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Interview: Miles Kane on his new album, 'Coup De Grace'.

Interview: Miles Kane on his new album, 'Coup De Grace'.

"You imagined it got spelt wrong and it was named after your mag," jokes Miles Kane about the similarity in name between the title of his new album, 'Coup De Grace' (named after the closing move of his favourite WWE wrestler Finn Bálor), and the name of our magazine, Coup De Main.

To discuss his new record, we met Kane in a London pub (just around the corner from the studio where he wrote most of his new album with Jamie T)...

...change is important as well. Some people can be afraid of that, but I think it's important, because that's how you grow.

COUP DE MAIN: The last time we spoke was in 2011 around the release of 'Colour Of The Trap', and you said you were hoping to tour New Zealand. Miles, it's 2018 now, when are you finally going to come and play a show in New Zealand?
MILES KANE:
I know! Tell me about it. I don't know what's going on. It's ridiculous. I'd love to go to New Zealand and Australia. I went to Australia once, we were supporting the [Arctic] Monkeys there, a few years ago. You've got to tell these people too! <points to his manager>

CDM: You open your new album with 'Too Little Too Late', during which you sing, "I'm too fickle / Set in my ways / I'm too little too late." Do you think it's possible for people to change?
MILES:
Yeah, totally. But we all have our certain behaviours or habits, and sometimes they are hard to change. But it's all do-able.
CDM: Sometimes people just become better at hiding who they really are, or discover who they really are.
MILES:
The thing of change is important as well. Some people can be afraid of that, but I think it's important, because that's how you grow.
CDM: And evolve.
MILES:
Exactly.

CDM: 'Loaded' is a really heartfelt break-up song. Was that therapeutic for you to write?
MILES:
A lot of them were quite therapeutic in a strange way. And that was with me and Jamie [T], us just sitting down talking about what your feelings are and you're going through at the time, and me and him going deep in there. And not only talking like you do with a friend or whatever, but you're also putting it into music.

CDM: In 'Cold Light Of The Day' you critique social media and the role it plays in the aftermath of a relationship. Were relationships simpler in pre-social media times?
MILES:
You do wonder that, don't ya? Because whatever it is, even if it's, like say you broke up with someone and you're still following them, you can get into a routine of checking it, or there's this thing on there where--
CDM: You just want to know what they are up to.
MILES:
It's quite easy to believe the lives that people portray on there. It's like, 'Oh my god, everyone is in love,' or, 'Everyone is having the best time ever.'
CDM: It's very curated. Everyone only presents their best self on social media.
MILES:
Exactly. And I do it. We can all do that, but it's a fantasy of showing off. And it does get annoying.

CDM: What was running through your mind while writing 'Killing The Joke'?
MILES:
That was the last song written for this record and it wasn't going to go on there. When I went over to record the other tracks and that, I sort of forgot about that and then listened to the demo that me and Jamie had. Maybe because it was a bit slower than the others - we sort of did it and then I was getting really excited to record all the fast ones. At the end of it when the album was done, I re-listened back to the demo of me and Jamie and I thought, 'There's something good in here.' So me and him just took the demo that we did and we finished it off in a room just around the corner from here [the Marksman Pub in Hackney]. Because we wrote most of it in Premises Studio as well, which is just there. But I'm really glad that we did that, because it's a strong tune and people seem to like that one. I like the verses on it, it's not rappy, but there's lots of words - it's rhythmical. I like the rhythmical delivery of the vocal.

CDM: Your vocals in 'The Wrong Side Of Life' are amazing! How did it feel when you first listened back to the song?
MILES:
'How the fuck did I do that?' It was one of them. And that was another, sorry to kind of repeat myself, but I tried to record that with the band in LA, with the boys and John [Congleton], but when we did a version of it I couldn't recreate that vocal. And the actual track as well, it didn't seem as good as the demo that me and Jamie did. And when we were writing it, we put that mad rhythmical drum thing on it, and we were just writing the melody and the lyrics as we were going. A lot of that song is just off the cuff free-styling, and the lyrics are really simple on it, but they are quite heartfelt. And it's too high, really, for my range, so we just did it bit by bit. We did a verse, then we wrote and then recorded it. Then we did the chorus. And then when it came to re-doing it with the band, I couldn't sing it the whole way because it rips my voice that much, but it's got something special about it. I think that, mixing the emotion with the words and the ripping vocal, it sounds like you're crying, you know what I mean?
CDM: I think it's my favourite song on your new album.
MILES:
I think it's probably mine, yeah. A lot of people say that about that one.

CDM: How have you found playing it live now?
MILES:
I've just started playing it and I dropped the key a little bit, but it's still got the growl. Yeah, it feels good live.

CDM: Why was the story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra something you decided to reference in the lyrics of 'The Wrong Side Of Life'?
MILES:
It was just an example of being, 'I'm here for you, and I'd do anything for you.'

