CASH FOR QUESTIONS: MILES KANE
Alex Turner’s bezzie takes a break from living la vida loca in LA to talk leather strides, Lana Del Rey and beans on toast.
It’s a scorching June day on Santa Monica beach in Los Angeles and things are looking bright for Miles Kane. Having travelled down from his apartment in the shadow of the famous Observatory in nearby Griffith Park, the rest of the morning is going to be filled with nothing more gruelling than having a coffee while watching Spain and Portugal battle it out in the World Cup. It’s a tough life, but fortune has tended to look kindly upon Kane. Born in Birkenhead in 1986, he struck up one of modern pop’s most enduring bromances with Alex Turner when the relatively unknown band he played guitar in, The Little Flames, supported Arctic Monkeys in 2005. Among fans, the pair even have their own portmanteau celebrity name: Milex. Catapulted into the spotlight as one half of The Last Shadow Puppets alongside Turner, he enjoyed a brief stint fronting his own band The Rascals, a successful solo career and an enviable extracurricular jamboree of celebrity pals and supermodel girlfriends. With his third solo album, Coup De Grace, out in August, surely there’s not much more he could want for… “Do you pay people for these?” Kane enquires, sitting down with a handful of questions from the Q readers. “Twenty-five quid? Who have you got next month? I’m going to write in, I might get 25 pounds…” For now, though, it’s Kane’s turn to be grilled. Your new album is called Coup De Grace. How’s your French? Matt Clarke, Streatham Absolutely terrible. I did Spanish for GCSE, we didn’t even do French at my school. My Spanish is slightly better. I can say, “Hotel, muy bien” and “muy excelente”… “a la izquierda…” Which I think means, “Let’s go straight” or “let’s go left.” Which is fine, but what if I wanna go right? I don’t have a load of helpful stock phrases in different languages. I am more the sort of speaking loudly and making hand gestures kind of guy abroad, yeah.
Director Sam Taylor-Wood offered you the role of John Lennon in 2009 film Nowhere Boy – how do you think your life would have panned out if you’d accepted? Leanne Forbes, Wigan Well, I would have ended up marrying her, wouldn’t I? [ The eventual choice, Aaron TaylorJohnson, married Wood in 2012]. At the time I was young, we were doing The Last Shadow Puppets and I remember being like, “Oh no, if I do that I’ll never be able to make music again.” I got really paranoid about it. It’s more acceptable now to do other things. If I did that now, no one would bat an eyelid, but then, maybe because I was young and I hadn’t done what I wanted to do yet, I wasn’t ready. I wish I had done it in a way, it’d just be fun to look back at that with me mates and laugh.
What do you miss most about the UK? Martin Jupp, via Q Mail I don’t want to be clichéd and say the pub and all that. This probably sounds cheesy, but it’s knowing that my mum is closer. We’re very close, we speak every day, but knowing that if I was in London she could just a get a train from Liverpool or vice versa. And with some friends, just knowing that they’re around. When you don’t have that, you miss it. You take it for granted. Also, I’m a fucking sucker for beans on toast. I have to have that shit when I come back to get my fix.
You recently worked with Lana Del Rey and Jamie T. How did that come about? Sally Marfleet, via Q Mail Jamie was doing a gig here last January and we’d booked a week to do some writing together. When I walked into his gig, Lana was there. He was just playing this small acoustic show, I was like, “Wow, weird.” I’d met her at a festival so went over and said, “I didn’t know you were a fan of Jamie T.” She said she was with her friend who was a fan so thought she’d come along. We started having a chat, I said me and Jamie were going to be writing some tunes round my apartment and she said, “Oh, I’d love to hear that.” The next day me and Jamie were sat on the sofa and she FaceTimed us. Straight in on the FaceTime, no text or anything. We were like, “No fucking way!” She came over that afternoon, we were writing the single Loaded, we had the chorus and she said, “Can I try something?” It was mega, her bit pissed over ours so we used it. She was there in person at that point, she wasn’t still on FaceTime like a hologram
in the room. We really hit a groove, me and Lana, we wrote a lot of tunes together that day that I think we’ll do something with.
Neighbours or Home And Away? Charlotte Simons, Downham Market Back in the day I was Home And Away. Controversial, yeah. There must have been a reason, a character I liked, but Home And Away was the one, I do remember that quite clearly. I used to love Coronation Street too, I used to buzz off Steve McDonald. He was in a constant state of stress. I always felt sorry for Steve McDonald, having a nightmare constantly with that worried face on.
How would you describe your current look in under five words? Kathryne Marks, via Q Mail The vibe I’m on at the minute is a suit with a T-shirt. I’ve got these really high Chelsea boots, stonewashed denim jeans and this old-school Neil Young T-shirt that I’ve really been loving… [ thinks] Al Pacino meets Neil Young, how many words is that? Five, perfect.
You and Alex Turner were photographed a few years ago wearing matching leather trousers. After a long hot day were they quite hard to get out of? Ursula Deighton, Cork Are you referring to the red leather trousers? His were black, mine were red, let’s get that straight. They were really comfortable, actually. Surprisingly breathable. I didn’t have to use talcum powder or anything to get out of them, fortunately. What’s been my worst fashion faux pas? Probably eyeliner. I’ve never had a pair of Crocs and I’m not a fan of an Ugg boot. On girls they’re cool but a guy in Ugg boots, you know what I mean? Getting on the Tube and that, it’s just a mess.
