The Eve Interview
This interview was conducted via email to celebrate and promote the new Karda Estra album EVE. My thanks to Richard Wileman for taking time out of a busy promotional schedule to tell us about the new album.
JMP: What are the origins of the Eve album?
RW: I came across a short novel called 'The Future Eve' in 'The Frankenstein Omnibus' anthology last autumn. It was written in 1886 by Villiers de L'Isle Adam. I was really searching for some kind of inspirational springboard at that point and it was so full of rich imagery and pathos, it seemed perfect. As I said in my sleeve notes, I was also inspired by films like Bride Of Frankenstein which are also along the same lines. From then on, I took various elements and shaped them into my own take on the idea (as opposed to the actual story) and it grew from there. Musically, I was floundering after Thirteen From The Twenty First and I guess it was hearing John Barry's 'The Beyondness Of Things' and Steve Hackett's 'Sketches Of Satie' that really got me back on track. Oh, and my friend Chris Brown who heard a song I was working on and suggested I dump it completely and focus on what I was good at!
JMP: How difficult is it to transfer a literary story into a musical one?
RW: This is really isn't a transfer, more a starting point for me to build on. On the one hand, it is quite easy as the author has already laid out some concepts for you. However, it becomes a lot harder to keep up the momentum and focus over several pieces. A structure and style appears, whether you like it or not, and you may feel like writing something in a completely different style that day, but you have to be disciplined and stick to the overall atmosphere - unless of course you don't mind it sounding disjointed!
JMP: Which elements of the story translated best into the music?
RW: The gothic atmospheres and scenes combined with tragedy and morality. Haunting and dark, but also full of errie beauty too.
JMP: Is being the sole composer and main musician on the album a help or a hindrance?
RW: I very much enjoy it. I certainly wouldn't rule out co-writing in the future - it's certainly more work/responsibility on your own, but I can really follow a very unique and personal path.
JMP: You don't miss the interaction of other collaborators [ie: the Lennon-McCartney scenario]?
RW: Not really. The only area would be if I got back into songwork again seriously. I've written a lot of songs but I really struggle with lyrics and wouldn't mind someone else doing those at all!
I would collaborate with another composer if I was convinced it would create something new and fresh. So often these days, composer collaborations sound like watered down democracies. There have been great teams in songwriting, but composing instrumentally usually works better with just the single individual. It's just such a personal expression.
JMP: The cover illustration is very striking, was this produced before the music was written and did it help inspire in the composition?
RW: It came about about halfway through Eve being recorded. It was the second design by Alan and I went for it straight away as it has such a classic look to it and was so in tune with what I was doing. The photo is actually of his girlfriend Rai. It didn't really help to inspire the composition, but the printout was in my studio all the while and so added to the atmosphere. In a strange way, having artwork helps to make a project take another step to becoming 'real'.
JMP: This project took several months over the last year, how difficult was it to stay focused on Eve?
RW: Very. I found Eve a hard album to write. Probably because I'd had a year of feeling a little unsure of my abilities. I was very worried that it wouldn't work and I would have wasted more time and felt even more unsure of what I wanted to write. All in all, it took about a year. The sad bit is I scrapped nearly as much material again getting to it!
JMP: How difficult is it to market an album like Eve?
RW: Tricky. It's not airy-fairy new age stuff, neo prog or high brow academic classical music. I have to have faith that there are listeners in the world who want to hear the same as I do and hopefully I can get to them by hitching a lift on the various genres and markets that will have me. Maybe one day, KE will be a catagory of it's own and I won't have to worry about such things...
JMP: What's next?
RW: A little bit of research and development. I have the idea for another 'concept' album which I'm tentatively looking at. Whether that will be the next release or not, who knows. I'll wait and see if it develops well and of course, see what opportunities result because of Eve - if any.
For album info, ordering details etc, go to the official KE website: http://www.kardaestra.co.uk
You can hear Eve previews (lo or hi fi, mp3) at: http://www.mp3.com/kardaestra
The album is released on the Cyclops label and also available on-line through Cyclops/GFT CD mail order: http://www.gft-cyclops.co.uk
Or phone an order:
The album is officially released on October 15th. It will be available in UK record shops (distribution Pinnacle).It can also be pre-ordered from Amazon.co.uk: