Having been a Little Flame, a Rascal and one half of The Last Shadow Puppets, Miles Kane has stepped out in his own right, establishing himself as a solo artist over the last 12 months. With our current issue, Q309 out until the end of this week, featuring a review of the singer’s recent shows in France, plus with his UK tour kicking off next month and a brand new EP, First Of My Kind, out on 21 April to mark Record Store Day, we caught up with Mr Kane for an extended chat.
How the devil are you?
“I’m really good thanks, sound.”
You’ve got a new single out to kick off your tour and mark Record Store Day, though The First Of My Kind is quite a statement isn’t it?
“It was written on the road, me and Eugene McGuinness [the singer-songwriter played guitar in Kane’s band last year] wrote it a few months ago. There’s a bunch of tunes knocking about from days like this. The lyrics are [sings]: You’re the last of your kind/ all in good time you’ll find I’m the first of mine. It’s showing confidence and a cockiness. It’s a great single to put out because it’s quite ballsy in a way.”
And it was produced with Magnetic Man’s Skream, an unexpected choice?
“He came in the studio with us. I met him in Australia a few weeks ago and he was in the hotel. He was really into his rock’n’roll so a few weeks later he came in the studio with us. He’s a great lad. Him and [Colour Of The Trap producer] Dan Carey did it in three days and it worked out great really. I can’t wait to hear it mixed now. It’s got the gospel singers from Inhaler too, it could be big.”
This is a stand alone release, have you thought about when you might do a second solo album yet?
“For the next record the majority of it has been written on the road. There’s a bit of time before our April tour, so I’ll try to tidy up all these bits – there’s a great new song we’re playing in soundcheck called Ticking Timebomb which could be a great tune – so if we can get ten of them to the right standard we’ll go in and get cracking.”
Talking of the tour, how are you finding it being the frontman now? You’ve made quite a transition from just being the guitarist in Little Flames to, via The Rascals and The Last Shadow Puppets, to being a solo artist.
“I didn’t really have a talent for singing at all to start with. When I was starting singing at 18, 19 I couldn’t really do it. I’d be in my bedroom with a four-track recording my voice and playing it back and doing that until I was in tune. It took about a year and then I would shout to be in tune! Over the past couple of years I’ve improved, but it’s this record that I’ve really learn how to sing. I’m still learning! But my voice has matured.”
So it seems has your onstage clobber, you had a touch of the Rod Stewarts on your French dates (see Q309), eyeliner… leopard print… you’re really going for it in the showman stakes aren’t you?
“That’s what I love. That’s I want to do. People like the Wellers and the Kasabians, they do it well. You look at the Jessie Js and all that world and then think of T Rex and that’s what they were like too. It is a show! You have to feel it. If you feel it’s right to wear a leopard print shirt and eyeliner then do it. And if doesn’t one night, you don’t. Some nights you may not point at the girls on the front row and some nights you will, it’s all feeling it.”
It’s hard to imagine you not up for it, you’re very much the showman aren’t you?
“I love doing gigs and I love being a showman and showing off. I feel so at home and stage and the more I do the more I feel like that. You’re growing. Right now I’ve never felt so comfortable as I do now on stage. You feel like you’ve come into your own a bit. You’ve been influenced by the likes of Weller and Kasabian and you’ve taken it on board and morphed you into who you are.”
Still it’s not all just guyliner, don’t you still play all guitar leads live?
“I want to still do all those bits. The way you play the guitar and the sound you’ve created over the last few years is your trademark as well as your voice. I think it’s important for me to keep that stuff. You’ve got the pop tunes but with all the surfy big fat guitar thing, it’s part of me.”
How do you balance remembering the guitar lines and the lyrics?
“To me now to play the lead and sing is like playing the rhythm and singing for someone else, it’s become the norm, but at first it was, Fuck this is tough! I remember when we were rehearsing up, I couldn’t play the Rearrange rift and sing at the same time because they were so different to each other. But it comes.”
And as a result you seem to have a very complicated guitar set-up ontsage. How many effects pedals do you have?
“Probably eight or nine, I think. It’s become my rhythm. I’m like Bruce Forsyth onstage, tap dancing on my pedals.”
Guitar pedals usually have weird names, what is the strangest you have?
“The Red Witch! [laughs] What does it do? It has a wobble which with the Memory Man and the Fuzz makes the sound for my tune Rearrange.”
Paul Stokes@StokesiePortrait Mick Hudson