Interview: Frank Turner
London folk-punk artist Frank Turner is set to release his latest album, England Keep My Bones, on June 6th in the UK on Xtra Mile Recordings, and June 7th worldwide on Epitaph Records. The man himself shared the secrets of his album with Erik van Rheenen in this MEB interview.
Mind Equals Blown: What’s the meaning behind the new album title? Why pick that particular Shakespeare quote?
Frank Turner: I don’t write albums to concepts, but often, after they’re done, it’s possible to tease out strands of things that have been occupying me recently while writing. With this record, we got pretty close to the finishing line and I still didn’t have a title, but I knew that the album was, for the most part, about mortality, and about Englishness. Shakespeare seemed like a good place to go hunting for some pearls of wisdom, and with a little help from my friend Ben we came across this one, and it just seemed to fit the work really well.
MEB: What can fans expect from the new album? Has your sound or song-writing process changed at all since Poetry of the Deed?
FT: I think this record is a little folkier than Poetry, which is definitely a rock record. This one is a little more in the acoustic, traditional vein – there’s an acapella song on there, for instance. There’s some rock stuff too. It’s not a million miles away from what I’ve been doing for the last few years, but maybe a little longer in the tooth, and I always try and do little new things – there’s some brass on this record, for example.
MEB: How many songs can listeners expect on the album? Will there be any holdovers from the Rock and Roll EP?
FT: The song “I Still Believe” will be on the album, but everything else will be new. I’m actually having a bit of a nightmare trying to figure out which songs to put on the album at the moment, there are too many right now but I don’t want to cut anything!
MEB: You recorded the album in just twenty days. Was that a fast turnaround for getting a record done?
FT: Actually that was pretty leisurely by my standards. Usually I’d get the recording and the mixing done in that time, haha. I guess we worked pretty fast by most measures, but it wasn’t ever rushed, it was a really comfortable recording experience actually. We did an awful lot of pre-production and demoing, so I felt very ready to make the album once the time finally rolled around.
MEB: You’re about to head out on an extensive tour through the UK, USA, and Australia with Franz Nicolay and Ben Marwood. What can concertgoers expect, and how excited are you for this tour?
FT: Franz and Ben will only be with me in the UK – more’s the pity. The first round of touring I’m doing for this record will be all solo shows, just me and my guitar. That’s nothing against the band, who play on a lot of the new album – it’s more just that it feels good to restate the fact that this is a project based around that central paradigm. It’s been a long while since I played solo shows in the UK, so I’m looking forward to it. Naturally I’ll be playing a lot of new material, but then it also gives me the freedom to muck around with setlists a little more, play what I feel like.
MEB: Is there anything else you’d like fans to know about the upcoming album?
FT: I’m genuinely very excited to get it out into the great wide world.