Vista Kicks are leading a musical revolution with their latest album, Twenty Something Nightmare.
The classic rock and rollers turned heads in 2016 with their EP Chasing Waves, which features their most popular song to date, "Marceline." A year later, they released their debut album Booty Shakers Ball, adding brilliantly poetic songs to their catalog and garnering hundreds of thousands of streams on Spotify. In addition to streams, Vista Kicks has recently been featured in Forbes magazine and a Billboard Live video. They've been hard at work since then, as their new album features 18 tracks–every single one of them as thoughtfully crafted as the last.
The lifelong friendships of Derek Thomas, Sam Plecker, Trevor Sutton and Nolan Le Vine resulted in the formation of Vista Kicks in Northern California. Their obsession with classics rocksters fueled their drive to create music, and their sound is soaked in influence from legends like The Beatles, AC/DC and The Bee Gees.
Wondering about the musical revolution part of this? They released the first two singles, "Million Dollar Seller Pt.1 & Pt. 2" and "Numbers," into public domain. This means that anyone can listen, perform, sample, and generally use the songs freely as there is no copyright tied to it, which is nearly unprecedented and will surely change the game in the music industry. Vista Kicks is experimenting with the power of releasing music for the sake of art, with the hope that their creations will be more accessible to their audience and to other artists. What could be more reminiscent of the 60s and 70s than taking a stand against the system in order to promote unity and evoke thought?
Photo: Anna Maria Lopez
Since we premiered Vista Kicks' first album, it's only right to continue that tradition with their sophomore release, Twenty Something Nightmare. We sat down with vocalist Derek Thomas to talk about the album, letting go of fear, and feeling weird in your twenties.
OTW: So, we're coming up on nearly a year (give or take a couple months) since we last spoke about your debut album Booty Shakers Ball. How have the times been treating you since then?
Derek: The times have been great to us, we've toured the US, made a record (or two) and reached our Kickstarter Goal of $30,000. Couldn't be happier, the past year has been grand.
OTW: And what would say is the most important thing you learned as band since then?
Derek: Well, we've learned so much; making our own album was about as liberating as dropping out of college and moving to LA. It was scary, but it empowered us to believe in ourselves. Our kickstarter, proved to us how valuable our fans are, they have funded our financial independence as artists. Even some of the biggest household names don't have the freedom we have. The real lesson we're learning is to forego the fear of failure and the fear of criticism; we've dared to do what we ourselves thought wasn't possible and succeeded. We hope to keep pushing the limits with our music and with our fans.
OTW: The album's name, Twenty Something Nightmare, likely resonates with a lot of people right now. What inspired the name?
Derek: It's a song on the record. The track is about being a millennial in these times. As a millennial, I can tell you it's not unlike what it must have felt like to be quartered by a horse, or at least proverbially tied up to four horses ready to run in separate directions. As mellow-dramatic as this must sound, it is true for many people.
OTW: Speaking of nightmares, what was the worst nightmare you had as a kid?
Derek: I used to have spooky nightmares about Chucky every Easter for about six years straight.
OTW: Despite the album's name, I must say the album is still quite a great time. How do you go about finding that sense of optimism given the times?
Derek: No matter what the circumstances are, no one has the power to take away your peace of mind. We’re learning how to live in the moment, and we believe it’s possible for others to do so, regardless of all the crazy shit going on.
OTW: The album is quite an expansive one, totaling 18 tracks. What was the writing process like for this one?
Derek: It was written during the recording of Booty Shakers Ball, during the Booty Shakers Ball Tour and during the pre production phase of Twenty Something Nightmare. It just comes out, I guess.
OTW: And as we asked you last time, if you could start someone who's new to Vista Kicks with only one song off the album, which song would each of you choose?
Nolan: "Live You're Gonna Die"
Derek: "If I Didn't Have You"
Sam: "I'm Yours"
Trevor: "I Can't Think Of Anybody But You"
OTW: And what's one thing you hope that people listening to Twenty Something Nightmare take away from the experience?
Derek: That it's okay to feel weird in your twenties (really any age) and that you should embrace it. Go out and live your best life.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?