Fresh off of a US tour and on the eve of worldwide touring (including a huge Wembley Arena show in London) Frank Turner took a minute to talk with MEB about tour life, his next album and his upcoming hardcore side project.
MEB: First off, it looks like you are booked through August as far as touring goes. You’re hitting everywhere from Australia to Canada to various countries in Europe. How does it feel to know you’ll be spending the next four months on the road seeing the world?
Well, it won’t be too much different from the last few years, haha. Actually my tour schedule runs through to the end of the year and beyond, we just haven’t announced all of it yet. I love being on tour, and I’m very lucky to do what I love for a living. I also don’t have a home to go back to in the UK right now so tour is better for me. All in all, I feel good about it!
I have yet to see you play a show, but I have heard that you can provide more entertainment with just your voice and a guitar than some of the bigger artists with light shows and fog machines. For those who haven’t seen you, what would you say to expect from a Frank Turner performance?
Well, I consider myself to be an entertainer first and foremost. Aside from throwing everything I’ve got into it, well, I like to think of my shows as celebrations, an event where it’s more a case of me leading the congregation than just a performer with an audience. It’s a participatory event.
You are fairly popular here in the states, but I’m sure you are much more of a celebrity across the pond. What is the main difference between playing shows in the UK and playing shows in the states?
Well, I play bigger shows in the UK; I guess I’m more associated with the punk scene in the USA than at home (not that I’m bothered either way – I’ll play for anyone). And people in the states travel much further for shows. But on the whole I find western audiences (if you see what I mean) to be much of a muchness. Playing in places like China and Israel was very different, very wild.
It is clear that you are gaining more and more recognition worldwide and becoming much more recognizable among the general public. With that sort of “fame” there comes positives and negatives. How has this recognition positively affected you and how has it negatively affected you?
Well, I was paying for a ticket at the cinema the other day and the guy at the counter was a fan so he let me in free. And sometimes people I don’t know can get a little over-familiar with me, which can be a little odd. For the most part though it’s not something that impacts on my life much; it’s probably because I spend the vast majority of my life on tour, so I’m around my shows every day, which have a standard level of hecticness to them.
Are there any plans on touring in the US following these international shows or are you going to spend more time writing/recording?
Both actually. I’m recording a new album over the summer, and then I’ll be in the USA for more headline shows in September and October.
Last year you released England Keep My Bones, an album that received loads of praise and was even deemed your best album yet by many. Knowing that your last album was so universally loved, does that put any pressure on your songwriting for your next album?
Not particularly – I’ve been doing this for a while now. I guess I felt a bit of pressure around albums two and three, but now the only real pressure I have is from myself. That’s pretty considerable, however – I try to push myself as hard as I can creatively each time I come to write and record. I want to improve every time.
You stated in an earlier interview that you should have a new album slated for 2013 and you’ve also been playing a couple new songs live. Does this mean we should be expecting some sort of recorded material before the year is up?
Yeah, I guess we will probably release a song or two before the end of the year.
What exactly is the songwriting process of Frank Turner? You have been universally praised for your songwriting which tends to lean toward the more personal side of your own life. Should the same introspective anecdotes be expected for your next record?
I’m not taking any hard left-hand turns for the next record, stylistically. I don’t really have a process. When I started doing this I sat down with a guitar and tried to write good songs, nothing more than that. It ain’t broke as of yet, so I don’t feel the need to tinker with it.
You hinted a few months back about starting up a hardcore side project. Can you give us more details about that? When we should expect material, what it should sound like, who you are working with etc.?
I’ve actually started working on it now. It’s me, Ben Dawson (from my old band Million Dead) and Matt Nasir (from my current backing band, The Sleeping Souls). We’re somewhere between Jesus Lizard and Hot Snakes. In-your-face twisted hardcore rock, basically. We wrote a bunch of the songs at the start of the year and we are hoping to be able to record something in the summer. It’s a side project so it’s a low priority for me, but I am excited about it. As far as it goes, it’s refreshing for me, musically.
You were actually selected 29th overall in the annual Fantasy Band Draft on AbsolutePunk.net for a punk/hardcore band along with Frank Carter of ex-Gallows and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. What do you think about making music with those guys?
I’m sure it’d be fun. Frank is a lovely chap. Josh I suppose I’d find a little intimidating at first, haha. I’m up for making music with anyone though.
If you could start up your own “Fantasy Band” (which means any musician who has recorded or played live in the past year) who would you recruit and what kind of band would it be?
I’d make a drunk country band with members of Lucero and Drag the River.
Wrapping this up, is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Come see a show and say hi.