CDM: In 'Something To Rely On' you say, "I don't want to beg or steal, I don't want to borrow hearts / I just want to make it real / Something to rely on." Do you think reliability is one of the most important parts of a relationship?
MILES:
Trust, and feeling confident that you can. Because when you're with someone, you want it to be like a team. You want it to be like, 'You've got my back, and I've got yours.' And if that starts to dwindle, it can get weird.
CDM: Inequality in any kind of relationship makes it hard.
MILES:
And that goes with mates too, or family as well. It doesn't have to be romantic.

CDM: You co-wrote 'Silverscreen', 'Shavambacu', and the album's title-track 'Coup De Grace' with Mini Mansions' Tyler Parkford and Zach Dawes, as well as The Last Shadow Puppets' touring-drummer Loren Humphrey. Did you write those songs while on tour together?
MILES:
Me and Zach, even before doing the Puppets' second record, I was spending a bit of time in LA and me and him actually started to write songs together, way back, just me and him on the acoustics, which was cool. We met and we had a great vibe, and at that time when Al[ex Turner] was away I'd be hanging out with him a lot and we ended up doing work. And then obviously he did the Puppets with us. And Loren has got a studio in New York in his apartment, and all tour, he was saying, 'You should come over, and we'll jam and see what happens.' So we went straight after the Puppets tour, leaving from Paris our last gig, and I went with them and flew to New York and we did a 3-week stint in his apartment, just jamming. And that's how those songs-- There were a few other tunes too, actually, but they were the ones that we finished, and they were the best ones. So that's how that happened. It was all of us, just in the room jamming and writing together. It was nice actually.

CDM: Did you return the favour by helping out on the next Mini Mansions album at all?
MILES:
The one that they've just done? No, but I have jammed with all them boys, and Mikey who's in Mini Mansions he played on-- When I recorded 'Coup De Grace', he came and played on that - all of us did it live.
CDM: When we talked to Mikey last year he said you'd been writing in his studio?
MILES:
Yeah, that's right, we did a lot there. And then when I went to record the record, I was just like, 'Come down and play guitar on 'Coup De Grace'.' So we did that, all five of us, and it was fun doing it live. And he's cool, man. I like Mikey. I think it's better that he's just singing now, as well.
CDM: I haven't seen Mini Mansions live yet now that they have a touring drummer.
MILES:
I haven't seen it, I've only watched videos, but I think it seems way better.
CDM: It just seemed really hard for Mikey, always multi-tasking.
MILES:
I reckon he'd be a great frontman, Mikey. He looks cool and he's got good moves.
CDM: And he was taking on too much before, playing too many instruments. It looked difficult.
MILES:
Yeah, take a break Mikey.

CDM: Lana Del Rey told Zane Lowe last year that you, her, and Zach Dawes temporarily formed a band together from December 2016 to March 2017. True or false?
MILES:
Yeah that was true. We wrote a lot of songs together that are really cool actually, and hopefully they'll see the light of day, one day. We need to talk about it. There's some great tunes on there though. It was a great vibe.

CDM: What did the band sound like?
MILES:
A bit like 'Loaded', I guess, in a way. There were a couple ones that are definitely slower. I don't want to say I'm like Lennon, but a Lennony sort of solo vibe, like his solo records. And then were a couple of punk-pop ones, that were bubblegummy, but cool. It was interesting. We should finish those songs. I think it would be cool to do a duet thing, because our voices were good together.

CDM: Does Zach sing?
MILES:
No. He's quite a good writer though, to be fair. And he can sort of hum a melody and that. He could at a push, sing a bit, but he's not a singer.
CDM: I guess he doesn't need to in Mini Mansions, when you have Mikey and Tyler.
MILES:
And Tyler's amazing, he's a bit of a genius, I think.

CDM: Your manager told us to ask you about the story behind 'Shavambacu', because apparently it's a good story?
MILES:
It was on that New York trip, after the Puppets tour, me and Tyler, just me and him, were sat at a piano in his apartment and we'd come to a bit of a thing. Nothing was really happening that day, and then I had that word 'shavambacu' and I was like, 'I'm gonna ask my mum what it means, because she would call me it when I was a kid.' And then I called my ex that. For people around me and my family, it just became this little nickname. And so I called my mum to ask her, 'What does that mean?' And with Tyler in the room, she said, "There's a Dean Martin song called 'Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup." Like a really old-school song, I think it's not his, it was a cover before him, and my grandmother would hear it as 'Shavambacu' not 'je t'aime beaucoup' because she was half deaf. And it just stuck. My Mum would be like, 'You know that's not the title of the song.' But my nan would be like, 'Yeah but that's what I want to call it.' And it became this thing that got passed down for 60 years or something. And then we just adapted that into the song and wrote a little--
CDM: It's like a family heirloom.
MILES:
Yeah, in a weird way, it's its own thing that's been around for years.
CDM: And it's a nice way to end the album.
MILES:
I thought that. With all that's going on before it, I thought it was nice to end on a positive note, you know?

Miles Kane's new album 'Coup De Grace' is out now - watch the music video for 'Cry On My Guitar' below:

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