We have had the privilege of speaking to folk/rock solo artist and all-round nice guy Frank Turner ahead of his festival The Gathering – tickets still available – which is coming to Urmston this summer! #FollowTheJ
FRANK TURNER: THE INTERVIEW
THE JOURNALIX: So, Frank – what colour is your hair at the moment?
FRANK TURNER: Brown, natural.
THE J: You got used to performing live from your home in 2020, along with your wife – and it was brilliant! Have you considered any future collaborations with Guise?
FRANK TURNER: Absolutely! We’re working on her debut album right now, and we have a bunch of shows in the diary for the summer.
LONDON OLYMPICS 2012
THE J: I first heard your music at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. How was the experience of working with the genius (and local hero) Danny Boyle and was the impact of that level of exposure life-changing?
FRANK TURNER: Working with Danny was a privilege. He’s a wonderful guy, a visionary, and I was hugely flattered and honoured to be asked to be involved. I guess it changed things for me a bit, but it wasn’t exactly life-changing – things were cooking nicely beforehand, a few more people got on board afterwards, that’s about it.
A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
THE J: How have you coped in a global pandemic?
FRANK TURNER: It’s been rough, for the most part. That’s true for everyone, of course, but the live music industry, which is my passion and my living, has been hit particularly hard this last year. I’ve done my best to keep my chin up and to help where I can. I learned how to produce, engineer and mix records, I moved house, and I did a bunch of fundraising for independent venues.
THE J: That’s cool. Do you think more can still be done to support the arts/music industry and those who rely on live performances?
FRANK TURNER: It’s difficult to say. The government have done some things that have been positive, funds have been made available for grassroots venues and so on. Crew people, on the other hand, have been left out in the cold. And the government’s refusal to discuss an insurance scheme for live music (like the one they’ve already put in place for film and TV) is a little galling.
THE J: You’ve toured the world but we’re based in Manchester – what experiences do you have of our city and which is your favourite music venue?
FRANK TURNER: I’ve played Manchester many, many times over the years of course. Lots of great spots, always great crowds. I guess the Night & Day is probably my favourite.
THE J: Tragically, you lost a good friend in the Bataclan attacks of 2015. Manchester has suffered too at the hands of terrorism, resulting in the Protect Duty legislation consultation launched earlier this year. Did these events ever make you consider your future in the industry?
FRANK TURNER: Not my future as such, but they were profoundly affecting, of course. I was playing a show in Glasgow the night it happened. It was awful. Setting up for soundcheck the next day in Newcastle was very, very strange and difficult. But Nick wouldn’t want me, or anyone else, to stop doing what we do.
THE J: You now host your own festival/s, including Lost Evenings and now The Gathering – how have you dealt with the pressure of not only headlining but handling the logistics of such an event!?
FRANK TURNER: I’d love to say I was in charge of the logistics, but the truth is my amazing crew handle most of the hard work. They are true heroes. I pick line-ups and so on, try to make the festivals as good as I can and make sure the vibe, the music and the message is right. It’s a lot of work but I enjoy it, it’s a privilege to be able to do it.
THE J: I’ve seen on the posters you are billed as Frank Turner and Matt Nasir – will this be a stripped down set?
FRANK TURNER: It’ll be me and Matt..! A duo show.
FRANK TURNER: THE WRITER
THE J: Your books have proved hugely popular, are there plans for more in the future?
FRANK TURNER: Maybe, theoretically yes. They are a lot of work! And I wrote two books about myself, which require less research. In future I’d like to write about something else but it’d be harder to do.
THE J: You studied [at Eton College] alongside Prince William – do you keep in touch?
FRANK TURNER: I’ve never spoken to him.
THE J: Nuff said. Given your huge catalog of songs , do you have any favourites you personally enjoy in your current set? And are there any you regret or don’t feel represent you now?
FRANK TURNER: It’s hard to pick favourites; I have a lot of songs, and (hopefully) many of them do different things, hit different marks. I’m not sure I’d say I regret any songs. Some went better than others, as pieces of art, or were received more warmly. Songs are time capsules in a way, they capture a moment, there’s nothing wrong with a song that was true at the time but might be less representative now. The best ones, of course, change with time.
FRANK TURNER: THE FUTURE
THE J: Why do we need to wait until 2022 for your next album?
FRANK TURNER: Haha, because it’s not finished yet?
Get your tickets for The Gathering now!