"The salsa stuff was more weekend music; you know, for when we were at parties. At home, we listened to traditional stuff."
You'll definitely be familiar with vocalist/percussionists Luis Poblete and Cristian Saavedra from their previous work in the band LABJACD, but Poblete tells that the pair put Quarter Street together "'cause we felt like playing salsa, getting back to what we did when we were younger". "[We] kinda got all the guys together and everyone was keen and, yeah! We've just been working on it since." According to their bio, Quarter Street's core group is rounded out by vocalist Sergio Botero, Saavedra's brother Cesar on baby bass and Cuban brass virtuoso Lazaro Numa, but it's a fairly fluid line-up with eight musicians pictured and ten players listed on their Facebook page.
The outfit's authentic salsa dura just begs to be danced to in an outdoor setting and Poblete shares excitedly, "We've just got WOMADelaide so that's a really good one." Being booked for this prestigious festival off the back of your debut album certainly doesn't suck.
"If you feel like doing the robot, do the robot. It's all good; as long as people are moving."
They're also playing at AWME this year and Poblete extols, "I've played at AWME before with another band a few years ago — it was great! I'm looking forward to it. It's a good thing: people come out, people check it out; you know, whatever we can do to get our music out there."
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
Although one can quite easily imagine Quarter Street's music accompanying professional Latin ballroom dance championships, Poblete insists, "It doesn't matter how you dance as long as you dance... If you feel like doing the robot, do the robot. It's all good; as long as people are moving."
"Practising and school work" is how Poblete, who is undertaking Bachelor Of Music studies at NMIT, spends most of his time. His parents flew out from Chile in the '70s and Poblete elaborates, "They were in the United Nations in Peru". "I was born here," he adds. "My old man was a muso... I grew up playing traditional South American music." Reflecting on the specifics of his family's listening habits, Poblete offers, "The salsa stuff was more weekend music; you know, for when we were at parties. At home, we listened to traditional stuff [laughs]."
Quarter Street rehearse "as much as [they] can" since many of the players "play in a bunch of different bands". "You've gotta play as much stuff as you can," the percussionist opines, "and we're lucky here in Melbourne that we've got a lotta things to do." When it's pointed out that gigging regularly in our current competitive musical climate is an achievement in itself, Poblete contributes, "We're always playing and, for us, that's kind of what we want. We still enjoy playing, I really enjoy playing, so [I'm] happy doing that... just play — you know, as long as the band is kicking and we're playing great."
Poblete says he has "too many" musical heroes. "There's all different styles of music, I listen to heaps of different stuff," he explains. "In the Latin field, like, Eddie Palmieri [is] still my favourite — check it out. And there's another guy called Anga; that's another great player."