Recently Electric Bare had the opportunity to chat with The Vim Dicta, an incredibly talented outfit currently based out of Los Angeles that embodies the best elements of Blues Rock. Think the Dead Weather meets Latin vibes. Their EP Von Tango in five songs casts a wide net over a myriad of influences and crafts them into a sound unique to TVD. We caught one of their shows at the Viper Room last year and were absolutely floored by the weight and intensity of their set – unsurprising in hindsight as the EP was recorded live. Siren Cori Elliot belted blues like a wild Grace Slick while Matt Tunney, a hybrid of Page and Rodriguez-Lopez guitar styles and pipes to match, went nuts over Chris Infusino’s solid, multi-dimensional percussion. You can get an idea through the performance below, though we would definitely recommend experiencing it in person.
Over the course of the interview we touched on the band’s beginnings, recording methods, and inspirations as well as what lies ahead. Your next opportunity to see the Vim Dicta live is this weekend, March 20th, when the band plays the Serenity Gathering in La Jolla. Tickets can be procured via their website.
Electric Bare: Can you talk a little bit about how the Vim Dicta started?
Cori Elliott: Matt and I met in 2009. I had just moved out here from Austin – which is where I’m from – and I didn’t know any musicians in the area. That year, I went to Coachella with my best friend who was dating Matt, and we all stayed in the same room. A year later, I sent him a message on Facebook to see if he wanted to jam with me, because I knew he’d been playing guitar in a few bands for a while and I just really wanted to play with somebody else who played guitar. We met up in his garage where he had this kind of digital 8-track Tascam recording thing set up with a bunch of old shitty mics and stuff. He was recording things he wrote on it but soon we started jamming on random stuff, like I would bring him licks and pieces of songs and it kind of progressed from there. We didn’t have any bassists around or drums so all we could do was record vocals and guitars. In the meantime I had a relationship with a manager who wanted to work with me as a solo artist but, I just didn’t want to at the time because I was focusing on other things, like acting, and so I was just showing him everything that I was doing musically and we’d talk about it. I sent him a recording of a song that Matt and I wrote that had a sort of Latin-infused root to it and he was just like “oh, this is really great, like there’s potential for something really cool here,” and that was the spark to our creative endeavors after that. We were like, “oh, let’s kind of write songs in this vein.” A couple weeks later Matt was like “you know we should form a band” and I was like “ok – cool.” I was at Santa Monica College at the time and I was down to do it for fun – I didn’t really think much of it. The whole time at school though I was thinking about music, I couldn’t wait to sit down and write more – and so that’s what we did… we started writing and soon found a drummer but he didn’t have the right feel so we brought on another one, who we had for two years – until he was replaced by Chris while we were in New York in 2013. The way that it worked out was mostly a very organic process.
EB: That sounds pretty fairy-tale actually, very cool.
CE: Yeah haha.
EB: So, what’s behind the name? How did you come up with The Vim Dicta?
Matt Tunney: Cori decided to put our names in an anagram generator, something that just jumbles up words, and the words that we put in the machine were Matt, Cori, and David (or old drummer), and those letters were scrambled into a list of a few thousand phrases and we were like “that part of that one is cool, and this part of the other one is cool,” and we somehow ended with two Latin words that when put together was this sort of power statement: “Vim” for “vigor” or “vitality” and “Dicta” which means “to dictate” – “to forcefully assert”. So we really weren’t nerdy and looked that up before like, “oh, we want to be a force of power, yeah”… it just sort of happened. It was just off the cuff like “oh this sounds cool,” and we realized later that it actually meant something.
EB: Sounds like Fate.
MT: Well, yeah – or as close to it as possible.
EB: Very cool, I love the story behind names particularly. Is there a similar story behind the name Von Tango or is it something that just aesthetically pleased you guys?
MT: Hmm, let’s see… Von Tango is interesting because it’s a callback to my song of the same name; it was one of our first songs, coming right after “Teaspoon” – and the name references that Latin rhythm we were talking about. We felt like that was totally appropriate for the direction we were going in at that time – very waltzy and dancey – reminded us of a “Tango”… like spicy music, you might say…