Abi Harding’s new band AbiChan reveal debut song Whispers, Getintothis’ Peter Guy shuffles to a whole new groove.
Abi Harding is starting all over again.
With a collective of musicians familiar to many among the Merseyside music community, Harding is unveiling her new band’s sound with their debut track Whispers, a breezy swing which unravels into tropical pop that’s guaranteed to put a spring in your step.
Though there’s understated sax, and the track’s littered with pop hooks, Whispers is a notable diversion from what we’ve come to expect – not least as Abi takes centre stage on the mic with a breathy soulful delivery.
Having been laying down tracks at Parr Street Studios, AbiChan have their first live date at Magnet on March 31 – ahead of that they gave Getintothis the first spin of Whispers (listen below) as we caught up to find out more.
Getintothis: Tell us about the new band, who’s in it and how it originated?
Abi Harding: The new band is called AbiChan, I’m singing, with Jim Sharrock on drums, Tim Cunningham on bass and Riley Broudie on guitar.
In the studio I’ve also been playing sax and keys. Shannon Bamford has been down as well playing keys for me the last few weeks so I can front the band live and not always be behind the keyboard.
Getintothis: What inspired you and what’s the name of the band about?
I started writing more towards the end of The Zutons, when we stopped playing together. I wrote more and more until I had a load of songs that I needed a band to help take them further. I really enjoy writing music and it’s very satisfying having finished a song where you have expressed yourself in a way you haven’t been able to before.
The name of the band is a Japanese term of endearment. We (The Zutons) went to Japan quite a lot and I was referred to as AbiChan, ‘Chan’ for girl ‘san’ for a boy (I think). I took it as a friendly way to greet someone. It’s kind of stuck a little bit with a few of my friends back home.
Getintothis: Inevitably people will compare it to The Zutons, what’s it like being skipper of your own ship?
Abi Harding: It’s very different being the leader of the band to being part of one. With the pleasure of hearing your songs played how you want them, comes a lot of decision making that I’m learning from all the time.
Its really nice to be playing with the band I have at the moment, we encourage each other and have a good time coming up with different ideas and sounds.
Getintothis: Are there any plans for an album, tour and everything that goes with a new band?
Abi Harding: I would love to make an EP or record by the end of the year.
This track, Whispers, is a little different to some of the songs we’ve been playing the last year together in the room. I like the direction its taken so it’s compiling the best tracks we have and making the songs fit with one another.
Tim Cunningham recorded the track in Parr Street and mixed it too. It was great to work with him on the recording side. It was our project – me, Jim, Tim and Riley where no-one else was really involved. Having been playing together the last year and a half or so we had the time to know what we liked and create something of our own.
Getintothis: Lastly, the Kris Ealey evening and concert was genuinely special, what’s next for The Zutons, people are obviously still very much in love with the band?
Abi Harding: As for The Zutons, who knows, everyone is doing different projects at the minute. The concert we did for Kristian last September was really special, it was a one off for a really special friend we lost but who know’s what the future brings?