The journey of Deva Premal and Miten, takes them to all corners of the globe, touring constantly, sharing their music, their soul sound from a heart felt space. Joining Miten at their recluse in Northern New South Wales for a chat about his new album, Temple At Midnight we could see his love for a place that could only be described as magical.
It is easy to see how this secluded place at the back of Byron became Miten’s Temple at Midnight. The rain-birds calling, the cicadas chattering and the view overlooking the valley was a setting that artists around the world would pay anything to have. To Deva and Miten, it is their sanctuary, a chance to tap back into Spirit.
“You know when Deva recorded “The Essence” it had spirit and with Temple at Midnight everything was alive, it was breathing with the same spirit as The Essence. The energy in this house is phenomenal.”
We were seated on the floor, phone recorders on the table, chewing on chocolate coated raisins; such an ordinary, everyday occurrence, yet something was different. Miten was right, you could feel the energy. The same energy on the album was still there and it alive.
It is little wonder then that this is where the magic happens for Deva and Miten. After 25 years and 22 albums, the dynamic duo of Kirtan (or trio when Manose, their Bansuri playing friend is around) are still inspired, enough to have consecutive projects on the go.
“We are putting together Deva’s new album which will capture the same spirit as the Temple album and we are writing a book, a coffee table book of mantras and our life.”
The mantra life of Deva Premal and Miten is world’s away from the life Miten lived in the 70’s, touring with Fleetwood Mac, Fairground Convention, Lou Reed and Hall and Oats. Opening for these iconic bands gave him opportunities a rock star only dreams of like performing at Wembley Stadium but that all stopped suddenly.
“The voice of destiny made me leave it all behind. I read Osho’s book of Zen Parables and I felt like he was talking directly to me. I couldn’t resist it. I was on the way down; I had lost my way. I had walked out on my family and one of the parables made me just pack up and go. No one knew where I was but that saved me and saved my connection with my son.”
Miten adopted Osho as his guru however he is quick to point out that for all his love and devotion towards Osho, it is music that has become his true guru, his ultimate teacher.
“Music is my guru! The spirit of music was never born, and never dies; it is alive.”
It is ironic that the one thing that was about to destroy him eventually became his saving grace. That and his deep love and connection with Deva.
“I was in a band at Osho’s ashram when I met Deva. There was an immediate connection. She is so much younger than me yet I instantly recognised her as an old soul. I met her, she met me and we live in the moment.”
It is this connection that we see when Deva comes into the room to join us. The bond between the pair is one that has lasted ever since the early ashram days and continues to grow as the impart their gift of love and connection with spirit to listeners and concert-goers around the world.
“When I met Deva, I went on a mantra journey with her that opened up with The Essence album, she had never sung before that, and a lot of my songs sat on the shelf. But lately they have been calling me.”
It was evident that they had been calling for a while. The Songs for the Sangha album released in 2015 hinted at the calling, especially with the song, Strong My Roots. And Miten’s roots are buried deeply in English rock starting with The Beatles.
“Well the Beatles turned on the light. They really did. When you are 15 year old impressionable boy and something like that comes into your reality…. It was a wake up call for England. You could see this wave of joy that swept all over the world. You know, All You Need is Love!”
It is fitting that Miten’s love for the Beatles has come full circle. Not only did he reimagine Norwegian Wood, with the help of his producer Joby Baker, he recorded the album in a live environment…a sound the Beatles used on many albums starting with the iconic “With The Beatles”.
“I was lucky to work with Joby. I wasn’t looking for confirmation but Joby’s response to the songs was so authentic and real, and he got what we were doing.”
Recorded in as little takes as possible and with very few additions to the masters, Temple at Midnight represents a rare vulnerability and devotion to his guru, music.
As the interview came to an end, Miten, with the help of Deva played a live version of the opening track, River Man. And it sounded as near to the original as you could get. It is at that point that the Temple at Midnight came alive again. In fact the temple will be wherever Miten lays his guitar, wherever Spirit decides the Temple at Midnight should be.
Take a listen to the full interview with Miten below:
Temple at Midnight is available in digital, cd and vinyl format from http://devapremalmiten.com. Deva Premal and Miten are currently touring Australia with all events except their Sydney concert fully booked out. To book tickets for Sydney concert, 7 February 2017, visit http://chrishooper.com.au
Download a free copy of River Man here