In the mid-1980s, a young man named Gabriel Julio Fernández Capello went back and forth between the Buenos Aires courts with huge piles of papers in his arms. They were the cases of hundreds of prisoners who were awaiting sentence —just or unjust— on the crimes that were most committed in Argentina at that time, which was just beginning to taste the honeys of democracy.
Gabi’s greatest fear – as her friends affectionately called her – was being distracted and not delivering the folder of someone who was actually innocent in a timely manner, a fairly common move in Latin American justice.
“They gave me a book with the entire court case and, if I went for a walk and did not hand it in, the person would not get out of jail. Justice depends on very random things. That is tremendous. Having worked there made me think: My God, I hope I never get caught! makes.
If there was a band that marked Vicentico’s life, it was The Clash. I fought the law and the law won, an irate Joe Strummer sang to the ears of millions of young people determined to transgress authority. Vicentico, in some way, also fought the law. And won. His work as an assistant to the judge and prosecutors was short-lived: four months. He soon found a way to go from bureaucratic baddie to Cadillac rebellion.
“It was ridiculous to work there … I was just young and needed money,” he recalls. “I had to pay the studio rent to rehearse.”
His love for The Clash is perhaps no greater than his love for San Lorenzo de Almagro, the club always dissident from the dictatorships imposed by Boca Juniors and River Plate. This is Vicentico: a man on the fringes of the hegemonic. A freak. Just like that, FREAK, is called the song with which he opens his most recent album, El pozo bright, in which he explores more avant-garde sounds, becoming a kind of techno crooner with Latin American roots.
“I recorded the album before the pandemic, between recordings that were made intermittently between New York and Buenos Aires. They are opposite environments. When here in Buenos Aires it was summer, hot, red and full of colors, the next day there we were with snow at 20 degrees below zero. That made the album have different climates. I gave myself the opportunity to have different experiences while recording it ”, shares Vicentico.
Recording an album with all the calm in the world on a label as commercial as Sony Music is not very common in these times, in which songs are manufactured in series, with preconceived formulas that little or nothing obey artistic creativity. His new album was made in almost a year and a half and the label had to wait for the entire pandemic to pass before it was released to the public. A totally freak situation in the industry …
It is not the first time that Vicentico has felt offside in life. “But that never bothered me, on the contrary: I always felt comfortable with who I am and what I want to do,” he says. “It’s a bit freaky (to make an album carefully). The mainstream now is making fast songs. I do not complain or dislike it, but it is another thing to make a whole album with the intention that someone listens to it calmly. The mainstream was transformed into some kids in their twenties who all they want is to have views and count their views in the millions. Not bad, but I’m on another path. The avant-garde, now, is to make records. And I like to be in hiding making records ”.
With his San Lorenzo sweatshirt on well, which he boasts in this Zoom session as if it were a passionate confession, Vicentico hints that his life was missing a new album after more than seven years of not recording one. He does not deny Los Fabulosos Cadillacs at all, but when asked what he prefers, the Cadillac youth or the Vicentico Maturity, he unhesitatingly opts for the latter.
Nor does he hesitate when he declares his allegiance to the Beatles over the Rolling Stones. Not when he assures that he prefers the romanticism of Carlos Gardel to the avant-garde of Astor Piazolla. Where things get fierce is when you have to choose between tango and bolero: “Ugh, how difficult! … I can’t do it: both.”
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He smiles again when he remembers his work in the correctional criminal court, where he realized “how corrupt” the administration of justice is in Argentina. A long time ago, in an interview with a local media outlet, he said that his disbelief towards any system comes from when he worked in court and saw cocaine being sold right there. A story that today he prefers not to talk about, but that he does not deny either.
“Yes, it’s true … what happens is that they are a bit exaggerated statements. It was a bit like that, but why get involved in that?”