Outside of music, what is your most impressive skill? Jenny Golborne, via Q Mail Doing nothing is what I’m great at, just sitting on the fucking couch. In terms of other interests… I’d like to try a bit of pottery, that sounds relaxing. Just sitting around the potter’s wheel, that’s where I’m heading.
You switched football club allegiances from Manchester Utd to Liverpool a while back. Did you get a lot of stick for it? Neil Barnett, Chesterfield It was something I should have done a long time ago, really. All my mates were very happy with it. My uncle sort of brought me up and he was into Man Utd. It was just annoying and I thought, “If I have a kid, I want him to support Liverpool.” That was the reasoning behind it. I was really into football when I was younger, I was really good at it. I was going to play for Tranmere Rovers but when I came to do the trials I lost my bottle. I was getting bigged up and then when I didn’t make the team it sort of crushed me and put me off football. I still like it, but I used to be obsessed with it. [ Q points out that probably counts as a “skill” in regard to the previous question] Oh yeah! Keepie-ups was my thing, I could do hundreds, all day every day, man.
When was the last time you made a tit of yourself in front of someone famous? Lisa Ryan, via Q Mail Probably loads of times but I can’t think of
“The leather trousers were really comfortable. Surprisingly breathable.”
the last one. It does happen. I’m not saying that I never make a tit out of myself and I’m Mr Cool. Maybe it’s because it happens so often, it’s a daily scenario. I don’t really get star-struck, though. I do remember when I first met Liam Gallagher my body went [ sucks in breath]. I never used to collect autographs as a kid or anything like that. I loved stickers, any kind of sticker book and I was mad on fucking Pogs. They were a big one for me, and Tazos you used to get in crisps, all that gear.
You’re obsessed with WWF, if you were a wrestler what would you be called and what would your signature move be? Andy Baker, Lewes My mates call me “the hurricane” so I’d have to go with that. I always wonder what kind of a wrestler I’d be. Would I be high-flying and doing the splits? I’d probably go for some sort of [ inverted headlock] DDT move. I love [’ 90s wrestler] Ric Flair and his persona, grabbing the microphone and losing his shit like a badass. The question is what sort of leotard should I have on. I’m surprised I haven’t been wearing one onstage to be honest. That’s next, getting the stage set up like a ring.
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without a shower? Petey Daniels, via Q Mail I don’t understand people who don’t have a shower, if they miss having a shower in the day… I just can’t, I don’t understand that. You’ve got to have one every day, there’s no excuse. I do love a bath too, get the speakers in there and listen to some tunes.
Who would you most like to play FIFA against? Lozan Fatihi, via Twitter You know that footballer [ Adebayo “The Beast”] Akinfenwa? I want to play him. I was talking about this the other day. I met him years ago on Soccer AM, we had a bit of banter and then he came to my gig in Brixton. He’s such a nice fella. He tweeted me a few weeks ago and I tweeted him back and was sort of being like, “I’m gonna whoop your ass on FIFA!” and then he’s like, “Let’s get it on!” So it’s becoming a reality, it’s set in motion, let’s add more fuel to the fire.
Of all your famous friends, who has the nicest toilet? Keith Barker, Poole Oh my goodness. I don’t know, they’re all pretty standard. I wish I knew someone who had one of those Japanese toilets. Sting’s got one, has he? I bet he does, I bet he puts on a suit to use it. I’d like one that polishes your shoes while you’re on it. Imagine that. That would be great, wouldn’t it? Kill two birds with one stone. Perhaps we should put one out?
Whatever happened to the film you and Alex were supposed to be making? Cara Michaels, Sheffield It started as a joke but it did come to the point where we were like, “Should we actually write this?” We said it was going to be like X-Men but set in the ’ 60s. That just sells itself, doesn’t it? I think it was just a test to see how far we could push it [ in interviews]. There’s still time to do it!
What’s your worst habit? Kelly Peterson, via Q Mail Smoking. I quit and then I started again. It creeps back in if I have a drink. I did [ stop for] a couple of months last year, then it creeped in over Christmas. If I’ve had a drink I’ve had a couple. That’s a slippery slope, once you start doing that then you’ll start smoking in the day. I wouldn’t try vaping, that looks stupid. I can’t be arsed carrying around this big fucking metal thing. It looks like a grenade in your hand, where do you put it? It’s everywhere in LA but it looks horrendous, it’s like having a dummy in your mouth.
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, the new Arctic Monkeys album, has loads of special guests – of which you are not one. Did you feel left out not to be included? Paul Garside, via Q Mail [ Mock indignation] How dare they?!? No, not at all. They didn’t need me to do that. I love that record. I haven’t come onstage to do [ Arctic Monkeys’ Favourite Worst Nightmare album track] 505 with them for a long time. We’re doing a couple of festivals together this year, so you never know.
What do you wear in bed? Steve Cricco, via Q Mail
Pyjamas. The proper two-piece button-ups with a little pocket. The classic. I do like a pair of pyjamas.
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“We really hit a groove”: With writing partner Lana Del Rey in West Hollywood.
Beans on toast: Miles “has to have that shit” when he’s in the UK.
True bromance: Miles Kane with his best buddy, Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner (left), Paris Fashion Week, 2014.
Kane-ing it: (from left) dressed as WWF star Ric Flair for a Halloween party, 2015; loving the banter with Adebayo “The Beast” Akinfenwa on Soccer AM, 2013.
Potty talk: Miles wants a toilet that polishes his shoes at the same time.