Jones, Ian and Rachel Jones (Karnataka) (May 2003)

Keeping The Flame Burning - An Interview With Karnataka

Karnataka (courtesy; photo: Chris Walkden)This Welsh sextet was formed in the late 1990s, releasing their self-titled debut in 1998. Fronted by Rachel Jones, who has won the Best Female Vocalist award from the Classic Rock Society the last three years (2000, 2001 and 2002), they've released two albums since then -- The Storm and, just this year, their latest, The Delicate Flame Of Desire. Last year, they also released a live DVD, In Concert. They are currently touring in the UK, and have dates scheduled through November 2003, including an appearance at the Canterbury Fayre 2003 on August 24 on the Croissant Neuf Stage.

We had a chance to catch up with the band following the release of Delicate Flame.

Karnataka - In Concert (DVD)Igor Italiani: Hello Karnataka, can we start with talking about the DVD that you released last year? Is it something you will soon repeat in your career? Are you satisfied with the first one?

Ian Jones: Hi Igor! Yes, we will be releasing a second live DVD very soon ... I think in May. This was filmed at the Classic Rock Festival in New Jersey, USA last October. We were happy with the first DVD but feel the sound in the new one is a better representation of the band. We had more input on the mixing for the new one. The band's live sound has also developed since the first DVD was filmed, especially with the addition of Anne-Marie [Helder] on additional vocals and flute.

II: Great to hear that ... I also read that you did some acoustic concerts in the last few months. Do you think you'll make a record out of them?

IJ: The band has played a few unplugged concerts. We recently performed for the Classic Rock Society in Rotherham, UK. The performance was recorded and will shortly be released on a compilation album. We plan to record some of the dates from the forthcoming tour which may include some acoustic versions of the songs.

II: As already mentioned, you are now a six-piece, considering the addition of Anne-Marie Helder. Can you introduce the new member to the audience?

IJ: Anne-Marie is a wonderful addition to the band. As well as a great singer, she is a talented musician playing piano, flute and guitar! Anne-Marie was part of a backing vocal team we put together when we filmed the first DVD and now she has become a permanent band member.

Karnataka - The Delicate Flame Of DesireII: Let's go to the new album ... I think you did a great work concerning the overall aspect of the CD. The songs are beautiful as always, but this time it seems you paid extra attention to the sound production and CDs graphics (booklet). Was it something you badly wanted for your third release?

IJ: Just after we released The Storm we were introduced to producer Steve Evans who writes/produces for Warner Music. He was very interested in the band's music and offered to produce the next album which was to become Delicate Flame Of Desire. We recorded much of the album in his studio - the production qualities are superb. It was important to us that all the other aspects of the album were of a similar quality and therefore we invested in a high quality 20 page booklet to accompany the CD.

II: Are you trying to obtain some radio airplay in England to promote Karnataka further?

IJ: Karnataka's music has reached the attention of a number of radio stations in the UK, Europe, US, South America and elsewhere. In the UK the new album has been featured quite a bit by Bob Harris on BBC Radio; he's a very well-known presenter over here. The album has also been featured by other stations such as Radio Caroline in the UK and Holland, XM Radio in the US.

Karnataka - The StormII: Are there any differences in the recording process between The Storm and Delicate Flame Of Desire? I mean, did you write and record as with the past albums or did you follow a different path?

IJ: The main difference in the recording process of the new album was the use of Steve Evans (producer) and Joe Gibb (engineer). For Delicate Flame Of Desire we largely recorded the album in the producer's studio which gave us access to excellent facilities. Drums were recorded at Rockfield Studios where Queen, Rush and Clannad have recorded. We also did some pre-mixing there when the recording was finished. When we recorded The Storm the finished versions were very close to those we had been playing live, but with the new album we took a fresh look at the songs and made some changes to arrangements during the recording.

II: Is there a common thread between the lyrics of the record?

Rachel Jones: There is no one single concept to the album, each of the tracks has its own individual theme and the songs are written from different perspectives. As a whole the album has quite a "spiritual" feel in the lyrics, particularly on "Delicate Flame Of Desire," which is about humankind and our ability to find love and peace in today's difficult world climate. The album also touches on some rather more controversial topics: "Out Of Reach," for instance, tells the story of a person's battle with depression. "Time Stands Still" is based on a true story of someone returning in later life to the ruins of a house in which they lived and suffered a traumatic childhood, finally facing the demons that have haunted their past.

II: This question is for Rachel ... how does it feel to be crowned for the third consecutive year Best Female Vocalist (by the Classic Rock Society)?

RJ: Well I was delighted to win Best Female Vocalist award for the 3rd consecutive year from The Classic Rock Society. They have played a significant role in the band's progress.

II: Do you think you'll be able to tour extensively in Europe with this new CD of yours? What's the country you badly want to play?

IJ: This year we are focusing on the UK with a tour of over 40 dates. We are now thinking of next year and hopefully this will include Europe ... perhaps a big tour. We would love to play in Italy, of course!

II: Well, I think that's all. So good luck for the new record and let's hope to meet somewhere in time down the road. :-)

Both: Thank you Igor. We all look forward to meeting you on tour sometime.

Karnataka live  (© Karnataka; courtesy)
Karnataka live (© Karnataka; courtesy)

[In mid-2004, Karnataka split as a band... though in 2005 Ian restarted the group with new members including a new vocalist (who left in 2010; and a new new vocalist joined the group in 2011) -ed.]

Karnataka (1998)
The Storm (2000)
The Delicate Flame Of Desire (2003)
Strange Behavior (2004)

In Concert (2002) (DVD)

Added: May 18th 2003
Interviewer: Igor Italiani

Artist website:
Hits: 1838
Language: english

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