Vincent Randazzo’s transformation into the musical entity known as Leche Malo is almost alchemical. From a dark basement studio, disillusioned by his own voice, he burned off excessive routine and old habits. He cleansed his soul and spirit in a therapeutic bath of traveling and introspection.
“I wouldn’t have written any of these songs if it weren’t for therapy,” he told the audience at the main stage at this year’s West End Celebration in Sand City.
“Comfortable Unhappy” opens with “I don’t know how to chill like the humans,” summarizing how feeling depressed can become the norm. What follows in the lyrics is a familiarity with the feeling of disconnection as a sad home you don’t want to leave. Malo’s way out is to set those personal experiences in poignant lyrics against a backdrop of synthesizer and banjo.
But the lyrics aren’t necessarily the point, he says: “I want to write lyrics that you don’t have to listen to. It’s more painterly rather than photo-realistic.”
The song itself is a three-minute, pop-infused proclamation of doubt, all with keen self-awareness. Oh-oohs and woop-woos give the track a lightness as Leche sings about his psyche. Aside from recording most of the track himself, he also produced and engineered it. (It also features local musicians Marcus Wade on drums, Simon Stewart on guitar and Chelsea Riddle singing harmonies.)
Although Leche Malo is a one-man act, Randazzo’s band has some of the finest young players in Monterey County. Aside from the aforementioned, you’ll also find Alec James on guitar and Jesse Diaz on bass. Creating an alter ego, Randazzo says, hasn’t been easy: “The hardest part about unleashing this character [Leche Malo] has been reckoning with bigger ideas and not being able to pull it off with just a voice,” he says.
As this track nears its final mixes, it is part of a collection that will be transformed into a full-length album in 2020. “It’s hard waiting to release stuff,” Randazzo says. “People are always waiting for something new.”
On Saturday, Dec. 14 that itch will be scratched with a full band plus quality sound and lighting from Proctor Sound. Palenke Arts, a multicultural visual and performing arts nonprofit located on campus of Martin Luther King Jr. School of the Arts, will be curated with art installations by Mark Baer.
LECHE MALO 7:30pm Saturday, Dec. 14. Palenke Arts, 1713 Broadway Ave., Seaside. $10-$15/advance; $15-$20/at the door. 333-6612, palenkearts.com