ALL MUSIC MAGAZINE INTERVIEW WARRINGTON FUNKSTERS WINACHI

 

 

INTERVIEW BY JANET HARDING / IMAGES BY WARREN MILLAR

 

When Winachi reached out to All Music and invited the ‘Dream Team’ (All Music photographer Warren Millar and myself) down to their studio we jumped at the chance! A photo shoot, sneak preview of their soon to be released EP and an interview about their latest single ‘Heaven in helLA’, what’s not to like? So last Saturday Warren and I caught up with Liam Croker and Antony Egerton, the founding members, for coffee and to chat about LA, live gigs and albums.

 

 

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

So tell me about the recently released single ‘Heaven in helLA’.

Liam 

Heaven in helLA’, it’s our new song, the latest release. It was the last song written for the album. Most of the album was recorded in LA and once we got back home (Warrington, UK) we got to thinking we need to write a song about LA, about our relationship with it and experiences there. So actually it was written about LA but in Warrington. It’s our love letter to LA. I was listening to a lot of early Red Hot Chilli Peppers at the time and I was taken with one of their songs, ‘True men don’t kill coyotes’ which is very much about LA, and I thought I need to do our version of this, about the city, as we do spend so much time there.

Anthony 

Yeah, well, it was started just before lockdown; it was actually done there and here. About 90 percent of the album was recorded in Los Angeles. This was the last thing we did so we started it there in the studio then had to come home – the pandemic had arrived. We went into lockdown so had to finish the song remotely.

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

So tell me a bit more about the theme then, about LA, your LA.

Liam

It’s kind of like a dark and twisted love tale, it just gets under your skin that city! Good and bad, I think you either love it or hate it, and we love it, for our sins! We were going back and to there throughout 2018 then 2019, whether it was playing shows or shooting videos, whatever, but whilst over there we’d go down and do some work in the studio with John X over at Venice. If you listen to ‘Heaven in helLA ‘ it’s quite a happy, upbeat sort of tune, but the lyrics are really dark…”It’s 100 degrees outside tonight, but in the canyon it snows, your legs will be taken by the heat of the street, while your nose it dribbles and blows”… I guess the lyrics are self explanatory there. There’s this seedy side to LA which we wanted to capture.

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

So would you say the rest of the album is the same theme?

Antony

Yeah, it does fit with that sound and it’s a massively LA vibe. The whole album has a happy vibe with a dark underbelly which reflects the city we know and love, and also as a band where we were at that time.

Liam

There was a lot of madness. There’s a song on the album called ‘Understanding’ which comes from being out there with the Charlatans. I remember being sat by the pool outside our apartment and I really wasn’t good, I was sat next to Mike Bee (former lead guitarist) and we pretty much wrote ‘Understanding’ there at that time. So the whole album, if you like, is sort of a diary of what we were up to at that time.

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

So almost an ode to LA then?

Liam

Yeah, but maybe not consciously. ‘Heaven in helLA’ definitely was conscious but we didn’t sit down and think ‘let’s do an album about LA’. We are associated with the city, you know, from being over there so much, I guess it just organically evolved.

Antony

And the experiences we had over there and what we were going through definitely come through in this new album.

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

Is there a difference in sound etc between what you do in the States as opposed to what you do in the UK?

Antony

I think it helps. We start writing over here and it progresses, then we go to California and work on it some more, then finish it there for the most part. So LA if you like is the icing on the cake really, it’s the finisher, where it all comes together. As for difference, I don’t know, it’s a bit of both . Culturally it’s a huge difference, musically a mixture of both.LA gives the album its vibe though

Liam

It’s inspiring over there, you’re in the sun aren’t you? ha-ha, and everyone out there is mental, I’ve never been as a tourist, I’ve only been out there in a band sense so have only seen it from that side, which can be mental.

Antony

It’s always at the back of our mind. Whenever we start working on something over here we seem to always end up back over there recording it. It’s like it lures us back!

Liam

The first time we went, myself and Anthony went over to work with Danny Sabre. We spent 4 weeks out in the hills, writing and recording with Danny, then we went back to record the video for ‘Room with a view’ with Tommy Flanagan. So a lot of time over in California and a lot of memories. It’s part of who we are now. We sold our souls to Los Angeles a long time ago!

 

 

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

You’ve got a good following and fan base in the USA, can we talk about that?

Antony

Yeh, we really have! In California definitely, and people over there are really willing to travel a long way to come see us too! Though it’s such a huge country. In the UK we just don’t realise, but to get anywhere in California you have to drive for a long time. In England we just don’t have that. We’re across the country in hours. When we performed over there in March this year people were driving 4, 5 hours and longer just to come and see us! Which is brilliant! Over there though you can drive 3 hours just to get something to eat and not think twice. It’s alien to us Brits, so to us these people coming so far, it’s just great!

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

So is that something you’re very conscious of whilst in LA – America’s vastness?

Liam

Well it takes forever to get anywhere doesn’t it?…(laughter)

Antony

Yeh, like I said, over an hour to go for something to eat, so when you’re driving with the gear for band set up and to gigs and stuff it just seems to take forever.

