Karnataka were formed in 1996 by founder member Ian Jones. Ian had started a project to record songs (in his home studio) written and performed in earlier bands. The project was augmented by additional musicians, some of whom Ian had previouly worked with. At the end of the recording the decision was made to continue the project as a band. The name Karnataka was chosen following Ian's trips to that region of India. The debut album Karnataka was positively reviewed by The Classic Rock Society who brought a much wider audience to the bands' music.