"I'm watching my friend get paint splattered on her at a Venezuelan punk show in Miami," read the text I sent to a friend the night we interviewed Venezuelan disco punk band La Vida Boheme.
The band's Jackson Pollock painting-like appearance and Clash-esque sound is as eclectic and random as that text message. Routinely before their shows, the four band members splatter bright colored paint all over their white outfits and faces as well as on their fans.
"Each one of us had one color, kind of like the Power Rangers. With the evolution of the band and the album, more shows and more publicity, all the colors mixed up and that's how we ended up like this. And this is how we think our music looks," says guitarist Daniel De Sousa.
La Vida Boheme -- De Sousa, Henry D'Arthenay (vocals, guitar), Sebastián Ayala (drums), and Rafael Perez Medina (bass) -- began in 2007 in Caracas when the boys were still in high school and released their first album in the U.S., Nuestra, last year on Nacional Records. The band was nominated for a Grammy last year for Best Latin Pop/Rock/Urban Album and two Latin Grammys for Best Rock Album and Best Rock Song for "Radio Capital".
The twenty-something year olds have made a name for themselves in Venezuela, so it was no surprise that their recent Miami show was like a haven for locals that probably flocked from Westin-zuela and Doral-zuela -- two neighborhoods in Miami that are populated mostly by Venezuelans.
Although the crowd was pretty tame, La Vida Boheme's performance was riotous. They didn't stop moving for a second, except to cheer the crowd and give a shout out to their home country.
We asked the guys about the recent re-election of Hugo Chavez and what it means for their music. Lead singer Henry had some pretty intellectual insight about the Venezuela elections: "Jean-Étienne-Marie Portalis, who was a French thinker of the French Revolution, used to say that the laws that we make nowadays will remain with the people, even when governments change. So we need to make it better by us, not by presidents, not by govenrment, not by legal changes."
Let the paint splatters roll!