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Von Iva at the Ravari Room
Soulful rockers head from Hollywood to Columbus
By Justin Powell

Not every up-and-coming band gets to kick back with Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel on the set of their latest movie, but the members of Von Iva can say they did it.

The three ladies who make up Von Iva actually did a lot more than just kick back with the film stars on the set of “Yes Man”—the San Francisco band appeared in the movie, playing the band Zooey’s character fronts.

Von Iva has been busy winning over critics, too. “LA Weekly” had this to say about the group: “An ass-shaking mix of soul, disco and dirty, raw rock and roll, this San Francisco band rattles the rafters with an aural love potion.” The song “LALA” has gotten time on CD101, so some Columbus radio listeners might be familiar with the group.

Now in the midst of a massive U.S. tour, lead singer Jillian Iva recently took some time off to talk with Metromix about her group’s upcoming show Feb. 7 at the Ravari Room in Columbus, the pitfalls of being a night owl and what it was like jamming with Zooey.

You guys are in the middle of a pretty intense tour with not many days off. How have things been going so far on the road?

Things are going great. We love the bands we’re touring with, and there’s a lot of good camaraderie. Everyone has a unique sound they’re adding to the show. And we just played a couple shows in Florida, and we’re going to some markets we’ve never played before, so we’re looking forward to it.

What’s your history with Columbus?

We actually played the big room for CD101, and did one of the big festivals they have there, but I forget the name of it. CD101 has been great to us, and we’re looking forward to coming back.

How do you go about making sure each live performance is exciting for someone who might be seeing you for the first time?

We don’t even know what to expect each time we take the stage. There are certain songs that stay the same, but I’ve been known a little for my on-stage banter, changing things up from town to town. I think that’s the wanna-be comedian coming out in me. Then there are certain songs that we vamp on, and we don’t even know how they’re going to go from night to night. We have some fans who have followed us to different cities, and we’re trying to keep things fresh and exciting for them, and also for us.

Do you get much time to check out the places you go on tour and have a little fun, or is it mostly just about playing the show and then getting back on the road?

We’ve become creatures of the night, but when you explore a city at night you can only see so much. Sometimes on our days off we go do some things, but usually you’re so exhausted at those point.

What was the “Yes Man” experience like?

It was fabulous. (The filmmakers) gave us a lot of creative freedom as far as writing the songs, and Zooey is a great musician. She was receptive to everything we were doing, and Jim Carrey said he thought the songs were hilarious, which is quite a compliment coming from him.

As you mentioned, Zooey is a pretty talented musician who also performs in the group She and Him. Were you familiar with her musical abilities before working on the movie, or was that a surprise?

I’d seen “Elf” and so I saw her sing in that and knew she was a good singer, but that was all I knew. When we were on the set she said she also liked my voice and said it’d be ridiculous if she sang everything, so we kind of split up the singing. She was very gracious in that respect. She was a lot of fun.