Modern Vintage: Aja Volkman of Nico Vega

Check out Nico Vega at The Door on July 18. Photo Courtesy: David Myrick
Check out Nico Vega at The Door on July 18. Photo Courtesy: David Myrick

By C. Patterson

Were it up to her, Aja Volkman, would be watching everyone’s favorite zombie apocalyptic TV show right now. Luckily for us, for ten minutes on a recent Friday afternoon she was stuck with me.

I wanted my time spent with Imagine Dragons front man’s Dan Reynolds wife, who’s voice and stage presence have been heralded as the second coming of Janis Joplin to be a bit deeper. How often do you get a chance to have a conversation with a reincarnated rock and roll icon? Needless to say, I really wanted to delve into as much uncharted territory as I could in about the same amount of time as it takes you to order your Big Mac and get to the second window. A long shot but I had to try. What I discovered was a candidly honest, not carefree but happy, and completely beautiful soul. One that’s not sparkling white but sun-kissed by struggles and still finds itself optimistic for what tomorrow could bring. No overly pious agenda, no puff, no bullshit just a prolonged glimpse into the mind of America’s newest unapologetic rebel.  She’s the type of rare figure that could be seen just as easily at a UNICEF meeting as she could with her lips around a shot glass of tequila.

Brace yourself; Nico Vega knows you have an iPod and they want in.

Your music has matured from the first album Chooseyourwordspoorly to the latest effort, Lead to Light, what do you attribute that growth to?
Probably the journey that we have been on. We’ve worked really hard for a really long time to get to the place where we are right now. It’s humbling time and time again and then out of nowhere you get this little bit of success and you start to think, “Oh my god, this might actually work. We might actually be able to sustain a life doing this.” I get really excited about that.

When was the last time that you were star struck?
Last year I got to work with David Fincher [on a video]. He’s the director of Fight Club, Benjamin Button, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I have been a huge fan of his since Fight Club. I must have been acting like a giddy little schoolgirl the whole time.

Speaking of videos, you are really into style. How important is fashion and imagery to the music?
It’s all part of the show to me. Kind of like a package deal. We have always had a way that we dress on stage. We have always had a message and we’ve always had a style of music that we play. I think that all of those things are one in the same.

Shameless plug time. Nico Vega’s music has already been in a couple of movies and a video game. Where do you want to hear your music next?
Oh gosh, The Walking Dead. I love that show. I always say I want “Fury Oh Fury” or “Beast” to be on The Walking Dead.

That’s awesome. I just got into that show last weekend. Totally addicted.
You finally caved. Isn’t it so good?

I haven’t been able to catch up on the latest season and I’m like sooo bummed about it. I had a baby so I haven’t had the time.

Congratulations. So with all of the changes in your life has the writing process been different for this album?
I would say the new album is different because it’s just a little bit lighter emotionally. It’s not about big heavy world issues as much as it’s about personal issues. So in some senses it is heavier because the issues are more personal to me even though they’re lighter hearted things like love, my own and the band’s struggles.

What record are you most proud of?
All of them are equal. I think that when you make a record you have to have a period of time when you kind of hate it or you’re annoyed with it in order to appreciate that time period after when you really love it. The sign of a good record is it’s one that you can come back to eight years later and go, wow. You dump so much of yourself into it that you end up in a love/hate relationship at first.