karda estra
bathed in surreal nightmusic:
a quickie interview with Richard Wileman
by Ian C Stewart
AUTO11 summer 2000

When did Karda Estra Form?
Karda Estra was formed at the beginning of 1998 as the result of me getting a Roland VS-880 hard disc recorder. Usual kind of story - with my previous band Lives And Times, all my recordings had been in done in local studios “against the clock.” With the VS-880 I was free to experiment as much as I wanted, plus Lives And Times had finally fizzled out, for the third and final time! So the time was right to start something fresh. I initially just started writing ideas that would eventually become the first A Winter In Summertime pieces with Ileesha providing vocal effects. As I became more confident that the project was sounding okay, I brought in two classical musicians, so it seemed like a good idea to give the project the Karda Estra name and identity.

Who’s in Karda Estra?
RICHARD WILEMAN electric, classical and bass guitars, keyboards and samples, acoustic percussion, various sound effects and experiments. ILEESHA BAILEY vocals. CARON HANSFORD oboe, cor anglais, bassoon. ZOE KING flute, saxophone, clarinet. RACHEL LARKINS viola, violin.

What does “Karda Estra” mean?
It’s a phrase from a voodoo chant at the start of the 1966 Hammer Horror film Plague Of The Zombies that is something along the lines of “Karda Nostra, Karda Estra...” Keep repeating until surrounded by the undead!

And did you know there’s an Italian group ESTRA that’s somewhat popular? And if so, do you give a rat’s ass?
No, just as I didn’t know I keep recycling old Lush song titles! Just when I thought I was being original... Quite correct - I don’t give a rat’s ass - their voodoo will only be half as potent as mine anyway.

And what’s been going on since Thirteen From The Twenty First came out?
The only project I’ve managed to finish so far is the soundtrack to a very low budget supernatural film called Chaos. I started some songwriting with singer Miriam Stockley, who is signed to Virgin and does the Adeimus stuff. Not sure where that will head though. The bulk of the stuff I’ve written since Thirteen From The Twenty First I think is going to get scrapped as I recently decided it was rubbish! I think it is the inevitable downside of having your own recording equipment in as much as it is hard to know where to draw the line when experimenting. I was just taking it too far - starting to use drum n’ bass loops, loads of dirty fuzz bass, “theremin” guitar wailing away in the background plus all the usual soundtracky stuff on top. It was slowly dawning on me that I didn’t really like the experiments much, but like most musicians, didn’t want to admit it ‘cos of the amount of work I’d put into it!

Tell me about Swindon. Apart from XTC, Meat Beat Manifesto, The Magic Roundabout and the Acton Barnes suite at the Marriott!
You seem to know a lot about it already! The sad fact is you don’t get too many successful acts from Swindon, which is a shame as I know a fair few very talented people. There is still hope! Swindon has a CD factory, EMI - which is where I work packing discs on shifts - consequently, I’m permenantly sleepy! Swindon has an Art College that I attended for three years. I haven’t picked up a pencil for years now though. It also has the Delta Tennis Centre just behind my house. I don’t play, but you can sometimes hear the pleasant sound of the balls being thwacked in the background on my CDs if I was recording with the window open that day... I’m not from Swindon. I was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but I’ve been here for 17 years now so I guess I’m a local now.

How are your releases distributed?
Several specialist distributors and mail order companies. The main one in the UK is:
GFT: 33a Tolworth Park Road, Tolworth, Surrey, KT6 7RL, UK
Tel: (44) 181 339 9965
http://www.gft-cyclops.co.uk

In the US:
Eurock: http://www.eurock.com
The Wild Places: aceofdiscs@aol.com

from me directly: KARDA ESTRA
PO Box 1428, Swindon, SN2 1ZY, UK
e-mail: kardaestra@barclays.net
http://members.xoom.com/ammag