La Vida Boheme
Interview La Vida Boheme
La Vida Boheme
"Inspiration is an awakening,
a quickening of all man's faculties, and it is manifested in all high
Giacomo Puccini (1858
- 1924) Italian composer
La Vida Boheme owes more to The Ramones and the Clash than to Puccini.
Nevertheless, there are compositional twists and turns on their 2 time
Latin Grammy nominated album, Nuestra that youve never heard from
their punk predecessors. Live on the line from Caracas, Venezuela is
singer Henry DArthenay. Congratulations on the album and the accolades
Henry. Im really digging Nuestra.
you very much. I'm glad you like it!
a percussive itch on tracks like Radio Capital and Danz that
supercharges the tunes on this album. Is that your Latin heritage
think so. The one thing I love about street artists in Brazil, is that
they don't incorporate foreign techniques until one of their natives
starts using them. It's a very honest thing for them to do. They wait
until one of them passes the sound or style through the cultural filter
and then they start incorporating it and making it their own. That's
one of the things that to us makes a lot of sense. We're very big fans
of Talking Heads and Kool and The Gang, but we don't want to imitate
them. We want to tap into our roots.
guys won a battle of the bands contest and have never looked back. That
sounds like a pretty typical start for a new band in North America, but
its a big deal in countries like Venezuela isnt it, where theres
plenty of resistance and regulations to the exposure of the arts?
have gotten a lot better in the past two years. That battle of the
bands was part of a festival that's run by a foundation. They are the
only people in Venezuela that I'm aware of who are doing a thorough job
of keeping a record of the country's pop and rock history. Back in 2008
there was only one way to get noticed and that was by playing that
festival. Nowadays, I don't know what happened but it's beautiful,
because there are a lot of bands, a lot more festivals playing this
stuff. More bands are being played on radio, so it's become more
English only speakers who may be listening to us right now, are there
common lyrical themes running through the songs on Nuestra?
: It's a
celebration of being together. With Nuestra we are celebrating the fact
that, for Venezuelans, there are themes that maybe they can relate to
in a very universal way. In the same way that human beings relate to
each other in general. For Venezuelans there are key things down there
that they can relate to and get together for them. So, Nuestra is a
celebration of life together, because in Caracas for example, life can
become very individualistic. Like, you go by car everywhere, the city
is very secure so you can't walk anywhere, you have to go by car. There
are some times at night when it is very dangerous to be on the streets,
so people live in a ghetto kind of way, you know? And, he best thing
about being Latin American is being together, being able to celebrate
your own space with people common to you; your brothers.
: Tell us
about the production of this album. Theres a lot more going on than
bass, drums and guitars.
production was under the charge of Rodolfo Pagliuca and the mixing by
Leonel Carmona. I think aesthetically, we didn't intentionally set out
to get a sound, but as we went along we noticed that we were making
this very brown record in a sense. And, it was very beautiful because
the buildings here in Caracas have a very particular aesthetic. If you
see the Radio Capital video, you see a lot of brown buildings and what
we love about the sound of Nuestra is that it sounds a lot like the way
those buildings look. In that sense it's a very Caracas album, a very
raw album. It has a lot of shades of brown and that's amazing because
we wanted an album that in a lot of ways reflected the city we grew up
DArthenay from the double Latin Grammy Award-nominated band, La Vida
Boheme is on line from Caracas. Prior to the big broadcast of the
awards, the band will play dates in Southern California in San Diego on
November 6th and November 8th in Santa Ana where the warm winds blow.
Theyre totally plugged into your social media. Check them out on
Facebook, My Space whatever and join La Resistance. Henry, are you
going play at the awards?
going to play in Las Vegas but I don't think it's going to be in the
been playing Radio Capital a lot on this program, and I love the gabba
gabba hey Ramones reference. Does Puccinis Boheme opera have any
special meaning to the band?
Actually, yes. La Vida Boheme, the name actually came before the band
was formed. The name was already there. Our first rehearsal space was
in this abandoned building in downtown Caracas. The girlfriend of the
first drummer made this big flag that said La Vida Boheme. We didn't
know about Puccini, but as we went, suddenly there was this one guy at
our concert spoke to us about that. Through that guy, we actually came
to love the Puccini work. And it was funny, because a lot of the things
we were singing about, Puccini was saying in his opera! It was a very
cool thing. The 'gabba gabba hey' thing for example; we are very big
Ramones fans in the band. But, we didn't know that the actual phrase
comes from a movie called Freaks, in which one of the actors says,
Gabba gabba hey, we accept you. So again, it's very cool because
Radio Capital is very much about being accepted or being an outlaw. In
a very 'Camus' kind of way, like he said about the outlaw as one who
lives outside of society but not necessarily against it.
hear something else from Nuestra. We love the album cover by the way.
It looks great.
: Ohhh, we
love it too! You know, the artwork was the first thing we had for the
album. We hadn't even recorded the album and the artwork was already
: Can you
set up (Im not sure how to pronounce it because youve spelled it out
like an acronym); I.P.O.S.T.A.L.
: Ih pawst
ill is a double reference. We're very big fans of the postal service
and the postal service here in Venezuela is called Ipostal. And, we
thought it was funny to have that name for a postal service (apostle).
And the second thing; when Chavez stepped into power, he changed all
the logos of the postal service. You know, revolutions, they tend to
change the logos of everything, they change the history of everything
that represents the country and even the postal service gets
revolutionized. And actually, the current slogan of Ipostal is
Revolutionizing mail. So, we found it kind of ironic that letters
could get revolutionized.
Henry D'Arthenay was interviewed October 7th 11 for worldbeatcanada