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Grupo Fantasma 15th anniversary w/ Making Movies

Thu., Nov. 12, 2015, 8pm

Mohawk

912 Red River, 512/666-0877

www.mohawkaustin.com

Coming off a Grammy win for El Existential, local ninepiece Latin orchestra Grupo Fantasma had the wind at its back in 2011. Then the mothership that spawned Brownout and Money Chicha hit a patch of turbulence. “We really felt we were at this great place,” explains guitarist Beto Martinez. “That all we had to do was maintain, make this record, and rock it out. Then shit started happening.” Let’s just say that Grupo’s sixth album and fifth studio LP Problemas has been a long time coming. “We actually finished this record in January 2013,” continues Martinez. “It was supposed to come out that year, but our record label ended up going under and we got stuck trying to find a partner to put the record out. We wanted to do it justice because we got Steve Berlin on it.” Berlin, of Los Lobos fame, guided Grupo’s most ambitious album yet – a stellar mix of Latin rock, cumbia, descarga, and boogaloo. Even so, overtures to record labels yielded an inbox full of rejection letters. On top of that, the band parted ways with their longtime drummer, and guitarist/bandleader Adrian Quesada stepped away to focus on producing. Without a fresh album, gigs started drying up. Grupo went from touring half the year to playing less than 15 shows in 2014. “Up until that point, everyone relied on this to make a living,” says Martinez. “This is what we did 100 percent of the time. Without a record we were in limbo. What saved us at the end of 2013 was that [Brownout cover project] Brown Sabbath show. It introduced us to our new management, it got us a record label, and got us working until we were able to regroup Fantasma. “We’ve gotten over all these damn problemas. Now, we can move forward.” – Thomas Fawcett

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