A Chat with VISTA (11.04.19)

Image courtesy of VISTA

VISTA recently released one of their groundbreaking singles, ‘Eat (I Must)’, looking at the issue of anorexia. Alex from The Other Side Reviews was fortunate enough to have a chat with them about this significant single. Talking about body dysmorphia and music, here is what vocalist Hope Vista and guitarist Greg Almeida had to say:

OSR: What made you want to share your story about your battle with anorexia?

HV: It was something I needed to do personally in order to continue moving forward. I had been plagued with feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment for years over what I put my body through. Confronting those feelings through music allowed me to explore it through a wider lens and express what those feelings sound like.

OSR: Do you ever look back at your past self and think about how things would have turned out if you knew then what you know now?

HV: I do, but I don’t. At 16/17 I was experiencing many facets of life that my classmates weren’t yet, things that were out of my control. Eating was something that I could control, so I grabbed onto it for dear life. I know now just how dangerous I was being, but at the same time, coming out on the other side of it was monumental to my personal growth as a teenager.

OSR: What advice do you have for those who are currently struggling with an eating disorder?

HV: Tell someone. I was very sneaky and manipulative about my eating habits; I went to great lengths to hide it from my mom, mainly because I was afraid of what her reaction would be. My biggest regret is not telling her until it got to a very unhealthy point. It is so important to tell someone that you trust how you are feeling.

It’s not easy, but I don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t have someone they can tell. I want anyone who hears this song to understand that it’s okay to let someone in and ask for help. If you aren’t quite ready to tell someone you love, a great number to call is the NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) hotline: (800) 931-2237.

OSR: Why did you want to write a song about your experience? Were you ever afraid of what fans would think?

GA: We definitely knew that fans would accept what we wanted to talk about, but weren’t sure how they were going to react. Having gone past the initial reactions, I can say they’ve been nothing but a pleasure to us, being so supportive and recognising how important this song is for us.

HV: I needed to personally in order to continue healing. It was crucial for me to confront those feelings after this many years; I hadn’t been able to for so long. There was definitely some stress, some fear. A lot of that stemmed from being judged, but the fear of judgment stemmed from embarrassment. That’s why I had to confront the humiliation and guilt; I was so afraid of being judged for what I did to myself.

OSR: Was it hard to go back to your past and potentially relive those feelings?

HV: Very, but it was necessary. I mentally had to look at those feelings and take control of them, instead of allowing them to control me.

OSR: What do you hope listeners take away from ‘Eat (I Must)’?

GA: I want people to know that help is available to them if they’re ready to take it on. I also want them to know that what they’re going through is not easy and even speaking up to one person about it is so brave, and we support them fully. I hope that this song helps people in some way, shape or form, or even on a surface level, is just a nice song to jam out to.

HV: I want listeners to understand how serious this, how dangerous it is. Your worth is not equivalent to your weight. I’ve repeated that to myself consistently the last few years. Your worth comes from who you are as a person, how you treat others, how you take on life. I want them to take away the seriousness of this illness, and know that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

OSR: Did writing about your experience help you come to terms at all with it? Did it bring any sort of closure?

HV: Absolutely, but this is a consistent battle. It’s not going to go away, I accepted that years ago. But ultimately, writing this track really helped me move past the feelings of embarrassment. That kind of plagued me into my adulthood, because it just always felt awful to accept that I chose to listen to this voice in my head that told me to not eat. It was embarrassing that I couldn’t fight against that. Now, I see that through a different lens; it’s not something to be ashamed of. I fought it eventually, I told it to fuck off, and I have not restricted in eight years. That’s something I can stand tall on.

OSR: What was the hardest part about writing ‘Eat (I Must)’? Is there anything you would change?

GA: I think getting the vocals to sit right took a bit of time. Also, the ending of the song took a bit of time to get right, and some experimentation. At least that’s all I can say musically. I wouldn’t change a thing though, I think the song came out pretty sick and it’s a nice addition to our catalogue.

HV: I actually disagree about the vocals! This was the easiest song for me to track vocally and I felt great about the vocals and melodies on this one in general. The hardest part for me was making sure that the lyrics accurately expressed what I wanted to say; putting those pieces together took some time. I wouldn’t change a thing about this song, and I think that’s a first for me.

OSR: What three words would you use to best describe the track?

HV: Raw, honest, and uncomfortable.

GA: Drums, groove, sadness.

OSR: What kind of tone were you hoping for when you put the lyrics to music? Were you going for dark seriousness?

HV: There wasn’t any tone I was trying to convey; I just let it fall out. The story spoke for itself. It’s sad, lonely, dark, and serious. Sonically, the music matches the tone, but that fell out naturally, as well.

GA: The music intrinsically sounds dark, as do most of our songs. But this one had a different groove to it, so it could have gone in either direction. Hope just went with the first thing that came to mind, and I’m glad she did. It’s almost like a juxtaposition of the groovier side of our music, mixed with a very sad topic. At least that what it sounds like to me at parts!



Thank you for Hope and Greg for speaking with us! To hear more of VISTA’s music and follow their gigs, check out their Spotify, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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