Grupo Fantasma

This eleven-piece Austin band has been captured onstage at Antone’s nightclub for its third album, Grupo Fantasma Comes Alive (Aire Sol). We caught up with Adrian Quesada, one of Grupo’s two guitarists, in the middle of a summer Canadian tour.

Why a live album now? People have been asking us to release a live album since the early days, and despite good feedback from the first two albums, we still heard that they didn’t live up to the real show. We finally felt confident enough to record live.

Original vocalist Brian Ramos has moved on. How has his leaving changed things? The most difficult thing about parting ways with Brian was on the personal level. He was like a brother to a lot of us. The band has roots more than fifteen years old, and the bonds are as crucial as the music itself. It’s become less about having a front man and more about being a musical machine, an Afro-Latin-funk orchestra in the tradition of the ones we were inspired by.

Your tour schedule seems relentless. How does such a large band keep it together out there? We laugh—a lot. I know Willie already said it, but it’s a lot of fun to hit the road and make music with your friends.

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