talks to... - January 21, 2022

"If you heard my voicenotes, you'd think I should be in an asylum..." - Miles Kane talks writing soulful new album Change The Show
by Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

"If you heard my voicenotes, you'd think I should be in an asylum..." - Miles Kane talks writing soulful new album Change The Show

It's been a little while since we had a new album from Miles Kane, four years in fact, it was back in 2018 since he dropped Coup De Grace. 

As ever, Kane hasn't been idle, he's written with other artists, including Lana Del Rey, and has been a key part of The Jaded Hearts Club, an all-star covers band that also includes Jet's Nic Cester, Muse's Matt Bellamy, Graham Coxon and Sean Payne, drummer with the Zutons.

Now though, he's back to his day job and a new LP, Change The Show, his fourth full-length effort. 

Written during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kane has billed the album as uplifting, saying: "I wrote songs about big highs, big lows, daydreams, true friends and deep feelings. I learnt to let the future unfold of its own accord, while staying true to myself and that has led to what feels to me like a really uplifting album!”

The album features a duet with soulful singer Corinne Bailey Rae and production from psych-rock collective Sunglasses For Jaws. 

As the album hit hmv shelves, we spoke to Kane about its writing and his hopes for the future...


It's been four years since your last solo LP, for long has this album been brewing? Have you been tinkering with it for a while?

"You never stop writing tunes. I ended up doing a couple of in-between singles, 'Can You See Me Now?' and 'Blame It On The Summertime' and that was the real bridging track, that's right between the glam sound of the last album and the more Motown and soul thing I'm doing on this new one. That tune made me feel fresh and that was the start of the road."


How was writing? Did you end up with a lot of stuff? Or are you a bit more selective?

"It took a while to find a groove. A couple of the ones at the start still sounded quite heavy. 'Nothing's Gonna Be Good Enough' was the right track I really had down for this record. Before that, I was still figuring out what felt good and what was exciting to me. That groovier sound, a mix of quite intense lyrics over a soul track, I really liked it. The guitars are thin and stripped back, minimal effects, that felt like the way to go."



You've worked with production duo Sunglasses For Jaws on this album, how was that?

"It was a really pleasurable experience. We did it live as a three-piece with a few overdubs, I loved it, it was like being in a band. We gelled really well, the energy was good, we got the vocals down fast. I had this album really mapped out, all the lyrics, all the melodies, I wasn't looking for much improvisation in the studio, it was more getting a vibe to get a good performance."


You did the last album with John Congleton, who is a very experienced producer, Sunglasses For Jaw are just getting started really, how did the relationship start?

"I've known them for a while, I'd see them knocking about in the pub and they were on at me to come and check out their studio. They sent me a couple of the tracks they make, it's weirdly quite like The Last Shadow Puppets, very soundtracky, quite leftfield, no lyrics. But it's very cool and interesting. I didn't go down there for a while, but eventually, I did and we did this demo of 'Tell Me What You're Feeling'."

"They're about 10 years younger than me, and their tastes and enthusiasm and energy, it really reminded me of what I was like at their age. We were on the same page musically and it's hard to find that. It was nice to make a record like that, with people who were keen and excited. If you've got good songs, it doesn't have to be a big producer, it's just a name. The vibe's the more important thing. They're really talented boys, why not do it with them?"


Normally the producer is the adult in the room, the one whose been there and done it, how was that dynamic?

"It's the first time I've felt like the old one, I'm always the young one normally. It happened fast too, we made a track a day so it only took two or three weeks to get it all down."


What kind of album is it lyrically? You've billed it as an uplifting album, does that go for the words too?

"It was a really enjoyable album to write. Sometimes I struggle with lyrics, I have real peaks and troughs, but I enjoyed this one. I enjoyed looking at myself deeply and trying to move beyond love songs. It's quite a selfish way of writing, but that's what I felt comfortable doing."



How are lyrics for you? Are you sometimes who is scribbling all the time? Or do you need a melody to get going?

"If you heard my voicenotes, you'd think I should be in an asylum. Just these little things all the time, 10 seconds here and there, scribbling things down in a pad. You'll be on the sofa and pick up the guitar and you can start a tune from anywhere. That's the same as it always has been."


When did you decide that Change The Show was the right fit for the record title?

"It came last, that song was the last one I wrote for the album. It was one morning, before the studio. The news was on the TV, it was raining outside and I had a mate staying with me who was going through a rough time. Everything felt so negative, I just went to turn off the TV and picked up the guitar and the words and melody came really quickly. My mate came downstairs and said 'That's boss, what's that?'. So I took it into the studio and we finished it off. It's this big anthemic tune and I needed a tune like that, a big sing-a-long. I didn't want to call the album after a song title for ages, but I felt like I was taking that position just for the sake of it. It's the right name for the album."


You've got Corinne Bailey Rae on the album, how did that collaboration come about?

"I've known Corinne for ages. She actually sang backing vocals on my first solo album. We were mates back then and we'd lost touch. One night, I was in the house, I'd had to a few wines and I was pottering around like Judy Garland. One of her tunes came on, 'Paris Nights/New York Mornings', and I just messaged her, said 'That' tune's mega, hope you're well' and that rekindled our friendship. We started sending each other demos and she loved 'Nothing's Gonna Be Good Enough'. We made it a duet. It feels like a long time coming, working with her, a real icing on the cake. It's just a shame we had to do it remotely. We've done the video now and a couple of TV shows. We're talking about doing more together too."



You've just had to push your tour dates, but you will be touring this year. How's the set looking? You've got a fair bit of material between your solo work and various other projects?

"I can't wait to get out. I've got all my tunes, a couple of Last Shadow Puppets tunes, maybe a cover, I'm hoping there won't be that lull where people go to the bar in the middle. We're waiting to see how the record does to determine the back end of the year, but I can't wait to get back out there. I'm itching to get onstage."


Miles Kane's new album, Change The Show, is out now in hmv stores. You can purchase it here in hmv's online store. 

Change the Show
Change the Show Miles Kane

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