Return to Von Iva


Punk, funk and disco
Indie band on soundtrack of film "Yes Man"
By Richard Guerrero Jr.
Special to the Caller-Times
Friday, January 9, 2009

CORPUS CHRISTI — The name Von Iva may not register yet on your pop culture radar, but if you've seen the Jim Carrey movie, "Yes Man," then you've already seen the San Francisco female trio in action.

Von Iva not only contributed four tracks to the film, but also backed co-star Zooey Deschanel as members of the fictional band, "Munchausen by Proxy."

Synth player Rebecca Kupersmith said the band enjoyed working with Deschanel, who moonlights as a singer with indie musician M. Ward in the alt-country project, She and Him.

"She's a great singer and a very good musician," Kupersmith said of Deschanel. "We worked well together and she was very comfortable with us."

It was quite the coup for an indie band without a major label deal. First formed in 2004, Von Iva continues to mind its own affairs, preferring to issue its own releases, and so a fair amount of luck was involved in the matter. As it turns out, "Yes Man" music supervisor Jonathan Karp stumbled across the band's CD at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles and liked what he saw and heard.

"We play in this all-girl band that's kind of '80s-inspired, very David Bowie inspired, very theatrical," Kupersmith said, referring to the fictional "Munchausen by Proxy."

But while Von Iva may have had fun camping it up in "Yes Man," the trio -- singer Jillian Iva, drummer Kelly Harris and Kupersmith on keyboards -- is all business when it comes to kicking out soulful diva vocals riding high atop a bed of crunchy electro dance grooves.

Von Iva's edgy soul reverberates with the echoes of numerous scattershot styles -- disco, punk and traces of funk. At times, Von Iva's brassy fire recalls the mid-'80s Eurythmics scorcher "Would I Lie to You?" which Kupersmith took as a compliment but noted that the band's key influences tend to be older.

"We listened to a lot of old soul records, some '70s classic rock. We're pretty much a mish-mash of things," Kupersmith said.

The band's captivating sound and remarkably energetic stage presence has garnered Von Iva opening slots for The Go Gos, The Raveonettes and The Walkmen.

The band is on tour in support of its new CD-EP, "Girls on Film," which Kupersmith described as a preview of a second full-length album, due out in mid-2009.

"We're 100 percent DIY," Kupersmith said. "Hopefully, if the right label comes along and it's a good fit, then we'll go for it, but if not, we're OK with doing it ourselves again."