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Von Iva - Live in Indianapolis - Kelly Harris Interview - Live Photos

Von Iva
Radio Radio
Indianapolis. IN
Kelly Harris Interview
Live Photos [1]

It's so easy to get caught up in the hype and cartoonish behavior of the pop princesses who dominate the tabloid media's attention. Three women currently based out of San Francisco go by the name of Von Iva. Style, attitude, good music and a good time are what they bring to the party. We had the pleasure of catching their performance at Radio Radio in Indianapolis, Indiana. On tour supporting their excellent CD "Girls on Film", Von Iva is a group to watch.

Von Iva appeared as Munchausen by Proxy in Jim Carey’s new film Yes Man. In addition to their onscreen performance, the female trio wrote and recorded four songs for the film's soundtrack. The band got their break for the part of the fictional ensemble in the film after the movie's music supervisor; Jonathan Karp saw the cover of their CD in Amoeba in Hollywood.

The band’s moniker was inspired by lead singer Jillian Iva, whose great grandmother (Iva) was a snake charmer in a carnival. Musicpix had the chance to chat with Von Iva’s drummer, Kelly Harris the day after catching a show… Listen in:

Musicpix : Sorry it’s so early…are you awake?

Kelly: Yeah, I just finished my work out…I’ve become a morning person on this tour.

Musicpix: Although when we met last night, I called you Kelly but I overheard you being called Lay Lay from the stage so hey Lay Lay…I really enjoyed your show last night and I’ve had a chance to review your new EP Girls on Film and I really think it’s terrific and I mean that…Jillian’s voice is very reminiscent of Annie Lennox. Talk about your threesome….

Kelly: We’re the kind of band that we have to be 100% all the time to make it work because there are only three of us and you can hear each of us and all the sounds are very obvious. It really contributes to our sound because it is very urgent and upbeat.

Musicpix: Do you feel performance pressure individually or as a band?

Kelly: Everyone loves what they do so much. Rock & Roll is full of mistakes and full of things that are unplanned and spontaneous and that’s what makes our shows so great. Instead of worry about mistakes or pressure, we want to make a good performance and performances are full of errors and mistakes all the time. That’s what makes the performance even better as strange as that sounds... It’s really our philosophy to be high energy and give 100% the whole show. If you feel something, then do it. Some of our songs change depending on how we feel. That’s why I really like this band because it’s really funky and focused on live performance.

Musicpix: The energy on stage is pretty impressive….you guys don’t just stand there and play that’s for sure. Jillian gets the audience going and energy is fed back to you. How difficult is that when the audience isn’t participating?

Kelly: It’s not difficult but it makes our jobs harder. In a sense, I do things that I wouldn’t normally do to get their attention and get them focused on the beat to get them up…its fun to have that challenge. Of course, it’s great when people show up ready to go. But when there are people who never been to one of shows, sometimes they just sit back to see what’s going to happen vs. getting really into the show right away. 95% of the time, we always have a bunch of people op front having a great time.

Musicpix: The three of you have pretty different backgrounds…you’re from Indiana, Jillian is from Oklahoma and Bex is from NYC… Does your mix of backgrounds help you as performers when you go into small towns and try to relate to your audience?

Kelly: It’s cool because I remember growing up in Ft. Wayne (IN) and not getting to see live music very often because I didn’t have access to a lot of live music. I read all kinds music magazines as a teenager because I was hungry for the live music experience and in small town that feeling still exists. Last night at the show, I went up to Russ of Birdland and I couldn’t place where I knew from. Turns out, they were one of the first bands I saw and they were one of the first original bands that I thought was really edgy. So from that experience of seeing live original music when I was young and of growing up in a small town, it’s important to me to get up and do what I do to the best of my ability.

Musicpix: So from Ft. Wayne, you ended up in San Francisco and joined a band…can you get us a little insight on how you started?

