LOCKDOWN INTERVIEWS : FRANK TURNER

Thanks for taking our questions during the current lockdown in the UK, for music lovers out there that has never listened to your music can you give them an introduction what they can expect?

Well, I’m a punk kid who grew up to try and be a country and folk singer, and then branched out from there. But really I’d just encourage people to listen and form their own opinions!
 
You have worked hard over the years taking in various venues of all shapes and sizes, I first caught up with you when you played Inverness Madhatters, you had developed your style and creating a buzz around your music, how much different is it now from back at the beginning?

I’m older, wiser and stiffer. I hope that my music has grown, evolved and changed as I’ve gone, I wouldn’t want to make the same sound for 15 years. I play with my band, The Sleeping Souls, more often than not these days, which obviously changes things, broadens my sonic palette.

What was the idea about releasing Live In Newcastle? Did you feel it was time to bring out a new live album? Or was it more around this chapter in your career?

The tour that show recording is taken from was a special one – a different approach to a show as a whole. We were seated, so was the audience, and the show was about getting people to listen rather than dance, about nuance rather than shock and awe. And there was a large narrative element to the show as well. It’s not what I’m planning on doing indefinitely, it was a one-off, experiment kind of thing, and it went well, so I wanted to capture it for posterity.

Do you think over time you will go back out and play an intimate tour to under 300 capacity venues again?

That depends on how many people want to see me play. Playing venues smaller than the demand calls for is necessarily exclusionary. That said, who knows what restrictions will be in place on live music in general after the lockdown.
 
What would you class as the album that took you to the next level in your career? And why do you think this album was different from previous ones? 

I think it was a pretty gradual process. For my first 5 records, each one got bigger than its predecessors. I don’t think I’m best placed to examine why that is, and if I spent too long thinking about it I’d probably disappear up my own arse, so I’m content to just keep doing what I always do – trying to make the best music I can – and enjoy it when that connects with people.

Do you find it a lot different in promoting your music during lockdown or with having more time on your hands you have looked at different ways?

Its’ very different. I can’t tour, which is the absolute centre of all promotional activity for a musician like me. I’ve been doing my best to use the internet in the meantime, but it’s a completely different, and necessarily more limited, scenario.
 
Are you currently writing new material during the lockdown, how different a process is it compared to before this lockdown?

I am writing, though that has been a project for me for this year as a whole. The difference, such as it is, is that it can be hard to concentrate on much other than current events and the lockdown itself, which is pretty distracting for me. Beyond that, writing is writing.
 
What has been your highlight to date with your music and were it has taken you too?

To be honest my highlight is that I’m still standing. Attaining any level of success in the music industry is hard; doing it over 8 albums and more is pretty rare, and most people doubted my ability to do that every step of the way. I’m proud that I still make a living as a musician.

What can we expect from you after this lockdown, new lockdown music live shows around the UK?

That would depend on what the lay of the land is once things change. I’ll respond as quickly and creatively as I can, but no one has any idea what’s going to happen right now, so it’s hard to make concrete plans.
 
How has Covid 19 set you back with your plans for 2020?

Uh, yes. Everything got cancelled and my industry largely ceased to exist. I’d call that a pretty big setback.
 
With the outlook of lockdown getting eased sometime soon, what do you think will be a safe time for us to get back to live music in either big or small venues?

I have no idea, but it won’t be this year, and I’m skeptical about 2021.
 

What have you been up to in the last few weeks during lockdown?

I’ve been doing shows and so on, writing, but also cooking, gardening (! really) and I’m also trying my hand at building a guitar right now. It’s hard.

Going through some of your back catalogue what track would be the song you would recommend to someone that has never listened to your music to give them an introduction to Frank Turner?

I think I’m the wrong person to ask that question; I’m way too close to the subject matter.

Have you watched any of the online music events from bands and artists what has been your favourite musician / band you have been introduced too during this lockdown?

I’ve been watching some stuff, yes. Just before lockdown I got into Ferris & Sylvester, their livestreams have been really cool.

Do you have any plans on doing a live stream over the next few weeks?

Every Thursday.

What can we expect from the band in the next 12 months?

Who knows?