On October 29, C’mon Everybody an amazing group of artists performed in Brooklyn, NY as I awaited headliners April + Vista to take the stage. Opening up the night with beautiful vocals by Miranda del Sol as she performed for the first time.
Miranda’s soulful voice paired with Rae’s who is an incredible guitarist that accompanied Miranda on stage.
As the duo played Rae had amazing control as they maintained such high energy that engage the crowd. The synergy between these two artists was such a pleasure to watch. I’m glad to have witnessed del Sol’s first performance and hope to see more of the duo in the future.
Murielle a pop star on the rise commanded the eyes and ears of everyone in her presence. She took to the stage with a powerful performance, that hyped up the crowd.
The dynamic range of Murielle’s voice is not one to be forgotten. It was hard to not become overtaken by her vibrant sound. The singer opened up with an incredible line asking the crowd to, “Make some noise if you respect Black P*ssy!”
Respectfully the crowd responded loudly. Halfway through her set, I was compelled to put my camera down and just enjoy the show.
April + Vista has a very unique sound feels it reminds me of American jazz composer Sun Ra.
There is a very poetic element to their sound and lyrics. Their song ‘What is enough’ captivates you and the music makes you consider concepts tied to relationships, heartache, and life. At times the music is comforting and feels incredibly honest.
These artists exist in their own experimental genre-bending category. You cannot deny that these two have such a powerful collaborative connection. The composition of sounds they are able to create and the meaningful way they communicate on stage really draws you into the music.
What makes watching these two perform such a surreal experience? April and Matt give us insight into their musical journey and what it is like to be experimental artists coming out of the throws of the pandemic. I’m immensely excited to see where their craft takes them. If you haven’t already you should definitely be listening to this incredible pair of creatives.
Creative minds behind April + Vista
JR: How was April + VISTA formed? (What led you two to make music together?)
M: April connected with me on Soundcloud through a mutual in Spring 2014. We linked up and became friends fast. The chemistry was there so we went all in! That summer we began writing our first EP Lanterns.
A: We still have screenshots of our first Soundcloud messages to each other!
JR: Your music has a very comforting sound, is the process of writing and creating tracks therapeutic and how important is that element in your process?
The process of creating and writing
M: Actually for me writing music is intense. We like to challenge ourselves to go further with our music. Always pulling from deep within ourselves and sometimes it is painful. The real reward comes when the dust settles, and everything falls into place. It is a feeling that we cannot get enough of.
A: I love pulling inspiration from my own life memories and from people watching. I use songwriting as a form of comforting myself–out of necessity. It helps me to stay grounded and to cope with past and present traumas, so I am glad that it has a calming effect on the people who listen to it.
JR: What is your creative process like?
M: Oftentimes, we draft our ideas separately and come together when ready to share. I typically work on beat ideas and send April sketches. In most cases, she already has lyrics that have been floating around in her head or notebooks. From that point, we begin recording ideas and arranging them together. Some songs come together fast. Others (most) take months.
The surreal and captivating vibes from April + Vista
A: For example, the lyrics for the songs “Hot Coffee Freestyle,” “Own2” and “I Hate it Here” came together super-fast – within minutes! I hit a rare flow state when writing those. Others, like “The Receiver” took months to fully blossom. It takes for me to write string arrangements, it also fluctuates in the same way. Ultimately it depends on how focused I am.
JR: How has this journey of making music been and in what ways do you draw inspiration from home?
A: Our music journey has had a lot of twists and turns. My favorite part about our experience is that it is unpredictable, which makes it exciting (and anxiety-inducing!) We feel blessed to travel and grow with our friends and even meet some of our musical heroes along the way. There is truly never a dull moment, and no event is void of a lesson to take in. We have learned that patience is more than just a virtue, it is a lifesaver, and that confidence is something you need to cling to, to get through the inevitable (and very deep) valleys that come with a journey like this.
Defying traditional sound
JR: Do you feel that your music exists outside of the normal genres of music? And how important is that to you to have space for experimentation?
M: I feel that everything we do is experimental. Sometimes our music might land neatly within categories but that is never our intention. We create from scratch and piece together sounds and textures that speak to us. Our approach to composition is purely experimental and explorative.
JR: I am curious about some of your inspirations specifically thinking about your performance, Live from the Pit, it made me think of Sun Ra. It was incredible to listen to that and I am hoping you can share some of what that experience was like?
First performance since the pandemic
A: Live from the Pit was our first attempt at recording a performance on film. We worked with an amazing director, Samson Binutu, and his talented production company (Crue films) to realize the whole production. It took months of planning, gathering materials, and daily practice but it all paid off in a big way!
It is amazing that made you think of Sun Ra, that is a huge compliment. We study many artists like Sun Ra, Radiohead, Chaka Khan, Massive Attack, Jeff Buckley, Prince, Stereolab, etc. as we feel like they are the blueprints for compelling performance and interesting sonics.
JR: How did it feel performing at C’mon Everybody tonight?
M: It feels like we never left the stage, honestly, and that is the weirdest part for me. Our last show was in 2019. I thought I would be nervous and uncomfortable up there but now that I am here, I feel like myself again.
The future is looking bright for April + Vista
JR: What are some things you all are looking forward to doing in the future?
M: I am looking forward to traveling again for sure. I miss being on the road more than anything.
A: Collaborating more and recording! I cannot wait to hit the studio and start piecing together ideas for songs.
The journey for artists who create their own path
JR: If you could give advice to some of the younger generation artists who want to create experimental music or genre-bending music, what would you say to them?
M: Something that I learned from these last 2 years, is to never rely on your passion to save you from your circumstances. It is the quickest way to burn out and start hating the thing you love the most.
As an experimental artist, you may not get the quick recognition or opportunities that more traditional artists get. Maybe you’ll be working a 9 to 5 job for a while. Even so, you should love creating regardless of whether it lands you a festival gig, or allows you to quit your job, or pay your rent. Otherwise, your creativity/happiness simply will not sustain.
A: DO NOT take yourself so seriously that you suck the fun out of your journey. There will be extreme lows and extreme highs–all of which are fleeting and short-lived. You must find comfort in the in-between; enjoy the process of growing and please, fully mute the people who try to rush you or compare you to others. If you enjoy where you are at any level, you will have a more peaceful climb than most. I really wish I could go back in time and tell myself this, ha!
JR: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Is there anything else you would like to share?
M: Keep sharing our music. Please, encourage your homies to get vaccinated. Wash your hands, wear your masks, and stop spoiling new shows on Twitter.
A: Eat more sushi!