Liam…(laughing)

To be honest, I never know where we are when we’re over there anyway cos it’s that big! but we know we’re in LA …(more laughter)

Antony

American fans really embrace us and they’re up for any kind of music, they seem to just love it all. In the UK people seem to have much more defined tastes musically, and stay very loyal to bands they love, whereas in the States people are like,” yeh, I’ll give ‘em a listen, let’s go! “ In England people are more “Oh I don’t like dance, nah”.

Liam

They really have embraced us. When we played in Atlanta for the first time this year we thought we’d not go down well, us being a dance/funk band, but you know they loved us – it really went off, one of the best all time gigs that was!

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

So what else influences the Winachi sound?

Liam

LA influenced the last single but we’re not all about just LA. A lot of our stuff is about us as a band and being from the North West, Warrington. We’re so proud of both, of all we’ve done both here and out there. Observations, life, you know, that sort of stuff. From it all starting, me and Antony jamming in his dad’s shed, We’ve come such a long way, the whole journey’s an inspiration, and everyday life too.

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

What’s been your most random gig experience, either performing or as a crowd member?

Liam

oh God, I’ve had a few! I think for me it was when we played with the Charlatans, in the US. I’d accidentally taken a sound engineer’s diabetes medicine, thinking it was water, drank the lot, full bottle, and I was bad from it. I’m there hanging out my arse, a bottle of this in my system, and we did this show with the Charlatans. I came off stage and I was close to tears it was that special, but I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know how I managed it! But that was one special show, even being rough, it was amazing!

Antony

Seeing Funkadelic at the Academy. They played for about 3 hours, which is unheard of. They just wouldn’t stop…the lights came on and they were getting shouted at by the venue staff to stop and pack up, but literally they just kept on playing! All these 50 odd year old blokes, wearing nappies, with dummies in their mouth, playing on stage! Now that was surreal.

 

 

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

What’s it like when you’re on stage doing what you love?

Antony

To be honest, I get in the zone, I focus completely on playing. I guess I shut everything out, and sometimes it’s like: ‘”Wow, did that happen, was I there?” You kind of get wrapped up in what you’re doing. You can tell how it’s going, if it’s going down well, if people are loving it, and I suppose you buzz off it, but mainly it tends to fly by as I’m completely engrossed in what I’m doing.

Liam

I think as a front man it’s different for me, I get involved with the crowd, I have to gauge where it’s going and make it a good one! Supporting Fun Lovin’ Criminals at Liverpool in August, it was banging, everyone’s loving it, I was loving it, You do feel the crowd; the energy in there that night was electric! The vibe of a crowd is everything, You’ve got to work hard to win a crowd round. Different shows, different venues have different effects.

Antony

The crowd do have a massive impact, A good gig where the crowd are loving it can feel almost like a spiritual experience.

Liam

As a band we want to bring the party and have a good time with the crowd, and Winachi being a dance band, we love nothing more than to see people dancing and bouncing and having the best time. It means we’re doing our job.

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

Stand out gig or best gig then?

Liam

When we headlined Bearded Theory Festival. That’s definitely my best gig, when I was performing it did feel spiritual, it was almost like an out of body experience. It’s when you lock in with a crowd and you’re all on that same wave length. We came off stage and it was like we hadn’t been aware of what we were doing, like we’d been watching it all. We all just became one. I’ve cried after gigs, not knowingly or intentionally, I’ve just found tears and thought “Wow what happened there then?”

Antony

You just give it that much, it’s emotional and exhausting… (laughter). That Fun Lovin Criminals gig, man, was the hottest gig I’ve ever played! but one of the best!

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

Yeah, we were so hot, so I can only imagine how you guys up on stage under lights were, I didn’t see any fans?

Antony

Oh we had fans, they gave us fans, but they just fell off …(lots of laughter). The vibrations knocked it off stage. so most of the set we were on fire and dripping with sweat. The bass drum started and the fans just fell off! So memorable for that, but as shows go one of our best certainly.

Janet (ALL MUSIC UK)

What’s next for Winachi?

Liam

Well we’re putting together an EP, which we’ll play for you today, with remixes of ‘Heaven in helLA’. So, Fast (Brian Leiser) from the Fun lovin’ Criminals has done a remix, put that East Coast feel on there. It’s very New York sounding, which is brilliant, another contrast against the LA theme. Danny Sabre’s done a remix and Northern Edits has remixed so that’s gonna be released soon, We’ll keep you posted there. Then gigs, all about gigs, being out of it for a few years. It’s been brilliant working on albums and what have you, but we really want to get back to performing again. We’ve a lot lined up, which we will be announcing soon, the album launch, then we’ll be announcing a festival date, so some exciting stuff to come. Basically we can’t wait to get gigging properly in the UK again!

 

 

It’s been a great afternoon; from spending so much time with Liam and Anthony today, it’s really apparent how driven they both are. There’s s an inspired creativity, and enthusiasm radiates from them both. They firmly believe in what they do and are committed to doing it the best way possible. They have an absolute passion for making music and whilst doing so have found another love, in Los Angeles, which has now become a part of the fabric which is Winachi. Thank you, guys, for giving so much time to us and for your hospitality, and thank you for the music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warren is a live music and festival photographer based in Cheshire and covers gigs/festivals mostly in the North West of England. He has been photographing live music for over 10 years and has covered major artists and festivals

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