1. Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?
We are Esteban.
You’ll find main man Stephen Wright up front singing his heart out and dancing to every note. Talking of notes, on guitar Liam Ryan plays tonnes of them in his unique finger-style funk. On the other side, and keeping the audience on their feet, it’s big bass man Ricky Houghton. Whilst out back, Samuel Cox will be keeping the atomic time signature ticking.
2. Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?
Officially Derby though we started many moons ago in 1995 when we were school kids in Staffordshire. A friend of ours got speaking to someone at a party who was on the lookout for a support act for his band’s gig. He talked a good one and secured the gig but there was actually no band yet, so he set about creating one. Everyone for miles said they wanted to be in the band but only three of us turned up for practice! We practiced and did our first gig as a three piece about a month later and quickly became a hit on our local scene, supporting the visiting touring bands and basically being the school party band.
Fast forward 10 years to 2004, we met Stephen when Liam was studying Music Technology at Derby University, UK.We quickly got to work writing our first songs together and self-producing our debut album Still in Time and its follow-up Finding Will under the name Onion. Something was ignited back then, which ever since has driven us to continue creating new music.
3. What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?
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. Sometimes we’ll rock out or lay it in the pocket or perform a ballad, but it’s always got this Esteban thing, it’s a groove that makes you move.
4. What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?
Just being 4 friends together logged away…. Our quality control is always if a huge cheesy grin comes across our faces when we are writing a new tunes
5. What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?
We’re a conscious bunch, we learn, we travel and we live the human experience. This is an essential part of our writing process; we translate these experiences into the music. We talk about the world we live in, taking inspiration from everything; special everyday moments or ancient tales, drawing comparisons to our own lives and that of the people around us.
6. Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?
David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, and Queen, let’s just go with these for now otherwise the list will be endless. Bowie was a pioneer of music and fashion, his biggest influence on us was that he always did his own thing, consistently performing at the top, whilst keeping his personal affairs out of the limelight and pushing the boundaries all the way to the very end. Stevie signed to Motown’s Tamla label aged 11 and hit the top aged 13! For any aspiring artist, this is an inspirational beginning but to go on to produce some of the world’s most important electronic, boogie jazz-funk and to be still performing is utterly jaw dropping – a living legend. Queen came along and re-wrote the rule books during the late 70’s and early 80’s. A band that didn’t really fit a genre exactly, but new precisely how to use their individual talents to spur each other on to write perfect stadium anthems time and time again.
7. Where can someone looking for your music, find it?
We’re busy promoting our 16 track Desert Funk album Jackpot Motel https://open.spotify.com/album/5UbZehCLMfVD17klFnIEKg?si=90_4MJy9Rq-keqNrMms8kQ. Like everyone here in the UK, we had to down tools mid-March, though luckily for us, we had just completed the last recording session which meant we could release it on July 31st.
Our fans have been genuinely thrilled to get their hands on the album. They’ve waited very patiently so, when it was announced that it was happening, our www.facebook.com/weareesteban was alive with genuine love and support, we are truly grateful for their response. We have the best fans; we wanted to make this record for them as much as for our record label and ourselves.
We have managed to release some remixes from the album too. Suburban Paradise (The Comfy House Mix) https://open.spotify.com/album/7N0tZQeoiy1dZK6pxRDnTV?si=iN_zPT3ERB6N-4xMAiSvVQ and (The Real Feel Mix) https://open.spotify.com/album/5FEX1m8D1PBjg7kids4JOr?si=5M7kv4E-Qcy_l1XF0tnVHg are something new for us. Mat Leppanen from our label The Animal Farm Music did a great job of taking Suburban Paradise to two musically different places, we are very lucky to be working with such a talent.
8. What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances? Can’t split that one. They go hand in hand. Going into the studio is like returning home after a long journey, laughter, good fun, high spirits and a bit of work! Live is when you can see all the hard work pay off and get to enjoy the audience response
9. What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?
As musicians we are tapped into all sorts of issues – probably too many to list. We’re a conscious bunch, we learn, we travel and we live the human experience. This is an essential part of our writing process; we translate these experiences into the music. We talk about the world we live in, taking inspiration from everything; special everyday moments or ancient tales, drawing comparisons to our own lives and that of the people around us. In all our songs you’ll find a powerful message – live every moment to its fullest!
10. Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are you future plans for the band?
We have just released our second album Jackpot Motel, a 16-track desert funk odyssey and we’re chomping at the bit to take this new record live! However, like everyone we’ve put the live shows on the back burner for now. COVID has though for us, been a really productive period; we’ve doubled down on writing new material so, we’re heading back into the studio this year to record. Our label The Animal Farm are supporting us on this journey once again. There seems to be no end to their passion for what we do, it’s so unbelievably important to know that your label is on your side as a business, as a family and as friends. We’re in an awesome position and we are very, very grateful.