Editor’s Note: It is always nice to gain perspective on what musicians, in particular up and coming musicians, go through in their struggles to achieve that brass ring. Vans break down, shows might get cancelled, turnout might not be what you expected, and dealing with shady promoters and scam artists in the business could play a role. Each band has a different story and Greg Almeida and Hope Vista of VISTA were glad to share their story with us. They each provided their own blog. Fans can check out VISTA at the following locations:
“Struggles In Music Industry” by Greg Almeida and Hope Vista
Greg: Struggles in the music industry? Boy where do I start. Pretty much, 80% of the stuff that is actually not a struggle is playing the music, which doesn’t happen often if you have to manage everything else business-wise. All the business stuff and trying to grow can really be a fucking struggle. Hope and I have a pretty good head on our shoulders when it comes to developing branding and concepts for ourselves, which is something we are very blessed for. The ability to- or even the conversation of “making yourself stick out” among others is a huge struggle. It’s essentially like finding a diamond in the rough. It never comes overnight. You have to go through the motions and have lots of conversations and just figure out what feels like YOU, while still being unique. Very thin line there.
Another gigantic struggle is being your own booking agent for the start. Especially when booking tours. It seems almost impossible starting out. You have to worry about promoters, local bands, promoting, logistics, availability, and we have to worry about finding live members to play with us on drums and bass. Lots of people will help and be supportive and honest when they can and can’t help. And lots of people will be unresponsive and not easy to work with for various different reasons, which sucks. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet to get your foot in the door and prove your worth, sometimes you have to know your worth and put your foot down and not settle for bullshit. It’s another grey area. Touring is hard but so rewarding when you get all your eggs in a row.
Now, here is Hope Vista’s take on “Struggles In The Music Industry”
For me, there’s two aspects to this. I’ve kind of gotten used to the booking thing and had a much easier run with it this time around for The Bloodlust Tour. There weren’t many struggles that I hit thankfully, but that’s primarily because I’ve made many mistakes booking in the past that I learned from.
Number one, my personal biggest struggle, is finances. We have been open about this for one main reason: it’s not something that’s discussed much. When you are unsigned, you are your financial backer. There are no investors. No team, no one giving you an advance to go make your record. It’s all on you. Every recording cost, travel, maintaining your van, paying live members, paying your photographer or anyone who does work for you, lodging where need be, buying merch. You would not believe how much all of this adds up to be when you’re either actively touring or actively recording. On the plus side, we are our own creative consultants, so we can essentially do what we want, but that is so limited when it comes to finances. I work three jobs and pay all of my own bills, living alone. Greg works overnight shifts, sometimes up to 6 days a week he’s in the city working nights. We don’t have four members, five members. Even three members would ease the added costs of everything. But we’re very transparent about this because a lot of people think that because you look good on social media, you have a lot of interaction, and you tour, that your cash flow is heavy. Everything we make in this band goes back into a separate band bank account, and it just cycles through; we’ve never personally pocketed anything the band earns. Something always pops up to pay for; it’s never linear (it never goes as planned). I would much rather be transparent about this than disappear down the line for a few months because we can’t afford to record or tour. I want people to be aware of what unsigned bands like us go through to keep our passions afloat and understand the process.
Second for me, is finding team members (manager, booking agency, etc) who want to invest their time into helping you succeed, have the right connections that match with your personal goals, and just have genuine intentions. We do everything in house, we don’t have a manager, a booking agent. We just haven’t been able to find the right combination of people yet. I’m hopeful that we will at some point this year, but putting together a full team of individuals who are there to work together for your passion and careers (with no bullshit), it’s just so difficult. Either way, team or no team, we always continue the grind. The best person you can rely on and trust is yourself.
And there you have it! Special thanks to 25/8 PR for providing this and for Vista for taking the time out of their endlessly busy schedules for us! In the meantime, check out Vista’s recently released single entitled “Witch Hunt” via Spotify.
VISTA will also be on The Bloodlust Tour! Check out tour dates below.
Monday, June 25th- The Bungalow in Manchester, New Hampshire
Tuesday, June 26th- Stamps in Buffalo, New York
Thursday, June 28th- The Cave in West Haven, Connecticut
Friday, June 29th- The Smiling Moose in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Saturday, June 30th- The Outpost in Kent, Ohio
Sunday, July 1st- Skully’s Music Diner in Columbus, Ohio
Monday, July 2nd- The Irving Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana
Tuesday, July 3rd- Wire in Chicago, Illinois
Thursday, July 5th- Amsterdam Bar & Music Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota (w/Color Tab and Platypus)
Friday, July 6th- The Riot Room in Kansas City, Missouri
Sunday, July 8th- Vanguard in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Monday, July 9th- The Dirty 30 in Dallas, Texas (w/Brightside)
Tuesday, July 10th- Super Happy Fun Land in Houston, Texas (w/Brightside)
Wednesday, July 11th- The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia (w/Brightside)
Thursday, July 12th- The Haven in Winter Park, Florida (w/Brightside, Miramar Drive)
Friday, July 13th- Nighthawks in Jacksonville, Florida (w/Brightside)
Saturday, July 14th- The Wilbury in Tallahassee, Florida (w/Brightside)
Sunday, July 15th- Imurj in Raleigh, North Carolina (w/Brightside)
Monday, July 16th- Rocketown in Nashville, Tennessee (w/Brightside)
Wednesday, July 18th- Sidebar in Baltimore, Maryland
Thursday, July 19th- Revolution in Amityville, New York
Friday, July 20th- Patterson Creations in Attleboro, Massachusetts
Saturday, July 21st- Connie’s Ric Rac in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sunday, July 22nd- The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, New Jersey
Tuesday, July 24th- Goldsounds in Brooklyn, New York
For tickets and further information on any of the shows listed above, click here.
*Photo Credit: Holly Turner