Interview: Remaining an Optimist Amidst Dysfunction, viisi Takes Us Inside the Relationship That Inspired New Single “paradise”

viisi © SJ Spreng
viisi © SJ Spreng
Using music as a tool for purging the lingering bitterness of heartbreak, viisi’s summertime anthem “paradise” sheds light on the poisonous patterns we fall into for the sake of love. What might sound like an upbeat and bright pop anthem on the surface, is in reality, stacked with layers of complex emotions – much like viisi himself.
Stream: “paradise” – viisi

“I think the urge to escape from the real world gets more prominent as we get older. Our imaginations start to fade, and our innocence with it. There are so many more responsibilities and expectations that we never had as a kid – but to me, I feel like that same kid, just in an adult’s body. So yeah, I constantly have the urge to escape the real world.”

The subtext of “paradise” can be seen under a magnifying glass as a subtle inclination to run away. For Canadian singer/songwriter viisi, cutting ties with the pressure of reality and living in a state of bliss has always been the dream. Especially during his formative years throughout the relationship that inspired this track, viisi mistook the high of romance for an exit route.

paradise - viisi
paradise – viisi

“My idea of paradise would be to be able to support myself and my family through music. I’d like to have enough disposable income where I can have a place back home to spend time with friends and family as well as a place in LA to escape the cold, continue working on music, and take advantage of the opportunities that come with being here.”

As he’s gotten older and fallen in love with his craft, it seems as if viisi’s newfound paradise is the music itself. Not only is he pursuing his passion, but he’s also able to heal his inner-wounds through songwriting by leaning into his deeply cathartic process.

“Writing like this helps me to work through past things. It’s like therapy for me. I get to let go of certain things or release some of that energy. It usually just allows me to move past it, which sounds counter intuitive since I’m writing songs about them, but truthfully it helps and I hope it helps others in some way too.”

viisi © SJ Spreng
viisi © SJ Spreng

The single is heartfelt and nostalgic, transportive to the point that it draws to mind memories from our own first loves.

Over buzzing riffs, euphoric echoes of background vocals, and ear-catching percussion, viisi paints the sky his own color of sunset.

“It took two separate days in the studio, neither took all that long though. I was just meeting the producer, Kodeblooded for the first time that day. He is a super nice guy and ridiculously talented. We basically made the entire song as you hear it on the first day and then just added the second verse in on the second. We felt really dialed in – it was just a fun environment of people. The personalities of who were in the room that day definitely bled into the music.”

When we’re young and our judgement gets clouded by the excitement of a primordial relationship, it’s easy to mistake toxicity for the norm. That’s exactly what happened to viisi during his high school romance.

Revealing more on his muse behind the track, viisi admits, “I was in a relationship with this girl throughout high school where her and I never really saw eye to eye. I’m not sure why or how we dated for so long because we almost never agreed on anything. People around us started joking that we must love fighting since it’s all we did which is what inspired the chorus of this song. The ‘paradise’ is the arguments and the dysfunctional dance since we always seem to be there.”

viisi © SJ Spreng
viisi © SJ Spreng

viisi is an artist who characteristically toes the line of genre and “paradise” is no different. It’s the first time he’s experimented with pop punk influences and that risk definitely pays off. The double-sided effect of the melancholy prose and carefree sonics add to the thought-provoking nature of the track.

“The sound of my voice, the genre, and the overall vibe of this song is much different. I really wanted to lay into the pop punk feel with this song which at the time when I was writing, I had never done before. Above all else, I really want this song to be remembered as a summer song. The lyrics may be about a failing relationship but I wanted it to sound like something you could throw on during a road trip.”

viisi © SJ Spreng
viisi © SJ Spreng

Released in mid-May via vnclm_ / Atlantic Records, “paradise” is only just the start for viisi this year.

With multiple releases on the horizon as well as a spot on the bill at SummerFest in Milwaukee in June, viisi’s music is on the rise. He’s also dedicated to connecting more with his community and fans by engaging online.

viisi leaves us with a meaningful word of advice for burgeoning artists. He says, “Just do whatever you can to start and you will learn your path as it starts to unfold. I started just purely off of the love for lyrics and I didn’t know anything technical about music. In a lot of ways, I still don’t. I started by recording my songs in the voice memo’s app on my iPhone 4 and I still don’t know how to play a single instrument. Just do what you can and if the passion is there you’ll figure out the rest.”

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Stream: “paradise” – viisi

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paradise - viisi

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