Traversing continents Crispian Mills has left behind the Eastern Mysticism of Kula Shaker for rock & roll wholesale from the USA with his new band the Jeevas. Joined by Andy and Dan formally of indie band Straw they play familiar rock & roll through the eyes of wide eyed children dabbling in their parents record collection. We caught up with Crispian to catch up with all news since the ill-fated Pi project and found a man living the American Dream.
Q: If we start back about 2 years ago with the band Pi. At the time there was a real defiance and confidence about you after the savage press attacks you received in Kula Shaker. When did you start having your doubts about the band?
A: Pi was never really a fully consummated definite band. It was work in progress and the positivity that I gave off at the time was basically because I loved playing live. I hadn't done anything for about a year and a half and it was really good to be playing again. It was just a real surreal experience because I'd just got the band together to try some ideas out live and we ended up by accident going on tour with Robbie Williams.
Having done a whole tour by accident I was like well it works, but there's that missing special ingredient X as Austin Powers would say. I just sort of shelved it and scrapping something is always very difficult to do after you've put a lot of work in. But actually the thought of releasing something that isn't right is more terrifying than scrapping stuff.
Q: After Pi you then scrapped a further years worth of demo's once you met Andy and Dan from former indie band Straw. At which point did you think this is the band?
A: I was wondering what was going wrong when I met Andy and Dan. And as soon as we played live for the first time it was literally in 48 seconds that everyone was smiling...I knew that this just was!!! It was very easy to scrap over 2 years of work because this new stuff felt so good. It's like life is what happens to you when you're making other plans.
Q: Did you want to keep it just raw and stripped to the 3 of you because Pi was quite an epic sounding band?
A: Pi was supposed to be lo-fi big sound and there were lot's of interesting ideas there. I didn't just spend 2 years sneezing down a microphone. And I think the point with the Jeevas is we didn't really have to do anything, we just pressed record and if you're doing the best don't f**k with it - that was the philosophy!!!
Q: Like your previous bands, The Jeevas seem as if you've been delving into your record collection. It sounds so familiar, but at the same time totally fresh. Is that what you were trying to achieve?
A: We didn't really think about what it was sounding like or what the influences were other than when we started doing interviews and you have to start being objective. It's only when you step back from it that you realize where it's coming from. Real deep meaning come out of the heart of whoever is playing and I think you can have really complicated lyrics or big production concepts...or you can just have "Love Me Tender" by Elvis. For us it was just about being passionate and spontaneous and f**k yeah I feel alive!!!
Q: What are your ambitions for the Jeevas? Do you want to get back to the days of Kula Shaker and be a face of the Top 40 again or is it just one day at a time right now?
A: I think that however big a band gets, one of the most unfortunate things is where a band gets big and it doesn't get to grow into it's success. And I experienced that Kula Shaker and I've seen it with other bands and it gets to the point where the band are just freaked out by the size of the stage and they end up being engulfed by it.
I think you've got to get into football clichés and take each game as it comes. When I toured with Robbie it was like he was doing a week at the NEC in Birmingham and a week in Docklands and it was so mundane. It becomes like a job but even I got blown away in some of those venues.
Q: You still play a couple of Kula Shaker songs in your live set. Do you envisage a time where you can truly leave Kula Shaker and the Indian Mysticism that it represented behind you?
A: We play a few because they sounded pretty good with this band and there are songs which I wrote in that band which I'm very proud of. You go through lot's of different times in your life and different types of music means different things to you.
Indian Mysticism sounds very grand, but definitely I kind of grew up what you would call alternative Eastern Ideas. Just basic things like not eating meat and it just felt very natural to me and when I got into "ideas" it's really good for creativity. And I actually thing it makes life more interesting - the last thing I want to do is slip into a really boring mundane picture of reality where I'm going to crumple up into a big bag of bones at the end of it. I use the example of the Matrix film - I took that read pill and I'm very happy I did!!!
Q: I've read before that like all men you're ideas were formed by the women surrounding you. Is it true you got into the whole Eastern spirituality because of an indian girl you fell in love with?
A: I did. She was very very beautiful and without her I would never really have given a shit. Suddenly I became very enthusiastic. Whatever she wanted to do or whatever she was into I suddenly became a big fan.
Q: So finally I can only presume that for the Jeevas "1234" album you fell in love with an American girl?
A: I have to say that the American Dream and the fairy tale qualities gave me a bit of food for thought. Especially with the lyrics the studio was covered in Americana like posters of Lee Majors and Buffalo Bill and I started to get a bit carried away. It means quite a lot to me now and I actually think the whole world is living in somebody else's dream!!!
"1234" is out now on Cowboy Music / Setanta Records
The single "Ghost" follows on November 11th
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