Crispian Mills

We all know the name Crispian Mills. son of actress Hayley Mills and lead singer of Kula Shaker who made a few dodgy comments about the Swastika and disappeared. Taking up to the present day we caught up with Crispian to talk about the success of the Robbie Williams tour, his new material and of course he gets a good old probing about his past. Read on for the full story

Q: How did the Robbie Williams tour go?
A: Robbie was a pretty extreme experience. Imagine having a new band and new songs, never gigged before and going out in front of 17,000 was pretty hard-core - but exciting. We did that M.E.N Arena for about a week and I think that was part of the experience, with each place most people roll out of those Arena's after one or two nights - he was there for a week or more.

I was just putting this band together to record originally, we were going to do some gigs just to try out the material live  and then Robbie's support band cancelled so we got asked.

I played a couple of Kula tracks so people knew who I was and where I'd come from. I was really surprised that a lot of the new stuff went down well and we got a good response. Every night I was unsure how we'd go down and if 17,000 people would have chatted to each other quietly it would have been deafening.

Q: How has the new band influenced the sound?
A: Everyone knew each others stuff, Mark (Keyboards) has been in various acts such as Jedi Knights and of course Clive (Drums) has been with Roni Size and Portishead. Its very difficult to describe music, its something that you have to listen, its like trying to describe a colour - I will say its got a lot of energy, a lot of grooves and I've pushed myself as a songwriter.

Q: What influences you the most - music, literature, your own life?
A: A lot of films actually. There's a film called "Pi" which I took the name from, as well as I like the film. About a genius mathematician who stumbles on the pattern that connects all life and explains everything from Deja Vu to the stock market and psychic powers and life, the universe and everything. It sounds like a heavy film, but its very funny. "2001" - we got some idea's from that.

When I did the second Kula album I just watched the original 70s film of Jesus Christ Superstar and had been getting idea's from that. Films I think are key impetus for work.

Q: Would you say that fate and destiny played a big part in your life? Would you say it was fate that Kula Shaker split up?
A: Fate & Action are the 2 different sides of one coin. A lot of people get a sense that their lives are going in a certain direction, part of them is powerless but everybody has got free will. The 2 of them work together in very mysterious ways.

The reason Kula split up was that I wanted to try new ideas. Having done 2 albums but having been in the band for a long time before we got signed, it just gets to a point where you want to try something else. I think there's loads of different reasons that makes anybody want to have a massive change - it was a difficult choice to make, but at the same time you had that feeling that if you didn't do it then you'd look back and go "What would have happened if I.....".

There was a lot of self examination, it was the end of 1999 and I was probably getting caught up in the Millennium introspection.

Q: You once said "We'll play the Pyramids on the last day of 1999". What exactly did you do on the last day of 1999?
A: I wasn't really on a Millennium fever, because I did the Eclipse and that felt like real and it was a real moving experience. You could actually see it where we were and I spoke to so many people that were either too drunk to remember it or if they did see it they thought it was a real anti-climax. On the Millennium I just spent a quiet night with some friends.

Q: At one point you were known as the "the most hated man in indie music". Did the Media backlash leave its psychological scars?
A: Probably, I think its all part of being understood and misunderstood. Flaunting your individuality in a arrogant, youthful, naive way and getting a kick in the face for it - sometimes justifiably and sometimes maliciously. I think everything happened as it was supposed to happen. I've been reading a book recently about Mohammed Ali and didn't realize that he was "the most hated man in sport" for a long time just because he was being who he was, the same with John Lennon. They're like Gods and a speck like me is just happy to be still playing music.

It was a sense of humour and good friends that kept be going. Friends that tell you not to worry about it, friends that tell you its a load of shit or friends that tell you that you just made a fool of yourself - just friends that are honest.

Q: Do you still stand by what you said at the time and do you still believe that the "Swastika is a symbol of Peace"?
A: Sometimes its not what you say, its how you say it and in addition to that how it is then presented afterwards. Generally I think I was well intentioned but slightly over the top.

There's about 60 million trillion Hindu's that believe that the swastika is the symbol of peace and it was very arrogant of me to assume that I would be able speak on there behalf. But probably more people in the world that see it for love

Q: Do you believe that you've learnt from your mistakes?
A: Yeah, sure!! I'd like to have learnt more and I'm always conscious of the fact that you've got a long way to go. There's a price to self awareness that its almost like you've got more of a consciences to carry around with you, but it's worth it.

You can leave it to you're really late and have a mid-life crisis or you can start being honest with yourself as early as possible and you'll probably get further and be happy. It's like John Lennon day today and you can just see him in his 40's thinking "I was just running away from who I was, just running away from my life" and I don't want to be saying that when I'm 40 - I'd rather be saying that before I was 30.

I think if you can transform in lots of different ways in one lifetime then I wouldn't be surprised if you could carry that on to the next time.

Q: When can we expect a release?
A: I haven't finished the album yet. This tour is just trying out the ideas and then we'll finish the album and put stuff out in spring. Were putting little trailers and sound bites out over the web before then though.

Sony Music Website