Miles Kane is a renowned solo artist that personifies charisma.
Miles Kane has built an incredible music career since he started in the mid 2000s after first starting out as guitarist for The Little Flames and as the frontman of rock group The Rascals. Miles then went onto build up a stellar reputation as a solo artist and as the co-frontman of The Last Shadow Puppets. Throughout all of his projects, Kane has always imbued an infectious and mesmerising presence, whether it’s on a record or on the stage, he’s truly a musical powerhouse. Now, he’s back with his forthcoming new record, Change The Show, which releases January 21st and it’s a record that shows him in a different light.
On Change The Show Miles Kane has crafted a brilliant body of work that is bold and effortlessly cool. It will undoubtedly subvert some things you may have come to expect from the singer from Birkenhead. On previous albums, he’s been known for lively rock tunes that come at you full pelt. But what makes his new LP so exciting is that it is clearly the culmination of everything that came before. There are still plenty of huge singalong moments and trademark elements of his classic rock and glam rock influences on this record but most importantly Kane has traversed elements of Motown, Northern Soul, and slowed the pace down. By doing this, he’s created something very special with his fourth studio album. Change The Show offers a snapshot of a more maturer and sophisticated artist. There’s plenty of crooning, feel-good soulful hits, and in terms of lyricism, it’s his most introspective work to date.
Having just released his fourth single from the hotly anticipated album, 1883’s Cameron Poole caught up with Kane to discuss the new track Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough, the new record, working with Lana Del Rey on her track Dealer, and of course, the rumours of a new ‘Scarface’ reboot.
Hi Miles, your new single “Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough” (feat. Corinne Bailey Rae) is out now, you’ve both been friends for years and she did some vocals on your debut album but why was now the right time to finally collaborate?
It just happened really naturally, we’ve known each other and we’d hang out for a couple years and then you wouldn’t for a while and this has been over a fifteen year period. And then we sent a little text about a year and a half ago and I was listening to one of her tunes. It was a song called “Paris Nights/New York Mornings”. I hadn’t heard the song in ages, and just thought it’s such a great tune. So that song came on when I was in my kitchen and so I text her saying that I loved the tune. But anyway we rekindled our friendship and started sending each other some new demos and songs. when I was sending her some tunes “Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough” was the one that she picked out.
I think a couple of days later she told me that she can’t stop singing that song and I was like ‘we could probably rework it and then rewrite some lyrics’ because it was pretty much done. The verses always had that sort of gap in the middle where you could easily make it into a duet, you could have that back and forth and it would be like how duets should be. I love when a duet is almost a little bit like a call to answer. Do you know what I mean? Like you do a line, then I do a line, so it’s back and forth rather than just having a guest vocalist on the chorus. And then she did the vocals and that’s how it came about.
Change the Show is your forthcoming fourth studio album and it drops on January 21st 2022. It feels like all of your past solo work has been leading to this album, what were you hoping to achieve with Change The Show when you were in the recording process?
I think everything what you’ve just said really. I think stylistically, lyrically and musically, it’s the album that that has been hinted at in the past. There has been moments on where it’s been hinted at on previous solo albums, Puppets albums, and earlier work, and I think I was finally ready to make this record. The last album [Coupe De Grace] was quite glam rock. When I started writing this record, which was done over quite a long period, there were some more rockier songs, there were more slower tunes and then this sort of Motown/ soul vibe, which has always been in me, started to come out naturally. I remember making some little demos and wanting to do a sort of modern day Northern Soul album and have lyrics which are very personal to me but over these uplifting songs. Overall, that combination is quite exciting for me and that’s what happened really.
