Miles Kane: Perhaps sexy punk is the way forward

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MILES KANE is excited.
We’re talking on the eve of the Merseyside singer-songwriter’s spring tour, his second since the release of sophomore solo album Don’t Forget Who You Are, and  you can almost hear the impatience in his  voice as he talks about getting out on the road again.
“I’m pretty itching to get out there,” he admits.
“We’re playing some towns I haven’t played before. That was the whole point of the tour, not just play in the cities that we’ve been to before, but  to branch out a bit.
“I live to make music and play gigs. I’ve got a great band, it’s so exciting.”
It’s been a good year for Mr Kane. Handed a second on the bill slot on the NME tour, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, turning in showstopping performances night after night and unveiling new songs which  augured well for the then-unreleased album.
Don’t Forget Who You Are itself, especially, came on like a live favourite already, with its “la-la-la” chorus provoking mass singalongs midset. Not bad for a song most of the crowd wouldn’t have heard before.
“I’m very fond of a la-la-la!” laughs Miles.
“That NME tour was the first time we were playing all those songs – it’s nice to see how they fit in the set now. Don’t Forget… is probably our biggest song now, that and Come Closer.”
When the album emerged, four months later, it was to universal rapture: his time had come, was the general  feeling. Full of short sharp bursts of 21st century rock ‘n’ roll, it tapped into a vein of English guitar music that went from The Kinks through Slade to the Jam and Oasis.
It came with the blessing of many of Miles’ musical heroes; two tracks were co-written with Paul Weller, three with XTC’s Andy Partridge and the whole thing was produced by former Lightning Seed Ian Broudie.
“With the style of songs I wanted to do, they were quite direct and building those relationships with Broudie and Weller –  it was a perfect moment in time for all of us.
“Those are all  people I am big fans of, that’s half the reason why I am singing today. I am friends with them now and they are good guys.”
The autumn tour that followed was another resounding success, Miles admitting: “It definitely went up a few notches.
“In terms of people going crazy and having it, I really did feel it on the tour that we did in October.
“I definitely felt something change then, the gigs felt – there was a kind of urgency to let go. When I was a kid if I’d watch Oasis or Kasabian or the Super Furry Animals I just loved seeing the reaction.”
So what can we expect this time around? Will there be new material?
“It’s still early days on that score but we will  be spicing it up a bit,” he says. “We always throw in a cover and maybe there will be some b-sides, we’ll definitely be playing different stuff to what we did on the last tour,
“We’ve got a song called Give Up and on the back end of last year we started going into Sympathy for the Devil  and then we go back out of it.
“I did think about doing a new cover but then that kind of worked cool in the middle of this tune, it’s a nice little moment so maybe we’ll keep that.”
It may be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” for the upcoming tour  – but that doesn’t mean he’ll be resting on his laurels when it comes to making a follow-up to Don’t Forget…
“You’ve got to change it a little bit,” he says.
“I don’t mean like I’m gonna make an electro record but whether it’s more souly or more punky I don’t know –  I am just figuring that out now I guess.
“We all love rock ‘n’ roll  but you’ve got to keep pushing it forward or you’re just going to repeat yourself and repeat everything that’s been done a million times. You’ve got to have one eye on the next thing.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of Iggy Pop and that sort of simplicity, that  sort of punky thing is quite intriguing to me as well.  I’ve also been listening to a soul singer called Charles Bradley, who’s quite retro, quite cool, and quite dirty as well.
“Whatever music I make I deffo want  to have that sort of theme, those sexy sort of grooves. Maybe sexy punk, maybe that’s it!”
Along with his own tour, Miles is making a handful of festival appearances this summer – notably supporting long-time mates Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park in May then the V Festival at Essex and Staffordshire in August.
Talk of the Monkeys brings us back to the Last Shadow Puppets, the duo formed by Miles and Arctics singer Alex Turner. The band’s  debut album The Age of the Understatement was a huge success back in 2008, and overnight made Miles into as big a name outside his native Merseyside as he had been in it.
It’s a question he is often asked, but is there likely to be another Puppets record?
“It is something that we always think about and we do talk about it,” he admits, before adding: “but there’s nothing going to happen at the moment. One day I’m sure, but we’re just too afraid that we can’t do it any better!”
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