Kelly: I went to Cali because I played volleyball in high school and played volleyball in college and worked at a radio station and started meeting people who changed my life by the records that they were playing.… Eventually I started playing with people from the radio station. I started playing bass guitar (in three bands) and then I started playing keyboards…this is really my fourth band and I just started playing drums. By far, this is the most success I’ve had with an instrument. There have been many times that I’ve wanted to quit but I’m glad I kept going…

Musicpix: You’ve gotten a great kick in the pants with having roles in the movie YES MAN with Jim Carey.

Kelly: Thanks and yeah…we were hired to play characters and our story was the inspiration for some of the songs we wrote. Not necessarily what we’d do with Von Iva. It was our job to come up with characters that were out there. We were hoping that we’d get exposure through the movie but the tracks we wrote weren’t
necessarily what we would write for Von Iva…so you get exposure in different ways. But I don’t think it’s going to be something that will propel us to the top of the charts because it’s very obscure music that’s on the soundtrack. It’s not something we would do normally though. It was really fun to get our foot in the door and we connected with a lot of people that could help us in other ways. So meeting the right people was one of the biggest benefits of being involved in the movie. The music supervisor could help us down the road. The last thing we wanted to do was say was ‘that movie is going to change our lives.’ We have to continue to keep working on our own music, tour and keep working hard. Our hope is that the movie puts a buzz in people’s ear and gets them out to the shows…

Musicpix: The Girls on Film video is on the Von Iva Music label right?

Kelly: Yeah it’s just the three of us. The past two releases have been on our own. We invested in ourselves to do the EP. The good thing about the movie was that we got paid to write songs and we basically took that money and reinvested in the band and put this record out ourselves vs. waiting on a label to take interest. Of course, that helps us because we own our own music.

Musicpix: Hats off to you… I remember hearing last night that you are handling everything from your web site to merch to licensing. Is that based upon wanting to do itself yourself or are you all so anal that you have to do it yourself?

Kelly: It’s a cross of all that….We actually really enjoy it. I enjoy designing the merch. There is so much more to being in a band than playing music. Some people would disagree with that saying that musicians should just stick to playing and everybody else should do what they are supposed to. But for a band like ours, we’re unique and especially for women trying to do this, it’s important to realize that you can take matters into your hands and do it. I think it’s important that if you take action, good things will come. If you wait around you’ll get discouraged and quit. We do it all. We edited our own music videos; we’ve remixed songs for other bands…

Musicpix: I really liked the LALA video…I’ve watched it a lot and we’d like to share it here on Musicpix if it’s okay with you….

Kelly: Oh yeah and thank you! Our keyboard player Becky is pretty quick… She actually learned how to edit in Final Cut Pro by watching UTube videos and I learned how to do color correction and we filmed it at a friend’s art space with a really cheap camera….So your words make me feel really good!

The Band
Jillian Iva - vocals
Bex (Rebecca Kupersmith) - keyboards
Lay Lay (Kelly Harris) - drums

Von Iva - enhanced EP Cochon Records (2004)
Our Own Island - enhanced LP Ruby Tower Records (2007)
Girls on Film - enhanced EP Von Iva Music (2008)
"Not Hot To Trot" (+ Invisibles Remix) (The Rebel Sounds of) Frisco Disco #1: Vanishing / Von Iva split EP PrinceHouse Records (2004)
"Soulshaker" on Greetings from Norcal - The Northern California Compilation Agent Records (2006)
"Same Sad Song" on Nostalgia Del Buio Cochon Records (2007)
The Tour
SATURDAY, March. 7
340 E. 6th Street
Tucson, AZ
also w/the Ringers

MONDAY, March. 9
Beauty Bar
517 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV
also w/Killola

TUESDAY, March. 10
Bar Pink
3829 30th Street
San Diego, CA
also w/Killola

WEDNESDAY, March. 11
Knitting Factory
7021 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
also w/Killola

THURSDAY, March. 12
Red Devil Lounge
1695 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA
also w/Killola

FRIDAY, March. 13
Voodoo Lounge
14 S. 2nd Street
San Jose, CA
also w/Killola

SUNDAY, March.15
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside Street
Portland, OR

MONDAY, March. 16
El Corazon
109 Eastlake Blvd
Seattle, WA

By Steve Mitchell