WINACHI – Single Review: “Heaven in Hell.A”

British electro-funk/soul collective WINACHI are all about fun and having a good time. Their infectious sexy grooves – which they describe as “swaggering Mancunian tenacity spliced with smooth Californian G Funk soul” – are guaranteed to have you shaking your ass with a smile on your face.

Based in and around Manchester, WINACHI originally formed in 2015 as The Winachi Tribe, and have undergone a few personnel changes over the years. They’re now comprised of founding members Liam Croker (lyrics and vocals), Antony Egerton (keyboards, programming) and Inder Goldfinger (percussion), along with Andy McKay (lead guitar), Richard Ritchie (bass) and Paul Lawrence (drums), all accomplished musicians with diverse musical backgrounds.

I first learned about them in Spring of 2018, around the time they released their funky dance single “Transition”. I instantly loved it, as well as all their subsequent releases, and have featured them on this blog more times than I can remember (you can find links to some of those reviews under “Related” at the end of this post.)

WINACHI has collaborated over the years with musicians and producers in both the UK and Southern California, and this past March, Liam, Antony and Inder returned to Los Angeles to work with producers John X (who’s worked with such artists as David Bowie, the Rolling Stones & Reeves Gabrels) and Joe Hirst (Ian Brown, Bloc Party). Together they recorded the single “Heaven In Hell.A“, which they released along with an entertaining video on Halloween. The song is the lead single from their forthcoming full length debut album Sympathy For The Future, due for release next year. The song and video were recorded and produced at the Earthstar Creation Centre in the L.A. community of Venice.

Musically, the features a delicious signature WINACHI dance groove, over which they layer thick drum-bass beats, spooky psychedelic synths, and lots of funky guitar. Liam’s distinctive vocals, which sit in a sweet spot between sultry and raspy, perfectly complement the music’s mysterious, yet lighthearted, vibe.

As to the song’s meaning, my take is that it speaks to the seductive nature of Los Angeles (Liam loves the city) and how, despite its many shortcomings, it’s also a magical place that can really get under your skin. (I lived there for eight years in the 1980s, and have a conflicted love/hate feeling for it myself.) He uses a demonic she-devil woman as a metaphor for L.A.’s seductive, intoxicating power: “The city’s heart is burning, hotter than the sun, The life you taste upon your breath is the proof you’ve had your fun. The city’s pulse it’s beating to the rhythm of her drum. You know she’s gonna love you, as long as you keep breathing. Once you’re in hell and under her spell, then you know that you won’t be leaving.”

The video, written and directed by Tom Muhl, shows the three members of WINACHI arriving at a party, whereupon they meet a man played by John X and a woman played by Frankie Clarke of L.A. band Frankie + The Studs. They give the guys little black pills that appear to be in the shape of a devil’s head, and soon after ingesting them they start tripping out, with the other party attendees appearing to be zombies with skeletal faces. The guys escape in a car, roaming the nighttime streets of L.A., where they continue to encounter more skeletal demons, and eventually, Antony become a zombie himself. The next morning, Liam is shown chilling on a beach, seemingly relieved that last night’s events appear to have been just a nightmare. But then, he sees the she-devil standing nearby, holding an hourglass and shrieking with macabre laughter.

Here’s just the track itself:

While in Los Angeles last March, WINACHI played a gig at the landmark club The Mint, which, other than for a couple of brief closures, has been in almost continuous operation since 1937. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Liam, Antony and Inder, and seeing them perform some of their songs that I love.

Connect with WINACHI: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

WINACHI – Single Review: “Characters”

British electro-funk/soul collective WINACHI call their sound a blend of “swaggering Mancunian tenacity spliced with smooth Californian G Funk soul”, a perfect description for their delectable music stew of infectious sexy grooves. Based in Warrington, situated roughly halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, WINACHI consists of Liam Croker (lyrics and vocals) and Antony Egerton (keyboards, programming), Inder Goldfinger (percussion), Andy McKay (lead guitar), Richard Ritchie (bass) and Paul Lawrence (drums), all accomplished musicians with diverse musical backgrounds.

They formed in 2015, but I first learned about them in Spring of 2018, around the time they released their funky dance single “Transition”. I instantly loved it, as well as all their subsequent releases, and have featured them numerous times on this blog, most recently last November when I reviewed their PARASITICAL ELIMINATION E.P. (You can find links to some of those reviews under “Related” at the end of this post.) That EP included four great collaborative remixes of three of their previous songs by international artists and producers Howie B, Paolo Baldini, Jim Spencer, and Impey. Now WINACHI are back with a marvelous new single “CHARACTERS“, the first of a long line of singles they plan to release in 2022.

The track, which features additional keyboards by Lee ‘Latch’ Parker, was engineered and mixed by Jim Spencer and mastered by Ben Booker. About the song, front man Liam Croker explains: “CHARACTERS is about how we’re all living together in this extremely beautiful yet completely fucked up world, and how once you get past all the prejudice, hate and judgmental bullshit, we’re all just the same, living under the same sky…we’re human beings and without each other we’re nothing. When writing and producing this track we wanted to make something that sounded like a cross between Beck, George Clinton and a Looney Tunes cartoon, I think we succeeded with that. The world’s such a dark, insane place at the moment that we wanted to put out our own little slice of madness…except exchanging the darkness for a bit of a colour. CHARACTERS is exactly that, a funked-up Bugs Bunny cartoon.”  

I’m not sure I can improve on Liam’s description of the song, so I’ll just elaborate on what I love about it. Firstly, there’s that seductive and funky bass-driven trip hop groove that grabs you by the hips and shoulders, compelling you to move! Then there’s the colorful mix of magical glittery and darker industrial synths, punctuated with flourishes of sci-fi and cartoonish sound effects, hand claps and wonderful jangly guitar chords, all of which come together to create a trippy, enchanting soundscape.

