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miles kane

In Conversation with Miles Kane

Adored by fans of indie-rock, Miles Kane is known both as the co-frontman of The Last Shadow Puppets, along with Arctic Monkeys lead singer Alex Turner, and as a successful solo artist in his own right. His last album, the glam-rock-inspired Coup de Grave reached #8 in the UK album charts and spawned a string of successful singles including ‘Loaded’ and ‘Cry on My Guitar’. Ahead of the launch of his new Motown-influenced album Change The Show, Miles Kane caught up with editor Sarah Taylor and Dan Knight to discuss the new record, his upcoming tour, and recent collaborations with Corinne Bailey-Rae and Lana Del Rey.

Hey Miles, how’s it going? Where are we speaking to you from today?

I’m good thanks, I’m in East London, where I live now.

So, you’ve got the new record Change The Show coming out in January…can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind it?

Loads of things really. I write songs for me about what I’m going through and how I’m feeling and I try not to let things get in the way. This record is more of that than ever. A lot of the songs feel like I’m just looking at myself in the mirror. It was all very therapeutic in a way, taking the lyrics on their own.

You’ve named the record Change The Show. Why did you go with that for the title?

It came from the song ‘Change The Show.’ It was one of the last songs written [for the album]. One morning, I was just sat on the sofa in my dressing gown having a coffee, watching the news. All stuff was going on in America with Trump, and it was raining outside. I had a mate staying over at the time, who was going through a bit of a rough one. There was so much negativity in the world, everything was really grey. And then we started doing this tune, I came up with this melody [he sings down the phone]. It was almost like a nursery rhyme, we took it to the studio, and you know, ‘Change The Show’, it was literally sort of changing the channel on the TV. It became this anthemic tune, and sort of glued everything else together ‘cause I needed another upbeat song with a big sing-along chorus. It completed the album and I love the story behind it.

Photo: Miles Kane via Press agent

There’s a huge soul and Motown influence on this album. Is that something you’ve always been interested in, or a new musical discovery?

I’ve always been into it. You know, growing up, that’s what my mum and my aunties would be listening to in their houses. You know, Motown, The Four Tops, Diana Ross. I’m the same in my house now, it’s my go to, I always just put it on whether I’ve got people there or I’m just chilling. So, it’s always been there, and I think there’s some [The Last Shadow] Puppets’ stuff that’s more in that world. I’ve tended to go a bit more glam-rock or a bit heavier rock’n’roll on some of the other records. This one, the songs were just a bit more naturally in that vein, and I have always wanted to make a Northern Soul record, but I’ve tried not to do it in a pastiche way, and still have a bit of an edge on it. I think we’ve achieved that.

How have things changed since Coup de Grace?

Loads has changed really. People keep saying it’s so different but, in my head, it’s not so different. I think stylistically it’s not as angry or aggressive maybe. I think we’ve moved a step forward. It sounds fresh. Each album, you want to grow, as a songwriter, and I think we did. The 11 tracks are so in their own world. They stick together well and there isn’t an oddball on there that doesn’t fit if that makes sense.

Did you work with new producers on Change The Show or did you find a new way of recording?

Yeah, I recorded it with two young lads Dave and Oscar from the band Sunglasses for Jaws. They’re an amazing bass player and drummer too, and their style of playing and their taste is so on point with what I like. They’re ten years younger than me and they reminded me of myself. I could see myself in them when I was that age, with their excitement. But they’re way better musicians than I am, like [laughs]! The way they were talking about doing things and their energy – it was a really great experience. And I know they sort of looked up to me and it was so nice to share the experience with someone new and fresh. I encouraged them and they encouraged me. It was just a great combination to be honest.

You recently released the duet ‘Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough’ with Corinne Bailey Rae. How did that come about?

