- Photography by Mr Steve Harries | Styling by Mr Mitchell Belk
- Words by Mr Tom M Ford, Features Writer, MR PORTER
On the cover of his lean, mean second solo album Don't Forget Who You Are, Mr Miles Kane stands in front of his mother's butcher's stall in St Johns market, Liverpool. In a typically skintight suit, the mod songbird looks defiant. "It was a little reminder to myself, and to anyone, don't get caught up in any bullshit," he says of the album's rousing title track, which he performed live for MR PORTER (above). "I see it happen to people I love. They get a bit of attention and they lose their minds."
Since releasing his 2011 solo debut Colour of the Trap, Mr Kane has befriended "the modfather" Mr Paul Weller and dated model Ms Suki Waterhouse. Currently enjoying a purple patch of press attention, he is on the verge of his biggest UK tour to date. Yet any fear of Mr Kane being changed by fame is soon quashed. The previous night's gig at a hometown dive bar was as enthusiastic as any Glastonbury headline show. "It was absolutely mental," he recalls. "There was no barrier; we played the last song and everyone got on stage. Two birds were kissing me - I felt like Tom Jones!"
We played the last song and everyone
got on stage. Two birds were kissing me
- I felt like Tom Jones
Now renowned for his energetic performances, Mr Kane was not always the willing front man. Growing up influenced by his mother's taste for T-Rex and The Beatles, he would record his voice in her bedroom on a 4-track tape machine. "I didn't want to sing in front of my mates," he admits. "It took me a while, really." He received a guitar at the age of 13 and joined The Little Flames at 18; when two original members left, Mr Kane assumed vocal duties and the band became The Rascals. A shared tour bill with Mr Alex Turner ("We just got on and started writing in our mums' houses") led the Arctic Monkey and the Rascal to collaborate as The Last Shadow Puppets, a partnership that yielded a 2008 No.1 album and a Mercury Award nomination. Going solo a year later, aged just 22, Mr Kane had achieved more than most indie rockers manage in a lifetime.
His latest release - out earlier this month on Columbia Records - is a swaggering rock'n'roll affair. Lurching from one sing-along hit to another, it pauses for breath just twice, on stripped-back numbers "Out of Control" and "Fire in My Heart". With a heavier sound than its predecessor, it seems tailor-made for festivals and stadium shows. "The blueprint was to make this a Saturday-night album to play live," he explains. "I think it's just straight down the line. If I'm talking about havin' it, or about falling in love, I'm being as honest as I can be." Such a confident, direct sound is down to gut instinct. "They said I should get a young, hip guy in," he says with a shake of his mop top, "but everything about this record - working with [the Lightning Seeds'] Ian Broudie and Paul Weller - it was all really natural. I like it when things just happen."
Mr Kane's second album, Don't Forget Who You Are, is out now
Although the two co-wrote "You're Gonna Get It" and "Fire in My Heart", it was style rather than music over which the former front man of The Jam and Mr Kane first bonded. They shared an admiration for Mr Jacques Dutronc in a green room, and it's the 1960s singer and style icon who epitomises the sharp yet louche style Mr Kane displays for our shoot. Like the scooter-riding trendsetters of the era, Mr Kane sees his style as a way of life: less fashion, more feeling. "The way I look is massively important. It's everything," he says in his earnest Liverpudlian lilt. "I love clothes; it's as simple as that. They give you that extra va-va-voom! I like taking pride in my appearance - there are not enough people getting stuff fitted. I'm fussy, so even things off the peg I like to get taken in. I've got a couple of suits from Nick Hart [of Spencer Hart] and Adrien Sauvage - both amazing guys."
From top tailors to cult brands such as Sandro and Acne, Mr Kane knows his stuff. And having done campaigns and shows for the likes of John Varvatos and Burberry, he is somewhat in demand. As talk turns to more pressing matters, however, there is no doubt where his priorities lie.
"We're chock-a-block now, touring the album until the end of June and supporting The Stone Roses at Finsbury Park," he says, eyes lighting up. "That night we might do a surprise gig, a bit of a mad one at midnight... but that's hush-hush!"