Frank Turner

After releasing a UK tour, we caught up with Singer-songwriter Frank Turner to discuss music, festivals and politics.

Interview by Jane Howkins.


You’ve just announced a 21 date UK tour, how excited are you?

Very. It’s always nice to be back on home turf, and it’s been a year since we were around the UK, so it’ll be fun I’m sure.

You’re known for the amount of shows you do and you’re a very dedicated performer, does it ever get tiring?

Yes, all the time, but every walk of life has its downsides. The fact that I’m tired at the end of a tour actually makes me feel good in a way, it means I’ve been working hard, putting the effort in.

You recently performed at the Reading and Leeds Festivals for the tenth consecutive year as a solo artist – we saw you at Leeds and it was an excellent show! What is it about those festivals that appeal to you so much to keep you going back?

I grew up going to Reading – it was just down the road, my first one was 1995 – and I went for years as a punter. Since I started playing – 2004 in Leeds with Million Dead was my first appearance at either – they’ve been great for my career, always a good time, winning over new people. Each year it’s served as something of a benchmark.

Did you manage to catch many other acts at Reading and Leeds, and if so, who did you enjoy?

I saw a little bit of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes both days, which was great. Generally speaking we don’t get much time to see other people at festivals alas.

In recent years, your music has moved away from the political stuff and more into the personal. 2016 has been a pretty crazy year for politics (and looks to get even crazier with the elections in the USA coming up shortly), has it inspired you to start writing more politically again?

In my personal opinion, music is not a great format for political discussion. Certainly for me, not much I have to say has ever translated well, it’s been misunderstood (sometimes willfully). I have my opinions about politics of course and would agree that it’s a dangerous time in the world right now. I’m not sure a 3 minute long song is going to achieve much of relevance.

If it’s not too personal, what are your opinions on Brexit and the possibility that there may be a President Trump next year? 

Brexit is a very complex issue and not one I care to comment on really. Trump is terrifying.

Your last album Positive Songs For Negative People was released last year. Do you have any plans to make another record soon, and if so, how is the song writing going?

I have a whole pile of new songs written and some strong ideas. Right now I’m just starting to gather myself mentally, starting to think about producers and methodology and so on. I couldn’t put a timescale on it but something is stirring for sure.

You’re also part of hardcore punk band Mongol Horde. Do you have any plans for a second album or tour?

It’s definitely something we want to do, as and when the time is available, but I couldn’t tell you when that would be.

At the moment you’re more well known for the folk stuff, but you have quite a big hardcore background. Is that something you would like to branch out into more in the future? Are you more influenced by heavier punk bands or the singer-songwriter stuff?

I wouldn’t like to count anything out really. I’ve been very influenced by country music in the last few years, but then also lot more indie rock stuff like The Hold Steady and The National. Right now I’m listening to a ton of old soul music. Everything goes in.

Any last words for the fans?

Hi. See you at a show.