Music interview '“ Miles Kane: '˜When I'm in a good place with the music, I feel like life is on track'

Even after all these years, Miles Kane still can't believe the resumé of collaborators he's assembled.

Thursday, 21st June 2018, 1:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 12:12 pm
Miles Kane. Picture: Laura Dukoff
Miles Kane. Picture: Laura Dukoff

With three solo records and two mega-selling albums with The Last Shadow Puppets since he broke through, the Birkenhead-born singer-songwriter still feels a pang of surprise when he thinks about all of his heroes who have turned up in support.

“Everyone still blows my mind, really!” he laughs. “I think Paul Weller was the big one for me. When he said he wanted to work with young Miles Kane, I think I had a mini heart attack. That’s a compliment that will stick with me for a long time.”

The 32-year-old has his third solo record, Coup de Grace, arriving in August, marking his first such venture for five years.

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Miles Kane. Picture: Lauren Dukoff

Not that Kane has been idle; for much of 2016 and 2017 he was on the road with The Last Shadow Puppets behind their second album Everything You’ve Come to Expect.

Even so, he acknowledges that it has been a significant wait for him to sink his teeth into a fresh outing under his own name.

“This record started to come together over five years ago, before me and Alex (Turner, Kane’s co-frontman in The Last Shadow Puppets) decided we were going to make a second album. Pretty much, all the songs I’d written up until that point ended up scrapped along the way.”

He pauses. “It’s been a long time coming, this one. There’s been a lot of iterations of it. There would be moments in the process where it was driving me crazy, where I was hitting writer’s block and none of the songs would stand up on their own merits.”

Miles Kane. Picture: Jon Gorrigan

He exhales. “Looking back now, I wouldn’t change what I went through. I’m somewhat thankful that it happened, since this is a significantly stronger record for having been through that process, and I think I’m in a better place as a result. I’m grateful for that.”

Does the musical process really help to shape his outlook? “It makes a big difference. I’m always evolving and changing. I feel completely changed to what or who I was this time last year and likewise, the year before that.

“When I’m in a good place with the music and I’ve got a few great songs under my belt, I feel like life is on track. You don’t have worries, in those moments. When you’ve got the tunes, it lifts the weight.”

Most of Coup de Grace was ultimately penned with indie-rock hero Jamie T over a period of fruitful sessions last year; all but two of the tracks that make up the album emerged from Kane’s post-Shadow Puppets writing boom.

He acknowledges that in order to make way, a lot of tracks missed the cut.

“I remember meeting my manager to look over the songs we had under consideration last year, and we had a list of around 45 to 50 songs.

“But when me and Jamie got working together, we really hit a groove and perfected this old-school approach that cohesively made for a stronger set of tracks. It was a quick and fun process, and that lends itself to the feel of the album.

Would he ever revisit his discarded material? “I was thinking about this the other day. Some of them, I’d like to go back to and listen to them. Whether they’ll see the light of day, I’m not sure. Maybe some will.

“It’s a weird thing. You sort of live past the songs you don’t use. Your emotions change about them and you get somewhat bored. You want to write newer songs, even though these are new themselves.”

Kane’s not just been laying down tracks either though in recent months; he also formed a Beatles cover band, Dr Pepper’s Jaded Hearts Club Band, with Matt Bellamy of Muse.

“The genesis of that came out of being asked to play a small show for one of the lads’ 40th birthday, in the band, and somebody rung me up and asked if I’d be down to sing some Beatles tunes. And of course you say yes; it’s pretty much a dream job! It keeps you match-fit, in a way, as well.

“There’s no serious plans for a tour; it’s very much ad-hoc, when we’re all around.”

Out on an intimate jaunt of his own, Kane takes in the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds as part of his cross-country trek.

Does he prefer the closeness of small-scale venues or is he just as at home in larger halls? “The Brudenell is a great little place; I love the homeliness of it. But whatever the size of the venue, it doesn’t matter to me, 
because I just love playing live. It’s great to get up on stage, play the tunes and let off steam.”

Miles Kane plays at the Brudenell Social Club on Tuesday July 3. Coup de Grace is out on Friday August 10.