Frank Turner talks new sonic territory in Be More Kind
Ahead of the release of his latest solo album, Be More Kind, RUSHONROCK favourite Frank Turner spared a few minutes from his incredibly busy schedule to discuss the record, Lost Evenings 2, settling down and exploring new sonic territory.
Co-editor, Adam Keys, caught up with Frank after his time in Mexico to talk business:
RUSHONROCK – Hi Frank, thanks for joining us again at RUSHONROCK. You’ve just kicked off a busy (busier?) couple of months – how is the prep going before Be More Kind and Lost Evenings 2?
Frank Turner – Great thanks. Busy, busy times here, after quite an extensive break from the road for me and my crew, so everyone is limbering up and getting back into tour shape again. It’s a good feeling, time off was needed, both for the album and for our personal lives, but we’re a road family, we should be on the road.
RUSHONROCK – How has Mexico treated you over the last week? I hear there you almost arrived without a guitar tech!
Frank Turner – Mexico was insanity. Thankfully (for me) Cahir made the flight out. We did 5 flights in 4 days, played 3 shows and had one night’s sleep in a bed. That said, Mexico (and the fans there) is an awesome, crazy place, so it was worth the insane effort.
RUSHONROCK – Be More Kind isn’t far away, and fans have been treated to a few songs already. Tell us a bit more about the album:
Frank Turner – It’s my 7th solo album. It’s the one I’ve spent most time recording, in the studio, put the most sonic work into. It’s an attempt to do something slightly different, on a few levels, and whilst a little nervous about being out of my comfort zone, I am very much enamoured with it, and excited about its release.
RUSHONROCK – The last time we spoke, you said the album was ‘very much a conscious attempt to head into new sonic territory’. With everything recorded, mixed and ready to go, do you feel you have achieved this?
Frank Turner – I think so, yes, though arguably I am the wrong person to ask, in the final analysis. It feels different and bold to me, but then most things I do feel different, my subjective attention to that detail is much more intense than anyone else’s, I suspect. There’s a whole heap of new sonic textures, instruments, methodologies on there. So hopefully it is something new, yes.
RUSHONROCK – The early indications point towards a lovely variation of electric and acoustic sounds. Do you feel you’ve taken playing solely acoustic music as far as you can?
Frank Turner – I wouldn’t say that, necessarily – in fact, doing something totally acoustic and organic is an interesting idea for me. I have, since the very first EP, included other textures in what I do (though perhaps not these ones). It just felt like a fun direction to go it this time around, a rich creative seam.
RUSHONROCK – A number of your albums have been written during tough personal times for you. This time round, you appear to be in a very happy place – settled some may say! How has this affected the writing process?
Frank Turner – It’s given me different things to write about, haha! I think everyone, myself included, has had their fill of songs about me being romantically inept, of late. It’s fun to write a love song without a twist in the tail (to say nothing of actually living that too!). But having that resource of strength, that foundation, also enables me to look further afield in my choice of subject matter as well.
RUSHONROCK – The tracks released so far have all varied in style, with only Blackout appearing to differ greatly to your previous work. How do you think your core fans will take to this piece of work?
Frank Turner – I genuinely am not sure. Part of me is a little concerned that people will be in full revolt against some of my sonic decisions, and some of me thinks it’s still me writing and singing, so it’s likely that the change isn’t as radical for most as I think it is. But, importantly, I don’t care, in the final analysis. I write for my own best judgement, not to please other people, and that’s always been the case.
RUSHONROCK – Next week sees you return to the UK for a full tour. Set wise, what can fans expect you hear, and what venues are you most looking forward to playing?
Frank Turner – There will be a bunch of new songs in the set, of course, but I’m also one for trying to cover all my bases, to include a little something for everyone in the setlist. I have a lot of material to choose from now so we should be mixing it up a fair bit, once we hit our stride on the road. Venues, well, lots of places that are friendly and familiar for me, but I’m always excited about places I haven’t been to for a while – Southend, Hull and so on.
RUSHONROCK – Lost Evenings is fast approaching, and you’ve once again secured an incredible line up. You recently spoke about your excitement at seeing Newcastle’s Holy Molly and The Crackers. Could you tell our readers a bit more about them, and the other bands that particularly stand out for you?
Frank Turner – I feel bad for picking favourites, haha. HMATC are incredible, I saw them open for Skinny Lister a while back and they utterly blew me away.
Lovely people too. Very unique sound. Beyond that, well, I pick the bill, so it’s all to my taste, haha. I’m flattered to have Subways Getcape and Ginger on the bill, but also excited about newer stuff like Sarah Walk, Homeless Gospel Choir and Arkells.
RUSHONROCK – Finally, despite still having a crazy busy touring schedule, you seem to have calmed on the relentless quest to tour, tour, tour. Has slowing down your schedule been a conscious decision?
Frank Turner – Very much so. I’m getting older, and I don’t want to burn myself out.
Three members of the touring family have children now. Most of all, I have reasons to go home – a partner, a cat, a house – which I never had before. It’s new territory for me and it’s really, really nice.
Northumbria University Journalism graduate, rock and roll enthusiast and co-editor of RUSHONROCK.com.