March 05, 2014 by Ali Swider
Aja Volkman, lead vocalist of Los Angeles rock band Nico Vega, took what little time she had in her chaotic schedule for a phone interview with The Triangle Feb. 27.
Nico Vega, which has been steadily building a cult following since the group’s start in 2005, is only one of Volkman’s many responsibilities. She also happens to be married to Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds — talk about a musically driven and talented couple! What’s more, they recently had their first child together, daughter Arrow Eve, who is now accompanying them on a 24-city North American tour featuring both bands.
While Volkman has a lot on her plate, it is clear that she enjoys every minute of it. When asked about managing her time between her own music career and that of her husband, she said, “It’s really chaotic and hectic, but it’s wonderful; we do our absolute best to spend as much time together.” She continued, “In a way, it has taken over our lives in a really intense way.”
Then there is the game-changer of having an infant on tour. Volkman said, “It’s a lot of work to be a mom and to be a singer of the band and to be a supportive wife.” However, she revealed that Reynolds is a total family man. She said, “I think he’s better at handling it than I am!”
Besides supporting each other as a family, Volkman and Reynolds help with one another’s music. She said, “Sometimes you don’t even recognize your best work and need someone to see it for you.”
Nico Vega has certainly come into its own style after an interesting but solid start. Michael Pena, better known for his acting career including appearances in “Million Dollar Baby,” “Crash,” “World Trade Center” and “Shooter,” formed the band in 2005. Volkman said that Pena asked her to join the band as the lead singer after seeing her perform at an acoustic show, and the rest is history.
Although Pena dropped out of the band in 2007 to focus on acting, Volkman said that they are still close friends and even occasionally perform together. The band is now composed of singer-lyricist Volkman, guitarist Rich Koehler and drummer Dan Epand, with touring bassist Jamila Weaver.
Nico Vega’s music is very visceral and passionate, which makes sense since Volkman admits she draws inspiration from her personal emotions and experiences. She said, “Everything I’m going through at all times ends up in my music.”
The band’s forthcoming album, “Lead to Light,” has been in the works for some time and is now available for preorder. Volkman said, “We’re all kind of perfectionists, so we won’t release something if we don’t love it.”
In addition, Nico Vega is offering a variety of exclusive presale opportunities that fans can literally take part in, such as a personal guitar lesson, lunch and an acoustic show, and 20 Questions over email.
Nico Vega’s upcoming visit to the Philadelphia area will not be the group’s first time around the City of Brotherly Love. Last year, they performed at the Electric Factory with Imagine Dragons and Atlas Genius. Now they are returning to perform a much larger venue in Camden, N.J., at the Susquehanna Bank Center.
Volkman said, “It’s been amazing to be playing such big venues; it’s been an honor.”
Even so, she said she can’t help but prefer smaller, more intimate locations: “I think pretty much anyone would take an intimate venue over a large one; but bands get to a point where they can’t play a small venue.”
Nico Vega will be at the Susquehanna Bank Center March 7 with The Naked and Famous and Imagine Dragons.