VIS is a 4 piece band hailing from Los Angeles, California and the chemistry between them is something so serious it’d probably make Bill Nye loosen his collar. The band lives up to their name’s Latin translation of “power” through hard hitting music and solid sets of sheer energy and some sweet dance moves. VIS just wrapped up their west coast tour with Eidola and Oranges and I got a chance to get some insight from Tommy (vocals) and Aaron (guitar) on topics of their music, tour life, and future endeavors.
Ary Gil: You’ve often referred to the genre of VIS as a burrito because of the different sounds that come together to make your own. Can you elaborate on the “flavors” of your sound?
Tommy Miller: “A good burrito for me has to be complex and aggressive and that is pretty consistent with the flavors of VIS. Breaking it down a bit more specifically, I think a lot of our spice comes from the punk and hardcore influences we share. The classics tend to be the real meat and potatoes of our sound. We do enjoy lots of rich textures, meaning thick keyboard patches usually inspired by 90’s R&B and video games, so that can be the decadent sauces and cheese in the burrito. And I think that there needs to be some kind of a veggie so that would probably be our indie rock flavor. Wrap it all up and I would definitely put that burrito in my ear-mouth.”
Ary: Do each of you have any personal influences that aren’t reflected in your music?
Aaron Delgado: “I feel like all our influences (musical and other) make their way into our music in some form or another, but not all of them are immediately apparent. My favorite bands of all time are The Beatles, Radiohead, and Rx Bandits. One of those is pretty obvious when you listen to VIS, but you kind of have to dig deeper to hear the other influences.”
T: “I am really inspired by folk and bluegrass. You definitely can’t taste that in our burrito.”
Ary: No Waves EP was written before you guys had a singer. Did the “instrumentals before vocals” way of writing work well for you or is it now a more collaborative effort?
AD: “We were concerned at the time whether or not adding a singer at the end of the writing process would throw things off, but Tommy was such an amazing fit for us that the entire process was a breeze. Right now we use a mixture of both. We’ve written a song where all of us were in the room together and it sounds killer. On the other hand, if I’m able to finish an idea on my own, I’ll just send over the skeleton and everyone will eventually just add their parts to it. Same process as No Waves, just much quicker now that we’re actually a real band.”
Ary: The EP also revolved around the concept of death after the song Runners was inspired by it. What should we expect lyrically from your future material?
T: “The songs we are currently working on have no theme yet. That could change as we write more, but I usually like to wait until the music is mostly complete because it provides a better setting for the stories or emotions I try to convey, so I might not know for a while what these songs will be about. The two songs we are about to release are much more focused on lyrical and vocal expression rather than a central meaning. For me that is an open door to lots of possibilities for future VIS lyrics so I am just as excited to find out what the lyrics in the future VIS material will be!”
Ary: How will your new music sound in relation to No Waves?
AD: “I feel like No Waves was us figuring out who VIS is. Allen (drums), Justin (bass), and I have played music together for so many years now, but I think we just found our stride over the past couple of years. Adding Tommy to the mix solidified that. So now that we know what we’re striving for, I think the next set of songs will just be a natural evolution from No Waves. We just need to constantly move forward and challenge ourselves as musicians and songwriters. It’s the only way we can operate.”
T: “It is safe to expect something different. I’d like to get my hands on some instruments and not just sing for the new VIS stuff so hopefully that can push the music we are writing in a cool direction.”
Ary: What’s a tour without car troubles?! What happened there?
AD: “Oh man, that sucked. We were headed back from our Van Nuys show, which was essentially 45 minutes from home. About halfway there, the SUV we use to tour in and tow our trailer overheated. We tried a quick fix to get it home, but it ended up just dying right on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. We’re so lucky that the dudes in Oranges immediately offered to lend us their amps and drums so we could continue the tour, and Eidola ended up pulling through for all of us in Utah. Such great dudes. We ended up finishing the tour in Justin’s Chevy Malibu.”
Ary: What were your playlist & snack essentials while on the road?
AD: “Ritz crackers, chips, lots of water and lots of coffee to keep us awake for the drives. As far as music, it was pretty eclectic. We were bumping Oranges and Eidola a bunch of course. The new Radiohead dropped while we were driving to Utah, so our first listen of that was while we were driving through the desert in the morning. It was pretty awesome.”
Ary: What about this last tour set it apart from any previous tours of yours?
AD: “This is the first time we didn’t book a tour ourselves, so if I’m being completely honest, getting paid, (he laughs). Just being able to make enough money per night to cover our travel expenses made a HUGE difference. In the past we’d barely scrape by and if we didn’t get paid, we’d hope we could sell enough merch to make it to our next spot. We really have to give so much love to Donovan and everyone at Artery for making this happen.”
Ary: Do you have interest in working with any labels or do you prefer a more independent approach to the music industry?
AD: “This is something we constantly discuss. We’ve done pretty well by going the independent route and we’re really happy to have the freedom to essentially do whatever we want. We’ve gained a good following doing that. At the same time, there are things that a label can do to help us get to a whole new level. It just has to be the right fit. We want to be part of a community of like minded people and musicians more than anything. Blue Swan is tight, (he laughs).”
Ary: What’s next for VIS?
AD: “Our only shows planned as of right now is opening for Hail the Sun at Chain Reaction in Anaheim on June 17th. We’re super excited for that one because it’s their album release show. It’s going to be wild. Other than that, we’re really going to buckle down and get an album written for you all. We’re about halfway there. It’s going to rip.”
T: “We will be releasing Songs of No Consequence Vol. 2 this summer as well. To celebrate that we are gonna put Volume 1 and Volume 2 on a cassette tape together so you can bump it on your boom box.”
All in all, VIS is too good for you to not be listening to. Get a taste of the burrito boys below and stay tuned for Songs of No Consequence Vol. 2. Also, be sure to catch Allen backing Donovan as a drummer for Hail the Sun on this summer’s Warped Tour!