Esteban talk ‘desert funk’ to Rock N Load after release of Jackpot Motel
So, for anyone unfamiliar with yourself, tell us a little bit about your backstory and how you ended up here.
“Continuing their odyssey into what they call desert funk, Esteban are one of the most exciting emerging bands in the UK at the minute” – Line Of Best Fit
When Esteban released their debut EP on 1st September 2008, Tom Robinson at BBC 6 Music claimed “There’s no-one like them out there”. Their world music infused rock and socially aware lyrics won them a legion of early supporters. The band gave permission to Fairtrade Foundation to use their track ‘Say It Loud’ in various Fairtrade campaigns. They teamed up with Plan UK to sponsor a child and his community in La Paz, Honduras. Carjack Streets, the iPhone game, featured the band’s music and Total Guitar Magazine wrote about their “finger-style funk” as a “world explosion”. Single ‘She’s Just A Girl’ was used in a global campaign by Esteban’s favoured NGO Plan UK highlighting the issues faced by girls in the world’s poorest countries because of their lack of access to education and legal rights.
The next two years were spent in a whirlwind in and out of the recording studio between tours, interviews and festivals. The popular Beach Break Live saw Esteban share the stage with Dizzee Rascal and The Zutons.
By summer of 2010, ‘The Dirty Wrecked Tour’, named after their yet-to-be-released debut album, had taken Esteban to over 315 appearances throughout the UK. The band, drained and unable to carry on, had to concede that the party had taken its toll.
The album ‘Dirty Wrecked’ was officially released on 3rd January 2011 and the band never returned to the stage.
“I have never ever seen a gig poster with so many dates on” – Dean Jackson BBC On The Beat.
Nearly a decade later, the four musicians began to truly appreciate the spiritual founding moment of the band in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings, when, as young men who had narrowly avoided death, they decided that life was too short to spend on anything but music.
In November 2019, Esteban recorded a new album Jackpot Motel. Cut entirely live with no click tracks, it’s a joyful blast of life-affirming funk that borrows from world music, Latin rhythms and rock, is made for dancing, cares about the environment and sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a trip across the deserts of your mind.
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 Facebook page 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’ll be rehearsing and heading back to the studio hopefully before 2020 is over. We love recording, it is such a wonderful experience. We learn very quickly how to extract the best from each situation. We’ve always strived to create great songs, obviously, but with us it’s not about trying to write the best love song on Earth. There are situations going on in everyone’s life that, if written about in the right way, will amaze even the most adventurous listener. We’ll keep recording until we go live then record some more and so it goes.
We’ve also just picked up some great new equipment and kit ready for the live shows. This time will allow us to have intimate relationships with the new gear, growing with it and working out the parameters and nuances built into the technology or carved into the wood by the hands of master craftsmen. We’ll be working on our live show over the next year whilst the world hopefully settles into its new shoes, so stay tuned to our socials for some warm-up gig dates!
Truthfully, we’re all geared towards the big tour, picking up where we left off. The big stages are awesome, we’ve been very lucky but we’re not resting on our laurels – we’ve got a great future ahead and if you want to be part of it too, welcome to the odyssey.
What are your influences & inspiration?
Bassist Ricky was inspired by Burning of the Midnight Lamp by Jimi Hendrix. He explains, “my parents had loads of tapes when I was a kid and, on one of them there was 6 tracks by Hendrix. I hadn’t heard anything like it, he was a young black kid making a sound that wasn’t black or white, it was like it was from space”. The Electric Ladyland version is the best and can be heard here https://open.spotify.com/track/36SULeBeglappJysOY6WzQ if you are curious.
Rick continues, “when I was practicing bass, I remember the riffs so it definitely changed my outlook on music, but the coolness, the attitude, the way he dressed – his lyrics drew me in”.