I’ve been lucky enough to chat to Crispian Mills of Kula Shaker before they set off on their UK tour. We spoke about the new tour and their new album ‘Natural Magick’ which came out start of February this year.

Your new album ‘Natural Magick’ has been out for couple months now, has there been a good reaction from your fans?
The fans seem to like it, I think we all are pretty excited about it and we knew it had a lot of energy, there is a lot of that chemistry of being reunited with Jay, feeling of going back to our roots in terms of that original four people, that unit, so much of a band is about chemistry and I think that when a band works out songs together, the first audience is the band themselves. If you’re a tight band you’re all looking at each other to see how you react and so you’re feeding off each other’s reactions. We had a lot of fun making this album and I think it’s been well received, I don’t read reviews, but I’ve seen a few quotes splattered around and most of them seemed good.

From your new album, what would be the song you’re most proud of making?
Our records always tend to be quite broad in their scope, there is never one sound you know, it’s not like our down sort of slow tempo then our up-tempo we have lots of different characters on our records. They’re kind of like different scenes in a film or a play. I don’t mean that in a pretentious way I know it sounds a bit pretentious but when you approach music and album making as storytellers and you really embrace that, then you tend to have quite a colourful spectrum of moods and styles. When I pick a song that is my favourite, it really depends on my mood at the time. We’ve never done any Bollywood before so ‘Chura Liya’ was nice, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to record that for quite a while actually. ‘Gaslighting’ certainly gets the blood going and ‘idontwannapaymytaxes’ for instance I’ve got fond memories of that because the original lyric came from my 10 year old kid who just picked up a guitar one day and just sang that, and I said “I’m stealing that line”.

Who inspired you in the beginning of your music career?
I was a guitar worshipper, I started off not wanting to be a singer, but wanting to be Ritchie Blackmore or Jimmy Page. The big profound influence of Kula Shaker is really 1968-1972 period where bands became loud and heavy but still had quite a songwriting influence. Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Who, bands with Hammond organs and guitars.

Who would you like to collaborate with if given the chance?
I don’t know, I think that collaboration, really great ones, tend to be destined, people at the right place at the right time bump into each other. There’s a lot of contrived duets going on combining fanbases to double the audience, and it works on an industry level, but I think the really magical duets like Johnny Cash and June Carter, they were just meant to be. I would probably wait for that.

The song ‘Indian Record Player’ sounds like a fun song to be a part of, who wrote the intro of the music video version, it’s quite funny?
I think we all came up with that, that was a little bit of improv. The old spice joke hasn’t gone away, if anybody says, “what’s this?” everyone says, “that’s old spice”. Doesn’t matter if its someone’s guitar case or missing bag of strings.

The song ‘Chura Liya (You stole my heart)’ I found out is a song from a Bollywood film from the 70s, why did you pick this song? Interestingly, R. D. Burman, one of the great Bollywood composers of the early 70s, he nicked it from a film called ‘If it’s Tuesday, This must be Belgium’ he nicked it and turned it into something else, then we nicked it and turned it into something else. It’s a tradition basically this constant east, west interplay which is what all music is of course.

When you were younger what was your first music gig that you attended?
First gig I went to with my mate was in a big pub in Hammersmith in London, it was ‘My Bloody Valentine’ and ‘The Pastels’. I remember being a little bit of a misfit where I was in school and I looked like I was in ‘The Velvet Underground’ I had my bowl haircut, spotted shirt, my Cuban heels and my black leather jacket and black sunglasses, people use to call me a girl or a freak on the bus. Then when I turned up to this gig, there was a queue outside and everyone looked like me, I’ll never forget that sense of meeting the tribe. It was a good first experience.

What motivation would you give aspiring artists?
Get rich or die tryin’. Oh no that’s 50 Cent. You’ve got to be in love, to be passionate, to kind of be a junkie for music, it’s got to be an all consuming passion. I would definitely have a business plan. Don’t wait for a manager to wave their magic wand. Have a plan, learn how to produce, learn how to engineer, learn to do as much as you can. Set your own standards high so that you’re only going to work with someone who’s going to catapult you into another level. You’ve got to be better than everybody else, work harder, practice more, be more obsessed, be more generous musically.

Kula Shaker are coming to Glasgow on 30th April for your new tour, what’s your favourite Scottish venue to play at so far?
It’s a little bit of a mystery to people in Glasgow, I’ve described it and we’re not sure where it is. There was a ballroom, and its not The Barrowlands, it is a ballroom somewhere with one of those bouncy floors, it was packed, must have been ’96 and I just remember the whole floor was bouncing. When it kicks off north of the border you know about it, its always a joy to come back.

What can fans expect from your new tour?
A reconnection to their magical, eternal, spiritual self. Nothing much more than that.