Saturday, 29 January 2011

Miles Kane LIVE@Barfly + Interview

Miles Kane
Saturday 22nd January
The Barfly ; Camden Town

One of the most eagerly anticipated albums of 2011 was always going to be the debut solo album from Miles Kane. An old hand already in the industry from former guitarist in The Little Flames, front man in The Rascals to even one half of the critically acclaimed super group The Last Shadow Puppets with Arctic Monkeys vocalist and singer Alex Turner and all before his 25th birthday (this March.)

Already there has been 2 singles released from the upcoming album and both were on show here tonight bookending the set, with the opener ‘Come Closer’ showing a live band that hits the ground running and is primed and ready to go. The crowd was crammed in and rocking before the chorus of song one. It had been a long day after all here at the XFM all dayer and after many of the pastry cut out copies typical indie bands with the occasional synth sprinkling wasn’t really impressing too many people. Here at the finale with Miles Kane we are treated to someone on top of their game and fired track after track from the as of yet unreleased album with only a minimal of between track “hi how are you” chat. Security were on hand at both sides of the stage as loads of fans were climbing over the barriers to grab the front man before leaping back into the crowd, stage divers were politely ‘told’ that this wasn’t Wembley Stadium but a venue that holds the same as a Wedding reception and to knock off the leaping “somebody catch me!” routines. Other tracks that stood out were the poptastic ‘Quicksand’ and the highly anticipated ‘My Fantasy’ which appears on the album with Noel Gallagher applying backing vocals, ‘Re-Arrange’ as well as the excellent riff heavy ‘Inhaler’ which got the biggest cheer of the night.

The track that come out of left field and one that continued the trend by Kane of throwing a unexpected cover into the live mix was the faithful version of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's club banger ‘Spread Your Love’ which gave the floorboards of The Barfly a good ol’ fashioned hammering under a giant mosh pit. Expect greater things from Miles Kane, the album is going to be a wake up to the knob twiddling wimpy gap year bands flooding out of East London on a weekly basis and I hope it influences a generation of people to put down their computer run sonic ideals and crank their amps and guitars up to ten again.

I got a chance to meet up with Kane a few days after the Barfly gig, below is the transcript

Miles Kane Interview
26th January
The Social Bar ; London
by Chris Lancaster

Q) I interviewed Gruff Rhys last week (Super Furry Animals singer and also now solo star) and apart from saying that you were a "guitar god" and "surf guitar wizard" he thanked you for playing some guitar on his new album.

A) (laughs) Gruff is a legend, I was listening to him on Radio 2, he was being interviewed when I got back to my hotel last night, I just love that track 'Shark Ridden Waters' from the new album, I haven't heard the whole album yet but the track is brilliant. Working with him I learnt so much, I can't really speak highly enough of him.

Q) Are you happy with the final finished album now that its all mixed and complete?

A) Yeah its perfect, it's took a while on and off and in fact the first track to record was actually with Gruff (Rhys) and Craig Silver called 'Take The Night From Me' and ' The King Crawler' and they are on the record. I then tried this other producer and we ended up doing the rest with Dan Carey and we're finished now and its getting mastered tomorrow.

Q) In relation to the 'mastering' of the album I've noticed from the first tracks available such as 'Inhaler' and 'Come Closer' that they were mastered quite loud, they really seem to stick their necks out a little bit over the other records in a jukebox or even when I'm DJ'ing them I end up riding the volume fader to stop them blasting over everything else. Was this intentional?

A) That great, the louder the better really, not that I'm a DJ or anything I just play records but I was at this club on New Years Eve and played that new Beady Eye tune 'Bring The Light' it seemed to come in much louder than everything and I think they mastered it with the same guy as I'm using, I'm all for it.

Q) How have you found making a "Solo" record over a band recording or in fact a collaborative album such as The Last Shadow Puppets with Alex Turner?

A) At first it was daunting especially when you're used to being in an environment with a band or when I do "Puppets" I have a partner to bounce ideas off, the hardest part about making a record is the writing part before you even go in the studio making sure you had good songs, so that downtime period is tough. We decided before that I wouldn't do any gigs or anything until this record was done so nobody could hear any recordings or the songs beforehand which is good but at the same time it kills you because you get eager to gig and get out there so it took a while to adjust in that sense but once you started working and you knew that you had a couple of good tunes written it helped build the momentum. When I wrote 'Come Closer' originally that was a 'glam rock' sort of heavy drum based track, it sounded good but not unique enough and it wasn't till we got in the studio with the producer and we were listening to that 'Plastic Ono Band' (John Lennon) album that gave us the idea to keep it dead simple and re-look at the drum beat by keeping it the same the whole way through. Looking back now I suppose from writing it at the start and then recording it I knew that by the time it was finished and I'd done the interview and the photos and that stuff that I would love it and I do. I'm just excited now talking about it.

