Interview: Estrella

Fast-rising indie act Estrella may have barely clocked up two years on the circuit but already they’ve played to quiet sit-down singer-songwriter affairs and raging noise-fests winning over fans with their unpretentious brand of languid bossanova-folk-pop sound and even snagging a music spot on the telly after single ‘Take It Slow’ was snapped up for the soundtrack of local TV series Impian Illiyana. With Petrina-Roach Reddy, mastermind behind Laundry’s live music nights championing their virtues and Roslan Aziz on production duties, JUICE hits up vocalist Liyana and finds out how a band like them has friends in high places.

Who is Estrella?
Originally there were just three of us, including me, guitarist Yob (Syariful Adzwan) and bassist Ashraf. We were all mutual friends and the band started as jam sessions at a friend’s house in SS12. When it came choosing a band name, we wanted something that sounds poetic and a friend of ours suggested “Estrella” because it means “star beam” in Spanish or something to that effect. We got our first gig playing at a Troubaganger event.

Your first gigs were acoustic affairs in um, finer establishments; lately you’ve been playing more indie/underground shows. Where do you feel most comfortable?
We enjoy playing both. At acoustic gigs, vocals and guitars need to be really tight, because the audience can pick up on mistakes (laughs) but when it’s good it’s really great! For bigger shows, sometimes you can’t really hear much of anything ’cause of the noise, but the energy makes it exciting.

You’ve released an album already, what’s the rush?
It’s closer to two years since we formed the band, which was in May 2006. So I wouldn’t say it’s too quick even though we’re still really new. We’re just going along with opportunities that come, and so far it’s been awesome.

In that time how much has your musical direction changed?
Most of the music is still written by me and Yob but now with a full line-up, we have the benefit of having the other guys in the band (Jeffrey Little on drums, Shamsul Idzwan aka Wan on percussions, Duan on guitars, Ariff on bass) throw in ideas when we rehearse and arrange the songs. It’s definitely brought a new dimension to the music and I love it.

You roped in Roslan Aziz for your album? How does one go about snagging a celeb of such stature?
Roslan Aziz was already a friend of Laguna Records, having worked on the Seven Collar T-Shirt’s Drones album. Jeffrey, who’s the producer and also our drummer, passed a demo to Roslan and he liked it enough to get involved – he ended up mixing the whole album!

Estrella’s self titled debut album is out now Laguna Music now in all major record stores. For more on Estrella, check out www.myspace.com/estrellaband or estrella.laguna-records.com.

Interview Lim Kok Kean
Image Estrella