Von Iva
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Von Iva


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"7x7 Magazine"

Calling dance-punk outfit Von Iva a girl band is a bit like referring to Napoleon as that short French guy. It’s true, but not exactly the point. And while vocalist Jillian Iva (center), keyboardist Becky Kupersmith (left) and drummer Kelly Harris (right) are quick to cop to a weakness for fashion (a Von Iva clothing line is in the works for fall) and confirm their soul sisterhood (with a vocal emphasis on the soul), they’re too busy triggering spontaneous dance frenzies to ponder how gender fits into it. “I’m not gonna get up on stage and bend over and [then say], ‘Hey guys, make sure you read up on the latest in the women’s-lib movement,’” says Iva. “I’ll tell my opinions through my lyrics.” She does exactly that on the group’s new album, Our Own Island (Ruby Tower Records), due out next month. Their first release since the departure of bassist Elizabeth Davis-Simpson, the album showcases the trio’s increasingly stripped-down and electronically juiced-up sound (think Detroit Cobras–meets–Le Tigre–meets-MSTRKRFT). Their brand of must-move-this-moment music is only fully realized live, however. “It’s hard to stay relevant if you just depend on recording,” says Harris. “It’s cool that our band is an intense performance band because that’s the future of music: having something other than your songs.”

-Melissa Goldstein
- 7x7 Magazine

"SF Weekly"

Believe the hype: Von Iva is the new purveyor of soul, and it's got the groove-drunk fans to prove it. Singer Jillian Iva, drummer Kelly Harris, keyboardist Becky Kupersmith...hit all the right notes with their sublime, high-energy blend of danceable bass lines and keyboard riffs.

Von Iva dispenses with the grating coyness of bands like the Donnas, fusing gospel funk with a gutter punk sensibility, fucking with all sorts of genre labels along the way and getting even the rhythmless to shake their rumps.

The eponymous frontwoman is way sexier than Karen O., and her husky, blues-inflected voice consistently brings audience members to their knees. Sure, the highlight of a typical show involves Iva gyrating in stilettos and showering the adoring crowd with whiskey, but the other ladies hold their own, pounding through a set with three-minute anthems like "Dance Revolution" and "Not Hot to Trot."

Von Iva's even approachable and unpretentious: Get to a show early and you might catch the musicians in the crowd, dancing to the opening band. - SF Weekly

"All Music Guide - front page feature artist"

"Ladies and Gentleman, we're here to tell you what the world ain't got enough of," exclaims Von Iva frontwoman Jillian Iva on the white-hot motion of "Feel It." The San Francisco four-piece delivers a brash mix of soul and rock & roll on their self-titled debut. They sweat soul. ... this six-song EP maintains that love is the drug. It's enough to shake what your mama gave ya and then some. "Same Sad Song" gives a riotous welcome with its punk-inspired undertones. Iva is tough and sexy in her performance, much like her favorite, Tina Turner, while also squaring up to current mainstream female artists such as Karen O., Peaches, and Le Tigre. The demands never stop; swivel your hips like it hurts on "Feel It!" and match up to the gallop-like strut of "Not Hot to Trot." Von Iva's brassy kind of soul is pure... not too many artists were really making this kind of music, let alone making an honest effort in capturing both the spirit and swagger of rock & roll like Von Iva does. They slap you up good.

-MacKenzie Wilson - AMG

"Performer Magazine review of show with !!!"

Nobody manhandles a mic stand quite like Jillian Iva of Von Iva, whose all-too-brief set at Mezzanine was worth the price of admission on its own. ... the quartet pounded their way through well loved punk-meets-soul hits like “Not Hot to Trot,” before moving on to “Dance Revolution,” the new darling of local radio DJs.

Von Iva recently had a roaringly successful tour through Japan, and it’s easy to see why: Miss Iva clearly attended the Tina Turner School of Showmanship and received top marks in strutting, gyrating, and singing. The stage, the bar, and the dance floor all become fair game when the band’s in town, not to mention the drum kit, where Iva performed the admirable task of climbing the kick drum in stiletto heels.