Liam’s distinctive vocals are smooth, but with a seductive, slightly raspy undercurrent that conveys an air of mystery as he croons “The people that we meet, will paint the pictures of our lives. Some make a fortune, some shoot to get by. Some walk on the moon, while some just shoot to get high. We’re all just faces in the crowd./ We’re characters of the world.”

WINACHI never disappoints, and with “CHARACTERS” they deliver another stellar track for our listening enjoyment. I’m certain we’ll continue to hear more great songs from them in the coming months.

Here’s the song on YouTube:

And Soundcloud:

Connect with WINACHI:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

WINACHI – EP Review: “Parasitical Elimination EP”

British electro-funk collective WINACHI (formerly The Winachi Tribe) make some of the most deliciously catchy and dangerously sexy music of any band around today. Formed in 2015, and based in Warrington, which is situated roughly halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, the group has undergone a few line-up changes over the years, and now consists of founding members Liam Croker (lyrics and vocals) and Antony Egerton (keyboards, programming), Inder Goldfinger (percussion), Andy McKay (lead guitar),  Richard Ritchie (bass) and Paul Lawrence (drums). Inspired by such legendary acts as Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly & The Family Stone, Primal Scream, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Massive Attack, The Stone Roses, Talking Heads, D’angelo, Prince and Daft Punk, their infectious blend of funk-infused electro dance/pop serves up more grooves than a jukebox full of vintage 45s.

They’ve collaborated over the years with musicians and producers in both the UK and Southern California, and released several critically acclaimed singles and remixes, a number of which I’ve reviewed (you can read some of them by clicking on the links under ‘Related’ at the end of this post). And while their songs touch on oft-covered topics like heartbreak, pain, mental health and even politics, their overriding message is always one of joy, positivity and love. WINACHI have built a growing fan base through their exciting live shows and touring with The Charlatans, Happy Mondays, The Sugarhill Gang & The Furious Five. They’ve also garnered airplay and press both at home and abroad on radio stations like BBC 6 Music and L.A. public ratio station KCRW, and publications such as The L.A Times, L.A Record, Manchester Evening News and Billboard China.

In anticipation of the upcoming release of their long awaited debut album, WINACHI have dropped “PARASITICAL ELIMINATION E.P.“, featuring four collaborative remixes of three of their previous songs by international artists and producers Howie B, Paolo Baldini, Jim Spencer, and Impey. Actually, some of the tracks should more accurately be considered as re-imaginings, rather than remixes, as they take on an entirely new vibe under the guidance of these producers.

First up is “PARASITES PARADISE ft. I Kong (Paolo Baldini Dubfiles Remix)“, the first of two re-imaginings of their 2019 single “Parasites Paradise featuring I Kong”. The original song, featuring guest vocals by legendary Jamaican reggae singer I Kong, is a bouncy electro-soul number about being true to yourself and living a life free from users and ‘parasites’ who want to suck the life out of you or try to dictate how you should live. For this remix, Italian dub producer Paolo Baldini gives the song a makeover by slowing things down a bit and adding a strong dubstep beat that actually enhances the reggae vibe. He then layers swirling industrial synths and funky guitar notes for a nice finish.

The second remix of the song, “PARASITES PARADISE REVISITED ft. I Kong (Impey Remix)” is a re-imagining by young London dub electronica/neo-soul producer Impey. Impey really slows down the original song’s tempo to a languid, almost sensual groove, which also lengthens the track by more than two minutes. He essentially deconstructs the original song and refashions it into something completely different and new, and unlike anything WINACHI has ever done before. I Kong’s vocals are still recognizable as his, but WINACHI lead singer Liam Croker’s electronically-altered vocals sound totally different. The song is darkly beautiful, trippy and mesmerizing.

A ROOM WITH A ZOO (Howie B Remix – Optimum Master)” was actually recorded and released in 2017, and is a remix of WINACHI’s very popular 2016 single “A Room With a Zoo”. I could be wrong, but my take on the song’s meaning is that it addresses the challenges of surviving as an artist in the crazy music business, and making music that’s honest and true. Liam croons “Give my soul back, give my soul back to me. I’ve been giving it up for too long, too long. Selling my heart and my soul.” Howie B is a renowned Scottish musician, producer and DJ who’s worked with a long list of artists, including Björk, U2, Tricky and Siouxsie and the Banshees, among others. On this optimum master of his remix, Howie B refashions the song into a pulsating trip hop extravaganza, with a strong, driving beat overlain with wobbly psychedelic synths and lots of sharp percussive textures and sounds, lending a dramatic new feel to the song.

The final track “SENSE OF DANGER (Spencers Revenge – Jim Spencer Edit)” is a re-imagining of WINACHI’s 2016 single “Sense of Danger”. As the title implies, the song is a dark, almost menacing track about obsessive love, and the original version has a trippy vibe, with a sort of dubstep beat, and highlighted by sinewy electronic synths, spooky organ and Liam’s rather menacing breathy vocals, backed with eerie choruses. The remix by Jim Spencer, a British producer and sound engineer who’s worked with such acts as New Order, Johnny Marr and The Charlatans, gives the song a more cinematic feel by greatly enhancing the dubstep beat, instrumentals and vocals. The dark synths and spooky organ now sound sharper and more well-defined, and the twangy guitar notes and piano are more pronounced as well, injecting added texture and drama into the track.

PARASITICAL ELIMINATION E.P.” is a marvelous little bundle of energy that makes for a very fun listen. It’s always fascinating to hear how producers reimagine others’ songs, and I love what these have done with some of WINACHI’s best songs. The EP will only be available through Bandcamp.

Connect with WINACHI:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  BandcampiTunes / Amazon