THE MYSTIC BRITPOP FROM KULA SHAKER IS BACK. FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY IN ITALY, LAST AUGUST, DURING A NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL CALLED AMA, BORN IN THE CHARMING MEDIEVAL VILLAGE OF ASOLO, NEAR VENICE, WE HAD THE CHANCE TO INTERVIEW CRISPIAN MILLS, THE BLOND-LOCKED FRONTMAN THAT HASN’T LOST HIS GIFT FOR TUNES. THEIR MUCH-LOVED DEBUT ALBUM K DATED 1996 WENT MULTI-PLATINUM WITH ITS BLEND OF PSYCHEDELIC ROCK AND INDIAN SITARS BUT AFTER TWO DECADES IT’S TIME FOR A REUNION WITH THEIR FIFTH ALBUM K 2.0: THE PSYCHEDELIC FLAMES ARE STILL ALIVE BUT HOW’S THE BAND LIVING THE ‘REBIRTH’? READ OUR INTERVIEW HERE.
We read once that you said: “Kula Shaker are guardians of the rock ‘n’ roll Grail”. Why?
We’re just a bunch of musicians, but I like to see everything with a mystical perspective. Life, love, death, music, consciousness, all these things are beyond rational understanding. For instance – you have to experience love to understand it. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of the Grail as a mystical, transformative vessel. To quote Neil Young – “more to the picture than meets the eye. Rock n roll will never die”. The musical roots of rock n roll are predominantly spiritual, Country, Blues, Gospel. Music of the soul. It’s LIFE AFFIRMING. That’s the Grail.
K versus K 2.0.: looks like K 2.0 is a companion piece to K with a continuity of sound and storytelling. What has changed comparing the two records?
What has changed is that we are 20 years older. ‘K’ is our ‘Songs of Innocence’, K2.0 is our ‘Songs of Experience’
Two decades of music is a long legacy to live up to. After 20 years do you think there’s a sort of rebirth of the band?
Yes. Death and rebirth. Every album is a new cycle for us though. We’ve been dying and reincarnating as a band for quite a while now. But this does seem like a special year for us.
How do you feel thinking about your impressive history as a band?
We’ve had an interesting ride so far. Our music has evolved naturally, without losing it’s inherent style, we never went disco or anything like that. Not yet anyway. But we’ve also changed with the music business, we didn’t try and stick with record labels and survive the old fashioned way, we’ve had to adapt and that meant almost starting again. But here we are, we’re all still friends, and enjoying writing and playing.
Our September issue is dedicated to England. Your country is home of some of the best bands in the history of music, do you think is a sort of DNA? Why England is synonym of music?
Lots of people have speculated about this. I’m not sure. Some great opera came out of Italy, for instance. I think different countries come to the fore at different times, for different reasons, exhibiting certain characteristics. They say the changeable and often melancholic British weather is to blame for most things.
How did you like Italy and your latest gig here?
I love to play in Italy. The audiences are great and the gigs a bit crazy. Often I feel like I’m playing in a Fellini movie!
foto credit MICHELE PIAZZA for AMA MUSIC FESTIVAL