Band of the Week: Leo Æther

click to enlarge Band of the Week: Leo Æther
Amanda Claire

Welcome to Orlando Weekly's "Band of the Week." Every week, we highlight one of our favorite local bands. This week, we're pleased to bring you Leo Æther.

Leo Æther are playing Monday, Oct. 2 at 64 North.

Just the facts:

Who's in the band?
  • Juan Burgos is from Puerto Rico and plays the electric and the upright bass.
  • Pablo Ortiz is also from Puerto Rico and he is the drummer/percussionist.
  • Leonardo Linares, from Colombia, is the lead singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player of the band.
Additionally, the band occasionally has guests artists featured, such as Mexican singer/songwriter Ka Malinalli (Swamp Sistas), new wave tango dancer Jean Kaluza, and guitarist Jorge Donoso.

When did the band form?
The current band formed in Summer 2016 and has since been roaming internationally, but always calling Florida home. Before that, Leo Æther was more of a pseudonym used by former Urbe Prima lead singer, Leonardo Linares, ultimately becoming a collective of musicians.

Currently available releases:
Vuelo al Sur is the title that reflects the current sound of the band. Other releases by Leonardo Linares as a solo artist under Leo Æther are Árbol de Luz and Laberintos . Finally, Torpes Intentos de Libertad is Leonardo Linares’ release with Urbe Prima.

All of these titles can be found on CD Baby:
- Vuelo al Sur:
- Árbol de Luz:
- Laberintos:
- Torpes Intentos de Libertad:

Our website is and our Twitter and Instagram are under @leoaether.

Upcoming Shows:
October will be a busy month for us.
  • We are playing on October 2nd at 64 North, after a recent successful show at The Social.
  • We will also be performing on October 7th at the Melrose Center’s Melrose in the Mix live recording session, which will be sort of an unplugged show with an audience inside their recording studio.
  • Finally, on October 21st, we will be performing at this year’s IMMERSE, an event by Creative City Project, where we get to bring the South American sounds in our music while performing with dancers from a local tango studio.
Describe your sound in five words:
South American folk meets Rock 'n’ Roll.

Five questions:

What has been your most memorable show so far?
When we assembled on 2016, we had a pretty good response for our album release for Vuelo al Sur in Orlando, and this response transcended to other countries. Leonardo had already toured as a solo artist through Central and South America and had a strong reputation as an indie artist between Latin alternative bands in the US and abroad. This paved the way for a series of shows this year in Puerto Rico and Colombia to promote the new record and band. We never expected the overwhelming positive response we found from not only the audience, but also people in the industry. This was all culminated by our last show in Bogotá, on December 10th, 2016, in one of the city’s most renowned music venues, Café Canterbury. That night we were in a room of people just absolutely hungry for new music, who attentively witnessed our set – and that includes organizers from South America’s biggest free music festival Rock al Parque. Juan and Pablo were suffering from weakness due to Bogotá’s elevation, and Leonardo had stomach issues that day. But the night was so great. We performed one of our best shows to date and left the crowd happy and wanting more, even having the industry professionals give us great feedback and compliments. We nailed the show, and we knew it.

Which local band is your favorite one to play a show with?
This one is almost impossible to answer. We have collaborated with so many Orlando artists and artists from other countries and ethnicities, that we see beauty and uniqueness within all of the people who have naturally gravitated towards our project. It is probably safer to say our favorite thing to do is to grow through collaboration.

We love to work with artists who embody the DIY and collaboration mentality, and who truly believe other’s success is their success, just like we do.

What description gets used for your band that you would most
like to correct people on? Why?
We get put in a lot of categories that probably have nothing to do with us, but most prominently, "Latin artist"  comes to mind. We know this because a lot of people like to compare artists that are new to them, to artists they are comfortable with. On top of that, we sing mostly in Spanish, so that makes things more complicated for some audiences. “You are a Latin artist? Like Shakira? Like Juanes? Like Pitbull? Like Luis Fonsi? Daddy Yankee?” The list goes on and on. Of course, these people are known as artists for a particular reason and have their merits – we are not questioning that; we simply do not necessarily approach music in the same way.

There are a myriad of remarkable artists who get put into the “Latin artist” bracket, but who have nothing to do with people’s notion of a Latin artist in this city or even the US in general. There are so many colors and sounds and words throughout the Americas, it is almost unfair to put them all under one umbrella. But perhaps that is part of our contribution and responsibility as a band in this city and the world: to offer an alternative and to show there are more hues of light in the musical spectrum than what they are able to notice. More than correcting people, we feel we are helping educate, and offer something genuine and true to us and that we hope for people to listen to and see us for what we are, and not for what they think we are.

What’s your favorite thing about being an Orlando band? What's your least favorite? Why?
We come from different countries, and have been musicians all of our lives and have roamed many a city looking for adventure. We met in Orlando, a city that literally uses original music, art, words and colors that rival corporate power and the narrow views of few; a city as diverse and rich in talent and kindness, that we keep coming back. Being in Orlando is awesome, because the people here are awesome.

Leonardo has been part of Orlando’s musical, activist, and art scene for over a decade, and has relentlessly kept grinding, offering a musical alternative to this city, competing with promoters, clubs who overcharge people, lack of options and enthusiasm when it comes to investing in new art, and even the fact that some will not give you a chance because you don’t sing in English. Nevertheless, the last five years have been both difficult and amazing for Orlando, and the faith we have for this city’s people is so great, that it overcomes the negative. We are excited for the future!

Any big news to share?
We started working on our new record El Sendero del Fuego (The Path of Fire), and we are very excited about it! We are also working hard to tour through Colombia and Puerto Rico in early 2018, and also are trying to expand our range in the US starting here, in the City Beautiful. We have been working very hard on a series of music videos, and have been releasing them gradually and have had the chance to work with much of the wonderful talent and wonderful organizations in Orlando, so stay subscribed to our YouTube channel to see the wonderful fruition of the work concocted by Orlando’s dancers, videographers, producers, musicians, and singers!


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