Frank Turner talks Songbook, Lost Evenings and a new studio album in an exclusive interview

Frank Turner is the hardest working man in rock. Sitting still is simply not an option, and next year looks to be no different. With tickets flying out for next year’s Lost Evenings, and the announcement of his new album, Songbook, Frank is typically busy.

RUSHONROCK co-editor Adam Keys caught up with the man himself to discuss the new album, his new studio album and Lost Evenings 2018.

RUSHONROCK – Hi Frank, thanks for joining us at RUSHONROCK. You’ve just announced the release of Songbook. Could you tell us a bit about the album?

Frank Turner – My pleasure. Songbook is a compilation, of sorts. Earlier this year, at my Lost Evenings festival in London, I played around 80 different songs of my own, and it gave me a moment to consider my catalogue holistically. It also reminded me (and prompted me) that the new record I’m working on at the moment is going to be something of a stylistic departure. So I thought now would be a good time to present something that shows me as a songwriter. There’s a disc of my favourite songs from my catalogue, and there’s also a disc of re-workings and rearrangements of some older songs, something I enjoy doing and which I’ve done live a lot over the years. There’s a DVD of show 2000 in the box set, and there’s a new song as well.

RUSHONROCK – Could you tell us a bit about There She Is?

Frank Turner – It’s a simple love song – something I’ve not really done before. It’s also, in its way, the conclusion of the ‘story’ of the previous two records, which both dealt with a rough time in my personal life. The rest of the new album is about other things, so it kind of made sense to put this one out now.

RUSHONROCK – You announced on Twitter that you’re working on your new album in addition to Songbook. How’s that coming along, and when can fans expect to get their hands on it?

Frank Turner – The record is coming along nicely. I’m off to Texas again shortly to finish the recording – tweaking some of the work I did in the summer, and working through some new songs as well. Then we’ll be mixing, and it’ll hopefully be out next spring.

RUSHONROCK – With each album you push your sound forward, never wanting to produce the same sound over and over again. What can we expect from album number seven?

Frank Turner – This one is very much a conscious attempt to head into new sonic territory. There’s a lot of stuff I haven’t ever tried before, and on some levels I’m a little nervous how people will react to it. That said, I think it’s important to say that, for the most part, I don’t really give a shit, I believe in following my muse wherever she may lead me.

RUSHONROCK – The Sand in the Gears has gone down a treat with audiences all over the world this year. Is this a track that you’re planning on recoding? Will it appear on the new album?

Frank Turner – There’s a radically different version of the same song that I’m toying with. I like the original arrangement as well. We shall see.

RUSHONROCK – In Get Better someone (possibly Nigel) said that you find making a new album very stressful – much more stressful than being on the road. Could you tell us a bit about that?

Frank Turner – The thing about tour is, there’s always tomorrow night. The creative decisions you make in the moment are ephemeral, you get a chance to make them over anew the following night. When you’re in the studio, you’re constantly making irrevocable decisions. The versions of my songs on the albums I release are just that – versions. They change and grow every day. So it’s quite difficult, trying to get down an idea in a way that represents it in the best possible light. That can be pretty stressful.

RUSHONROCK – Lost Evenings recently went on sale, with tickets flying out the minute they went on sale. The Friday and Saturday night have now sold out. What can fans expect to see in 2018, and will in differ from the 2017 in any way?

Frank Turner – The main thing this year is that we are making it better, fixing the things that didn’t quite work last year, expanding various aspects of the weekend, trying to get a different and exciting bill together. We’ll be playing Love Ire & Song in full on the Saturday night, and some of the new album over the weekend as well. I’m excited about it.

RUSHONROCK – You’ve now got such a large following across the world that’s it’s impossible to keep everyone happy. But, yet you still try to remain as accessible to fans as possible (email address on website etc.). At what point do you have to take a step back from this?

Frank Turner – Every now and again someone, somewhere tells me I have to take a step back, and I never do, and it remains fine. I guess I hang out a little less after shows these days; my physical constitution on the road is getting creakier as I get older. But I never wanted to be aloof from anyone, least of all the people who come to my shows. So it’s all good.

RUSHONROCK – Campfire Punkrock saw you draw some pretty unfounded criticism. Could you tell us a bit more about the camp, what fans can expect and the reasons behind hosting the event?

Frank Turner – The people having a go at me about that were, in large part, people who have a go at me about everything, including charity work, so I didn’t lose much sleep. That said, it’s clearly not for everyone, but it’s 3 days out of my year on the road next year. The people who decide it is for them will come and we’ll hang out in a beautiful surrounding and work on song writing for a while, it’ll be a blast. For everyone else, there’s my usual tour schedule.

RUSHONROCK – You’ve been an avid supporter of Safe Gigs For Women for many years, and recently spoke at their panel at Venue’s Day. Could you tell us a bit more about this? Is venue safety more important than ever?

Frank Turner – I think it’s always been important, but I think the issue has come much more into the open in recent years, which can only be a good thing. In my idealistic way, I feel like music can be, sometimes, a vehicle for values that you think are important. I want my shows to reflect my values, and they include consideration, respect, tolerance and equality. It infuriates me when those things aren’t in place at a show. It feels like a requirement for me to do what I can to make sure those things are important at my gigs.

RUSHONROCK – It seems cheeky to ask a man that’s always on the road when he’ll be back on the road near us, but what the hell! When can we expect to see another UK tour?

Frank Turner – Early next year, with the new album!

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Northumbria University Journalism graduate, rock and roll enthusiast and co-editor of RUSHONROCK.com.

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