In between salacious stage antics, the band rolled out new material, displaying a marked shift in their sound; less from the gospel/soul influence and more towards Franz Ferdinand-inspired angular dance-rock anthems centered on driving bass lines and syncopated rhythms.

While Von Iva’s sound might be morphing, their stage presence, as channeled through Jillian Iva, is sure to maintain its same bombastic level.

-Connie Hwong - Performer Magazine

"Bust Magazine"

They're soul-shaking dance-punk queens-and they're going to rock your world.

-Kimberly Small - Bust Magazine

"RockPile - review of EP"

With the energy and inspired soul of a small town gospel choir at a Sunday morning service, Von Iva has miraculously managed to mix rock with a strong gutter-punk sound.

As unpredictable as the disco-ball reflection that would fittingly accompany its live shows, Von Iva is a four-piece band of women that have more soul than an entire panel of American idol finalists. Jillian Iva belts out relentless party jams as her bandmates create a nonstop accompaniment of groove-ridden bass, drums and keyboards.

Hailing from the Bay Area, Von Iva is sexy, unpretentious, loud and fueled with an energy that I haven't see experienced since I first heard Otis Redding belt out "Try A Little Tenderness." Whoever said that soul music is dead is tryly misinformed.

Von Iva is here, and they've bent an entire genre in half along the way.

-Jay Riggio - RockPile

"LA Weekly - live show review"

Thankfully, there is no such thing as personal space at a Von Iva show. An ass-shaking mix of soul, disco and dirty, raw rock & roll, this San Francisco band rattles the rafters with an aural love potion that will have you licking glittery beads of sweat from the cleavage of your nearest neighbor by the end of the first song. ...Jillian Iva struts and shimmies as if on a mission to unleash the prowling panther in us all. She gives the audience a direct connection to her soul while conjuring images of Tina Turner in her energy, performance and, best of all, those legs! Even though the floor may get a little sticky with all the lovemaking that goes on, don’t expect your feet to be glued to one spot for long.

-Jen Hitchcock

- LA Weekly

"Village Voice, Detroit Metro Times"

Von Iva is one of the greatest girl groups I’ve ever heard in my life.

-Jeffrey Morgan - Village Voice, Detroit Metro Times

"Spin Magazine review of show with Imperial Teen"

Von Iva, the Bay Area synth rawk trio fronted by vixen soulstress Jillian Iva, whose shy curtsy couldn't disguise the band's raw energy on the L.A. toxic tale, "La La." - Spin.com

"Performer Magazine"

Von Iva is a fierce force to be reckoned with on the independent music landscape. The San Francisco trio…have achieved their goal of replicating their studio sound for a live audience and they've imaginatively mastered the art of creating a rich and raw dance album with only keyboards, percussion and vocals on their latest Our Own Island. - Performer Magazine


"Girls on Film" EP
"Our Own Island" LP
"Von Iva" EP on Cochon Records
4 tracks for Warner Bros film "Yes Man"
Theme Song for MTV/Logo Channel's Curl Girls
Split 12" remix of Not Hot to Trot w/the Vanishing on Princehouse Records



Jillian Iva, Bex, and Kelly Harris, better known as the San Francisco-based trio Von Iva, has had many musical tags thrust upon them. Electro pop punk. Soul rock dance. Synth rawk. Fashion-forward dance punk queens. Alt-pop. Gay icons. Dirty disco. The new purveyors of soul. A bombastic live band. Punk soul. A booty-shaking mix of soul, disco, and dirty raw rock and roll. Genre-crossing. Skuzzy and sultry. A saucy little affair.

