The Rascals

The RASCALS////MILES KANE////NOVEMBER 2007

If you are unaware, The Rascals are a three piece band from the Wirral, born from the embers of previous Mersey band, The Little Flames. Although only a short time since their conception, this three piece, with their debut album, ‘Rascalize’, have been making big waves in both the UK and far across Europe. Lead singer, Miles Kane, a man you may recognise as being one half (along with Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys) of 2008’s undefeated heavyweight success story, ‘The Last Shadow Puppets’, speaks to Outline about his primary act and gives some insight into what we should expect from them over the coming months…

First and foremost, you were due to be here earlier this year but the tour got cancelled, can you tell us why?
Yeah, I got laryngitis. We started the tour in Liverpool and then after two nights there we headed up to Glasgow. My voice was getting dead croaky and I felt dead shit. From here we went to the Highlands and during the gig up there my voice just cut out completely. When we got to the hotel I just felt even worse, to a point where I couldn’t even leave the Hotel for a few days. I was told by doctors that as well as the laryngitis that I was suffering from exhaustion, so they said ‘you need to rest man’. 

Originally from Liverpool, a city which has had a multitude of musical success stories over the years. Even forgetting the fab four if at all possible, this region has given us in recent years, acts such as The Coral, The Zutons & Gomez to name but a few. But I wondered which local bands have been influences on The Rascals?
I’m gonna go and do an acoustic session tomorrow night for Mark Riley. I’ve been working on a version of nothing ever lasts forever by the Bunnymen, ‘cause they’re like my favourite band. Echo and the Bunnymen have been a massive inspiration for me. We’ve actually done a couple of covers of their songs before. In fact I’m really excited ‘cause I’m going to see them in Liverpool (on Thursday) with a full orchestra doing the ‘Ocean Rain’ album. So for me, it’s definitely them, I think that sound will just last forever.  

Everyone says music courses through the veins of Liverpool, does that make it easier or harder for you as a band succeed there?
Erm, we actually get asked this question a lot. I don’t know really. I think if you are from Liverpool you don’t really feel that. We don’t know any different really, that’s just the way it is. Maybe if you came to Liverpool later you might think that, but for us, it’s just the way it is and you get used to that.

This year, your hometown has been the European City of Culture. Have you noticed any major cultural improvements?
I haven’t even been here to be honest with you (laughs). All I’ve seen is a new shopping precinct and a Wagamama’s, oh yeah, and a Pret à Manger or whatever they call it (laughs)

Your debut ‘Rascalize’…I believe you produced it with the three of you, playing and recording in the same room, at the same time – can you tell us why, with the technology available to musicians today, you took this approach?
I think there was a sense of urgency when we recorded the record. I mean the whole reason we started this band was because the three of us began to get frustrated with the situation of our previous band The Little Flames. We made a record with them, but it took nearly a year and a half to do. The label were getting all arsey saying we need to be writing pop hits. I think the other two members, the girl and the lad (who are still me mates – so I’m not trying to slag them off) got a bit caught up in all that. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pop tune and I’ve even written a few. A boss little pop tune is great, but as a young lad making a first record, you always want to make something that comes from within you. The tunes that came from the way we recorded were these dark, mad, but scatty, kinda fucked up tunes. We didn’t want to it be thought about too much, like right, this will be single one and this will be single two, do you know what I mean? In just under a month we did like twenty tracks, nearly one a day. A then we picked a selection. We had a ball doing it that way. We were in London and it was the first time we’d been there for like three weeks. We only started the band in like April or May last year, and I think we really captured that. I think most bands are together for a few years, so they take time when it comes to recording their debut. When we were making it, the record label were saying that we weren’t going to make day-time radio, you’re not going to sell 100,000 copies, ‘cause it’s a bit mad and some people will probably not get it. But even so, it just seemed right for us to do it that way. We just wanted to do it, record it, feel it and put it out and then move on from there. For the next record, some of the new songs we’ve been doing are probably a little bit easier on the ear. They’re not so scatty, I think that’s probably because we’ve developed more. I think we’ve all got better with the song writing and my singings also got a bit better. We’ve also just got back from a European Rascals tour which has been brilliant. Its funny, ‘cause in Europe, the mad thing is that all our singles have been getting daytime radio play. Over here you’ve got to be so precise, but in Europe it’s a lot cooler. Over there you don’t have to be on a major label to get air play over there.

