Vista is a band from rock trio from the state of New York. Saying that this is one of the best new talents in the rock world right now is a bit of an understatement. Starting as a long term solo project with vocalist Hope Vista, it has turned into one of the best bands that are up and coming out this year. With an amazing vocalist Hope Vista, guitarist Greg Almeida, and drummer Matt Vlossack, each has their own way of creating within their songs this aggressive, impactful, energetic, and positive aura, and they do it pretty fantastically I might add. The band describes their genre of music as “anthem rock”. If you listen to their new EP “Versus” and the new single “Henchmen”, I feel the term is a perfect fit for this unique female fronted band. With almost 3,974 likes on their Facebook page, it doesn’t look like the Vista hype train is going to be stopping any time soon. With Hope’s hard hitting vocals, atmospheric chants, Vlossacks energetic drums and Almeida’s heavy guitar riffs, it’s hard not to get on board and fall in love with this band. I did, and I’m hoping all of you guys will too. Vista’s new EP “Versus” can be found on Spotify, Apple music, and can also be purchased on ITunes. Be sure that if you are in the New York area to check out their upcoming concert on January 13 at Irving Plaza as part of the “Against The Current: In Our Bones” World Tour with other awesome bands, such as Beach Weather and Cruisr. Tickets can be purchased for $18.00 on thisisvista.bigcartel.com. Happy Listening!
So I want to start off with a basic question-the band name Vista, how did that name come to be? Were there any other name choices before settling with this one?
Greg: It’s Hope’s middle name, but the word also means a “a grand view” of sorts.
Hope: Yeah! It’s my real middle name! But the overall meaning of the word ‘vista’ is just like Greg said, it’s a wide view with a long open road ahead.
Pretty cool. Tell me a little bit about yourselves for my readers, I’m sure they want to know a little bit about the musicians behind the music? How did you guys meet and where?
Greg: We met via internet basically. But i've been playing and hanging around Long Island my whole life so, I was bound to meet these guys eventually!
Hope: Both Matt and Greg messaged me on Facebook the same day to talk about joining VISTA.
Matt: This story never gets old. I swiped right on an app. And messaged Hope. Keep swiping because it works! On the real, I saw Hope lost her drummer and took a stab in the dark since my band at the time wasn’t going in the direction I thought it would. Went into an audition with Greg, went to Chipotle after, and had the part. I also love comic books, Star Wars, Angels and Airwaves, and traveling and reading.
When did you form your band? What inspired you to get to that point to say “this is it, I want to make a record with these guys”?
Greg: After I heard “Versus” and what was going on there, I vibed with the direction. Obviously i wanted to add my own spice, but I love playing rock music. The thing that set it in stone was just getting to know Matt and Hope and seeing how committed they were to the project, and their goals.
Matt: Seeing the dedication and passion within Hope and Greg really made me think, “OK. This could work.” Plus, I followed VISTA loosely prior to finding out Hope needed new musicians and liked the sound of VERSUS.
What genre of music do you consider your work to be? I know in Versus we get a mix of hard instrumentals that can stand neck to neck with a lot of alternative and hardcore bands at the moment and some nice Paramore’esque like vocals which I feel is totally fitting for the record, there is also a lot of energy in this EP which is nice because it’s exciting from start to finish.
Greg: We say anthem rock because we feel like in everything we do we try to make it anthemic. Sometimes that takes chanty vocals, or hard instrumentals. We just love records that sound “big” in general. So that takes influence from many different sounds. Sometimes it requires dynamics to do it. There's a million different ways to make an anthem-sounding sound.
Hope: Definitely involves a lot of different dynamics. I think every female-fronted band is going to be compared to Paramore because there aren’t that many of us; but we’re all different and working to carve our own way and create our individual sounds. But our personal sound, the anthem rock thing we’re looking to create, is something we’ve worked to build from the ground
Matt: I take the Paramore comment in stride. It’s not per say a bad thing. I know Paramore is popular and when people think of female fronted bands with rock music behind it, they think of Paramore right away. I personally don’t like categorizing us in a genre because bands change sound all the time as they grow as musicians and a band. I leave that kind of thing up to the fans.
Well I do feel you guys are different in sound from Paramore and that is a good thing, especially like you said many are compared to this female fronted band as well. Who are your major influences in the music industry? What artist are you guys listening to these days?