Following on from that, are there any particular lessons you’ve learnt from past experiences that you’ve channeled into album four? The whole record seems maturer and arguably a lot deeper when it comes to your lyricism…
Well that’s nice to hear and thank you for that mate. But yeah… or I’m just getting friggin old now haha, that could be the other answer to that. I really enjoy the lyric process and really went in on it and wasn’t afraid. In the past and when you’re younger, once you’ve done a song and demo’d it, you just think ‘onto the next!’ Sometimes you can’t be bothered or you just say ‘no I’m not going to change the lyrics’ they will stick, you have that mindset. When you’re young it is an exciting mindset to have and it can work positively in other ways.
But I just really wanted to go in on the lyricism, have no stone left unturned and it sort of captures me at this moment in time, I couldn’t have gone deeper with it. It’s my most cohesive album from start to finish. Even opening the track-list with a slow song like “Tears Are falling Down”, where the lyrics are really prominent in that song, I think it really sets the tone with what I wanted to achieve on this record. You always get told to put your fast single out first but on this record and I’ve maybe had the blinkers on more and really just stuck to my gut instincts more than ever.
You really have stuck to your guns with this album, even when it comes to the minor details, I love the fact that you were adamant about using the sample from Lily Savage on “Don’t Let It Get You Down” and it’s so nice that Paul O’Grady was kind enough to re-record that Lily Savage line for the track!
Yeah that was a thing in my strange mind which makes so much sense for me and it always has. Certain people might be like that sample is a bit of a joke why don’t we get rid of it? I don’t know, it’s just got to stay, It’s become part of it now. And I feel like I’ve got this thing with Paul O’Grady, we are quite similar in a lot of ways. And yeah, he was so so nice and ended up re-recording it because to get that original BBC sample for the 10 seconds was ridiculous money. So he did a favour there and turned out he’s a fan of my music and we had an amazing chat on the phone for an hour. So it was a beautiful moment.
As a huge fan of wrestling, if you were a wrestler and had a finishing move, what would your finisher be, as in move wise, and what would it be called?
Something like the ‘chaos driver’. I had this joke/idea of ‘chaos fried chicken’, there is something about chaos, wrestling, goes really well and my finisher would be something in a similar form of a DDT, so something quick and fast so that’s what it would be. But let’s go for the ‘chaos driver’.
My personal favourite on the record is “Adios Ta-Ra Ta-Ra”. It’s just gorgeous. Which unreleased tracks from the record are you looking forward to fans hearing and why?
I’d probably go with you on that one, so “Adios Ta-Ra Ta-Ra” and the first song on the album, “Tears Are falling Down” and then for an ultimate party banger to stick on when you’re getting ready to go out, I think “Never Get Tired Of Dancing” because of it’s riff. It’s almost got a Tina Turner vibe. I think I just named the whole record. I think they are the three that aren’t going to be singles or whatever but I think they’re the three I’d be most excited for people to hear. It’s a good mix as well because you get the picture/idea behind the album with those three.
Touring has always been an important factor for you when it comes to music, you thrive off the energy from the crowd and you always put on a show. Now with four albums worth of material & a few key puppets songs that you must surely get heckled for all the time, how do you decide which tracks you want to keep in the set? We’d love to see the return of some old-school rarities like “First Of My Kind” for example.
I recently brought “First Of My Kind” back and I think I’ll continue to bring it back because it was one of those songs… I think I had forgot about that song and it’s probably one of my best songs to be honest and we’ve been foolish not to play it. So that track is definitely going to be back in rotation. How do you decide what ones to play? It’s hard mate, you know. I don’t really like to play for more than an hour and 15 at the maximum, I think that’s enough for a gig. But I definitely just want my setlist to have a lot of singalong moments. So I’d probably lean more towards the songs that cater to big singalongs.
With the few gigs that we’ve done so far this year, we’ve only done a handful but the setlist has probably been the strongest it’s ever been. And I think with this album, you know when you go to a gig and there is that middle bit where people want to go to the bar because they’re playing track six or seven from a new album and no one really cares? I don’t think that would l happen, I think the set is now pretty solid mate. You can’t really argue with it and I feel very confident with it, It’s a good feeling to have.