As mentioned already, all three of you were originally in The Little Flames – do you still see the remaining members now? What are they doing with themselves and would you consider either of them guesting on a Rascals project at some point in the future?
I don’t really see Matt anymore. Although I think he’s still doing some sort of music. Eva the singer, I’ve seen her the other week. She gave me a CD of the tunes she’s doing and it’s pretty good like. Regarding getting her in, who knows… never say never. Maybe on a B-Side or something (laughs)

With everything going on for you personally, I guess it’s been a fairly busy time for you of late?
This year has been so mad. Me mind has been fixed on doing the two separate things. Now though, I feel at me most relaxed because now I can just concentrate on me band. Even though with the Puppets we only did one tour, I get asked about it a lot, which is fair enough man, if people are interested in it. But now, The Rascals European tour (which we’ve just got back from) has really inspired me. I had problems with my voice and my liver, so I didn’t drink on the tour. I felt really comfortable and dead inspired. All the gigs Sold Out – it was just boss man. So apart from all that, just putting the album out and just to be doing what we’re doing. Also next year we are hoping to put the new album out. But we won’t rush it as much. We’ll take more time and we really want to experiment with Sitars and other mad instruments. With the Puppets, it’s a much more polished thing, but a lot of people compare the two. I don’t think some people understand that they are both meant to be separate things. But next years is about a Rascals second record. For any of the people who don’t believe in ya, it’s a bit of a ‘Fuck off’ if you know what I mean. So when they listen to it, they’ll be think but that’s not them, hopefully we’ll blow minds.    

There is a new film due out soon called ‘Away Days’ which is based on Kevin Sampson book on football hooligans. You appear in the film doing a version of Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘All That Jazz’. Can you tell us how this came about?
Well the film is set in Liverpool. The makers approached us as there is a scene where the main characters are in a pub (set in the eighties). They wanted to base it (the scene) on the Bunnymen. But they said we could play one of our own songs, which to me was going to be a bit false. So we’d been jamming ‘All that Jazz’, which also came out around the same time that the film was set in. I think they were afraid to ask if we minded doing a cover, but we were like, don’t be stupid, of course we’d do one. I don’t know what it’s like though (I haven’t seen it), but we are only in a couple of scenes doing some Bunnymen tune.

So as we speak today, musical history is being made in the long awaited release of Gn’R’s Chinese Democracy. I wondered if you had 17 years, millions of pounds at your disposal and an army of musicians, what would your album sound like?
What in 17 years? (laughs) it would probably sound like the shittest thing ever…(laughs)

I must ask, with such a massive year for The Last Shadow Puppets, is there any plans to do another album?
Yeah, we definitely will, but for my head and my mind, I need to spend next year doing Rascals stuff and be with me boys for a bit and try and make some great records. And at the moment, Al’s happy doing his Monkeys records. I don’t know when it’ll be, whether it’ll be a year or a year and a half, but we definitely will at some point. I’d never do it again the way I did it this time, by putting two records out at the same time though. Maybe we’ll work on it, when we (The Rascals) need a bit of a rest. 

Finally, as this is our December edition, it seems fitting to enquire as to how you’ll be spending Christmas day? And have you worked out your plans for NYE as of yet?
The day before Christmas Eve we have a gig in Manchester and the day after that we’ll have a gig in Liverpool (which a lot of our friends will be coming too – so they’ll be mad). Christmas Eve, I’ll probably stay in and chill out. I don’t like ‘avin a hangover on Christmas Day. For the New Year I’ll probably head over into town and I may get a room in the Beatles hotel – so I don’t have to get a taxi home…

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