“All Bands on Deck” is a regular column by Opinion Editor Amanda Niess.
The band from Roseville, California. Three friends from the playground and two sisters from Oregon.
Meet Vista Kicks.
The band’s name has no true source of inspiration, rather the combination of “vista” and “kicks” seemed to fit who these three men — guitarist and lead singer Derek Thomas, drummer Nolan Le Vine and bassist Trevor Sutton — wanted to be.
For Derek Thomas and Nolan Le Vine, jamming out was no foreign concept. The two have been playing music together since the ages of 15 and beyond.
The sisters from Oregon — singer Victoria Wymer and guitarist/singer Makayla Wymer — also known as the Hail Maries, joined Vista Kicks in March of 2022 and began touring with the band.
The two women in this supergroup seemed to be a perfect addition for what Thomas and the band were looking for.
“We started doing vocal lessons with Derek, and then we showed him some of our songs that we had written,” said Victoria Wymer. “We came up with the name Hail Maries together, started writing, and then when they needed some extra help on tour, we hopped on.”
Vista Kicks has a new album set to come out at the end of this year. The album has yet to be titled, but the group is still thrilled to release a new sound of both male and female harmonies to their listeners after such a difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The songs are really strong and I think they have a big sound that I hope connects with a lot of people,” Thomas said. “Thematically it’s got a more positive spin and outlook, and I think in a time where so many things are negative and changing, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s a direction toward progress.”
The band, just like any other musical group, faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it did not stop the group from recording and releasing two works — their 2022 EP “Sorry Charlie” and their 2020 album “Chateau Mae Mae,” which they recorded with singer Audra Mae.
“We are sort of a lucky group of people,” Sutton said. “I mean, we are really fortunate to be doing these things, especially when we don’t have a label. We’re not not funded by anything but ourselves and our ticket sales.”
With the autonomy that Vista Kicks has, they are very proud of the work they have produced and hope to reflect that upon their upcoming album at the end of this year.
“The pandemic was a trying time for us because we almost broke up,” Thomas said. “Not being able to perform and not being able to get all that extra energy out can be a really difficult balance because seeing how the world was changing and then not being able to perform was rough, but we made it through and I think we’re better for it.”
These trying times allowed the three young men to collaborate with Victoria and Makayla Wymer and eventually add them into what we know as Vista Kicks. Things slowly began to fall into place.
As for independent projects, Thomas has DRT, pronounced “dirt,” of course. Thomas wanted to conjoin his love for soil and music into one being and created DRT. With that, he was able to start a record label for which the Hail Maries could record under called “In The Drt.”
“I have this analogy for soil and for people because I see it as sort of the same thing in nature, where dirt is just a medium for life to connect and then from a soil you can grow anything,” Thomas said. “I think the same with people — if I can be dirt and bring people together, then I can make a community and grow anything from that. I want to bring together musicians [and] poets.”
DRT’s newest single was released Sept. 1, 2022.
For the Hail Maries, their record “Unrequited Love Part Two” is set to hit all listening platforms in three weeks.
Vista Kicks will be touring across the U.S. until the end of October. Their new music will not be released during this time, but they will be performing new songs off their untitled album.
“I think that we would have landed here eventually, but I don’t think it would have been as seamless or fun or adventurous if it weren’t for the pandemic because it gave us time to make room for things that we didn’t have before,” Makayla Wymer said.