Crispian Mills / Natural Magick Feels Like A Kula Shaker Refresh

Kula Shaker have just released Indian Record Player, the second single from their new album Natural Magick. Set for release on 26 January 2024, the new album marks an exciting return to the full original lineup.

“We didn’t have a jumbo jet or a Time Machine,” Crispian Mills told MetalTalk, “so instead, we got together with friends and family to bring 1960s Bombay to North London and played out our own little Bollywood dream.”

In the video, you will find Johnny Kalsi of the Dhol Foundation and a few other familiar faces who you might recognise from the band’s earlier videos. Following on the back of Waves, Indian Record Player is another great example of how the new album will play out.

“I wrote Waves driving home late after a gig at Manchester’s Albert Hall,” Crispian told us. “The song was originally much faster and more guitar-driven, but when we added Jay’s Hammond and that wah-wah guitar groove, it all fell into place. Hey, presto.

“Our second single, Indian Record Player, was written with Joff Winterhart and Simon Roberts from the Bristol band Bucky. It ended up becoming this epic homage to the golden era of Bollywood. It namechecks a lot of musical heroes, composers Nashad and RD Burman, and legendary playback singers like Lata Mangeshkar and Mohamed Rafi.”

“I really love those 1960s and 1970s soundtracks,” Crispian says. “Not only are they incredible songs, but the production is thrilling and completely insane. Bollywood producers of that period were heavily into Morricone and psychedelic pop.

“We’ve always shared that similar ambition to create a visual experience from a recording, whether it’s using sound effects, soundscapes or lyrics. As John would say, ‘Listen to the colours of your dreams.’ That visual approach was and always has been our calling card.”

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Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023.
Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

In the MetalTalk office, we’ve been playing the new album, and it sounds fresh and exciting. It certainly feels like every song has a story to tell.

“We recorded between breaks during gigging as it’s the surest way to capture that live energy,” Crispian said. “Much of the recording went smoothly and quickly. The longest part of the process usually involved finding the right tempo. The way an acoustic demo sounds, or the feel of a song played live, is rarely the perfect tempo for recording, so it often requires a bit of trial and error. When you see the engineer start to nod his head and dance about, it usually means you’ve nailed it.

“The songwriting process was fairly quick but intensive, with lots of acoustic demos. The return of Jay created a good wave of energy, and we road-tested a lot of these songs before we recorded them. Waves, Gaslighting, Natural Magick, and Taxes all got hammered live before we went into the studio.”

Kula Shaker - 02 Shepherd's Bush Empire London - 8 December 2022
Kula Shaker – 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire London – 8 December 2022. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Crispian told us that the new album is “almost a collection of singles.” This is not something we would argue against. “Every song stands up,” he said. “There’s a definite lyrical thread weaving its way through the album, with the forces of darkness and light battling for the eternal soul.

“But, on the whole, Natural Magick feels like a ‘refresh’, which is fun and exciting and much less messy than a rebirth.”

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