One half of The Last Shadow Puppets (alongside Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner) and former frontman of The Rascals, Miles Kane’s second solo album, Don’t Forget Who You Are, went Top 10 this summer.
The follow-up to his 2011 acclaimed debut Colour Of The Trap, it was produced by Ian Broudie of The Lightning Seeds, who has also produced for The Zutons and Echo and the Bunnymen.
Latest single, Taking Over, is a songwriting collaboration with Broudie, while next single, Better Than That (out October 14) was written with XTC’s Andy Partridge. And You’re Going to Get It was penned with none other than Paul Weller.
With such a pedigree of collaborations, you might think Miles was tempted to pinch himself while working on his latest album. But the singer-songwriter has taken it all in his stride.
‘It’s been a long old road,’ says Miles, ‘a gradual build. But everything that I’ve done and all the gigs – it just feels so solid now. And I want to continue to build it really. I don’t think there’s ever an ultimate aim, it’s just never-ending.’
He says Broudie is responsible for the rockier sound of Don’t Forget Who You Are.
‘He gave me exactly what I wanted, which was a Saturday night rock ’n’ roll record,’ explains Miles.
‘Before I met Ian, there were about 30 demos of all these tunes and when I sat down with him it was straight away he took out all the rubbish and homed in on the good stuff.’
Miles met Weller, meanwhile, at an XFM Christmas show a couple of years ago.
‘We were just chatting and he said “I’d like to work with you”,’ remembers Miles.
‘Well, you don’t turn that down do you?
‘It was the same with him as with Ian. When we had our first day in the studio, he was just great, so encouraging, and that gave me a lot of confidence.’
Miles even did a modelling shoot with Weller for John Varvatos in New York.
‘That’s a weird one,’ he says.
‘It just seems normal now. Later, when I look back on it, I’m sure I’ll think that was surreal.
‘But I’ve always had the interest in what I wanted to look like and I just enjoy clothes.
‘It started when I was a kid. Even when we were all wearing trackie tops, I wanted the black Lacoste.
‘But it’s just clobber. I don’t follow fashion at all. I just like to feel good.
‘I’ve never had a stylist or anything like that.
‘One thing about starting to earn more money is that I spend even more on clothes,’ Miles reveals.
So with the trappings of fame and fortune, is the title, Don’t Forget Who You Are, a reminder for himself?
‘It’s for me, yeah, but for anyone really.
‘I’ve witnessed people round me, people I’ve been close to, get their heads turned by this world we’re in.
‘It’s easy if you get a bit of fame to get caught up in it and think you’re something special but it annoys me.
‘So, it’s a reminder to me. I just wanted something real and it just felt right for me at the moment.’
The cover shot is an apt reminder of where Miles has come from. It’s the outside of his mum’s butcher’s stall.
‘It used to be my nan’s,’ explains Miles, ‘and my mam has worked there and my aunties.
‘I used to work there as a kid, after school or in the holidays.
‘I wanted to go back home and have something that had meaning.
‘I thought about being outside me mam’s house and then I thought of the butcher’s. It’s very real and true.’
A generation of female butchers? They sound tough.
‘You don’t want to mess with a Scouse woman,’ says Miles.
Another thing that keeps Miles rooted to his past is his love of Liverpool Football Club.
‘I used to go to a lot of matches when I lived in Liverpool, but since moving down to London not so much,’ he says.
‘I went to the Carling Cup Final and the FA Cup Final in 2012.’
But Miles’s footballing allegiances haven’t stopped him forming a close friendship with his team’s local rivals’ star player – Everton’s Leighton Baines.
‘We met about seven years ago in Liverpool,’ Miles remembers. ‘And we started hanging out from there.
‘He’s such a lovely lad and when I was making my first record I had loads of time free and so would he after he’d finished training so we’d hang out together.
‘We’re still mates. He comes to gigs when he can.
‘He’s obviously an Evertonian but the rivalry in Liverpool is quite friendly I’d say, I mean it’s only football you know.’
Don’t say that to Pompey fans…
‘Yeah, well football is definitely ruled by money and if you haven’t got it now you can’t stay at the top, but I don’t need to tell Pompey fans that.
‘It seems to be going crazy at the lately. I mean Gareth Bale going for that much, I don’t know where it will stop.’
But that’s enough football talk.
What everyone really wants to know is if there will be a second album from The Last Shadow Puppets soon?
‘We don’t know,’ says Miles.
‘There will at some point but I’m busy doing this and Alex has got a new Arctic Monkeys record out [they made history on Sunday as the only independent group whose first five albums have gone to the top of the charts].
‘We’ll have to see where we’re both at.’
Miles has a packed schedule for the rest of the year.
‘We’re booked right up until Crimbo,’ he says.
‘But I’ve got my eye on getting something out for next year, maybe just a single.
‘I’ve been listening to a lot of soul music and I’ve got my eye on something like that next.
‘I’m just enjoying playing all these songs live at the moment.
‘I’m terrible for over-thinking things, so I’m trying to just enjoy it.’
WHERE AND WHEN
Miles Kane plays a sold-out show at the Pyramids Centre in Southsea on Thursday.
Most of the tour is sold out, but tickets are still available for his Brixton Academy show on October 11. See ticketmaster.co.uk.