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UNDER THE SCOPE: Von Iva redefines the meaning of 'girl band'
Anya Moberly, Staff Writer


Try and think of all the amazing things the great city of San Francisco is known for. You may start thinking of the hippie days of Haight-Ashbury, deadheads and the countless joints the city has seen. Or maybe your mouth starts salivating at the sound of the city and its cable cars because you have a secret love of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat. Well, add Von Iva to your list of San Fran sensations that leave lasting impressions in your ears and on your soul. The San Francisco all-female trio will be making the first of two stops in San Diego during their nationwide tour. Jillian Iva leads with her soulful vocals; Becky Kupersmith creates a disco tempo with the keyboard while Kelly Harris adds rhythmic beats with drums. Von Iva keeps its drive simple, noting how much it thrives on live performances and keeping a close connection with the audience. Becky, or Bex to her fans and Von Iva band mates, recently gave some inside scoop to The Daily Aztec with an interview on their sound and spirit.

The Daily Aztec: So, what inspirations have you used to incorporate to your unique sound?

Bex: It’s pretty widespread. Jillian — a lot of people compare her to Tina Turner. Like the early Tina Turner … She’s got that crazy energy, that amazing voice and she dances and everything, so I think that’s a pretty appropriate comparison. She just has a strong, soulful voice. As far as our sound, I think because we’re a three-piece, just keyboard, drums and vocals, we really tried with our first record to keep everything simple and paired down and straight to the point. Right to the dancing!

DA: I’m going to your show at Bar Pink (Elephant) next week. Have you been to that venue?

Bex: I’ve never been to Bar Pink (Elephant). We’ve played at Casbah, Beauty Bar, U-31.

DA: It’s a pretty small stage; you guys should be stoked for it! So you really like that aspect of the intimate feel to your shows?

Bex: That’s my favorite. When it’s smaller, you can actually see what’s going on. We’ve played at some bigger venues recently, and while that’s really exciting and cool, it’s just not the same. You’re so far away from everybody. I don’t know, we’re going to have to figure out how to get that same feeling.

DA: So do you get that same distant feeling when you’re recording in the studio?

Bex: We’re trying to keep it as close to live feeling as possible. We didn’t use any weird sequencers or computers. Everything that’s on the record is actually what we play live.

DA: That’s awesome! That’s very rare nowadays …

Bex: I know! Everything is pitch-shifted … Jillian has such a great voice, so why do that?

DA: Do you guys have individual muses? Or do you consider each other your muses?

Bex: Hmm, definitely the Tina Turner thing for Jillian. She also likes Mary J. Blige. For me, I love Kylie Minogue. She’s kind of a muse for me, just her spirit. She’s really fun, even though musically, that’s not really what we’re doing. For Kelly, probably someone from the ‘70s, like some rock god, like John Bonham. She hits really hard, she’s fun to watch!

DA: Being an all-female band right now, have you faced any challenges while retaining your look and your sound?

Bex: You know, I think it’s more fun (being a girl band). We get to dress up and stuff. I don’t really focus on it too much. We haven’t really experienced anything weird about it. I think we’re kind of out there anyway. We are already doing something different.
That you are Bex, that you are. Von Iva is a definite refreshment of old disco soul with new ass-kicking girl attitude, and the outcome? Dance-inducing beats that will prove just as exciting playing on your iPod as it will be performing live. Don’t miss its upcoming show, this Tuesday at Bar Pink in North Park.