We’ve long been fans of folk troubadour Frank Turner here at Cool As Leicester, so we were super excited to catch up with him ahead of his massive UK arena tour which is kicking off this week.
Doing a UK arena tour is a pretty big deal, what was your main ambition when starting out?
Not really, no. I mean, I want to be successful in my endeavours in life, I’m ambitious in that respect, but I didn’t really listen to bands on that level growing up, and I didn’t really go to those kinds of shows. Playing these venues this time around is partly a functional thing – I want to play places big enough to hold all the people who want to come, and so we end up in these places. I don’t want to present what I do in an exclusive way.
You’ve managed to keep some of your punk rock following from the Million Dead days, whilst picking up folk fans along the way, and now on to more commercial success. What do you think has been the secret behind keeping everybody happy through changing times?
Not thinking about it at my end. I just try and make the best music I can, play the best shows I can, and be decent and honest in my dealings with people. Hopefully that comes across in what I do.
Which song do you never tire of playing?
Haha, I’m not sure there are any that I *never* tire of playing. There are always some days where some songs connect more than others. That said, if you play any song and a room full of people sing it back to you, that’s never dull.
My favourite lyric of yours is “Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings”, what do you think is the best line you’ve ever written?
I don’t really think about my words in that way; each has a lot of different memories and emotions invested in it. Obviously I think some are better than others, but picking one is hard. Maybe the last line of “Broken Piano“. That has a certain poetry to it which I like.
Who is the best performer you’ve ever seen live?
Uh, Springsteen maybe, or Larry & His Flask.
On your latest album you put politics to one side and focus more on the everyday issues of love and heartbreak. Was that a conscious decision or just what came out when writing?
Mostly it was just what came out. Tape Deck Heart is a break-up record, and that’s the album I needed to make at that time. That said, I have got thoroughly bored stiff of politics as a general topic, I think it’s tedious in the extreme.
Now, I’m a big Beans on Toast fan… Do you have a hand in choosing your support bands on tour and who’s the best act you’ve toured with to date?
I always pick the supports myself, wouldn’t let anyone else do it. Jay is an old friend, I’m excited to have him along again. We’ve toured with some amazing bands, I feel bad even trying to pick one. Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Larry & His Flask, Dropkicks, the list is long.
Who’s your top music tip for 2014?
Will Varley. A folk singer from London. He’s amazing.
What are the plans for after the arena tour?
We have dates in Europe, South Africa and America, and then it’s the summer. Keeping myself busy. We’ll be making another album before the end of this year, for sure, plus Mongol Horde should be releasing some music and playing some shows.
I remember when you celebrated your 1000th live show with a charity gig, are you still keeping count of how many you’re on?
Yes, at time of writing it’s 1521.
You openly put your email address on your website and state that you’re happy for people to contact you. Do you think it’s important for musicians to be accessible to fans?
I’d hesitate to try and dictate how any other musicians go about their business, that’s not my concern. Personally I think it’s a good thing to be contactable, accessible. I don’t want to hide away from my audience.
Have you ever had a moment when you’ve stood back and thought “wow, I never thought I’d make it here”?
Yes. I usually have a couple during the day, and one just before I go to sleep, haha.
You stated in recent interviews “never date a musician”. Do you think there’ll come a point when you’ll let someone come before your guitar?
God knows. Part of me hopes so. But it hasn’t worked out just yet.
Good luck for the arena tour! Can we expect to hear some of the oldies as well as the new stuff?
Yup, we’re playing a bit of everything.
Frank Turner’s UK tour comes to the East Midlands on Friday 7th February when he hits Capital FM arena in Nottingham. Tickets for the show are still available HERE.