I’m sure no one will be going to the bar mid set when you get back out on tour haha.
It’s not a secret when we say you’re a fan of Al Pacino and the film “Scarface”, did you hear they are supposedly planning a reboot of the film, let’s hypothetically say one of your tracks could be on the soundtrack for it, which song would you pick and why? (I’m not sure if the film has the green light yet but I keep hearing about it)
Never mind the soundtrack, I’ll play Tony Montana, I’ll be Al Pacino haha. I don’t know, I’m feeling something like “Come Closer” that gnarly rock and roll vibe.Or on this new record, I might pick “Change The Show”, so maybe that song as it has got that anthemic vibe. I don’t know, you could pick loads, what would be your pick? “First Of My Kind”?
This is more of a cliche choice but just because obviously it could make a good fit, I’d pick “Inhaler”.
“Inhaler” could be good…
But like you said, there’s a lot of different choices. I just can’t believe they’re supposedly doing a remake of it. So it’d be interesting if it does happen.
Is it official?
Yeah, I’ve kept seeing news about it over the last few years. So it looks like it’s in the works but it could be in production limbo or something, so we’ll see if it actually happens.
Very interesting, I wonder who would be playing Tony Montana…
Either way, if it does happen, your management should try and get you a cameo in it haha…
I’d be a tea boy, I’d take anything.
It’s worth acknowledging that Lana Del Rey dropped her new album not too long ago and it featured yourself on “Dealer”. Lana previously mentioned a while back that she had started a fun little band with yourself and some other members of TLSP. Was “Dealer” originally taken from this project and could we ever see this supergroup become a public thing?
Yeah, we wrote that song “Dealer” and there were lots of other songs written at that time, and we were going do this little project together and we went into demo the songs that we’d been writing together in my apartment over there. On the last day, I think Zach [Zach Dawes from TLSP] was just playing those chords on the organ and then me and Lana started singing the lyrics. The song was quite close to home at the time as I was going through a bit of a rough one. And we just sort of wrote the tune and we wrote that hook, it’s a weird song as I’m doing the verse, Lana then started screaming at the top of her lungs on her parts.
It sort of reminds me of Harry Nilsson’s “Without You” just because it goes to such a high vocal note and Lana has a similar sort of vibe in a way. But it’s one of those songs that has always been knocking about, I think we were going to do it and then it didn’t happen, I thought about sticking it on one of my albums but then it sort of wasn’t quite fitting in. And then Lana was like ‘I want to put that tune out because it’s amazing’. I had forgotten about the song and got a call from Lana and she wanted to put that tune out and I thought it was amazing.
I thought Lana would have done more to it but she kept it raw which I was so pleased with. It’s just the original way it was when we we wrote it in about an hour. That’s not even an exaggeration, and the song captured this beautiful thing that I always thought It did have. And then time goes by and you sort of question yourself with your choices but I think with the response that “Dealer” has had, I think it’s one of her most played some off her new record and I’m glad because you then realise you were right to make those calls all along, it’s a great tune.
I find it so fascinating that many musicians and bands, including yourself, have probably worked on so many demos, so many ideas, but then obviously they don’t always see the light of day, and that is understandable because you only put out your best work that you’re most proud of and happy with. But it must be so interesting sitting on so many different things for numerous years and then years later, you finally put it out one way or another.
Yeah, I’m really happy with it. I’m glad that it’s out. I think the song fucking rips you from your soul. Lyrically, It’s so quite dark but it’s also so relatable, so that’s why it’s cottoned on to people, you know, it’s beautiful really.
In the past you’ve collaborated with many of your friends who are also renowned musicians on your records and collaboration is a beautiful and important thing. On this new album however it seems like you truly have gone it alone (for want of a better phrase.) Obviously you have had some artist collaborations on it which is great but it feels like it’s been a project that you’ve 100% maintained your artistic vision on. Was this important to you for this album that there perhaps were not as many outside influences?
