By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Sex, drugs and rock and roll may have been the motto of decades past. Now, Boca Raton-based The Von is injecting positive vibes into their rock and roll jams.
The group is comprised of Marek Schneider and Luis Bonilla, musicians who met through a mutual acquaintance backstage at a show in Miami in 2010, and drummer Elisa Seda.
The Von was founded by Schneider and Bonilla, two practicing yogis and professional musicians, several years ago. Seda joined the boys in 2015 just after the debut album released.
After meeting through a mutual friend, lead vocalist and bassist Bonilla said guitarist Schneider showed up at his house with a bottle of wine and they began to jam.
“Our foundation has always been rock music,” Bonilla said. “We write about life experiences, love, longing and self-empowerment.”
So while the instruments are definitely producing rock sounds, the lyrics are not all about the stereotypical life of a rock star, according to the band.
“We are focused on the music and creating positive things around us,” Bonilla said.
Their newest album “F4tune” features single “Just Three Words,” which Bonilla said is about his daughter. The song talks about the words I love you without mentioning them.
Bonilla designed the album, which features a jaguar and cosmic symbols. A symbol in the jaguar formed by cosmic-like dots is representative of a tribe in Peru that Schneider spent time with. The No. 4 in the name stands for the group’s fourth album and of course F4tune is short for fortune.
The group said they like to put who they are into their music. The name The Von was decided upon because the group said it is simple and sounded good.
“It could be anything,” Bonilla said.
They wanted the listener to just listen to find out what The Von experience is without any preconceived ideas.
For the newest album, the band worked with mix engineer, Dale Penner, who worked with Nickelback, and mastering engineer at Abby Road Studios, Sean Magee, who worked with The Beatles, Remasters and Sexpistols.
The group just returned from a summer European tour.
It was a dream come true for Bonilla who said he wanted to visit Europe, but not as a tourist but as a musician. It was a trip back home for Schneider, who is originally from the Czech Republic.
Their shows often feature glow-in-the-dark elements and glowing instruments.
They record their music out of a Boca Raton warehouse bay with a complete recording studio inside. It is there where they invite local high schoolers in for a chance to learn more about music.
They teach students about sound, what it is and how it works, how to mix music and what goes into making a song.
“It goes hand in hand with who we are,” Bonilla said.
Giving back is part of what the group wants The Von to be about. The group released their single “Sacred Water” last year in support of the global conservation efforts done by nonprofit organizations, The Sacred Water Tribe and The Nature Conservancy.
The musicians got into music in their youth. For Bonilla, it was the Queen album “The Game” that his brother received as a gift that inspired him.
“I thought it was the most fantastic thing ever,” he said. “I listened to it until it melted.”
It was the Beatles who inspired Schneider. When his parents finally bought him a guitar, all he and his friends wanted to do was mimic the Beatles.
And Seda too discovered music early on and performed with musicians like DMC of Run DMC.
The timing of how Bonilla and Schneider met is spiritual and meaningful for Bonilla. He said his music career was in limbo until he met Schneider. That is because the group he was in previously with his brother came to an end when his brother died in a car accident.
The group he formed with his brother Ricardo “Diestra” was successful. The first album won Mcdonald’s “Lo Maximo De La Musica Latina” (Best of Latin Music) contest, a nationwide talent search for new artists and songwriters. This brought exposure to the group; which followed many other opportunities including a performance during the 2001 opening Latin Grammy party, a commercial for McDonald’s and TV appearances on major hispanic television networks in the United States. Eventually their success was followed by concerts and performances in North America and South America. Immediately after the release of their second album, his brother died.
Now, The Von is looking to book more shows in the United States. Their goal is to become a globally touring band.
“We believe in our dream,” Bonilla said.
For more information visit www.TheVon4U.com.