Before forming the Latin rock/salsa band Grupo Fantasma, guitarists Adrian Quesada and Beto Martinez, bassist Greg Gonzalez, trumpeter Gilbert Elorreaga, sax player Josh Levy, trombonist Leo Gauna, drummer Johnny Lopez, and conguero Matthew "Sweet Lou" Holmes were in all in an Austin, TX, funk band called the Blimp. In 2003, shortly before Grupo's Movimiento Popular came out, Quesada suggested starting up a funk outfit again, mostly with the intention of simply playing covers and having fun. Culling inspiration from groups like Santana, Earth, Wind & Fire, and P-Funk, and calling themselves Brownout, the octet members realized they sounded good enough to release a 7" in 2005 on England's Freestyle Records, a single that ended up doing so well -- and garnering so many follow-up requests -- that soon a 12" was issued too. This was all enough to convince the friends that Brownout should be a serious thing, and their full-length debut, Homenaje, was released in January 2008. That same year, Brownout won an Austin Music Award for Best Latin Contemporary Band (beating out themselves, as Grupo Fantasma, for the honor) and made appearances at the annual SXSW festival.