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Miles Kane’s magnificent new album wasn’t meant to be an observation on ageing. In fact, he didn’t know it was until Change The Show was recorded and people began pointing it out.

“I listened back to the lyrics and realised they were right,” says the still boyish musician who turned 35 in March. “I could front it out and pretend the stories are about someone else, but what’s the point? These are the most honest songs I’ve ever written. The album is me, as I am now. Old, apparently.”

More mature maybe, but surer of himself than ever before and considerably more content. Relocating to London from L.A. just prior to the release of 2018’s Coup De Grace, a Top 10 solo album, was a turning point.

“I moved to Bethnal Green and came back down to earth,” says Miles, only half-joking. “Visually, it’s a world away from L.A. I felt like a kid going home to me mam’s – comfortable, content, with my old drive back. That had a big impact on my writing, plus it helped me as a person. Suddenly, I could see what’s important.”

Change The Show is a joyous, sax-soaked, Motown-meets-Northern Soul record that fizzes with fun and is littered with witty, tongue-twister lyrics. A Lily Savage cameo opens the infectious first single Don’t Let It Get You Down. Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough is a jubilant, piano-driven duet with Corinne Bailey Rae.

Between looking back at his L.A. years and poking fun at himself, Miles muses on friendship, feelings, his rollercoaster career and finally finding his feet.

“When you’re young, you make a bit of money and you’re surrounded by beautiful people, it’s easy to get caught up in a certain lifestyle,” he says ”I’d come to the end of my tether with that.”

“L.A. is okay if you’re famous or filthy rich, but I always half felt like I was on holiday over there. I write songs for a living. I can do that anywhere. The moment the penny dropped, I was itching to come home.”

As soon as he did, he started writing soulful, upbeat songs. For two years between touring he continued, recording them as high-end demos at the Hackney studio of producer Jamie Biles. By January last year, Change The Show was nearly complete. Or so Miles thought.

During lockdown he got talking to his near neighbours, the psych-rock duo Sunglasses For Jaws, who invited him to their studio when restrictions eased in early summer. For fun, they recorded the soul stomper Tell Me What You’re Feeling, a tongue-in-cheek tale of escape. Or as Miles puts it, “of looking at beautiful things and knowing you can’t be arsed with any of it.”

Both the vibe of the song and energy of duo Dave and Oscar made Miles rethink Change The Show. He still loved the songs, but he wanted them to be looser, more live and less polished than the demos. The trio, along with multi-instrumentalist Joao Mello on sax and piano, re-recorded the entire album in a couple of weeks in the no-frills studio. Holly Quin Ankrah, borrowed from Liam Gallagher’s band, dropped by to add backing vocals.

“Dave and Oscar are a decade younger than me,” says Miles. “The weird thing was I saw myself in them – their love of Scott Walker and Serge Gainsbourg, the tones they use, their style. We were recording these songs that I didn’t realise were about me getting older while I felt like a kid again.”

Change The Show opener Tears Are Falling theatrically sets the scene. ‘I’m done with playing the fool… Tired of breaking all the rules,’ sings Miles in a striking soft croon, a million miles from the shouty style of Coup De Grace. He inhabits a forlorn character – ‘An old-school orchestrator/A forgotten cocktail shaker’.

“It’s hard to admit that’s me, to portray myself in that way,” he says. “That’s probably why I didn’t realise I was writing about myself. It sounds like I’ve turned into a right bore, doesn’t it? Have I? I hope not.

“I definitely pushed myself with the lyrics. Profound? I wouldn’t go that far. Deeper, for sure. And there are no cop-out la la la’s anymore. My writing has improved and so has my singing.”

The Lily Savage intro to Don’t Let It Get You Down came about because Miles was watching a skit by the comedian on YouTube during recording and sampled it.

“I don’t know why, but it struck me as the perfect intro, a rant about the new and topical,” he says. “Unfortunately the BBC, who owned the rights, wanted a ton of money for it. Someone contacted Paul O’Grady, turns out he’s a fan and he made a new version. I’d never met him before, but we spent an hour on the phone like two old Scouse nans and he nailed it first time. No directions needed. The guy’s a superstar.”

In the song, Miles catches their reflection ‘in the backseat of a Chevrolet from Hollywood to east L.A.’ over surf guitars and piano that pays tribute to The Style Council.

“I love those fruity chords,” says Miles. “The song is about the temptations out in L.A. and my paranoia. I’m easily overwhelmed, but I’m trying to resist being sucked in and dragged down. Thankfully, I’m much better at that these days.”

Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough became a duet during the second lockdown. Miles and Corinne were sending each other songs one evening, separately swilling rosé, when she suggested it. A few lyric twists later and the pair were a couple, caught between flirting and an argument.

“I love the back and forth between us,” says Miles. “I wanted an Ike and Tina vibe, not a gratuitous guest. Unfortunately, we had to record it remotely, but we’ll perform it on stage together I’m sure.”

The soaring singalong See Ya When I See Ya – think pre-disco Bee Gees-meets- solo John Lennon – is a kiss-off to Miles’ old self, the Mr Johnny Know It All in the lyrics.

“Yup, I’m afraid that is me, again,” he admits. “But I’m letting someone else be that guy now, walking around, head in the clouds. I just want to stay in my own lane, mind my own business, ignore what’s going on elsewhere.”

Never Get Tired of Dancing was written with Simon Aldred of Cherry Ghost after the pair had a boozy night out, returned to Miles’, put on the Best of Motown, moved the furniture and danced until dawn. At the next day’s session, neither could move.

“We were so hungover we didn’t have an idea between us,” says Miles, “Then we started talking about how much fun we’d had and wrote the song in two hours. It’s literally what happened that night.”

The country-tinged Coming Of Age surely alerted Miles to the theme of ageing?

“It should have, right?” he says. “The remedies I refer to are obviously drugs. I was too happy with the harmonies on the chorus to make the connection. They give it a Roy Orbison/Blue Velvet vibe.”

The Diamond Dogs-era Bowie-influenced title track and future single Change The Show was written by Miles while watching the news one morning, on the sofa, in his underpants

“I’m not a political person, but there is so much injustice around right now,” he says. “So much bad news and negativity. I was angry. I captured that moment. For once, it’s not about me!”

Closer Adios Tara-tara is playful nonsense about confidence. Or maybe Countdown.

“That one is a bit of fun,” says Miles. “Added late because I wanted a proper closer. This is the most coherent album I’ve ever made. It’s the most meaningful and the most authentic.’
New album ‘Change The Show’ is out January 21st on BMG Records