The Band Behind the Muse
The 20s are a momentous decade full of the “must dos.” Partying all night, learning how to cook and traveling by yourself are all ideal successes for a twenty-something-year-old.
For bandmates Nicolas De La O, 22, Audrey Reed, 23, Victor San Pedro, 22, and Elias Vasquez, 26, playing their original music and being on tour as MLEO is a must do.
Originally from Sacramento, Calif., the alternative pop/rock band first came together at Rio Americano High School. In the midst of also trying to maintain a normal high school life, Reed, De La O, and San Pedro discovered they shared the same passion in music.
The trio moved to Los Angeles, where Vasquez joined the band soon after as their drummer. There, they expanded their experience and made a name for themselves.
The letters M, L, E, and O were initially from the symbols of the Four Evangelists in the Bible: man, lion, eagle, and ox. Aside from being the main vocalist and having a love for music, Reed is also a graphic designer and created the logo of the band.
“I wanted a name that would actually look good as well as sound good,” she said.
Reed had already written her own songs, in hopes to have people play and conduct them. Little did they know in the next three years that her original pieces would lead to recordings of their own and the birth of the album, “Sunken City.”
“Our first album was inspired by the excitement of being in a band together and finally finding a group of musicians that worked really well together,” said De La O, who plays the bass.
Each member carries out a different role in the band. They contribute to MLEO in many ways that not all bands will recognize, and that is considering each other’s strengths.
San Pedro, the guitarist and background vocalist, explained that despite the amount of responsibilities that come with having a band, it is a collaborative and equal effort across the board.
“I do a lot of the early stages and rough drafts,” he said. “But all songs are developed by the band as a whole.”
Just as the instrumentals are the heart of a song, lyrics play an essential role in their music. MLEO broadens their horizon by challenging their personal emotions and applying that to the subject matter of the song.
“It’s hard to write a happy song because it’s such a fickle feeling when negative feelings are much deeply rooted,” said Reed.
She described the high and low moments of her life as a “twist” and finds herself applying those passionate feelings into their songs.
Not only are their tracks inspired by their life endeavors, but they find their real connection by having the same taste in music.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are their muse and has been even before MLEO was formed.
“We all love the Red Hot Chili Peppers since childhood and I think that kind of sound has brought us together,” said De La O. “Building off of that 90s old rock kind of sound really gets us all going.”
Not very many rock bands in the music industry have stimulated a sense of drive the way the Red Hot Chili Peppers have. Because of their music, it encouraged MLEO to further their careers, landing their own gigs.
On August 25, MLEO had the opportunity to play at a venue called Harlow’s in Sacramento. With its soul rock ‘n’ roll vibe and welcoming environment, they were able to release a new version of themselves.
“It was just great,” said San Pedro. “A lot of people came out and we debuted a lot of new songs so it was a really awesome night.”
The band has even performed for Rio Americano High, reliving their moments as alumni.
Playing for an audience of high school students was a different turn around for them. Talking to the students about college, engaging with them and sharing their on-tour experiences was a more intimate performance.
With the fresh beginnings of shows and performances, MLEO will release more singles and music videos in the future.
“Our future recordings that we’re coming out with in the next year are going to have a much better reflection of what we’re about,” said De La O.
Their new sounds will be a lot more rock-heavy, but includes more focus on their journey.
Over the years, MLEO has learned a lot about each other as friends and musicians. As they continue to create more music together, they always strive to become bigger and better.
“Deciding to go for something and really sticking with it is the biggest thing to start with,” said Reed. “If you’re not fully committed, you’re not going to get as far as you’d like.”