Los Angeles rock band Nico Vega have been rapidly gaining fans off their single, “Beast”, which was featured in the trailer for the video game, Bioshock Infinite. The track is included in their EP “Fury Oh Fury” that the band recently released after taking a break since 2009’s self-Titled album and an EP of cover songs in 2011. B-Sides caught up with the band at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO to talk about the new material, opening for Imagine Dragons and Bioshock Infinite.
“Fury Oh Fury EP” is a “teaser” for your upcoming album. What were some of the things you wanted to accomplish when writing and recording your new album?
Aja Volkman (Vocalist): It’s getting ready for the album for us so it’s kind of a collection of songs that show a different array. A collection of songs that show the different aspects of where we’re at, like it shows a heavier rock side of Nico Vega and has some stuff that’s maybe a little more accessible to some people. The whole EP is pretty heavy actually. The new album is kind of all over the place and the EP was just kind of a little, “Here we are!” and getting ready for the album while growing our fan base so when it comes out people buy it, you know? (laughs) It’s a really smart format that a lot of bands are using these days, releasing an EP before a record because then I feel like a lot of times a record comes out of nowhere now. Without really great marketing you don’t really know when something is coming out until like the week of.
Dan Epand (Drummer): Things come and go really quickly.
Aja: Yeah! So, when you have an EP it’s like “Hey, we have songs coming! If you like this then you’ll like what is on the record.” or hopefully they will.
Aja: With Nico Vega we always “shoot from the hip”. We write what is in our hearts. I think with this record we got pushed and prodded to write stuff that was more radio friendly and then there was a lot of material on there where we were just like “We want to write like this!”. So, it is this big collection of all these different feelings. We’re proud of all of it. I think you can tell the difference between some of the that we were really going for a specific vibe.
Dan: – We all write in different ways but when we go to the practice space, something radically different comes out. So, we were talking about sequencing the record right now, it’s such a different collection of ideas and feelings, which is the kind of records I’ve always been drawn to.
Aja: Our first record was all over the place and some people were like “This band needs to decide who it is.” But that’s who we are, you know? What puts it all together is the three of us. His drums (Dan Epand) sound like him, his guitar sounds like him (Rich Koehler) and my voice sounds like me so even if we are doing a rockabilly song or a porch acoustic song or a electronic song or a rock song, it’s all us.
You (Aja) said in another interview that you wanted your music to “contribute to the world in a better way”. How does this manifest itself when you are writing and recording?
Aja: We write everything in our rehearsal space for the most part and only recently started writing other ways. When we are in our rehearsal space, I feel like we all bring whatever is going on in our lives. So, whatever we are feeling shows up in the music; it just manifests right there. Sometimes it’s world issues, sometimes it’s personal issues but we try to have…or we try to write a lot of self-empowerment songs because we are pretty positive people, even though we are really emotional, dramatic people, we have a strong desire to be good people. A lot of our music is written to help empower people and be the best version of themselves.
Dan: None of us are really gamers, aside from the occasionally Fruit Ninja game, so when we got asked to this license, it seemed like a no-brainer because this is a great way that bands can get a lot of exposure. We said yes but totally forgot about it, then all of a sudden one day you see this massive spike in social media and you’re like “What is going on?”. It was because of the trailer release and we’ve since fallen in love with the people at Bioshock. We really admire what the game is. It’s not really a video game, it’s a work of art and something we are all really proud to be a part of.
Aja: It really is. It has got all these political and social undertones that really matched the song because the song is about fighting for your right as a person and the video game is like that in a way.
Rich Koehler (Guitarist): – And they have a big cult fan base so, it exposed us to a new group of people who have a really embraced us, which is really cool.
Aja: I think it’s just like you put a magnifying glass on it, but at the same time we love playing small club venues and we love playing big venues. They are kind of different things. It’s not as intimate at that level you know? It’s really fun and feels amazing but I don’t feel like it is as intimate. That’s the only thing I struggle with a little bit.
Dan: From my perspective, whether we are in the practice space or on stage, its exactly the same. We are just playing to each other and she (Aja) really connects with people and goes out there.
Aja: – You don’t get to run through the audience the same way that you do in a small club. But there is also this big perspective that changes the way you feel. You feel bigger because you are on this massive stage.
Rich: The space you have on stage is just crazy you know? You can move.
Aja: Yeah, and you kind of need to be in good shape to perform on these stages to be honest.
“Fury Oh Fury” is now available on iTunes as well as for streaming on Spotify. You can catch Nico Vega on these remaining tour dates with Imagine Dragons and keep an eye out for more information on tour dates and album news on the band’s website and Facebook page. Also check out an interview we did with the band here on B-Sides right before the show.
5/29 – Hollywood Palladium – Hollywood, CA
5/31 – America’s Cup Pavilion – San Francisco, CA
6/1 – Open Air Theater – San Diego, CA
6/3 – Comerica Theatre – Phoenix, AZ