening track. How difficult do you find it to create track lists?
Hope: Thank you! I think it’s really easy actually, I’m not sure why. Same with setlists. I kind of just do it on the fly, go by concepts and what I think should be heard in what order. I usually order things and show Greg, get his thoughts, make any changes, and that’s it! But the Long Live tracklist I wrote out in one shot. It flowed the right way, and Greg agreed.
Greg: Yeah, I’m pretty laxed with it with VISTA. I know Hope usually has a good ear for these things, but sometimes I give my input and we change it up from there.
What makes you, to quote title track “Long Live,” “the ones your parents warned us of?”
Hope: People who won’t sit down and be quiet. That will never be me, Greg, or VISTA. I’m never going to just let anyone walk all over me, my beliefs, or my thoughts. And neither should anyone else. That could be seen as being problematic, especially in a politically polarizing society now. But that’s exactly what this world needs right now; not more problems, but people who will be a voice for those who may have had theirs silenced.
Greg: That lyric is super interesting because it actually shifts perspectives in a weird way. Saying that “we” are the ones your parents warned “US” of is cool cause it includes us in the group of folks who “were being warned”. Kind of confusing but it basically just signifies that we have shifted and we have changed to become the types of folks who won’t sit down and shut up about things.
“We fight for what went wrong,” you sing on “Henchmen” – what are you referring to here?
Greg: It’s kind of referring to the struggle that kids go through on an everyday basis, dealing with the issues of past generations in power.
On first listen, “Dominance 2.0” instantly reminded me of something Japanese pop goddess Ayumi Hamasaki might do. Are you fans of any non-English language artists?
Greg: I’ve totally never heard of her. I’ll check her out though. I am a fan of non-English artists for sure. Off the top of my head I really dig The Mars Volta, even though they’re like half English, half Spanish.
Hope: I’ve never heard of her either! I actually don’t know any non-English artists!
“Part III” sounds much more sombre in comparison to the rest of the appropriately labelled ‘anthem rock’ tracks of the Long Live EP. What encouraged you to also incorporate a soft sound?
Hope: I asked Greg if we could include this track on the record. It’s a message to my late father. When I think of an apocalyptic world, I wonder what would make people feel sombre or this kind of sadness. And I immediately thought of the one thing we cannot control – death. The first five tracks are all pretty angry. They’re aggressive, upbeat, and bite your tongue. But this shows an opposite side of VISTA. We aren’t one dimensional, and in terms of an apocalypse, death would be part of one. So I’m very grateful that Greg was willing to include this on the tracklist.
Greg: We actually figured out that we could totally manage the acoustic thing after we started making our “Stripped Sessions”. When this idea was presented to me: I actually really dug it. Hope put some basic chords on the song, then I took it and changed up the chords and added some different voicings.
Congrats on booking your first headlining tour to support the EP. Which venue are you most excited to perform in for The Long Live Tour later this year?
Hope: Nashville. I’m so so so excited for Nashville, because it’s the only stop on the tour that I’ve never been to before, I’ve never been to Tennessee. It’s such a music hub, I can’t wait to be surrounded by so much history and music all in the same location.
Greg: I love Nashville! Been there so many times and that town just makes me feel good. I’m excited for Pittsburgh too.
During one of your live shows, which of your songs receives the best reaction?
Hope: I think it’s been “Dominance.” That’s why it was so important to me to re-record a whole new version for this record. It was originally a solo song I did in 2015, and we’ve been playing it live at VISTA shows. So I pretty much begged Greg to put it on this record as a 2.0 version, and he said no a ton of times at first. I think he said yes so I’d stop begging. But I really, really thought it was important. It would tie together new and old fans, and also anyone who hasn’t heard it before; it’s a new song to those ears.
Greg: I’m excited to hear the new songs, like “Long Live”. That will be really cool.
Which female musicians influence your artistry?
Hope: I’m more so influenced by personal life experiences and other stories I see around me. When it comes to style and artistry, I go by what I feel, what I enjoy, and just create my own thing!
Are there any female musicians you’d love to work with? I feel like a female rapper could go off on one of your tracks.
Greg: That would be insane. I would love to work with anyone to be honest. Yvette Young is a really cool female artist I dig. Insane guitar player.
Hope: Sia. Love her.
How do you feel about the representation of women within music?
Greg: It’s getting better, and awareness is definitely spreading, but it’s still not where it should be. Chicks are sexualized way too much in the music industry, and it’s pretty annoying to see. Males are sexualized too but, for some reason I just always see these comments degrading women in music online and unfortunately sometimes at shows I haven’t seen the same amount of respect given to women in the scene. Whether they’re in a band, or part of the crew in some aspect. Everyone is equal.
If a major label wanted to sign you tomorrow, what would your reaction be?
Greg: If the deal is right, yes. Leggo!
Is there a certain aspect of the music industry you are not overly fond of?
Greg: Creepy band dudes who literally just don’t get it.
Hope: Hahahahaha. I wish it wasn’t so money-driven.