To celebrate MLB’s Opening Day Vista Blue will release Wonderband, on April 2nd.
Sweet Sweet Music talked to Mike Patton about the baseball theme, saber-metrics, Nashville, releasing 8 (EIGHT) EPs last year and, of course, the new record.
Listen to Designated Hitter ( a Sweet Sweet Music Blog EXCLUSIVE!)
New album, release April 2nd, what can we expect?
For Wonderband we went back to our baseball theme, which seems to be something of a “home base” for us. Aside from music, my two main hobbies are baseball and horror, so I could probably write songs about that stuff all day.
On this baseball album, we also went back to more of a Ramones-core kind of sound, so I think it’s a lot like our 2015 debut, Good Eye. And Mark just got a new Fender Jazz bass that he was excited to debut here.
Overall, it’s still just Vista Blue, with songs that tell stories about normal stuff, this time related to baseball.
Songwriting seems easy to you? What’s the secret?
Haha! I don’t know that it’s any “easier” for me, but there is this thing where I constantly have new ideas and melodies popping into my head. Most are not any good, but every now and then I like one enough to put it into my “idea pile.”
Using themes for my songs and releases has completely changed my approach. When we started Vista Blue, we decided every release would have a theme. And like I said, baseball and horror seem to be the easiest for me. So we’re starting 2017 with another baseball album to celebrate MLB’s Opening Day.
One thing I’ve been doing lately is listening to Nashville’s Hippie Radio 94.5 and just having fun taking titles of classic songs and adjusting them for my themes. So that’s how we ended up with songs on this album like “My Best Friend’s Glove” and “WAR (What Is It Good For?),” which takes a look at the use of saber-metrics. And there’s the Ramones-inspired “I Wanna Be Your Shortstop.” Stupid stuff like that.
So we ended up with about 20 baseball ideas this time and decided to go with nine tracks.
Will there be some live gigs to promote the record?
You know, I don’t think so. We were hoping to do the International Pop Overthrow again this spring, but it isn’t coming to Nashville this year. We’re looking into a couple of possible shows this summer, but we’ll see if that works out. I’ve been very picky about playing shows with Vista Blue. I see it as more of a project where we can make lots of fun music, as opposed to playing live as much as possible. We’ve all done that already. Nashville just isn’t a great place for a band like Vista Blue, so it takes something special to get me to play live now. I’d really like to hit New Orleans or even Cincinnati soon though.
The definition of ‘success’ has changed the last couple of years. When would the new record be a success to you?
Everything we do from this point forward is just a bonus for me. Having podcasts and radio shows play our music, and having blogs like yours pay attention to us… this is totally success! We just enjoy knowing that we’re reaching people and making new friends.
Of course, playing with Weezer or Nerf Herder would also be success… Gotta keep some dreams alive.
Where can we hear, buy, see the music?
As always, Wonderband will be completely free to stream or download through our bandcamp site as a digital release. We really like having all of the songs available for free. This hasn’t been about money for us for a long time. We just want people to hear the songs.
There are no plans for a physical release right now, but those projects seem to come after the digital release these days. So we’ll see.
What’s up next for Vista Blue?
Well, we have some other ideas for releases this year. Last year we released EIGHT EPs, so we definitely had to slow down a little. But we have a number of themes we’re considering, including football, covers, and a set of children’s songs.
Something fun that is coming out soon is our debut 12-inch, from Something To Do Records. It compiles a lot of the music we recorded the last two years. The title is Seasons, and the two sides represent Summer and Fall.
We’re also hoping to do a really cool split 7-inch with The Zambonis for the 2018 Winter Olympics, where we both record songs about curling. For those who may not know, The Zambonis only write songs about hockey, and they were a major influence on us when we started Vista Blue. The Olympic split would be a blast, and we’re hoping to find a label who might be interested in releasing it.