And, you know what? All of those descriptions ring true for these fearless femmes. It is Von Iva's special mix of musical madness that has landed the group, which formed in 2004, such opportunities as these: Playing the band that Zooey Deschanel fronts in her new film with Jim Carrey, Yes Man , out December 2008; writing the theme song for Curl Girls on the Logo television channel aimed at the gay and lesbian market; and getting their song, "Birds of Prey," in the 2008 Jerry O'Connell/Heather Graham movie Baby on Board, "Same Sad Song" in Showtime's The L Word in 2006, the video for "Not Hot to Trot" in select Dell computers in 2006, and "LALA" in heavy rotation at Forever 21 stores nationwide. And, of course, earning coveted opening slots for such a diverse group of lineups as the Go-Go's, Lady Sovereign, the Walkmen, the Gossip, !!!, the Raveonettes, Imperia l Teen, Girl in a Coma, Noisepop, The Warped Tour and more.

"Every time someone asks, 'What do you sound like?' I still trip up," admits lead singer Jillian, whose great grandmother (Iva) - a snake charmer in a carnival - inspired the band's name. "But, that's a good thing. Being able to cross all genres by playing with everyone from the Go-Go's to !!! really defines who we are."

Adds drummer Kelly Harris (a.k.a. Lay Lay): "There's this outside culture that can either totally inspire you and push you into their direction or you can choose to totally ignore it and hole up and do your own thing. We chose the latter. It's good that it's hard to compare us to others. That was intended. We want to keep people on their toes."

Their distinctive blend of electro-pop-rock executed by synths, drums, and gritty soulful vocals (no bass or guitar in this group, though an early incarnation featured 7 Year Bitch's Elizabeth Davis on bass) is beautifully showcased on their new EP, Girls on Film (Oct. 28, self-released), which features some tracks from their 2007 CD Our Own Island on Ruby Tower Records, (i.e., "LALA," "Birds of Prey," and "Guise") and some new songs (i.e., "Living For It," "Emerald Eyes," and "Electricity.") The group's first release was a self-titled EP on Cochon Records in 2004, which included the aforementioned "Same Sad Song" and "Not Hot to Trot."

Seeing where each of the band members comes from musically explains how they got to the sound that is uniquely Von Iva. Jillian grew up listening to her parents' Motown records and was fascinated at a young age by the "glitz and glamour" of the Supremes and Donna Summer , Tina Turner's "amazing stage presence and her sexy-but-badass persona," as well as Bauhaus, Joy Division, Siouxsie Sioux, and even Guns N' Roses. Bex, meanwhile, "fucking loves" Kylie Minogue and the Darkness in equal doses, while still being inspired by 1970s rock, vintage gear, and, of course, Joy Division. Kelly grew up on Sly and the Family Stone, Donna Summer , and all the "disco rhythmic funky stuff" she could get her hands on with some '80s Giorgio Moroder coolness mixed in. And, yes, Joy Division.

But, as infectious as Von Iva's recordings are, it's the trio's live shows that have created the buzz and lured everyone from rock chicks who need new strong female role models to raise their fists for to fashionistas who thrive on sass and attitude to gay men who fawn over Jillian to club kids who like to dance their asses off. This spectrum of appeal extends to impressing musicians with whom they've shared the stage, including veteran drummer Gina Schock of the Go-Go's: "I like Von Iva because they are great musicians and they write good songs that rock. They are also fantastic live and put on a really entertaining show."

"Our performance and energy is what we're about," says Kelly, who notes that the group plays everything live as true to their records ("No weird overdubs live!") "You never know what's going to happen at one of our shows. We'll do an extended jam you haven't heard before on one of your favorite songs. Jillian really loves to crawl around on things and get on top of the speaker cabs or my kick drum. Bex's keyboards are played through amp s instead of the P.A. and she's distorting them into this ground-shaking sound. Girls and boys hop up onstage with us."

Adds Bex, "Jillian is a total gay icon. She is one of those people I can see drag queens impersonating. That is part of our appeal. She is sexual, she doesn't give a fuck, and she takes command of the stage and the audience."

Von Iva will soon be taking command of the big screen when they appear in