Henry D'Arthenay grew up in Caracas, Venezuela — a country currently rife with political conflict. As lead singer of the Venezuelan alt-rock band La Vida Bohème, D'Arthenay used that chaos for fuel in constructing the band's latest album, Será, which was released in April.
La Vida Bohème draws on a handful of musical influences, from disco to reggae. Many of the songs on the new album are an amalgamation of genres: Opening track "Cementerio Del Este" is a subdued bit of vocal harmony for its first minute, then dives headlong into new-wave dance.
Será is also full of rich storytelling; even the song titles are full of real-life references to Venezuelan culture. D'Arthenay discusses that and more here with NPR's Jacki Lyden.
On progress in Venezuela
"You know, sometimes moving forward is not necessarily evolution. I feel, in a way, that we forgot we were supposed to move forward as a country. And I sometimes feel that we haven't moved forward. I think we're living, like a Mexican friend of mine would say, la pausa — the pause. It's like you never get resolution; it's just still."
On the song "La Vida Mejor"
"I was going through this very, very awful phase in my life, and at the same time I was comparing it to the one of my country. And 'La Vida Mejor' was like therapy for me — was like saying, 'I will accept this, even if it's bad or good.' ... What I love about the song — I think it's a celebration of an existentialism about doubt. How could you tell life is going to be better? Maybe it won't be."