Esteban are a four piece funk-rock band playing lazy, feel good songs to lounge on the beach with a beer to.
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.
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.
Tell us about the history of the project?
Jackpot Motel is the rebirth of an unstoppable journey. Back in 2010, we were one of the busiest emerging bands in the country and in the midst of a monstrous nationwide tour. We could easily regard this period as the pinnacle of the Esteban odyssey; however, it was also what ultimately caused our demise. Long hours on the road, sleepless nights in vans and caravans and too many after parties to count inevitably took its toll on even the strongest of childhood bonds. The party stopped, and we called time-out.
But, like a gift from the heavens, an opportunity arose that none of us could have predicted. We met up in 2018 with our label The Animal Farm, England had just beaten Sweden in the World Cup and, on the banks of the River Thames, it was decided – Esteban’s reunion was confirmed.
What began as a jam, quickly formed the bedrock of a brand new and exciting second album. In spite of the years of separation, we were all amazed at how quickly muscle memory kicked in. The recording was agreed and over 8 winter days, a 16-track album was laid down with every ounce of determination that we all had clearly stored up for a long time.
Now we are a decade on, and whether you know Esteban’s story or not, anyone listening to the Jackpot Motel will be taken on the same voyage the four of us have been on during this decade hiatus. For anyone who missed the party back then, our Dirty Wrecked album is there as proof!
What are your influences/musical heroes?
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
What inspires you?
Good people, nature, and a good cuppa tea.
Do you write on the road? or do you prefer to write in the studio?
We write at home at the moment which is working okay, it’s a bit different than we’ve been used to but we try to adapt where possible. There is always room for tracks to be tweaked and rearranged in the studio, that’s part of the excitement however, we try to get the songs as close as we can before recording so we don’t waste too much time on things that could have been ironed out earlier.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
We’ve all got our favourites for different reasons but one we always start a show with is Mass Aura. It was Ville’s (our label manager at The Animal Farm Music) favourite, he picked it out from our first demo we sent to them 13 years ago. It was also tipped by our old friend and legendary engineer at Abbey Sound Recording, Rugeley, Lee Beddow. He pushed us to sing harmonies and pushed them in the mix – another uniquely Esteban feature. Thanks Lee. Mass Aura always, without fail kicked off every gig or festival. It was our comfort blanket to bring our ears into the room/space, we never had monitors, we just played up to the vocal level, we’d get past the first chorus and smile at each other then, let it rip!
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
A Motown legends tour, many of the greats are no longer with us but just to feel the music from the wings would be an honour. I saw Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in Brixton a few years back and she blew me away. Talking about her crush on Marvin Gaye and singing whatever Motown song she wanted… The Detroit music scene was a family affair, it must have been so good to hear those records when they were produced and watch the kids’ lives come together in a way that would change the face of music history forever.
What are your current thoughts on the music industry?
It has taken a hit, but when these things happen, art flourishes. It’s not ideal to hear venues struggle and maybe never return to business but we always find a way to get our music out. We just have to remain safe when we do it.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
There we’re so many tour stories but one of the weirdest things was a woman clambering onto the drum kit, craning her neck to kiss Sam mid-song, when suddenly her false teeth fell out!
What are your future plans?
Keeping our heads down amidst the pandemic will be key to how/if we come out of it the other end. For everyone, the horizon has changed so we need to be adaptable. Gigging, writing and recording really are the main elements of being a musician or artist so, we’ll keep on doing what we can, when we can. The ultimate goal will always be to play to our fans again in whatever capacity that may be at the time.