Getting Along Swimmingly
How a British woman met a Spaniard in Los Angeles and formed the band Blue Dolphins
It’ll be a mix of firsts and lasts when the Blue Dolphins play WitZend on Saturday: the first time the singer-songwriter duo plays the Venice venue, their first time performing an electric set, and the last act to play WitZend in 2014.
Formed in 2008, The Blue Dolphins are Victoria Scott and Alfonso Rodenas, a couple residing in the Santa Monica Mountains who were united by music.
Originally from London, Scott had been singing Nina Simone, Carol King and Astrud Gilberto since she was little, eventually fronting a psychedelic rock band at 17. Rodenas, who hails from Valencia, Spain, is a sought-after sound engineer who won two Grammy Awards for a pair of 2008 albums by Los Tigres del Norte — “Raíces” and “Tu Noche Con… Los Tigres del Norte.”
So it’s kind of unexpected that these two Europeans would find each other in Los Angeles after Rodenas moved here eleven years ago.
“I never would imagine that!” said Rodenas, who had grown up with visions of California girls thanks to West Coast artists such as Crosby, Stills and Nash and, much later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Scott had already come to America with older sister Zoe back in 1997.
Rodenas, who sang and played bass in a band in his 20s, had given up on performing, resigned to a career at the soundboards. But when he met Scott, she pushed him to collaborate.
“He’s just such a brilliant musician,” Scott said of Rodenas. “He really believed in me and saw my potential. We started writing songs together as soon as we met but we didn’t start recording till 2008.”
Tomorrow night, lead guitarist Fran Iturbe, bassist Steve Seifert and drummer Paul Allen join the Blue Dolphins on stage to add sonic heft to songs such as the cowboy guitar-tinged “Wide and Blue Horizons.”
“I’m getting out of the city/gonna clear up my mind/Seemed to have lost my perspective/ in the battle of the grind,” go the getting-away-from-it-all lyrics.
Both Scott and Rodenas have a special fondness for their composition “Peace in the World,” which Rodenas said “has a very deep message. We are in a situation that we need peace, we need love, we have to get ourselves out of this mess we’ve created right now.”
Scott’s most personal song is “Afraid of Moving On,” a musically upbeat number with bummer lyrics.
There’s also the beach-y “Walking in the Sun,” for which the duo filmed a video using three iPhones.
“‘Walking in the Sun’ is just so fun to play live,” Scott said of the surf guitar-kissed tune.
While it might be hard for two individuals in a relationship to be vulnerable when collaborating on songs, Scott insists they have an equal partnership in music and words because “we really give each other some space.”
“When I found Victoria, I was not into making music anymore. I was a frustrated man,” Rodenas said. “Victoria pushed me very hard. She brought me out of the darkness.”