An Interview with Frank Turner
There's something about Frank Turner. He has this easy going attitude to life that makes guys want to be him and girls want to be with him.
It's a little tricky to pigeon-hole his music, but with a blend of country / rock, Frank Turner is making his mark on the music industry and he has some of the most fervent fans out there.
With four solo albums already, Frank Turner is fast becoming a household name, so we thought we'd find about what he's been up to.
It's hard to describe your music and people have called it a peculiar blend of folk and rock. How would you describe it yourself?
Right now I enjoy calling myself a country singer, it seems to fit pretty well with the music I make. But then I'm also a contrarian, so I like calling myself things that throw people off the scent as well, ha ha. I feel like it's up to other people to describe it; to me, it's just my music.
Who are some of your musical influences over the years? Any ones we won't have heard of before?
Besides growing up with punk rock stuff like Black Flag and Descendents, I've spent recent years immersed in Neil Young, Dylan, Springsteen and the like. Townes Van Zandt and Loudon Wainwright III are big deals for me, as are Hold Steady and the Weakerthans and, lately, The National.
Do you live a bit of a rock and roll lifestyle or are you a little more chilled out these days?
Uh, I live the way I feel comfortable. Not sure if it's "rock'n'roll" or not. I mean, I like to have a drink (who doesn't!?), but I guess I'm a little calmer these days than I once was. After a certain age, you have to conserve your energy to put on the best performance, and playing well means more to me than getting fucked up.
You have one of the biggest cult followings of any band at the moment - what's your secret behind that?
I have no idea and I'm kind of loathe to investigate in case I break something. Just happy to be appreciated I guess.
You've got quite a big presence on social media - do you think its more important now than ever?
I think social media is very interesting and a powerful tool, if you wish it to be one. I think you can still get along as a band / musician without it if you want to, but for me it's a cool way to break down the barriers between performers and their audience.
Can you tell us a little more about what you've got planned in the pipe-line?
I just finished recording a new studio album (it's not mixed yet); should hopefully be being released in the first quarter of next year. Predictably enough, I'm very excited about it. I think the songs are really strong.
Obviously we love anything and everything to do with travelling - how many countries have you travelled to?
I've played shows in 34 different countries (there's a complete list of all my past gigs on my website, I'm slightly OCD about it). I have been to a bunch of other parts of the world on holiday in my time including Africa and South East Asia. So many...
What's your favourite and why?
America, without a shadow of a doubt. It's fascinating, surprising, wonderful, awesome, and endless.
Have you met anyone on the road that you've thought "yep, you're totally awesome. I love what you're doing."?
Yes, quite a few. Without getting too melodramatic about it, out on the road (in the music world) there are a lot of people, but only a minority of us are lifers, and you can spot them from a mile off. Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, a lot of the crew I work with, we can just tell that we're in it for the long haul. I find that to be life-affirming and encouraging.
What's the most fun thing you've done on the road?
Played music for people who wanted to hear it, night on night. There's really nothing better.
Which has the best food / cuisine?
Hmm, good question. Probably Italy. I adore Italian food.
What's the worst problem you've encountered on the road / what's your scariest travel experience?
Fatigue and loneliness get to everyone once in a while, and you have to learn to control your impulse to scream at someone / everyone every now and again, to make your own space and deal with your own shit. Even with the best of wills, every now and again things get tense, which is no fun. I've been in car and van accidents in my time, which are always fucking terrifying. I spend a huge amount of time in moving vehicles, and it's pretty scary when they go wrong.
What are your top five travel tunes?
- "On & On" by Tim Barry
- "To Hell With Good Intentions" by McClusky
- "Turn The Page" by Bob Seger
- "Song For Woody" by Bob Dylan
- "Pancho & Lefty" by Townes Van Zandt
What three things would you take on a desert island?
A guitar, a mattress and a minibar.
What's your favourite fruit?
Uh, oranges I guess. Not big on fruit really.
Romantic meal with the girlfriend or beers with mates?
Beers with mates. I'm not very good at the relationship thing, thanks to my mode of existence.
Pool or fussball?
I'm embarrassingly terrible at both.
Also, you can pop over to his site and see what it's all about... he'd like that...
This month is music month at gapyear.com so head on over to our music and travel section for some other quality interviews. Enjoy!