Q) You will be going on Tour with Beady Eye soon what are your thoughts about that?

A) I can't wait, I just hope the fans like our stuff, I think we're a pretty good match so I think it'll be good. I haven't heard the album yet but those 3 songs that are out that I've heard I've really liked. I love that 'Four Letter Word' tune, been playing that a lot.

Q) Which bands/artists have you been listening to during the writing and recording of the new album?

A) Obviously I always mention Lennon so he's always there as well as Lee Hazlewood, in fact when I was making this record and even before I really got into him, I'd known the records he made with Nancy Sinatra and they're amazing and then I got into his solo stuff about a year and a half ago especially that track 'Rainbow Woman' and I did a cover of that for the B-side of 'Inhaler' I suppose that was a big influence and probably Motown as well with the drum beats so that it just stays the same and drives the song rather than fast then slow, I like it to just groove along it so if you heard the song half way into it you'd pick up on it straight away.

Q) Both with The Last Shadow Puppets and now in your LIVE set you've been partial to a cover version or 5, recently you've added Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's 'Spread Your Love' to your set and before with the "Puppets" you did Leonard Cohen's 'Memories' and a few more.

A) I think its great, yeah we just added 'Spread Your Love' , we did loads in the "Puppets" we did 'Memories', The Beatles 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' , i think its good to always do a cover LIVE especially at this early stage where people don't really know the tunes its good to give them something to get hooked to, we want to try 'Hey Bulldog' (The Beatles) at some point as well, I think that would be a good one.

Q) Noel Gallagher sings backing vocals on 'My Fantasy' on the new album. How did they come about?

A) Yeah he did backing vocals, its only a subtle thing, I was mixing the track , the main vocals are just me double tracked and I was going to add backing vocals on the chorus and bridge, and I'd seen him a few weeks before and just texted him seeing what he was up to and said I was mixing and looking to add some harmonies and thought it would be great if he could "add the icing on the cake" and he said that "icing is what i do best" (laughs) and he just come down the next day and did it. I mean the press have made it something more than that but it was just a cool little nod. He's Great guy. I went into the studio with him after and played some guitar but don't really know what its for, more of a jam really.

Q) Are there any new and current band's that you like?

A) It's a tough one really, Sound of Guns from Liverpool are a good bunch of lads, more rock and heavier than me but great, The Heartbreaks from Manchester are doing some good stuff that I like, I don't really know many others, The Vaccines are really good that song 'Post Break Up Sex' is a good one, think it just charted didn't it?

Q) Before stepping forward to become the front man you were primarily known as a guitar player, who would you say are your influences guitar wise?

A) Duane Eddy, Link Wray, I just love that sound, really trebly echo sound, I'm not very technically good but I just find I can get good sounds, I'd be lost without my Bigsby though (Bigsby tremolo unit on the guitar) it manages to stay in tune perfectly as well, the guy that fitted it for me said it was a good one although I use it so much maybe I just know instinctively how much pressure to put on it to stop it going way out, I suppose I just have good wrist action (laughs), my nights in are great (laughs.)

Q) Where do you like to hang out when you're in London?

A) Depends really, I go out with my manager and my mates for dinner here and there, The Groucho club in Soho is really good, I'm not a member but have gone there with people they have snooker tables there so you can have a few games and a drink, wherever really……. I can't believe i said The Groucho (laughs), me and Vic Reeves having a drink (laughs), oh look there's Stephen Fry(laughs.)

Q) Will there be any new Last Shadow Puppets material or releases in the future?

A) Definitely yeah, Alex is in LA at the moment doing the new Arctic Monkeys album, you should see where they are staying in LA, proper boss place, I think we'll try and get together and write some new stuff, we're always talking about it, it'd be James Ford producing again he's great, I think we'll try and write towards the end of the year, Alex is amazing lyricist. Lyrically I would say the best out there which is great when we're writing as I'm more melody and he's never stuck for a line or word, just pours out of him where as I'm more "what does that mean?" (laughs)

Miles Kane Debut Solo album is out 25th April

Special thanks to The Social and Alex Fordham

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