The Blue Dolphins Duo Victoria & Alfonso Walk in the Sun
Pop rock electric go getters The Blue Dolphins are a Los Angeles, California-based songwriting duo composed of singer/songwriter Victoria C. Scott and two-time Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Alfonso G. Rodenas. They have been hard at work writing and recording for their new EP release "Walking In the Sun" as well as preparing for upcoming shows and touring and much more that the duo themselves took the time to discuss these said plans.
VS - Victoria Scott
AR - Alfonso G.Rodenas
1. You guys are from sunny California so then your name, The Blue Dolphins must refer to the ocean life that is California or you have a thing for Dolphins?
AR: You are right! The name reflects the goodness and the laid back charm of the way of life in Southern California but also our affinity with this beautiful ocean creature that for us represents all that is good and kind in creation.
VS: The name came up before we had formed the band. We really liked the sound of it but we didn't realize its significance till we started living and creating with it.
2. So does this mean that your band mascot is the obvious a Dolphin? "The Blue Dolphin"?
AR: Yes, why not? The dolphins represent for us mother Earth, our connection with her. It is so joyful and exciting for everybody who’s watching when they jump out of the water and you see them surfing the waves. It is a Universal positive feeling.
VS: LOL… we’ll stay away from the literal mascot as a visual for a logo, but the dolphins are definitely the totem animal of the band.
3. Tell us the brief history of your band.
AR: We met in The Cat Club, on Hollywood's infamous Sunset Blvd approximately twelve years ago. We became involved emotionally but it wasn't till about four or five years into our relationship that we started seriously thinking about putting a band together, before that we were just jamming and having fun. Eventually Victoria pushed me against a wall and told me: ‘I'll do it with you or without you’! and her determination moved me to seriously consider the idea. As a result of that we put out our first acoustic folk pop/rock album in 2012, ‘My Favorite Word is Today’. The next year we made the ‘In Between’ EP which was a departure from the debut and a move towards a more eclectic and fully produced musical vision. This transition drove us to this year’s EP release the Eclectic Roots Pop/Rock, ‘Walking in the Sun’. It is a teaser for what is going to be our thirteen song album ‘Come On!’ which we will release in September of this year. We gig as much as possible here in Los Angeles, the UK and Spain. We are a fully independent band, we are our own agents of distress and we release our records on our own label, Tribe Alive Records.
4. Who are your musical influences?
VS: I have wide musical taste in singers, songwriters and bands- I like Soul, smart Pop and Rock. I like Nina Simone, Carole King , Astrid Gilberto, Prince, Bob Dylan and The Doors.
AR: I love the prodigious decade that goes from the mid sixties till the mid seventies, everything in modern music is a consequence of that vibrant scene and I grew up listening to that stuff as a teenager, after that I listened to all kinds of music. So much has been produced in the forty years after that. I like guitars.
5. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
AR: Love, relationships, human experience.
6. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
VS: Yes we love the writing as much as playing live. I get quite a lot of ideas when I’m driving, (people in LA spend a lot of time in their cars, you know), but I like the forward movement of it. I will often get a clue to a song quite easily like the first line in ’Afraid of Moving On’. ‘Don’t know what’s wrong with me been wrestling monsters out in the Northern sea’, then we’ll have to figure out what the hell the rest of the song is about - its like a jigsaw puzzle.
AR: We do. Each of us can come up with an original idea more or less developed and we like to edit each other till we are both happy with it. I normally start demoing the songs immediately to stir the excitement and involvement.
7. How do you describe your music to people?
VS: Singer-songwriter, eclectic, roots, pop/rock.
AR: Our music is vibrant, enthusiastic and full of vitality, it doesn't sound like anything else that’s out there are the moment. It has a sort of timeless quality to it and it is far away from ‘calculated authenticity’.
8. What image do you think your music conveys?
AR: Since we are a couple, it seems that people see in us and our music, true love and stability and harmony between sexes in a very natural and unpretentious way.
9. Who produced "Walking In the Sun" and what was it like working with them?
AR: Walking in the Sun was entirely produced by us, we laid down all the tracks, instruments, mixed it and mastered. We did it the best way we knew and we did it without any other contemporary bands, sounds or production styles in our heads. We just wanted to make it sound big and bright, (as we are as people). During the process we were showing our friends some of the songs and they encouraged us to keep continuing in that way. We were realizing the nature of the production as we went along and as the songs were growing. It was a big surprise for us that it ended up sounding this way. We didn't know what was going to come out of it but we love it.
