Upclose with Kula Shaker (Interview with Crispian Mills)

Kula Shaker frontman, Crispian Mills, also known as Krishna Kanta Dasa to some, speaks to Nicholas Shay ahead of his band’s tour through Hong Kong.

By Nicholas Shay | published Aug 05, 2010

HK Magazine: Will this be your first time in Hong Kong? What are you expecting?
Crispian Mills: It will indeed, and everybody’s thrilled to be coming. It’s uncharted waters, so I have no idea what to expect. We went to Russia last year for the first time to play a concert, and we went on stage very late to a huge, very drunk crowd. It was quite frightening, but once we got on stage, it was fantastic—so you never know what to expect.

HK: Can you tell us about your new album, “Pilgrim’s Progress”?
CM: This was the first time we made a record where we had absolutely no pressure other than our own desire to make beautiful music. Our first record, “K,” was complicated because we could feel the record company’s expectations, which stifled the spontaneity. When you’re young, you’re more inclined to please people… well, I was. Now I’ve given up trying to please people, and ended up making a good record as a result. It’s a very mellow acoustic album with lots of daydreaming. The process was much more spontaneous than our other records. It’s brilliant, I’m telling you.

HK: Where do the band’s Indian influences stem from?
CM: I don’t know. Maybe from past lives… friends, fate and destiny. There is something very universal about oriental culture, and we can connect with it. I think it’s because the people of the earth were all joined together at one time.

HK: Could you explain a bit about your own spiritual beliefs?
CM: Everybody wants love, don’t they? If you have all the money and power in the world, and you don’t have love, you’re just gonna be a weird psycho. And that’s really the problem with the world. Spiritual life should be practical, not superstitious. You should be able to apply it to your life, in healing the earth and healing each other, because it’s all in a bit of a mess. You have to respect all faiths; you have to have a spiritual philosophy. I try to have that in my life, and it’s been very good for my music and self-expression.

HK: Who are some people that you gather inspiration from?
CM: I kind of live in a bit of a dream world. I read all the old myths and legends. When I was growing up, my favorite books were all the ancient Greek myths. I got into Indian folklore and the philosophy of the Mahabharata. I’m into archetypes and mythic heroes. I like George Harrison and Ritchie Blackmore from Deep Purple. He’s a great guitarist, but they’re just guys. When it’s an inspiration or a muse, I think more of those mythic characters. They’re more colorful.

HK: If you had a dinner party, which three guests would you invite?
CM: Well, I would probably get Charles Dickens and Shakespeare together with somebody like Johnny Rotten and see what happens.

Upclose with Kula Shaker by Nicholas Shay | HK Magazine Online.

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