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Miles Kane Interview

The former Shadow Puppet goes it alone

Miles Kane Interview

"I’m going straight to A&E after this,” proclaims Miles Kane, holding up his swollen left hand for inspection. You’d be forgiven for assuming that this model-dating, hard-drinking 25-year-old got this injury toiling in the rock trenches; that he sprained it hurling a TV out of a hotel window or had it trampled on during a frantic bout of stage-diving. Guess again.

“I fell over while I was out running in Liverpool,” he explains. “I went flying over a kerb. It was the uncoolest thing ever.” It’s just one of many surprises the Scouser unloads during his interview with ShortList on a sunny London roof terrace. Best known for The Last Shadow Puppets — his Sixties-infused side project with Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner — Kane is about to strike out alone with impressive new album Colour Of The Trap. And, mangled mitt aside, he’s got big hopes for his first solo flight…

You’ve been in various bands, from The Rascals to The Last Shadow Puppets. Why go it alone?

After the Puppets’ success, my band [The Rascals] split up. It took a while to realise what I wanted to do. It was a bit of a comedown period. But rather than starting a new band, I thought that I’d give it a go on my own. The person that gave me that kick-start was [Super Furry Animals frontman] Gruff Rhys. I met him when we were p*ssed once — we swapped numbers and a year later we went to the studio. I learned so much from him. I’m not afraid to do pop. Pop is cool as f*ck if you get it right.

Would you say you’re unashamedly ambitious, then?

Yeah. I’m not going to come out and be arrogant, or anything. I just want to let my music do the talking, but I want to get some rock’n’roll back in the f*cking charts. That’s the whole thing with this album, I think. Just because it’s got a guitar in it doesn’t mean it’s not pop. And it doesn’t mean you can’t dance to it. We need a bit of realism back in the charts.

Do you think it’s a mistake when bands such as Brother make Oasis-style boasts?

Totally. Liam Gallagher is the only person who can be Liam Gallagher. Lads try to be like him — we all grow our hair the same and have that swagger — but you’ve got to leave that stuff to Liam. Sometimes we all like a little rant, but you’ve got to be yourself. But I’m not afraid to say that I want it [the album] to do well. You want to be doing big gigs, get a bit of a light show, projections, stuff like that.

Speaking of Liam, you recently supported Beady Eye on tour. How did that come about?

I think their management got in touch after they’d heard [Kane’s songs] Inhaler and Come Closer. I’d met Liam in a bar once before when we had a chat and a fag, so I didn’t really know him, but it was great to be asked and they really enjoyed having us. Liam was watching each performance from the sides.

Did you and Liam hang out?

I only met him very briefly on the tour. I was waiting to go on stage on the first night in Glasgow and he came out of his dressing room and walked over to me. I was thinking, “Is he walking to me or someone behind me?” I didn’t want to chance it [laughs]. Then he just grabbed me and went, “I f*cking love you and I love Come Closer.” It was great.

Noel Gallagher cameos on your album. Did you keep that quiet on tour?

No. And even that seems like a big thing to some people, but it’s not. I was mixing the album in London and I was putting these harmonies on this song, My Fantasy, to give it a lift. He happened to be about so he came down, we had a coffee and he ended up singing on the album. It was done in one afternoon. Just having a coffee, a Kit Kat and a fag. It was a nice little thing, but the press have made it sound like we’ve been swapping lyrics every day and surfing together in Miami or something [laughs].

Who are your biggest musical influences?

John Lennon is a massive influence on me — everything from the way he sang to how he wrote songs. But for this record, it was a guy called Lee Hazlewood [who inspired me]. He made two records with Nancy Sinatra and they’re amazing, but his solo albums are great too. [I like] Serge Gainsbourg as well, and this other French singer called Jacques Dutronc. He’s like Gainsbourg but a mod, from the late Sixties. Dutronc, Gainsbourg, Paul Weller and Hazlewood I’m really into. I love artists who look sharp and make great rock’n’roll. Some people probably won’t agree, but, to me, looking good is just as important as the music.

Do you have any other style heroes?

Al Pacino. I love a young Pacino and Robert De Niro. Mean Streets, in particular, is great. I just love clothes. Even as a kid growing up in Liverpool I’d always have a good Lacoste trackie on. All-black, zipped-up and always immaculate. It looked the b*llocks.

What’s your summer style tip for this year?

Get a good pair of slip-on shoes — a good pair of loafers will see you through the summer. And maybe even leave the shorts for a bit and go for a lighter-coloured trouser.

So, what would be the most surprising fact about Miles Kane?

I love WWE wrestling. I went to watch it at The O2 the other week. It’s f*cking well guilty, man, but me and my mate went for a buzz. The other thing that sorts me head out is playing Fifa. And I like playing tennis. I’m getting into doing more exercise.


Yeah, I used to play a lot. I haven’t been lately, but I’d love to get back into it. No one’s really up for having a game now, but I used to just play at the local courts near my mum’s and coach a little bit in a local club.

And what about any unusual additions to your record collection?

I love that Kylie Minogue song Slow. That’s a great tune. It’s sort of dirty. I’d love to do a duet with someone like Kylie. You know like when Nick Cave did a song with her? Something you completely wouldn’t expect.

Something with Lady Gaga, maybe?

F*cking hell, yes! Let’s go there, see you in LA.

What about The Last Shadow Puppets? Will they ever return?

I was with Al [Alex Turner] last night and we always talk about it. We definitely will, but when we don’t know. He is like a brother to me, and we bounce off each other all of the time. It’s something that’s rare.

There has to be some friendly competition between the two of you, surely…

Yeah, always. If he sees that I’ve got a new idea, he’ll want to go and write something great, and it’s the same for me. I’ve got his new record now, so I’m like, “F*ck, it’s good, that...”

You had a small role in 2009 film Awaydays. Is an acting career beckoning?

Well, I’m a big Echo & The Bunnymen fan — obviously they were around at the time the film was set [the early Eighties] and we were covering a song of theirs in our set at the time, so that was it, one thing led to the other. Let’s just say Warner Bros haven’t been on the phone [laughs]. Although I did get asked to be in Nowhere Boy in a little cameo role. But I just feel like I want to make music.

Even if someone offered you the lead role in another Lennon biopic?

Ah, f*ck… I don’t know what I’d say.

Finally, any tour rider revelations?

Kiddies’ Supermix Haribo, Jack Daniel’s and Doritos. I’m waiting for the next level when I get clean socks, a PS3 and some luxury cravats.

Colour Of The Trap is out on 9 May

(Images: Jude Edginton)