INTERVIEW – Miles Kane on his new album, getting older not wiser, wrestling & Lana Del Rey

Ahead of Miles Kane’s 4th album’s release, Change The Show (21 january), the prolific british singer & musician told us a bit more about his new sound and his new activities. Collaborating with Lana Del Rey, producing new talents, being reluctant about having a TikTok account (which he finally did), the way he would describe the « sound of britain »… Here’s how the pleasant chat went with the « Cripsy Turtle ».

SOB : Your new album, Change The Show, is out on January 21st. It’s quite a change from what we heard from you before as a solo artist – guitar music, loud riffs. It’s closer sonically to what you’ve been recording with other artists – the trumpet, the saxophone, the keyboard,… Can you tell us when, where and how you recorded it ? which state of mind led you to such a different sound ? 

MK : To me it just feels like a natural progression, I think… Maybe my last two albums were  quite glam rock and a bit more agressive, honestly. But you know, I’ve always looked up to songs that were in style of big band sounds, and soul and motown. To this maybe it sound more like the [Last] Shadow Puppets, that tends to be more rock’n’roll songs… and on this one, it felt quite natural to make an album like this and I just liked the songs really, it’s like the songs decided it for me really, this sort of style in which I recorded it, it just felt into place.

SOB : Did you record the album with a band in the studio ? Is it how you wrote it, with a band alongside – were the songs built by the multitude of players you were working with ?

MK : The songs were written before going into the studio. Once we got in the studio, the band wasn’t scared to add to it, with the drums and the bass it all started to fall into place. They really made my songs into that sort of spectacle in what they are now. I sort of knew in which way I wanted to go with it theorically in this new sort of style, lyrically for sure, and also the guitar sound I wanted, I wanted it to be more groving, more thoughtfull, and sort of rock if that makes sense. 

SOB : Do you feel nostalgic about this period you were refering to (sould and motown, northern soul), is it an era you wished you would have lived in ? 

MK : I mean I just like this style of music, this sort of sound. For me it’s like I kind of grown upon that, that’s the sound my mom and my aunt used to listen to. As a kid that’s what I grew upon. Diana Ross, Four Tops, stuff like that, alongside The Beatles, T Rex and all that. I know it feels different from my last album but in my mind it’s really not that different, if that makes sense, it’s just a progression, a different take on those songs really.

SOB : Will we have another album with guitar music or is indie guitar music dead to you ? Is it behind you already ? Loud riffs and all ?

MK : Never say never.

SOB : We really like the collaboration you did with Corinne Bailey Rae on the song Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough. Why her, how did you meet her and what did you think she could add to the music ? 

MK : We were old friends, she sang on my best album – The Colour Of The Trap, she helped with the harmonies and stuff. It was probably years ago already that we rekindled our friendship and we thought of doing songs together, we sent eachother ideas, and she really loved Nothing’s Gonna Be Good Enough, she said she’d like to sing in it because she really liked it. So it became a thing. And I think with the style of record I was making, it’s the sort of style that she’s in. It was like “Imagine it and make it happen”  and we did, it was like a connection and now that we’ve performed it live, there is this couple of things we did together, and even in the video, the soul… it’s something that I wished i could do more of, to be honest… Not just for the sake of it, it actually worked, it’s cool, it’s real you know. 

SOB : You’ve actually been quite prolific when it comes to collaborating with other artists, I’m thinking about Lana Del Rey recently, with Clémence Poésy back in the days, or Blossoms during the first lockdown. What are you looking for in a collaboration ?

MK : I sometimes feel I like I don’t do it enough, I should be doing more. The collabs that you just mentioned, it’s the opportunity to rose and explore it. To be honest I haven’t really planned for it. If it comes in front of me… I’m an open person, I’ll always try anything, to be honest. Especially creatively, I’ll always give it a go and if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay. It’s like I drop some of my own sanity, if I didn’t do something I’ll regret it or whatever it may be. I’m always hopefull for collabs, or try writing something. If someone has an idea, or it could be my idea… I’m not opposed to this at all, i think it’s a healthy thing to do. At the end of the day you want to make good songs, however they get made. 

SOB : What was the story behind the collaboration with Lana Del Rey ?

MK : It’s a great song. The way she sings on it… Noone ever heard her sing like that… thats  why so many people are liking it. Its just one of those songs. we were on the studio, we were demoing some ideas because we were writing together, we’ve written some songs, and then that song just came out at the end of the day. Zach (Dawes, ndlr) just started playing these chords and we started singing [he starts singing] “please don’t try to find me through my dealer” (she stand on alibis), I put that down and she took it to a completely whole new level with her amazing soul raw vocal and it was kind of “wow” ! And I think the rawness of it is what makes it so special. And the fact that she didn’t really changed it, that demo from that day, and I think it’s cool as fuck you know ?

SOB : You seem to have fun with other artists in the studio. Do you miss playing in a band though ? You’ve been on stage I think for the last two tours with the same live band but you’re not writing with them or even recording with them, correctly if I’m wrong but i think you’re not going in the studio with the band you’re touring with. Why ? Is there a Miles Kane Band that we will see one day, or will “Miles Kane” forever be a solo project ?

