With a four-piece band in tow, rising star Miles Kane is packing out venues across the UK, and reaches Preston’s 53 Degrees on Monday. Malcolm Wyatt caught up with him on the phone from Edinburgh...
There’s a bit of a stir being created about Miles Kane at the moment, this affable lad from Birkenhead making a big impression on audiences around the UK and beyond.
He’s certainly put the leg-work in over recent years, with plenty of prestigious support roles, and lots of big names featuring on his records.
Now the former Rascals front-man – Alex Turner’s co-driver in The Last Shadow Puppets – is enjoying his own headline tour.
Miles is selling out several shows en route – including one at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room the day we caught up.
The same goes for visits to Brighton Concorde 2 and Liverpool Olympia, on a tour where he’s clearly relishing the small venue vibe.
But Miles also has a couple of big dates with his Arctic Monkeys buddies at London’s Finsbury Park in late May too.
And he has a series of further outdoor appearances ahead, including Kendal Calling in early August then V Festival shows in Essex and Staffordshire.
Furthermore, he’s all over Europe this summer, with festivals in Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Russia and Hungary.
But you get the feeling that – while the music press is carefully tracking his progress – success won’t change this personable 28-year-old.
And his live shows suggest there’s plenty of mutual respect with his loyal audience and his band, as those who saw him recently at Blackpool Winter Gardens will testify.
Miles is looking forward to his return to the area, having enjoyed a few previous 53 Degrees visits.
It took us a while to get a connection as he was “roaming the streets of Edinburgh” with his drummer, “the extraordinaire, Jay Sharrock”, who also features in Liam Gallagher’s band Beady Eye.
Asked if he was taking in the sights of Auld Reekie, he wasn’t so sure, telling me, “Nah mate, just strolling around, trying to find a coffee’.
We spoke about that night’s sell-out and the others already confirmed, and I put it to Miles that he must be on a creative high at present.
“It’s been fun – a lot of fun, and you can’t ask any more from the crowds that have been turning up.”
Did he enjoy his Blackpool show?
“Yeah. That was great. Actually, it was the first time we’d played there – like a lot of these cities on this tour.
“This whole thing just feels like it’s getting bigger … and broadening … it’s getting wider … and it’s getting taller!
You can’t argue with that logic. And I get the feeling Miles can’t be serious about it for too long. He’s having too much of a good time.
So what does he recall about previous 53 Degrees visits?
“I’ve done that venue quite a few times, but mainly as a support. It was one that got added on quite late, but it should be a good gig.”
Miles seems to be at the vanguard of a number of fresh new acts on the up – a relative glut of proper singer-songwriters and honest rock’n’roll or rhythm’n’blues acts.
“I guess so, I’ve been around a while though, so maybe this is more like a farewell tour!
“But I’m better than all those younger bands. I do have that to my advantage.”
I don’t think he’s being big-headed. It’s more tongue-in-cheek. If anything, it’s a justified belief in his own talent.
How does he get on with his support act, Anglo–Welsh four piece Telegram? And does he tend to stick around and listen to their set each night?
“Yeah. I go and have a quick watch. They’re a really good band, and I love their tunes, like the single Follow. Really cool.”
Miles cut his teeth with The Rascals, a band that evolved from his first project, The Little Flames, winning valuable supports with The Coral, The Zutons and Arctic Monkeys.
He went solo in 2009, by then having already seen success with Alex Turner in acclaimed ’60s-tinged side-project The Last Shadow Puppets.
The pair became good mates during an Arctics tour, their 2008 debut album, The Age of the Understatement, reaching No.1.
In 2011, his first solo album, The Colour of the Trap, reached No.11, with half of the tracks co-written with Alex.
Prestigious guest slots continued, including those with The Courteeners, Beady Eye and Kasabian, as well as the Arctics.
Then came last year’s Don’t Forget Who You Are, making it to No.8, its three singles and headline-making Glastonbury appearances keeping his profile high.
So is this tour leading to the third Miles Kane solo album?
“That’s the plan. Hopefully we’ll get something recorded by the end of the year. That would be great, releasing a new album maybe next year.”
Is this a good time to try out the songs on your public, seeing their reaction to them?
“Yeah, and we’re still busy, so that’s the best way, with this part of the tour followed by loads of festival dates.”
Will it be nice to have your name at the top of the bill this time around, after so many top support roles over recent years?
“It will. The last few years we’ve really connected with audiences, and now we’re carrying that on - in the interests of getting better all the time.”
On his last album alone, there were contributions from highly-influential artist slike Paul Weller, Lightning Seeds’ mastermind Ian Broudie, XTC frontman Andy Partridge, and producer/songwriter Guy Chambers.
So will there be guest appearances on the new album, when it sees the light of day?
“Who knows, man. I’m very close to some of those people now. It’s still early days, but we’ll continue to do our stuff and just see what happens.”
You’re clearly on top of your game, with lots of new songs to the fore and quickly becoming crowd favourites.
“Nice of you to say. I hope so, man. It’s a strange one, writing songs. Sometimes it’s very easy, other times a lot harder.
“We just want to keep this live feel we’ve got. It’s happening out there, so you want that on your records.
“We want this rock’n’roll, sexy soul riff we’ve got going on. That’s the way forward.”
Getting to know all those revered songwriters must rub off on you too, taking on their influences.
“I think so. Everyone you work with, it tends to rub off on you. And you learn some more by listening to records.”
Are there likely to be a few famous guest slots on this part of the tour?
“No guests. Not really. Well, I don’t think so, anyway. What are you doing next Thursday?”
He’s off again. There’s plenty of swagger with Miles. But a little bit of charm helps too.
After all that’s been happening in the Crimea, does it worry playing Moscow this summer?
“No. It won’t affect us. We went there a couple of years ago and we had a great time.
“I’m looking forward to it, and everywhere else.”
All this time out on the road probably means you’ve missed out on seeing your beloved Liverpool FC too.
“True. I haven’t been to a game for a while, but they’ve been very good in my absence.”
With out time almost up, I quickly ask Miles about his band, and how it feels to be trading under his name alone, while there’s clearly a proper group ethic about it all.
Are his band – namely Ben Parsons, Phil Anderson, George Moran, and the afore-mentioned Jay Sharrock – good company on the road?
“The band are pretty tight. That’s the other thing really. I couldn’t do what I’m doing now without them.
“I couldn’t put on such a great show, if it wasn’t for the boys in the band. They’re a great bunch of lads, and we’ve hit a great stride. Sound!”
And with that, Miles is away, to finally find that coffee then get ready for another wild night in front of an adoring audience – starting as he means to go on.
For ticket details for Miles’ March 31 show at 53 Degrees, head to http://www.53degrees.net/