Miles Kane may have risen to prominence as frontman of The Rascals and one half of The Last Shadow Puppets, alongside his mate and frequent collaborator Alex Turner, but the sharply-dressed singer has since built a successful solo career.
This month sees the release of his second album. Don’t Forget Who You Are is another collection of impeccably turned-out indie rock, with mod and garage rock nipping at its heels. Kane says that he just wanted to make something fun. “I wanted to make a record for a Saturday night,” he says, “something for you to chuck on when you’re having a few drinks before you go out, to get you in the mood. Something like (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? that will just lift you right up.”
The songs have a very raw and immediate feel to them, and Kane says that this is an attempt to capture the energy and excitement of his live show. “We did the bass drums and rhythm guitar live, then I did all the vocals and extra guitars on top,” he explains. “When you play live, every song gets kicked up into the next gear, because you have that sense of urgency.” Jack White is known for taking a similar approach, and Kane says that he was a big influence. “I love the sound of Jack White’s records, and I went and saw him every time he played in London last year. I wanted something that sounded like one of his – something that keeps the energy and excitement up the whole time.”
Kane has worked with various bands before, not least The Last Shadow Puppets, so I ask if going solo makes for a lonelier time in the studio. He insists that this isn’t the case. “I’m very fortunate, because I’ve worked with some great people on this record,” he says, “and I have a great band that I’ll be touring with. I’ve never felt as happy in my whole life. I’m just so happy with the music I’m making. I really enjoy being on my own – not in a loner way, because I’ve worked with great people, and I really enjoy bouncing off them and hearing their ideas. I like to be free to do that if I want, or not do that if I want, you know?”
When picking an image for the record’s cover, Kane wanted something that would truly resonate with the title Don’t Forget Who You Are. A photograph of him standing in front of his mum’s butcher shop in Liverpool seemed like the perfect pic. “I used to work there as a kid, on the holidays,” he says with a laugh. “It used to be my nan’s, and now it’s my mum’s. I remember seeing old pictures of George Best – he’d go home to the old council estate in a fur coat. I like the contrast there, looking sharp in that setting, and I wanted something that told a similar story.”
Needless to say, the shoot proved to be an eventful one. “The shop is in the market in Liverpool,” Kane explains. “We went there quite early in the morning, so there weren’t too many people around, but it’s still a very busy place.” There were lots of old women there, getting their morning shop done, and Kane’s photo shoot proved quite a hit with them. “They were fussing over me a bit, making a big deal,” he says. “It was fun. They were loving it.” Having your cheeks pinched by blue-haired grannies as they ponder the perfect cut of meat – being a rock star is a difficult business, but someone has to do it.
BY ALASDAIR DUNCAN
Don’t Forget Who You Are out now through Sony.