There’s more to Miles Kane than sharp suits and model girlfriends. ShortList‘s Emily Phillips searches for the man behind the leopard print jacket
Miles Kane has been holed up in his publicist’s chintzy meeting room for hours. But despite the Brittas Empire vibe – all plastic plants, Nineties conference furniture and Guantanamo strip lighting – he’s exuding stage-ready energy, impeccably clad in a slim-cut charcoal suit, fine burgundy knit and navy suede loafers. Complete with tassels, naturally.
Sharp mod style and rock star charisma has won Kane a clutch of famous friends – from indie influencers such as the Gallaghers, Paul Weller and Alex Turner, to fellow Sixties-obsessive Everton footballer Leighton Baines, not to mention a string of model exes. But, as ShortList discovers, he’s more than just a haircut fresh from magazine party pages: he’s a grafter who loves what he does.
He’s also a mover. Constantly shifting his weight in the chair, he even jumps up to showcase his trademark guitar god leg-bend. Thankfully, he sat still just long enough to talk us through his new album Don’t Forget Who You Are, fashion and his boundless excitement to get back to “friggin’ giggin’”.
This is your second solo album. Is it lonely working alone?
Sometimes it can get maudlin. But ideas can flow easily. I tend to worry about stuff sometimes, but if I do a new tune and it turns into something good, I feel complete. I’m very honest with my feelings. I’m always straight down the line. On this album, I didn’t want to hide anything. It’s just letting it all out there.
Which song are you most proud of?
Don’t Forget Who You Are. The lyric [goes] “Don’t let your worries dictate who you are”. Sometimes you can overthink things, and it can all just get a bit on top of you. So just remember to take a step back, and if it feels right, go for it.
This sounds like the start of your self-help book.
I could be an agony aunt on This Morning.
How do you feel about Bradley Wiggins and the mod revival?
I’ve always loved that music, I’ve always loved clothes and I’ve always had my hairstyle – it ain’t anything new for me. If it’s become fashionable and mainstream, then it’s good that people are getting into the stuff I’ve been into for years. As long as I’m leading, I’ll be all right.
You worked with Paul Weller on this album. Is he an idol for you?
Yeah, for sure. We met at a radio thing, and we had a chat about clothes and music. Then it got out in the press and it was all built up. We were like, “Sh*t, if this doesn’t work, it’s gonna look a bit friggin’ weird.” Thank God it did work. He’s very inspiring and encouraging, which gave me confidence.
Weller had young twins at the time – was he falling asleep at the mixing desk?
No, his energy was insane. On the first couple of sessions, we’d get in at 11 in the morning and be there until 1am.
You have an image as a bit of a playboy. How do you feel about that?
A playboy? Really? Not really. I’m just a lover. That’ll be me tonight now. “How am I a playboy? I’m only going to Stringfellows with three models.” [What I do] is a tough job. Models and whatever; it’s bullsh*t. But it’s good to enjoy now and again, of course.
You live in London now – do you still go back to the Wirral?
I go back quite a bit. I’m very close to my mother and I just did this new video where I went round where I grew up in Liverpool. I wanted to capture that, because it made me who I am. And my new album cover is in front of my mum’s butchers.
Could you have ended up working as a butcher, then?
Yeah, I did for a bit when I was 16. It’s all baking ribs and all that – it’s a tough job. They’re strong women. I was brought up by women. I have lots of cousins and we’re all close, but I’m an only child.
You’re really big in France and Belgium. Do you do anything for them that you don’t do for the home crowds?
French anecdotes? [Laughs] We did do a cover of a French song, called Le Responsable, by this guy called Jacques Dutronc, which I had translated into English. I’m a big fan of his. He was a cool mod, a bit of a geezer. It was cool playing one of his tracks, but I was playing it here as well. And I love Serge Gainsbourg. I love that record, Melody Nelson.
Where do you go for a big night?
The lads from The Horrors do a night in The Cave Club in Highbury. They know all those boss Northern Soul nights, and I do like that. Some of those nights can be a bit fancy dress. I just like a bar that has good tunes on.
Next stop: Kane’s Bar?
Yeah. My dad used to have a café called Kane’s Café. I could have a little mod café.
What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you on stage?
I’ve had a trouser split. I was wearing some red trousers and I have a bit of a move [he kindly demonstrates], and I was mid-bend and I felt it go. I didn’t want to turn round, because I didn’t know how far it had gone up my arse.
Do you buy a lot of vintage clothing?
No, never. I don’t like it. Girls pull it off better – there’s a better range. I’m a fussy b*stard, and I’m not into the vintage thing.
So which fashion designers do you like?
I like it to be new and to feel current. I love Adrien Sauvage, Burberry, Sandro – they’re really cool. I’ve been going through a John Smedley phase – I love the roll-necks. Russell & Bromley shoes are classic. For a photoshoot, I have these amazing Jimmy Choos that are really outlandish.
Everton’s Leighton Baines has become a good mate of yours. Is he different to other footballers?
I’ve never really hung out with any other footballers, but you can just tell when someone’s a nice lad. Leighton’s very grounded, very real. He’s married, he has kids, he works hard, he doesn’t really drink – it’s inspiring. It’s the same thing, doing what you want to do. You have your dream job and you don’t want to f*ck it up.
What do you make of your mate Alex Turner’s new rockabilly look?
He’s got the face for a quiff. I haven’t – I’d look f*cking weird. He’s over from LA at the moment, so we’ve been hanging out. And I was in LA a couple of weeks ago with them.
If you did move to the US, what would you miss? Word is you’re into Haribo and Nando’s…
I do love both of those things. And Original Lucozade. I’m a bit addicted to it. The thing that’s taken over for me, from Haribo is Jelly Snakes. White packet, all natural. They’re nice.
Finally, we hear you’ve been reading Rod Stewart’s autobiography. Has it taught you anything about old-school rock stardom?
I can relate to it – it’s amazing, that book. I’d love to write a tune for him. He taught me to embrace [rock stardom], as he had a good time. And with 11 kids, he taught me to always wear a johnny.
The album Don’t Forget Who You Are is released on 3 June. Visit mileskane.com for tour dates