VS: I’m going to add that even though we were recording and writing in our own home studio, which is in our lounge. Alfonso has very high recording standards, he’s won two Grammy’s for his engineering. So it was a challenge for me as a singer, I had to have it together when I entered that space, even if I was barefoot and in my pajamas. I trust Alfonso’s drive in the studio because he wants whoever is in the room to achieve their very best. I trust his drive, (even though I resist it sometimes). I am very proud of my vocal on the song, ‘Stars’. I am more of a perfectionist in the lyric department.
10. Is there any story or concept behind the "Walking In the Sun" title?
VS: ‘Walking in the Sun’ comes from the title track of the EP. The song idea was jammed some years ago, we had a chorus idea we found it again and said ‘That’s a good idea we should finish that!’. As the EP’s title it embodies a good feeling, (after all that we go through as humans), it is a simple moment of enjoyment.
AR: It’s a universal concept. It’s also the Californian sun, the beach, the surf, the love affair of two people, the promise of an eternal summer. We are embedding the song and that feeling in pop culture, we think that is a beautiful thing to do.
11. Who did the cover art for "Walking In the Sun" and how much input did you have on it?
AR & VS: The concept was our concept, we instructed two very well known designers, (also good friends of ours), to work in that direction with amazing photos taken by stylist/photographer Scott Free. Scott Free is also a good friend and the photos were taken on two different days in places close to where we live. David Gorman put together the first design and Michael Murray finished it up, both of them adding their own magic to the blend.
12. Can you select two songs from "Walking In the Sun" and explain what inspired the lyrics?
VS: ‘Afraid of Moving On’ is inspired by a realization that even though I had left a situation I did not want to be in, I was still in some way living it emotionally because I was afraid of what the next chapter was. You can move on physically, but still be living it emotionally and sub-conciously. That song is a realization that I was doing that. Once it’s realized you really can move on- mind, body and soul!
VS: ‘Stars’ was inspired by a moment when we were driving back from a really good gig in Albacete at Teatro Candlejas. Full house, paid well, didn’t forget any lyrics…… We were driving across La Manchuela which is basically a flat mesa in the middle of Spain, no city or town lights –just an amazing180 horizon of stars. We had been going through a bit of trouble between us and so this moment of feeling high from the show, the beauty of the landscape and being together in that moment after everything, felt like a moment that was totally victorious. This song is a celebration of that moment.
13. Why did you want to go and release another EP instead of a full-length release?
AR: We decided to release an EP because the attention span focused on upcoming, unknown, bands like us is very reduced, we didn't want to burn a whole album in a couple of months and after that be carried away into oblivion by the over saturated, incessant stream of new productions that fill the daily attention of good listeners and supporters.
14. Did you get the EP that you had wanted or was there stuff leftover that will be used in the future? Have you written anything towards the future works?
AR: We did get the EP we wanted and your intuition is right, in fact this EP is a teaser for what is going to be a full length album to be released in September, 2015. The album is called "Come On!" and has thirteen songs, six of them are on this new EP. We kept some very good and exciting stuff for that release. The difficulty was to choose which songs to include in the EP and which songs to leave for the album in September.
15. How do you promote your band and shows?
VS: I do a lot of the live promotion and I like to try to make it as personal as possible. When we start rehearsing for a show we get a feeling for the brew, the venues, the people that will be there. The shows are always different, but it’s a group effort between the musicians and listeners. We invite people personally, talk to them before and after the shows. I really like that… and we try to make our posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter personal too not general.
16. Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
VS: We are really looking forward to playing Topanga Days Country Fair over Memorial Day weekend. Topanga Days is an exceptionally cool local festival. It is hippy, it is counter culture, it is grass roots. It is thousands of people having a good time in the Californian Sun, happy and unified. We ‘re playing the Corral Stage on Memorial Day (May.25th 1.30 pm). As a band we sort of grew up jamming around parties in Topanga so it’s a sort of home coming to bring the full band, live and electric and blast it for a lot of friends and festival goers. I think I’m going to buy some leis and distribute them in the audience. The Headliners are The Tubes.
17. What advice would you give to fellow bands?
AR: Be the way you want to be, there is only one band like yours, don't try to be like someone else, don't compromise your creativity for anything, be authentic.
VS: Someone said to me a few months ago… “Do what you love and don’t wait for the lightening to strike.” I like that.
18. What inspires you to do what you do?
AR: I feel that we are here to help each other in the best way we can and music is the best thing I know how to do, in order to do that. Love for the human experience and relationships is what inspires me.
VS: Inspiration is a divine substance. Experiencing connection whether it’s tuning in to write a song, recording, playing to a live audience…. Is the bomb! ‘Tis the bliss for me. It makes getting over all the doubt and fear worth it. Also there is inspiration but there is also necessity, I will turn into a total lunatic without writing and playing live.
By Natalie Perez, Nataliezworld.com