On October 29, C’mon Everybody, an incredible group of artists, performed in Brooklyn, NY, as I waited for headliners April + Vista to take the stage. Opening the evening with the beautiful voice of Miranda del Sol as she performed for the first time.
Miranda’s soulful voice paired with that of Rae, an incredible guitarist who accompanied Miranda on stage.
As the duo played, Rae had incredible control as they kept the energy so high that engaged the crowd. The synergy between these two artists was such a pleasure to watch. I’m glad I witnessed del Sol’s first performance and hope to see more of the duo in the future.
Murielle a rising pop star commanded the eyes and ears of everyone in her presence. She took the stage with a powerful performance, which thrilled the crowd.
The dynamic range of Murielle’s voice is not to be forgotten. It was hard not to be overwhelmed by its vibrant sound. The singer opened with an incredible line asking the crowd, “Make some noise if you respect Black P*ssy!”
Respectfully, the crowd responded loudly. Halfway through her set, I had to put my camera down and enjoy the show.
April + Vista has a very unique sound that reminds me of American jazz composer Sun Ra.
There is a very poetic element to their sound and their lyrics. Their song “What Is Enough” captivates you and the music makes you think about concepts related to relationships, heartbreak and life. Sometimes the music is uplifting and sounds incredibly honest.
These artists exist in their own category of experimental genres. You can’t deny that these two have such a powerful collaborative bond. 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 a glimpse into their musical journey and what it’s like to be experimental artists coming out of the whack of the pandemic. I am immensely excited to see where their craft takes them. If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out this amazing pair of creatives.
The creative minds behind April + Vista
JR: How was April + VISTA formed? (What brought you to make music together?)
M: April contacted me on Soundcloud through a health insurance in the spring of 2014. We bonded and quickly became friends. The chemistry was there so we went all-in! That summer we started writing our first EP Lanterns.
A: We still have screenshots of our first Soundcloud messages!
JR: Your music has a very comforting sound, is the process of writing and creating songs therapeutic and how important is this element in your process?
The creative and writing process
M: Actually, for me, writing music is intense. We like to challenge ourselves to go further with our music. Always pulling from deep within and sometimes it’s painful. The real reward comes when the dust settles and everything falls into place. It’s a feeling you never tire of.
A: I love drawing inspiration from my own life memories and people watching. I use songwriting as a form of solace, out of necessity. It helps me keep my feet on the ground and deal with past and present trauma, so I’m glad it has a calming effect on the people who listen to it.
JR: What is your creative process?
M: Often we write our ideas separately and come together when we are ready to share them. I usually work on rhythm ideas and send April sketches. In most cases, she already has lyrics floating around in her head or in her notebooks. From this point we start recording ideas and organizing them together. Some songs follow each other quickly. Others (most) take months.
The surreal and captivating vibes of April + Vista
A: For example, the lyrics for the songs “Hot Coffee Freestyle”, “Own2” and “I Hate it Here” came together very quickly – within minutes! I reached a rare state of flux while writing these. Others, like “The Receiver”, took months to fully blossom. For me, you have to write string arrangements, it also fluctuates in the same way. In the end, it depends on my concentration.
JR: How was this journey of musical creation and how do you draw inspiration from home?
A: Our musical journey has had many twists and turns. My favorite thing about our experience is that it’s unpredictable, which makes it exciting (and anxiety-provoking!). We feel blessed to travel and grow with our friends and even meet some of our musical heroes along the way. There really is never a dull moment, and no event is without a lesson to be learned. We’ve learned that patience is more than a virtue, it’s a lifeline, and that confidence is something you need to hold on to, to get through the inevitable (and very deep) valleys that come with a trip like this.
Defying the traditional sound
JR: Do you think your music exists outside of normal musical genres? And how important is it to you to have space for experimentation?
M: I feel like everything we do is experimental. Sometimes our music can fit perfectly into categories, but that’s never our intention. We create from scratch and assemble sounds and textures that speak to us. Our approach to composition is purely experimental and exploratory.
JR: I’m curious about some of your inspirations thinking specifically about your performance, Live from the Pit, it made me think of Sun Ra. It was amazing to listen to that and I hope 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 pull off the entire production. It took months of planning, gathering materials, and daily practice, but it all paid off!
It’s amazing you thought of Sun Ra, that’s a huge compliment. We study many artists like Sun Ra, Radiohead, Chaka Khan, Massive Attack, Jeff Buckley, Prince, Stereolab, etc. because we believe they are the role models for compelling performance and interesting sound.
JR: How did you feel playing C’mon Everybody tonight?
M: It’s like we never left the stage, honestly, and that’s 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’m here, I feel like myself again.
A: This show completely energized me. The pandemic has deflated my confidence and our trajectory in music. I needed something to wake me up with a jolt – it was a rush! It was like I took 4 Red Bulls to the head.
The future looks bright for April + Vista
JR: What are the things you’re all looking forward to doing in the future?
M: I can’t wait to travel again, that’s for sure. I miss being on the road more than anything.
A: Collaborate more and record! I can’t wait to hit the studio and start gathering song ideas.
The journey for artists who create their own path
JR: If you could give advice to certain artists of the younger generation who wish to create experimental music or genre music, what would you say to them?
M: Something I’ve learned from the past 2 years is to never rely on your passion to save you from your situation. It’s the fastest 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 mainstream artists get. Maybe you’ll be working 9 to 5 for a while. Even so, you should enjoy creating, whether it lands you a gig at a festival, lets you quit your job, or pay your rent. Otherwise, your creativity/happiness simply won’t last.
A: DON’T take yourself so seriously that you spoil the fun of your trip. There will be extreme lows and extreme highs, all of which are fleeting and short-lived. You have to find comfort in the in-between; enjoy the growth process and please completely mute people who try to rush you or compare you to others. If you like where you are at any level, you’ll have a more peaceful climb than most. I really wish I could go back in time and tell myself that, ha!
JR: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Is there anything else you would like to share?
M: Keep sharing our music. Please encourage your friends to get vaccinated. Wash your hands, wear your masks and stop spoiling new shows on Twitter.
A: Eat more sushi!