Evie Kissack chats to Miles Kane ahead of a series of live dates supporting his most recent solo album, 'Coup de Grace'. 

 

In a familiar Merseyside drawl that nostalgically took me back to my days at university in Liverpool, Miles answered questions about his new genre-mixing album, 'Coup de Grace', quirkily named after the signature manoeuvre of one of his favourite WWE wrestlers. Following a five-year gap from releasing new solo material, Kane returns with a fiery record fuelled by impassioned emotions – with a few slow burners to offset the general intensity of the album. 

Keen to chat about his new material, the Liverpudlian musician spoke fondly of the anecdotes that surround several of the tracks and give the album its personal touch. With evident pride, Kane discussed his most recent creation and the medley of musical styles that feature on the record; something he confidently hopes will translate brilliantly on stage for his live shows. 

How is your day going so far? Lots of media interviews?

Very good thank you. Just a few today…it’s all good. 


Your 13-date winter tour heads to Birmingham on 27 November to support your new solo album, 'Coup de Grace'. Are you looking forward to the live dates?

Mhm, yeah. I can’t wait for this tour, you know. It’s been an amazing year this year and I’ve loved everything about it. I love this record – the gigs have been electric. Doing this tour in the UK at the end is my choice - my way to round it off. 

You’ll be playing at amazing venues across the UK including the O2 Institute here in Brum and the Academy Brixton. Do enjoy performing at the kind of venues that cater to more intimate gigs? 

Yeah, yeah. We’ve done some festivals this summer – they’ve been the biggest gigs we’ve done this year. We were doing tiny little clubs before, because it’s been five years since I’ve done anything solo, so we have worked hard to get it back. To say we started again might be too extreme, but in a way we had to come back playing to a few hundred and build it up again. So, it feels nice to be back to where I left it,  almost. [Laughs]

[Laughs] 'Coup de Grace' is your third solo album – you’ve been very open about previously struggling to write tracks. I wanted to ask about the writing process for this album and how you found collaborating with Jamie T and Lana Del Ray?

The writing for this album started well – before I think it was just because of what was going on in my life, as well. I just, sort of, couldn’t finish things – I felt confused and couldn’t get the ‘va va voom’; it wasn’t there. For 'Coup de Grace', it was just Jamie and me at first; we’d talked about writing for a long time. We set out a period – Jamie had a gig in LA and after that he had a week off – and we were just like, let’s try and write in this week and see if we have a connection on a work level…and if not, we will just hang about and have a good time. 

As soon as I played him all my demos – I had 'Coup de Grace' and 'Silverscreen' (which is sort of a really angry punk tune on the album) – I could see him getting turned on by them. We just thought…we should be making albums like this, in this vein. We just started writing and each tune that we wrote seemed to outdo the one we’d written the day before. Once we got into this groove it was just really enjoyable, you know. We just got on this amazing rhythm and it was nice to let out all of those feelings into the tracks. Because lyrically it’s quite personal, it seems to lean on the melancholy side of things. But, it’s nice to combine that with more punk-y, upbeat, rock and roll songs that give you a spring in your step. I like that mix of the two things. 

 

“I love this record – the gigs have been electric.”

 

You’re right. It’s a great fusion between slower, pensive tracks and rockier songs. You can definitely hear the emotion behind a few of the tracks on the record. 

I love it – I think it’s a perfect combination those two things. 

The songs are quite relatable in that sense – as they are written from a personal level I’m sure many people have been through what you’ve been through, and will respond to that.

Yeah, you do see that in crowds. It’s nice to see people’s reactions; whether that’s a sad feeling or a happy feeling, you know what I mean? People do say that to me- that they can relate.

The album’s title refers to WWE, is that right?

Mhm, yeah it is. The guy who’s finishing manoeuvre is called 'Coup de Grace' [Finn Bálor], he did the video for ‘Cry On My Guitar’, where we were fighting. WWE is something I never grew out of as a kid. When I was writing the album and working on the song (now titled 'Coup de Grace'), we were jamming it with the lads over in New York, and I had the bassline, but I didn’t have a chorus. Then Finn texted me, and I just started shouting [as in the song’s chorus] ‘Coup de Grace, Coup de Grace…Coup de, Coup de!’ you know, sort of taking the p***. And then I thought…actually that melody is kind of cool. It just ended up sticking. At that time I didn’t even know what 'Coup de Grace' meant - I was just making the demo. Then I looked it up and found out that it meant the end, or ‘the final blow’, it just worked. It was kind of like putting an end to all of those feelings, in a way. That’s it really. 

That’s so fitting! It seems like writing the whole album was a cathartic process for you?

Yeah, it’s weird how it all sort of came together. I guess it’s sort of like a happy accident, you know what I mean?

Yeah, like fate. The song ‘Shavambacu’ is quite humorous in contrast and kind of 'takes the Mick' out of bad French. I heard there’s a lovely little anecdote behind this that involves your nan?

I love that song. It’s a beautiful little song. I think it’s a nice note to end the album on, really. This name, ‘Shavambacu’ had been in our family as a little nickname for years and years. My mum would call it me’, and my nan would say it…it was just this mad little nickname going round. Then, when I was writing this record, I remember calling home from New York and asking, “What does Shavambacu mean?” and my mum told me it stared with my nan. There was this old Dean Martin song called ‘Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup’, but my nan thought he said [in the song] ‘Shavambacu’ – and me’ mum would correct her saying, “No, no you know that that’s wrong!” and she would be like, “I don’t mind!” So it’s stayed for f****** generations. [Laughs] That is when we decided to put it in the song. You know, [singing] 'I made it up in a dream I had, my French is bad, I say Shavambacu, my darling Shavambacu' – it’s even quite old school, the melody, it reminds me of the West End, you know, ‘da da da!’ It’s a bit 'jazz-hands' that song. But, I think it’s a nice little story. 


It’s such a lovely story - it really makes me smile. ‘Shavambacu’ is a nice contrast to a few of the other tracks that have more aggressive undertones.

It’s a lot softer that one, you know. 

Has the outcome of the record met your initial expectations?

It actually became more than what I’d hoped for. I love it so much. Towards the end, when I got the songs like ‘The Wrong Side Of Life’ and ‘Killing The Joke’, the slightly more soul-y, slower moments…I’m glad to have those moments alongside the more intense punk-y things. For me, it’s the perfect mix of all the things I love. It’s all that on an album. 

How did you piece together the set list for the 'Coup de Grace' gigs?

Well, we are doing three records now; it’s a great set. I think we could change it every night. It’s going to be pretty full on – I want it to be upbeat, but have a couple of little down moments. It’s just going to be a great gig. There’s plenty of sing-a-longs now. We are just going to have a belter. That’s my favourite thing, of all this, being on that stage and being able to let rip is where I really feel most comfortable. 

 

Catch Miles live at O2 Institute Birmingham on 27 November 2018. Tickets available HERE. 

Image credit: Lauren Dukoff

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