Probably mate, I think so. From everything from the music to even the visuals, I just wanted it to show the core version of myself. It’s just like classic sounding tunes. You know what I mean? You can branch out and don’t get me wrong, we all have different personalities and characters that we can display when we’re on stage and stuff like that. But for me, this album was just a snapshot of where I’m currently at and what I felt was good for me creatively and mentally. So I really just wanted to go in on myself and make a record that shows the ultimate version of myself at this time in my life, you know.
We’re really glad to hear that your move back from LA to the UK has been a positive choice and healthy choice for yourself. How would you say the move back home has affected your songwriting in general?
Well, I’ve actually been back for about three years now. So it’s been quite a while but I think i’ve got my rock-y mindset back. I just have that fire in my belly and all I can describe it as is a ‘rock-y’ mindset, I know that seems really over the top but that’s how I feel right now.
My Friend Tom Wells had a question he wanted to ask: Your record Coupe De Grace was named after and themed around wrestler Finn Balor and his finishing move. So with this new record, why did you call it Change The Show? Obviously we know it’s a track on the record but why did you go for that name?
It was a song for me that brought the entire album together. It was the last song that I wrote for the album and it’s one of those songs… here’s a story, these stories always seem very exaggerated haha… it was one morning and I was having a coffee and sitting on my sofa and the news was on and everything was so negative. It was just before Trump and Biden were going head to head and there was talk of the pandemic and there was all this negativity and it was freezing cold outside.
It’s just one of those songs, it felt like everyone was banging their heads together and there wasn’t anything positive in the air. And I suddenly wrote the tune, it’s almost like a little country song when you play it on acoustic. So when it was created, we recorded it, and it became sort of anthemic. It was kind of a no brainer, really. And it’s all about not letting anyone else’s show get in the way of your own show and keeping your own path.
I think it’s important to show some love to the band, how are your band doing?
They’re all amazing, Dave and Oscar played on the album and we’ve got Holly in and she did all the backing vocals on the album. She’s an amazing singer. So it really does feel like we’ve got a new energy especially when it comes to new songs and it’s just a great set. I wish I had some gigs on this side of Christmas, to be honest. It feels like there’s a lot to explore with the new dynamics and it feels like we haven’t even started with it yet. So I’m very excited.
In all of these bands I’ve had you know, I’m the worst musician in them. I get very humbled, I am so appreciative of any of my bands or musicians over the years. When we’re on stage, we are on stage together. You sort of push each other on and for me, that’s a great thing to have as it helps you grow.
Like I mentioned earlier, live performance is such a big aspect of what you do, the energy is always high.
For myself, it’s important to be a solid frontman and a confident showman, I know I’ve got that solid foundation behind me. So that’s why it all sort of works.
I know social media isn’t amazing, The Miles Kane fanbase is pretty active and they often create a lot of insane memes. Is this something you ever acknowledge or take note of? It must be kind of flattering I guess?
I guess so. I’ve seen a few of them do you know what I mean. I’m not too up to date with what the latest ones are but I’ve seen a few and then yeah, god love them, anyone who’s a fan or wants to stop and have a photo, it’s no problem for me. I wouldn’t be here chatting to you without them. Whether it’s oe fan or a million fans, I love my fans and if they want to make a mad fucking meme, they can go ahead.
Finally, alongside the album release and future shows, what’s next for Miles Kane in 2022? What are you hoping to do?
I’ve got my fingers crossed for the new album and I hope people like it and I hope it does well. I hope the album connects and it goes into people’s homes and souls and they get really into it, that is what I would love and hope for. I was just in Liverpool this week, recording some new songs with my cousin James and i’ve just got back to London now. So I’ve got one eye on another album and I just want to keep things going. Yeah, if it’s flowing, I want to just keep moving forward.
Photography by Lauren Luxenberg
Interview by Cameron Poole