It’s been years since Frank Turner has been on the bill for all the major festivals worldwide, all while filling venues like Wembley Stadium and Royal Albert Hall. Most artists nowadays can only hope for a second album, yet singer-songwriter Frank Turner is at his 6th and still going on strong. He played SXSW earlier this year, only to start the summer with 3 shows at Glastonbury to be followed up with the release of his much-anticipated record Positive Songs for Negative People in August. FAULT caught up with the singer on his favourite tracks, recording on the road and everything that’s been going down in his career lately.
You’ve just played Glastonbury haven’t you? How was it? Word of mouth is that you’ve made quite the impression.
It was hard work, I didn’t really get to hang out and enjoy the festival for what it was. I had three shows: one at the Other Stage and then I had one at Strummerville Campfire and another one at The Leftfield. And I can say that all of them were great.
What do you prefer most? Performing or recording?
Performing definitely. I find recording very stressful.
Speaking of recording, you’re releasing your 6th album now. That’s an impressive number. Could you tell me in a few words how you’ve evolved as a musician over the past years? Who were you before your debut album release and who are you now before your 6th one?
That’s hard to say in just a few words. Hopefully I’ve changed over the years. Probably the main difference is that I’ve gone better at writing songs and recording them and realizing ideas that I had in my head. That’s the main thing. I also collaborated with other musicians and I was also completely on my own, either on stage or in the recording studio. But over time, the band that I play with has solidified since 2008 and we got to know each other as musicians and we’ve become really tight as a band. It made a big difference to my sound and my songwriting as well because I now know exactly who are my people.
How did you go about putting it together?
Well, the songs were kind of written on the road. So they came together slowly over the course of 2013-2014 really. We recorded the songs in Nashville, which was fantastic. It took me a long time to find the right producer; I had like this exact idea in my head. We recorded kind of quickly and raw, in this sort of aggressive field trip. I was thinking a lot about my debut album, cause it’s quite interesting. So, as I was saying, it took me a long time to find a producer and I finally got in touch with Butch Walker to get him to Nashville and make the record.
What was the most challenging bit that you’ve encountered while songwriting/ recording?
Well, I think the most challenging bit was finding the right studio and producer. The songwriting was quite easy this time. The previous record I did was quite introspective and there was a sense of liberation when I started writing on this album, it’s a record about survival, about standing up. And we made the record in 9 days, totally smashed it out, which felt really good. The difficult bit was just getting the right conditions in place to make the record.
It’s also a very personal album. Which track is your favourite?
Every song has kind of an emotional aspect to it, I find it really hard to choose a favourite.
Not necessarily picking a favourite, but of the whole bunch, is there one in particular that you’re emotionally attached to?
Well, let me think. My favourite set of lyrics on the record is from a song called Josephine. Sometimes I write songs that I find hard to explain what they’re about, which strikes me as a good thing. But that implies that it’s a piece of poetry that needs to be written, if you can’t explain what a song’s about without listening to it, it’s proof that it needs to exist.
Of all your discography, if you were to choose two songs that would nearly fully introduce people to yourself and your sound, which ones would you go for and why?
Again, that’s a hard question. But I guess that one of the songs that’s very special to me is the first song on Love Ire & Song, my second album, which is called I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous. That song captured a moment in time and it was one of the first songs that I released on which I felt like a proper songwriter. It just felt like I achieved something that was worthwhile. And then it’s, probably still one of my most popular songs, I Still Believe. People enjoy it and it’s a celebration of music
What else do you have in store for the rest of 2015?
Well, once the album is out, I’m basically gonna be on tour for the rest of my life. I’m already booked until the beginning of next summer. And probably for the whole of next year as well. So once the album is out, I can’t wait to go back to what I think I do best and certainly what’s my favourite part of it all, which is go out there and tour.
Lastly, what is your FAULT?
So many to choose from. Well, my mate for quite a while called James is currently dying and he wrote a poem about his impending death. One of the lines said, “I should have been more kind.” And I think that there are definitely times when I could be more considerate to the people in my life and I feel bad for not doing that.
Words: Alina Ilie