Miles Kane’s latest offering, Change The Show, has been almost four years in the making. Since taking on this project, a significant amount has altered for the 35-year-old who has returned home to England after flirting with the American dream, and he’s now more satisfied than ever before.
Kane’s work with The Last Shadow Puppets alongside Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner initially dragged him out to Los Angeles, but now they are both happily back on home soil. The association with his famous bandmate is often the first thing that springs to people’s mind when they think of Kane. During our conversation, he openly admits that for a time, people failing to recognise him as an artist in his own respect did produce a sense of ill-feeling, and it’s been a long journey to arrive at the state of content where he currently finds himself.
Kane is no stranger to proving people wrong, and he is now more willing than ever to bring the fight to anybody who dares write him off. “I’ve always felt like I’m going up against the hill in my career, but I feel like my Rocky mentality is more than ever right now,” he tells Far Out. “We did The Puppets when we were so young, then so many people started slagging me off for being Al’s mate and not a real musician. When you’re younger, that gets to you,” Kane candidly adds.
Before The Last Shadow Puppets, Kane had been in underground bands The Little Flames and The Rascals. However, most weren’t aware of his other material, failing to appreciate that he was an equally important component of the band as Turner.
“Obviously, with time and getting older, I don’t feel like that’s the case now, but that did last with me, and it still haunts me sometimes. For a long time, I found it hard getting shit all the time, but I’ve got Rhino skin now and won’t even engage,” he vigorously says.
This self-belief and boxer’s spirit have helped Kane immeasurably stay focused on the task ahead. Even though he’s now on his fourth solo album, he has not lost his appetite to treat every record with the same tenacity as he did for his 2011 debut, Colour Of The Trap.
Change The Show has been in the works for a few years, but it wasn’t until a chance encounter in the pub that its luxurious retro sound was born. The duo Sunglasses For Jaws produced the record, creatives that Kane got to know through a mutual friend at his local drinking establishment in Bethnal Green. At first, he was hesitant to agree to their plans, but Kane eventually caved, and he knew after one session that he wanted them to make the album. “Their style of playing, their taste, and mindset is so similar to mine, so it was something that I hadn’t felt for a long time,” Kane reflects about that first session. “It was really fun, it was in the summer. It was great.”
While he’s a solo artist, Kane still gets a thrill from working with others. Another crucial member of his network is London-based songwriter Jamie Biles, who helped immeasurably with Change The Show. “Me and him (Biles) have had a long-standing thing where even if I’ve written a tune, we can finish it off together, or I’ll just write on my own in the house and then take it to the lads to make it sound proper,” he says about his current creative process.
Kane is currently relishing being back in London and has formed a close-knit team of musicians around him since returning home. However, he has no regrets about his years spent in Los Angeles, which were fruitful, and he learnt an abundance about himself thanks to leaving his comfort zone. “I went over there for the second Puppets record, and it was a fantastic time and opportunity. When I got back to doing my own thing, my work is over here, and it’s where my bread and butter is and where I belong. I’ve been so happy since I’ve come back and getting stuck in. I don’t want to be dallying. I’m a grafter,” he says energetically.
“I had no ties, really, and it was kind of like if I didn’t do it then, I probably wouldn’t have done it generally. Life changes, and that was my opportunity,” Kane says about his decision to move to America.
While he was Stateside, Kane grew close to Lana Del Rey, who co-wrote his 2018 track ‘Loaded’, and he returned the favour on ‘Dealer’, which the Wirral native also provided vocals on too. Both songs came from the same recording session, and he says there’s a lot more they made together that could one day be released. “We did so many songs,” Kane reminisces. “I think I was sorting flirting about putting it on an album, then she was, and then I got a call a few months back where she said she wanted to stick that out,” he says about the Blue Banisters track.
Kane added: “That was the one song from the demo’s we did that had something really special, and it’s so real. The way she comes in and soars on her vocal is something that I think nobody has ever heard before. I like that she’s just kept it as the original demo we did when we wrote it.”
Elaborating on how much they wrote together, Kane notes, “There’s quite a lot, y’know. Probably enough for an album, we’d still need to finish some bits off, but there’s definitely some completed tunes.”
While those songs could surface eventually, Kane isn’t currently struggling for material, and he tells Far Out that he’s never been more prolific.
The overarching sentiment from Change The Show is one of positivity, and the singer oozes that same lust for life during our conversation. The 35-year-old reveals: “I’ve never written as many songs as I have in the last couple of years. ‘Cos I’m happy, I’m writing songs, and that makes me happy.”
This journey of growth that Kane has gone on since returning to the motherland is evident on his new record, which is brimming with confidence and is his most assured solo outing yet.
“The lyrics are so personal to me,” The Last Shadow Puppet proudly says. “I was just writing for myself, really, and it’s not really about breaking up with a girl, or this or that. It’s more just looking at yourself in the mirror, and it’s got a bigger meaning for me than an album about love.”
Kane is now finally at peace with the chip that once sat on his shoulder, and taking time out to reflect on himself has not just birthed the feel-good Change The Show but has revitalised him as a person too.
Change The Show is out now via BMG.