Greg: I’ve been listening to Childish Gambino’s “Awaken My Love” a lot lately. I have so many influences. I like Carly Rae Jepsen, The Fall of Troy, Jack White, Chon, and a ton more in terms of “Major” influences.
Hope: Greg loves Carly Rae. He had me listen to two full records of hers on our way down to a show in Virginia a few months ago, and it was actually super good. I’m really stoked on State Champs right now. And With Confidence, As It Is. My major influences overall have always been Joan Jett, Linkin Park, Pat Benatar, All Time Low. Stuff like that.
Matt: I was dying from heat in Greg’s car to notice he played Carly Rae so I can’t comment on that. For me, my favorite band is Angels and Airwaves. They’re the only band to really hit me soul in ways others haven’t. I LOVE cinematic, grandiose atmospheric music, and they do just that with bombastic drums and anthemic choruses. Some of my other favorites are Brand New, 30 Seconds to Mars, LIGHTS, and anything I can get my hands on. I listen to everything and anything. I can go from electronica to indie to pop to hip hop to oldies like The Four Seasons and jazz. I also fall asleep every night to Explosions in the Sky or U183.
I want to jump back to your music really quick and your new single “Henchmen.” Can you tell me a little bit more about this track?
Greg: This track has a very “dystopia” kind of sound. Its an “anthem of the oppressed” so to say. We created it to stand back against whatever oppresses us, hopefully fans can relate to that. I tried to throw some cool elements sonically into it. There's a bit of me singing. I like it!
Hope: Greg is the best at describing things. I end up getting wordy and not making any sense, so I almost always turn to him and ask him to sum something up. Exactly what he said though; anthem of the oppressed is the absolute best way to describe it. We wanted to create something that mirrored how many people in this world currently feel, and speak up for them through this track. We stand with the oppressed.
Okay, so here comes the nerdy musician questions, I mean I wouldn’t be a music journalist if I wasn’t a bit of a music nerd right, I play guitar. I rock a Fender black sparkle Strat. So, what can you tell me about your instruments? What made you choose the instruments you have now as far as style, model, or brand wise?
Greg: Ooooo boy. I’m a big gear dude. Not the biggest, but I went to school for audio engineering. I’ve had my Les Paul for like 7 years and it's still a go to, especially with the rockier stuff of VISTA. My pedalboard is fairly big, and most of the stuff I choose is just out of sound, the types of noises I want to be accessible during a show or recording. I honestly don't care about brand as much as long as it sounds good. Have been loving Ernie Ball’s stuff a lot recently though. Sometimes if I try something out that a buddy has and I like it will buy it.
Hope: I’ve played an American Fender Strat since I was 10. That’s been my baby, I’m pretty firm to sticking with it since it’s the first electric I ever played. Plugged in for the first time through that guitar, it was my dad’s. So that’s always been my signature. I also love me some Ernie Ball gear, and I use Fender picks. Medium.
Matt: YES. Gear Q’s! I’m so happy we got this. I currently have my first kit I got when I was 12. It’s a Premier kit. I will live on the streets and still will never sell it. What makes it special besides sentimental value is that they’re made in England. I used to have a custom acrylic kit. It was an amber acrylic with gold hardware. But as cool as acrylics look, they’re pretty bland sound wise. I sold it years ago. Lately, in the studio and at practices I’ve been using Gretsch Renown and Catalina kits. Never used a Gretsch before and they’re really nice. I am open minded when it comes to drums. As long as it sounds amazing, right? I grew up on Zildjian cymbals my whole life so I use those. Preferably 19” and 20” crashes. I hit hard so they need to be a medium thin to medium weight. Something that sounds bright, but has a nice decay. I recently switched from Remo to Evans heads to try something new. But I grew up on Remo’s FYI. For sticks, Vater’s are the right length, size and weight for my playing. I’ve played EVERYTHING stick wise and those are the ones that feel the best and hold up the best.
Very nice, very nice! I want to talk a bit about the writing process with you guys as a band, since that process runs differently with each band you know? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs when you sit down to write a record? Also is it a collaborative affair or does one generally write the songs and you kind of just go off that?
