The View from Onstage
Have you ever watched New Year’s Eve fireworks exploding in the sky for so long an afterimage burned itself into your retina? That’s a little bit like the MTV Iggy concert for everyone who attended — two weeks later, we’re still seeing screaming fans, #bestnewband, jumbotron animations, and hearing the music. It’s a good thing the holidays (and presents!) came so soon afterward…the sense of loss would have been too much without something to buoy our spirits.
But now that the holidays are done, we’re reaching out to others involved with the show to get their perspectives. The lucky fans who went backstage, the performers, the audience members…the livestream alone was so bananas, you know it was madness everywhere else!
Venezuela’s dance punk sensation kicked off the MTV Iggy concert with an intense, riveting performance — a distillation of punk ethos and Spanish pride that struck a massive nerve as fans and Venezuelan compatriots lit up Twitter with cries of how “orgulloso” (proud) they felt to be watching. We reached lead singer Henry D’Arthenay to get the view from onstage, the inside scoop on the Menudo jokes and food arguments, and their plans for 2012.
What were some of the highlights of the Best New Band concert for you? Backstage? Onstage?
Both! Onstage was amazing, I don’t know how you guys were listening to the show down on the pit, but I can tell you onstage it was amazing. Plus it was our first time using the Moog live, so we had a lot of fun with it, having the opportunity to test-drive it with that sound-system and looking at screen showing pictures of our hometown. Speechless, man! Speechless!
And I don’t know it this counts as backstage, but beers after the show at the Irish pub near Time’s Square was amazing…we are definitely beer enthusiast.
What kinds of reactions have you gotten from your fans back home?
Well, my sister was the first that got back to me about the show. She couldn’t get a hold of me during our NYC stay, but the minute the show ended she wrote an e-mail to me saying she was really proud of me — not only as her brother- but as a Venezuelan. It’s difficult, she’s been living in London during the past 6 months and to me what she said embodies the feedback we’ve been getting.
I don’t think it was “another gig” — we felt so proud to be from where we are being up there. I can’t even begin to explain you…heart fills up with joy.
We noticed so many tweets mention “orgulloso” during your performance? Did you feel like you had something to prove?
Wow…No, I really don’t think we had something to prove. If something we wanted to leave our country’s name up high. It was one scary gig, but the support we got from back home really helped us through it…we had our brothers and sisters back home watching it, what better audience than the people you love?
You introduced yourselves as Menudo during your performance, which was hilarious. Why Menudo?
[Laughs] We’ve been doing that a lot lately during the shows. Personally, I’m just waiting for the first music journalist that actually buys the whole thing and writes about “Menudo: they surrendered to hard drugs, Ricky shaved his head and now they are playing post-punk.”
Trying to recommend a Venezuelan dish turned out to be very complicated for you (and also one of our favorite moments in the show!) – do you have a final answer?
Empandas 4-evah! Especially if you catch them at Puerto La Cruz near the ferry station. No way you can go wrong with that.
What was it like performing in front of such a diverse audience?
Amazing. We crave those kind of shows, you know? The ones where you got to battle yourself through a crowd. We weren’t the main act, and maybe we weren’t the music style most of the people there were hoping…but if we could get them to move, that would be victory. [Laughs] You know…to get that thing inside of them to tick.
Plus…was it me, or was there a guy that looked just like Snoop Dog in the front row?? I swear. And I saw a Gaga doppleganger too.
Now that you’ve been able to watch the livestream – are there any other performances that stood out to you?
Definitely Yuna. I get goosebumps when I hear her sing “Come As You Are” — seems so natural, amazing like some people are so connected to their art. Kurt would be proud. I mean, she sings it as it was her own. Really, we are very proud to have shared stage with her.
Next up – US Grammys. Any plans to bring anarchy to that very dull show?
Of course…we will show up there dressed up in Chewbacca costumes and sing christmas carols.
You said our photoshoot with you was like “déjà vu” because it sort of foreshadows what your next album is about? Can you tell us more about the album?
In the words of Lincoln Steffens ”I have seen the future and it works.”
We heard you might get “2011” tattooed on your chests. It’s been an incredible year. Plans for 2012?
Not to die. We’ve been scared sh#tless. Now that LCD Sounsystem and White Stripes are gone, and that Bon Iver already realeased the second album…whatever deity is up there won’t keep us going that long for sure. So God, if you are up there, just have this thing go on for a while more. 2013 sounds more apocalyptic if you come to think of it.
Plus, humanity is still rocking it. You know it, if not ask this kid.