INTERVIEW: FRANK TURNER
For three long and often lonely years of life on the road, playing a brand of honest and passionate folk/punk, Frank Turner continued to rise to prominence with an ever increasing following. But it was in the sweaty climes of the Lock Up Stage at Reading and Leeds 2008 that his solo career really started to take off. Inside the packed out tents, heaving with adoring fans and intrigued passers-by, Frank led the congregation in a mass sing-a-long; a stirring set that not only sparked the interest of the British mainstream but resonated unassumingly across the pond as a wealth of American punk bands watched approvingly from the sidelines. Silent Radio catches up with him prior to his performance at Kendal Calling festival, which takes place from Friday 29th – Sunday 31st July.
SR: Hello, how are you today? Firstly we are so happy you are coming to Kendal Calling festival, which is set in the Lowther Deer Park. If you could be any animal for a day which one would it be and why?
FT: I think I’d like to be a pet dog actually. I know that’s not very adventurous, but I grew up with a lot of dogs in my house and always thought they had a pretty peachy life.
SR: Where is your favourite place to play and why?
FT: Anywhere where there’s a crowd that wants me to play. Beyond that I’m not fussy.
SR: Although you have played to thousands of people, do you ever get nervous when your family comes to the show?
FT: Very occasionally, but that’s more to do with me having written quite emotionally honest songs and worrying about what people might think about them, people who are close to me. I haven’t been properly nervous before a show for a long time now.
FT: They’re great. UK festivals have a feel all of their own, there’s really nothing like it elsewhere in the world.
SR: What projects are you working on at the moment? Any special collaborations in the pipeline?
FT: Right now the new album is kind of monopolizing my time and brain, but I have some ideas on the backburner – I’m planning on making some louder, angrier music again sometime, plus I’m working on a book of tour diaries.
SR: What encouraged you to first start making music? Who did you admire growing & what are your earliest inspirations, musical and/or otherwise?
FT: The first band I fell in love with music properly was with Iron Maiden actually, and right from the get-go I wanted to try and make music myself – I was never much of a passive spectator. Nirvana drew me towards punk and hardcore, bands like Black Flag and NOFX.
SR: Tell us about your plans for 2011 / 2012?
FT: I’m in the USA and Canada in the Autumn, and then the UK and Europe at the end of this year. Next year is a little hazier at the moment, but I will be on the road pretty continuously, knowing me.
SR: Who are your most revered musicians, and what do you find so inspiring about them?
FT: Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan are kind of the big three for me – in different ways they personify dedication, artistic daring and entertainment for me. I’m also very inspired by Henry Rollins and his take on life.
SR: You must have some pretty devoted fans; what’s the strangest thing a fan has ever done?
FT: Some of the fan tattoos I have seen are a little full on for me, especially if they’re portraits, but at base it’s a compliment I suppose. I get presents from people a lot of the time and they’re all ace.
SR: What music are you listening to at the moment? Can you give us any tips on up and coming acts or hidden gems we may not have heard of?
FT: Recently I’ve been mainlining the two guys I was on tour with in the UK – Ben Marwood and Franz Nicolay – as well as a whole bunch of Townes Van Zandt.
SR: What can we expect from your performance at Kendal Calling?
FT: Me and the band leading a celebration where everyone is invited.
Kendal Calling festival is currently sold out. For more information on the line up and the festival go to www.kendalcalling.co.uk