The Liverpudlian soloist on finding his mojo and meeting his childhood hero ahead of the release of his fifth album, One Man Band
Miles Kane saw off 2022’s Change The Show with a slice of breezy, sunny soul that typified the rest of the record, in spite of its January release. But when summer actually came and the album campaign drew to a close, the Merseyside-born singer found himself feeling low.
Pulling himself from out of this slump meant manifesting through heavy, towering riffs that made him feel on top of the world, as well as looking back to rediscover the things and people that made him want to do this in the first place. The result was One Man Band, released on Friday 4 August, as well as a meeting with one of his boyhood football heroes.
The title of the new record is One Man Band, but in a way you’ve always been that, as a soloist and also an only child. Why do you think you’d been feeling this especially at the moment?
It came from writing the song, ‘One Man Band’. It was the first I wrote for this album. I felt quite underwhelmed if I’m being honest after my last record. When I finished that campaign, it seemed to be quite quick and I think I had my bar set too high. I felt I had to go back to the drawing board a bit. I felt like my career was on a bit of a dip, and I felt like I’m not happy here. I was like, I have something to prove to myself. I want to get back to the core sh*t of why I picked up a guitar in the first place and why I wanted to be in a f*cking band. I love surf guitar music, you know, like all the boww boww and all that stuff. So I wrote One Man Band to get my mojo back to be honest. Like, no, I f*cking am the man and I’ll f*cking show ya.
So I felt like a bit of an underdog and a bit like I was in a Rocky film. I know that sounds really dramatic and cheesy, but that’s been my mindset for about a year now. And yeah, it’s boss to see it coming into fruition.
So in this boxing film, the training montage scenes were you getting back into the studio and getting everything on record?
That’s it! Totally, man. I know it sounds mad but it’s true.
I was going to ask you about that underwhelming feeling you described after Change The Show, because it seemed to be very well received. Do you normally find yourself in a post-record slump?
Yeah, well I love that album and the people connected with it. And it’s a f*cking great record. I think it’s just me personally in my life. Maybe I had my bar too high, I don’t know, I just didn’t feel… You know when you just feel a bit… ughh? One of them mate. I feel like I’m out of that ick now and I feel this album’s helped me get out of that. People seem to be buzzing off it, and I’m just buzzing to be out there meeting the fans. I feel like we’re in this together and I think it’s our time to show them who the boss is, you know?
Well on this record there’s definitely a heavier, ballsier sound than the last. Did riffs like those force you to get out of that feeling do you think?
Yeah, totally. I wanted it to be the most core me record. I wanted it to be all the things that turned me on as a kid, the reason I sort of forced myself to be a singer, practicing in my bedroom in my mum’s house, you know. Link Wray records and bands like The Hives and all that stuff that had this massive impact on me. I wanted to get that feeling back, and it did.
Tell me a little more about the short film Searching For Baggio – did you really not know you were going to meet him or not?
Ah that’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. No, look, I wrote a song about childhood and, you know, these little distinct memories you have of growing up and what made you like the stuff that you like. I have these memories and I remember I was obsessed with Baggio. I’m obsessed with anything Italian now, and that all started with watching the World Cup and, you know, seeing these Italian men that look sexy. They had long hair and I’d never seen anything like it. Wow, this is opening a door to me that I didn’t know was there…
You write a song about this and you’re like, god, imagine if Baggio heard this! Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would happen. Then he hears the song and he invites me to his house in Vicenza, Italy, and it’s like the most surreal, beautiful moment of my life. You know, sh*t like that doesn’t happen. Even now telling the story, I’ve told it many times, but it was spiritual moment. I get even a buzz now thinking about it.
I heard the song was a late addition to the record, but it fits it perfectly. The album’s got lots of boyhood imagery, from ‘Troubled Son’ to lines like “Lying on my bedroom floor,” so visiting your boyhood hero must have tied it all together neatly for you?
Yeah, it’s weird innit? You don’t think when you’re doing it, and you decide on songs, but it’s mad. It’s like there’s a subconscious thread that links through this record. And it’s kind of beautiful. It’s only when you sort of look back or talk about it now that you clock it, really. It’s a special, special record.
However much you might be a one man band, you didn’t go into the album process alone. What did your cousin James from The Coral and Tom from Blossoms add to the making of the record?
Well, obviously, James is family but I trust both of them and we’ve got each other’s backs. And I think it was so nice to feel that, work aside, that’s what it’s like in life. Take songs or writing together out of it, and that’s how it feels. It’s real. In real life we behave like that with each other, so when you bring that into a work scenario, there’s a sense of comfort and trust that lets you open up and not feel judged and not feel sort of scared to let it all out. Whether it be emotional or whatever, there’s a comfort, and I think there’s a respect there from all parties involved that lets you be who you want to be, really. We’re all cut from the same cloth. James is family so we have the same upbringing, and Tom’s mum is so like my mum, you know, so our upbringings are also very similar. So the comfort leads to freedom or something.
The album begins on ‘Troubled Son’, as if there’s a sense of damage or something that needs to be healed, but it ends with ‘Scared of Love’. Do you think it ends a little more hopeful than it started?
Ha, yeah it’s quite the bookend that. I think so, because ‘Scared of Love’ is getting into that mindset of: if something doesn’t work out, then that’s okay. You can have an amazing time with someone and if it doesn’t last forever, for whatever reason, if a relationship doesn’t work, then that doesn’t have to be seen as a failure either. And I think there’s something in that. There’s a lot of pressure isn’t there? That old school mentality that’s still knocking about, and I think there shouldn’t be fear in the failure of a relationship. It can be looked at as “that was that moment”. That was special, respect and love and we move on.