The singer on his ten year career, European influences and the age old question: boxing or wrestling?
Lorenzo Ottone
14:07 19th April 2019

Few have had a decade as fruitful as Miles Kane. As well as releasing music with his side project The Last Shadow Puppets, the singer has seen his own solo career go from strength to strength. 

His most recent album Coup De Grace we described as a “blow by blow account of what Mr Kane does best,” detailing album tracks even further as “Evoking a James Brown inspired howl which retains and exudes just as much feeling as when the singer recorded the original demo, ‘Wrong Side Of Life’ swallows you up in the musician’s emotions as he sings, “whenever you love, whatever you leave, it’s such a dirty dirty irony, oh whatever the situation baby I’ll be there on my knees, not getting enough yeah,” whilst the wistful, crooning tendencies of ‘Killing The Joke’ interspersed with whispers of synths wash over you and pull you in like the tide.” It’s an accomplished record that saw Miles headline the illustrious O2 Academy Brixton at the tail end of last year. 

Now the singer is gearing up for a busy festival season ahead, which includes a stop at the legendary Isle of Wight Festival. Lorenzo Ottone checked in with Miles ahead of his performance. 

Gigwise: You’re playing the Isle of Wight Festival this summer, are you excited for it?

Miles Kane: I remember we went there a few years ago after my first record, when the [2012] Euro Cup was on and I wore an England shirt. We had a good time. This year we play before Cage The Elephant, I’m really excited for it. I’ve never seen them before.

GW: The Isle of Wight Festival has got a huge heritage. Marc Bolan played its first edition in 1968. Did he somehow inspire your latest album?

MK: Yes, 100%. I’ve always loved T Rex, he was such a great frontman, with loads of swagger. He also was an amazing guitarist. I’ve always been inspired by him when writing and playing on stage.

GW: I could hear late 70s punk and disco influences too. You also embraced the Tony Montana look…

MK: Yes, Al Pacino has always been an inspiration of mine. I love him and De Niro. The headband thing came on like in Scarface. I had wanted to do it for a while and now it felt like the right time to do so.

GW: Did you feel a natural need to move on from the mod phase?

MK: I still call myself a mod and love the mod culture, it is embedded in me. I still dress by that as well as wearing a jumpsuit and make-up, but I felt I needed to explore other styles that are still connected to it. I think you don’t have to always wear a parka to call yourself a mod. 

GW: How was becoming a guest designer for Fred Perry?

MK: It was so much fun, because fashion and Fred Perry have always been strong passions of mine. It was something pretty different for me going to their office and work side-by-side on the creative outlet with their in-house team. There’s a new collection planned for release that it’s going to be super sexy. 

GW: Talking about fashion, you have a close friendship with Daniele Cavalli (son of Roberto, the designer). How did it all kick off and how did you end up shooting a video together?

MK: Me and Dani met a few years ago through common friends. He came to a few gigs of mine and then we started hanging out together. He’s a lovely lad who does great photography, so I asked him to have a go at the video for ‘Killing the Joke’. We shot it in Florence driving a super-duper vintage Ferrari [Dino]. Dani is a car boss. We worked with a director called Manfredi Lucibello and I ended up playing an acoustic set in town. It’s always much better when you hang with someone who’s from the place.

GW: You have a European tour kicking off soon. Do you enjoy playing abroad?

MK: Yeah, I love it. I’m listening to a lot of Lucio Battisti and Adriano Celentano at the moment. I love his persona, he had such a swagger. I’m a big fan of Jacques Dutronc as well, I’ve covered him a few times. He had that tongue-in-cheek but very cool style that is something I try to have in my music. 

GW: Your latest album has a French title. Are you fascinated by Paris like Weller in his Style Council days?

MK: Yes, I love that era of Weller. It gives a sense of continental class to disco.

GW: You recently teamed up with CamelPhat to release a remix of ‘Coup de Grace’. How did this collaboration come about?

MK: My cousin is a hardcore DJ and he was in touch with CamelPhat. When I was on BBC Radio 1 I did a live cover of their song ‘Panic Room’, they loved it, so we started recording some stuff in the studio together and they remixed ‘Coup de Grace’.

GW: You’ve been playing for 10 years now, but you still have a strong fanbase counting many young people. What’s the secret behind this success?

MK: You don’t realise it’s been that long. It feels like a rollercoaster. It’s been up, down and sideways, but we’re still here. I l just love doing what I do and I’m grateful for being still here. I love playing gigs, singing, writing tunes. If I could do it for another ten years, I’d love that.

GW: Is social media helping you at all?

MK: I think Instagram stories are good fun, but you’ve got to hold back slightly. I’m not posting everyday life things like making a cup of tea. I think you have to keep a thread. I see a lot of people around me filming something that has not happened yet and you can’t even enjoy that moment. I think, though, it is nice to share piece of gigs or the music you like, it works to inspire people too. 

GW: Final question. Wrestling or boxing? You’re a big fan of Ric Flair…

MK: This is tough. Boxing has been creeping up there, but I drop my socks off for wrestling. Ric cracks me up [laughs]. When I was younger I wasn’t that much into him, but now that I’m older I get him. I love his style. 

Miles Kane plays the Isle of Wight Festival which takes place from 13-16 June 2019. Grab your tickets for the festival here.

Photo: Lauren Dukoff