I’ve known Corinne for over ten years. She did the harmonies on my first album Colour of the Trap. We’ve been mates since then but sort of fell out of touch for a bit. A couple of years ago I’d had a few wines in the kitchen and was having a bit of a dance round and one of her tunes came on. So, I text her saying ‘ahh bangin’, that tune!’ – it’s called ‘Paris Nights’ – and then we sort of rekindled our friendship and started sending demos and ideas to each other. She said, ‘oh I’m obsessed with this stuff, it’s going to be good!’ So, I said we could make it a real back and forth and do a boss duet. We wanted to do it properly, not just a token singer on the chorus, but something that actually tells a story, and you’re singing at each other. So that’s what we did, and it turned out fantastic. It’s something I’d definitely like to do more of.

You also got entertainment legend and fellow Wirralian Paul O’Grady involved with the album. How did that happen?

I’m a big fan of his and I wanted to sample part of this speech he did. I became quite obsessed with it, and I wanted it to open the album or at least open a song. When it came to mastering, […] was like do you want to get rid of that thinking it was just a jokey thing and I said no! It’s become part and parcel of the song now. It was hard to get the licensing for it, so we ended up contacting Paul and he turned out to be a fan of mine. He’d bought the last few records, so he called up and said, ‘I’ll just do it for you!’ so he re-recorded it before his radio show one day and sent it over. He’s an absolute diamond!

You worked on the track ‘Dealer’ on the new Lana Del Rey record – how did that come about?

We wrote that a couple of years ago. We went in the studio to do a load of demos and we’d written quite a few songs together. At the end of the session that tune just kind of – it’s so cheesy when people say – but it did just happen. In a few years I’ll be saying ‘oh I wrote the lyrics on a radiator’ [laughs]. It’s an intense song and I’m so glad that it’s seen the light of day. The way she takes it when she comes in with her soaring vocal. Its something that you don’t expect, and she’s never done. It’s very powerful. I think people are digging it for that factor. It’s got a unique thing about it.

Do you normally write songs in that sort of spontaneous way? Do the lyrics or melody come first?

Probably the melody comes first with me. Then you get an odd little word and start sewing it together. I don’t really like doing a whole song and then sticking something over the top of it. I like to do it bit by bit really. If you have lyrics written out before hand, I feel like it’s easy to sing and you can just kind of glide and go in any direction.

You’re going on tour in May – you’re playing the Albert Hall in Manchester and a big hometown show at the O2 Academy in Liverpool – what can we expect from the tour?

The setlist is just so undeniable and so exciting. We’ve got Ollie and a few different lads in the band. The setlist will be so strong ‘cause it’s the first time we’ve been able to pick from four albums. We’ll probably throw in a couple of [The Last Shadow] Puppets’ tunes, probably do a couple of covers. It’ll just be like an ultimate, uplifting, good-feeling party vibe.

You recently covered Womack and Womack’s ‘Teardrop’

With Brooke [Combe]! My cousin manages her, and he put me onto her, and she’s coming on tour with us so maybe at a few gigs we might do that song. We were talking about doing an old tune and she loves that song, so we thought ‘let’s just do it.’ We were going to do a writing session but then we thought let’s do something with no pressure, just enjoy ourselves and do a boss cover. It turned out really well and she’s lovely.

I also saw you cover Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’ on the Coup de Grace tour in Liverpool – do you have any other covers or surprises in store for the tour? Or any stylistic changes?

That’s what I’m trying to work out now. I definitely want it to look different. I really want us to be surrounded by big screens behind us, so we’re on that as well. Almost like an arena show, but in a club. Quite dramatic. It’ll be different for sure like! That Liverpool gig in Mountford Hall was well good!

Thank you Miles!

You can pre-order the new Miles Kane album Change The Show, out 21st January here.

You can buy tickets for the upcoming rescheduled Miles Kane tour, which includes a date at Manchester Albert Hall on 25th May here.

Tags: Alex Turner, change the show, Coup De Grace, Lana Del Rey, the last shadow puppets, wirral

Sarah Taylor

Head Music Editor @ The Mancunion. Freelance Music and Culture Writer @ DIY, The Line of Best Fit, Gigwise, etc. Avid gig-goer and alt-rock enthusiast! Twitter: @tayl0rsarah LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-taylor-48a562211/
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