Today I speak to indie-pop quartet Esteban who tell us about their love of creating and performing live music.
Band Name: Esteban
Members: Stephen Wright (vocals), Liam Ryan (guitar), Ricky Houghton (bass) & Samuel Cox (drums)
Originated From: Derby, UK
Discography: Jackpot Motel (album, 2020), Suburban Paradise (single, 2020), Dirty Wrecked (album, 2011), Jump Ship (single, 2010), She Goes Out (EP, 2010), She’s Just A Girl (single, 2009), Deep Breath (EP, 2009), Shanty Mansion (single, 2008) & Santiago (EP, 2008)
How would you describe your music?
As a band we have never tried to fit in to a particular genre. We coined the term ‘Desert Funk’ to describe our sound and it stuck. It’s the sound that we have always made when the four of us get into a room – funky bass and drums, four-part harmonies with a bit of Latin guitar thrown in.
What is your musical creative process like?
Since the band is split across the country, we demo a lot of ideas in GarageBand and share these via WhatsApp. It’s an unconventional way of working, but I suppose one that more of us are getting used to under the current climate. It allows for constant collaboration each time an idea is shared back and forth.
We then take the ideas into a rehearsal room, usually over a weekend, locking ourselves away with plenty of coffee and jam it out, adding in the nuance and stylistic features.
How did the band form?
We’ve been knocking around since 2004, but you can trace our lineage back to 1995 in various formations through school and college days, conquering our local scenes.
We got to work early on in 2004, writing our first songs together and self-producing our debut Still in Time under the name Onion. Something was ignited back then, which ever since has driven us to continue creating new music.
How did you come up with your band name?
The name comes from cult 80s series, The Mysterious Cities of Gold. Esteban is the central character who stows himself away in a merchant ship headed to the new world in the 16th century.
The name fit our mission of exploration and adventure, seeking new experiences and knowledge.
Who influenced you within the music industry?
David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, John Martyn, Queen, The Beatles, Al Green, Michael Jackson, Simon and Garfunkel, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bruno Mars, Pixies, Tom Petty, Pierre Bensusan, Chronixx, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Sam Cooke, The Stranglers, James Brown, Beck, Gil Scott-Heron, Genesis, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Vulfpeck, Yawning Man, Snarky Puppy, Marvin Gaye… the list is endless!
Have you performed live much and what was your favourite gig to play at?
It’s our bread and butter, we love the live thing, we lived for it back along sometimes playing five or six gigs a week, year after year totalling 315 gigs to date. It’s a cliché to say that the best shows we ever played were sharing the stage with the likes of Dizzy Rascal, the Zutons and Gomez, so I won’t. The best shows were intimate, when you can literally feel the heat from the crowd, they’re that close.
What is the best thing about being in a band?
The creative process; and what that does for the mind and soul, is quite special. There is absolutely nothing else like it! But, that’s only half the story – going live is the real icing on the cake.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far as a musician(s)?
A ten-year hiatus.
What plans have you got coming up this year?
All being well, we’re heading back into the studio to record. So, with that we’ll be rehearsing and bringing new music to the fore in readiness. COVID has for us, been a really productive period; we’ve doubled down on writing new material. Our goal is to simply maintain momentum and continue creating and working on our craft.
What is your ultimate dream as a band?
To play together forever is the squishy answer but I’m sure if we ever played live on TV then I think that’d be an honest landmark.
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