I’m not really sure how this happened but I recently had the opportunity to interview Winchester’s best export, Frank Turner.
Anticipating the release of his fourth full length album, Tape Deck Heart, we talk The Sleeping Souls, Atheism, Hardcore Punk and Beer amongst other things, read the full interview below!
We’ve already heard a few songs from Tape Deck Heart and they’re showing off a new, very rock and roll sound. Was this a natural progression or something that you’ve been striving for since day one?
I guess it’s a natural progression. I try not to think too analytically about what I do musically, not to get all calculated about it. I just like to let songs arrive in the manner of their choosing, and if it heads in one direction or another, then so be it.
These are the songs that felt good to me this time around.
What were your influences whilst writing and recording the album – What was spinning in your CD player?
Aside from the usual melee of Springsteen and Black Flag (haha) I’ve been pretty buried in stuff like The National, and of course Weezer’s ”Pinkerton”, of late.
I’ve also been getting a little fascinated with old-school rock’n'roll guitar parts, and I think an element of that bleeds onto the record.
You went back to the solo acoustic for a mini-tour in 2011. Do you think we’ll see anymore solo Frank Turner tracks or are The Sleeping Souls here to stay?
The Souls are the band that I play with, and for the most part that’s how I want to present my music right now. That said, I think there’s a spine running through what I do of one person, one instrument, and I don’t want to lose that. It’s fun for me to be able to do solo tours every now and again, it keeps me on my toes, lets me look at songs in a fresh way, which is healthy.
As well as The Sleeping Souls, you’ve been getting back into the hardcore punk scene with Mongol Horde. How did that come about? Any plans for the future?
Mongol Horde is something I’ve been thinking about doing for ages. The motivation is twofold. I really wanted to scratch the itch of playing heavy music again, it’s part of my character that isn’t fully indulged in my normal music. And I really wanted to play with Ben Dawson again, we grew up playing together and hopefully always will. It’s a lot of fun, although it’s not a main priority for me right now alas. We’re hoping to get a record made before the end of this year.
Who would you absolutely love to take on tour with you, for future Tape Deck Heart tours?
I’m lucky in that I get to indulge that impulse a fair bit with what I do, for headline tours I always pick the supports. In April / May we have Larry & His Flask and George Frakes coming on the road, who are both acts I’m very into right now. Beyond that I have a ton of ideas – Retrospective Soundtrack Players, Cadbury Sisters, Smith Street Band… loads of stuff.
On England, Keep My Bones, you unveiled Glory Hallelujah on to the world, what’s the feedback been like? Are there any controversial subjects on Tape Deck Heart?
The reaction to Glory Hallelujah has been fine for the most part. I spent a long time trying to get the tone of the lyrics to that song right; I’m not an aggressive or chauvinistic atheist, it’s a positive rather than a negative thing for me. Of course, some people were a little displeased with it, but each to their own.
Tape Deck Heart is a more personal record, so I guess there’s stuff that’s controversial for me – a lot of the songs are about my own failures and shortcomings.
What message would you like to get our or feeling portray with this album – Is there a theme throughout?
I don’t really do messages for my records. There is a theme, I suppose, a feeling of change, of disconnection, and within that it’s kind of a breakup record. I wanted to make an album that was quite harsh, raw, visceral.
You launched Believe beer last summer, any other bizarre merch ideas that you’d like to bring to life in the future?
I’m sure there’ll be something somewhere. I’m wary of over-commercialising myself, at the end of the day I’m a musician and want to be regarded and considered as such, not as a salesman. It was hard to turn down the idea of having my own beer though, haha.
What festival do you most enjoy playing?
If I had to pick just the one I’d have to say Reading, it’s the festival I grew up going to and it has a very special place in my heart.
Finally, I’m sorry but it has to be asked, are there any plans for a Million Dead reunion?
…and on that note, we should probably call it quits before I piss him off. Thanks for taking the time out to answer these questions, Frank.
New album, Tape Deck Heart is due out 22nd April, you can preorder it here.