MK : I don’t know really, I’ve got a couple new members in the tour band this time when we’ll tour next year, we will change it up a bit. I feel like touring and recording is different, and when i’m writing and recording I’m just sort of in my own little bubble. I guess you can never really plan on it, it’s always about whoever is around at that time, if that makes sense you know, it’s not like a planned process to keep it seperate but it just works out that way.

SOB : You’ve started producing Brooke Combe. What’s the story behind it ? Is it something you’d like to pursue in the future ?

MK : Yeah she’s a brand new singer, she’s going to come on tour with us in 2022. My cousin (Alfie Skelly, ndlr) manages her, he played me her music and was kind of blown away, and I think you know, it’s important to encourage younger people and it’s not like I’m super old but I’m 35 now and you know, to see people in their early 20s who are figuring out who they wanna be and in what kind of music they have talent, if I can help them or like encourage them, and more importantly make them try things and not be afraid, and sort of believe in themselves, I find that a succulent thing and I’d like to do more of that to be honest. And you know when I was in their condition, when i was in my early twenties, someone like Paul Weller would call me up and wanted to work with me, and he gave me advice. So I’m just sort of.. now that I am ten years older, I’m just passing on my own advice, it’s not necessarly like it’s gonna make or break them you know, but it will help them hopefully, find oud who they wanna be. 

SOB : They’re 20 now, you were 20 fifteen years ago. What do you think changed ? 

MK : It’s obviously a completely diffrent world. Even to me, releasing music or doing music is so different from what it was, stuff you have to do now… I’m still getting used to all social media and stuff, because I come from a time where you know, i’m sort of in a middle where i’ve seen both before and after it so… The younger generation of artists they just see it as what it is today and maybe that’s not bad for them because they don’t have a pre-conception or they don’t think it’s uncool or whatever, they see it as normal so it might benefits them more you know. 

SOB : You mentioned social media and stuff, and we know that they have an impact of the way artists make music now – tiktok for example put the light on so many artists, lof of them apply like a tiktok recipe when it comes to writing songs. Spotify too, it’s more like you have to keep releasing singles there and there to exist, albums are not such a thing anymore. You’ve personnaly released singles before without releasing a full EP or LP. How do you feel about it ? 

MK : Thats just something i like to do. Albums take time, and i like to keep being creative and put new music out, if i can. Because I think it’s a relief, you know. I don’t really like holding on to songs for that long because you get bored of them. It’s sort of sad if they don’t see the light of the day, just because you’re bored of them, that’s a selfish thing, in a way. I just think it’s healthy for an artist to keep releasing tunes if they’re good you know ! If they’re shit, don’t insist you know… If they’re good and can add something to your repertoire, then you should do it for sure.
You know, I get told i should be on TikTok and I should do stuff but I haven’t done it, you know what I mean… I don’t know, I’m a bit reluctant about it…

SOB : You’re too wise maybe !

MK : I don’t know, sometimes I should go over it and do it ! 

SOB : And you might discover new artists on TikTok actually…

MK : Yeah actually maybe… and they can discover me and if i could be number one on there too that’ be great ! 

SOB : Is there an artist you’ve discovered in 2021 that you like ?

MK : I like Sam Fender and Yungblud, they’re two cool dudes I like.

SOB : Is there an album you’re excited for in 2022 ?

MK : Not sure, not really. 

SOB : Looking back in 2021, what was your favourite album out ? or a song ?

MK : I just can think of Sam Fender, he’s a new artist with an album out, i’m trying to think if there’s anyone else but I just think about him, I don’t know. 

SOB : You’ve also promoted another group we really like at Sound Of Brit, The Lathums, managed by Alfie [his cousin he previously mentioned] as well. 

MK : They’re great, their album is ace. 

SOB : Our media is called Sound Of Brit, what would be Miles Kane’s definition of the “sound of Britain” ? How would you describe it to french people ? We’re trying to put our finger on the exact definition.

MK : Well you can’t really put this sound into one box. But if I had to describe it, I guess it’ll be “thoughtfull and real”.

SOB : We saw on Instagram that you’re really into wrestling. Is it something you will do in the future ?  You said you were into production now, that was the next step in your career. In 10 yearsyou’ll be a wrestler maybe ?

MK : In my dreams yeah…

SOB : You’re playing at Olympia in Paris in a few weeks. What’s your opinion on the french audience ?

MK : The french crowd is the best really ! I mean since i’ve been in a band or a musician starting from 17-18, whatever the band, the project, I’ve always come over there, it’s almost like the same as being in England for me, being in France, especially in Paris, it’s the same as being in London, we’ve played there so many times. I get as excited to go there as I was the first time… And the Olympia, it’s the best venue in the world ! I love the french people, so fucking… You know, it’s like a match made to happen and I just wish I’ll still be around to go back there you know. 

SOB : You have four shows next april in France. We’re very lucky to have you over for so many shows. Hopefully some festivals too ? 

MK : Well for me too, I can’t wait to see you all. We’ll see ! 

SOB : Miles, we’re at the end of our interview, one more question. What would you say to our french audience to encourage them listening to Change The Show? 

MK : It’s the best album you’ll hear in 2022 ! That’s all I can say.

SOB : Thank you so much Miles and we’ll see you in April

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Miles Kane – Change The Show

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