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Frank Turner Interview

Katie-Nan Coleman


More Than The Music: You performed at Latitude this year, what was that like?

Frank Turner: This year was fun, it was my first time playing on the main stage at a major festival, so it was a big day for me. The show went really well, I felt we made some new friends, mission accomplished.

MTTM: You recently supported Greenday at the O2 Arena, how did you find that experience?

FT: It was pretty overwhelming in some ways, and in others it was just another (very cool) show. During the actual set I guess I was trying not to think too hard about where I was and what I was doing, haha. It was only afterwards that it really hit me. It’s definitely something to tell my grandchildren.

MTTM: You recently recorded the video for Try This At Home, which after a passport fiasco saw you take over streets in Oxford last minute, tell us more about that.

FT: I seem to be cursed, in some ways, when it comes to videos. We had a shoot planned with a concept that was loosely based around ripping on old 70s Open University videos. On the day of the shoot I was flying back from Ireland to the UK and had a problem with boarding my plane in Dublin. I ended up having to drive like crazy up to Belfast and catching a plane from there. In the meantime Ben Morse, the director, threw together a totally new idea, which basically involved gathering people up via Facebook and Twitter in Oxford and teaching them to play the song. It was pretty chaotic and tiring, but I really like how the video came out in the end. I think it captures something of the spirit of the song.

MTTM: Who do you look up to in the music industry?

FT: Bruce Springsteen and Henry Rollins are my two guiding lights in life. Loudon Wainwright deserves a hearty honorary mention from me as well. I like people who are honest, hardworking, but not afraid of success.

MTTM: So far you’ve played an astounding 880 gigs and visited 26 countries. Is performing the most important aspect of your musical career?

FT: I think so. I’m quite old fashioned about this – I think that performing live is the essence of what I do, and to some extent albums are just a recording of one performance (or a few stitched together, but you take my point). Being able to interact with the audience directly, in the moment, is very exciting for me, I think it’s at the heart of what I’m trying to do, breaking down the barriers between performer and audience.

MTTM: Earlier this year you said you were working on new songs. When are fans likely to hear and new album and what can be expected from its sound?

FT: I have a lot of new material coming at the moment. I think we’re going to do an EP for 5 new songs or so before the end of this year, and then have the new album out (with different, new songs on) next spring. I have a lot of material, the tap is still running, which is a relief! I’m not making any dramatic left hand turns, stylistically. I think things will be a little more folky, a little more traditional sounding than the last album. But it’s still evolving, so who knows.

MTTM: What inspires you to write your songs, is there a story behind each one?

FT: I tell true stories in my songs, because I’m bad at telling untrue ones, so in that sense every song has a story, or at least a sparking off point. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, pretty much all the time, I’m lucky to say.

MTTM: Finally, if you could perform with anybody dead or alive, who would it be and why?

FT: That’s a very tough question; a lot of my favourite musicians are people who I don’t think would lend so well to collaboration – Townes Van Zandt, for example, is a man alone. I’d love to work with T Bone Burnett on an album some day. And I really want to meet Loudon Wainwright.