Greg: It can honestly depend on song. It’s definitely cool to sit and talk with the guys about what we want a song to do or talk about. Hope can definitely steer the direction lyrically though, I’ve always vibed with her style of writing and combining ours. We have talked about songs newer than “Henchmen” and themes for those tracks as well, the conversations can be inspiring :)
Matt: The other two has ideas and bring them to me and then I work on the drum part of the songs. The way a song starts to be written differs. Sometimes it’s someone with a lyric in mind or a way the guitar goes. It’s exciting to see how each new song forms.
How has your music evolved since you started making music together? I know you guys are a new band, but I also know bands tend to go through growing pains in the “garage phase” or through the off-stage and media process as well.
Greg: Oh god, I definitely know what you’re talking about. Our past experiences have made us kinda pass through that phase quicker, we weren't perfect when we started playing a few months ago but we definitely ironed out a lot of kinks. We're all pretty mature as people so that helps with music and our image and what not, how we portray our music, etc.
Hope: It’s super interesting, because we all just kinda meshed together really well, even in the first practice everything was actually pretty organized. It had it’s kinks, like Greg mentioned, but we knew where they were and how to fix them and improve in a short amount of time. So that was sick.
Matt: Yeah, it took some time to figure out how each one works and operates but once we figured it out we were good to go.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a band as of yet, and how have you overcome those challenges?
Greg: Traffic - #1. Besides that, just getting tighter (with each other musically) and amping up our live show is a challenge we will face slowly. But we’re working on it!
Hope: Oh god. Traffic, getting places on time. That’s the worst thing ever when you live in the tri-state area, it’s agonizing. But to be honest, if that’s one of our biggest challenges, that’s probably a good thing. There are so many other potential challenges a band could have, and one of our biggest is traffic. So hell yeah!
Matt: I third that. I travel the furthest about 2-3 hours ONE WAY from New Jersey to practices. It sucks. I won’t lie haha Long Island traffic is AWFUL. I already have “bathroom spots” figured out on my way up and back. There is NEVER a good time to travel on Long Island. No lie. There’s ALWAYS traffic.
Haha. I understand that and that’s awesome that you guys do get along so well.Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Greg: We are playing Irving Plaza in NYC on January 13th with Against The Current to release “Henchmen”. I love playing Webster Hall, I love playing out of state. Can’t wait to get to Nashville.
Hope: We’ve done Long Island, New York City, Virginia, Connecticut, Jersey. Doing Irving Plaza pretty soon, which I’m super anxious about. That’s gonna be the best single release show/party/rager EVEERRR. I liked Toquet Hall in Connecticut a lot, that stage was sick because I like to run all over the place, so it was kinda just free roam. I like stages with space!
Matt: I LOVE Against the Current, so I’m going to say that’ll be my fav. show/venue at Irving. However, CT was AMAZING. Not only the stage, but the vibe of the crowd and it was in a cute little town. My least favorite was shockingly, one in NJ. That was a rough show, there was no ventilation in the venue and I was melting before we played just setting up and that show was just a ball of anxiety.
Hope: We’ll get back to home state NJ and kill ittttt.
This is I feel a common question for every band or artist, nonetheless it’s different for every what they want to get out of this. What is the ultimate direction for your band right now? What do you want people to take away from your music?
Greg: Basically: write more music and tour. I wanna be on the road a lot. I love writing when home. In terms of music: I want people to listen to our band and feel something. Anything in general. That’s my goal. (Obviously i’d prefer it was a positive feeling)
Hope: I think of the coolest things about this combination of people in particular is that we all have almost the exact same goals. We’re all on the same page with what we want to accomplish with VISTA and how we can do it together. So that’s something really special and unifying.
Matt: Write, record and tour! We want to meet as many fans as possible (I hear and see you UK fans) and want to release new music frequently. I hope if a kid feels our music has inspired them to do something then that’s the real reward. I want to give that kid who paid $$$ out of their allowance or did everything they could to see us a show where they go home and say, “WOW. Now THAT was a show worth every penny.” I want that kid to FEEL the music.
Where can people access your music?
Greg: Our socials! Spotify, Apple Music!
Hope: iTunes. I know times have changed, but I’m still a big believer in buying music.
Thanks guys for your time , and wish you guys the best of luck with your band and your music!
Greg: Thank YOU! Enjoy your holidays.
Hope: Thanks for interviewing us!! Hope you had a good holiday season!
Matt: Thank you for having us and we hope to run into you someday in the near future! Best wishes.