FT: I am a singer-songwriter, a touring musician, an entertainer. I grew up in Winchester and now live in London.
Aos. What age did you first get into Music and What Instruments do you play?
FT: Rock’n’roll hit me hard when I was about 10 years old, Iron Maiden and Queen crash-landed in my life. I mainly play guitar, though I’m also OK at piano and other stringed instruments – mandolin, bass, banjo and so on.
Aos. What age did you realise you wanted to be a full-time performing musician?
FT: Around that time really. I wanted to be part of the music straight away.
Aos. Growing up I understand you had an Eton education, For you, personally how did you find this Education system and what influence did it have on your outlook in life?
FT: I got an academic shcolarship when I was 12 or so. It’s an exclusive school, for the children of the elite for the most part, with some scholars jammed in there too. I was very alienated by the social context, punk rock was my lifeline at that time in my life.
Aos. Education is an important time for any youth growing up but I understand you were a rebel in school getting into trouble and heavily influenced by music. How did you find punk rock or did punk rock find you?
FT: I was a metal kid initially, but I sumbled across punk rock sooner or later, and the defiance made a lot of sense to me at the time. The social aspect of it – gettting to London and being part of the hardcore scene there – was very important to me.
Aos. Million Dead, the band featured Cameron Dean, Julia Ruzicka, Ben Dawson and yourself. You got inspiration for the name of your band from lyrics in the song ‘The Apollo program was a Hoax’ from Swedish hardcore punk band Refused. Tell us about your time in Million Dead? Who were your Influences? Good memories?
FT: It was a formative experience for me, the first band I was in that went anywhere. We released two records and toured for four years, it was a lot of fun. We were influenced by Refused, Hot Snakes, Jesus Lizard, stuff like that. It was a good time; it didn’t last, but I’m not sure it was meant to.
Aos. What are your musical influences and who Inspires you Frank?
FT: Broadly speaking, I grew up with punk and indie rock, and then got into folk and country, with a healthy dose of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen in there somewhere. I guess I’m influenced, to a degree, by whatever it is I’m currently listening to. I try to listen widely.
Aos. ‘Campfire Punkrock‘ was your first record released in 2007. The band members on that record are Tarrant Anderson, Ben Lloyd and Nigel Powell, these musicians are still your current backing band known as ‘The Sleeping Souls’. That has been quite a journey for you all. In a nutshell, what has the journey been like from releasing your EP ‘Campfire Punkrock‘ in 2007 to releasing ‘Positive songs for Negative people‘ last year in 2015?
FT: Well, I’ve been on tour for the vast majority of that time. It’s been a long and tough road, but we’ve made something of ourselves along the way. The band started touring with me when I could afford it, which started in about 2007 but got fulltime in about 2010 or so. We’ve changed, grown and evolved as a group since then, which is the idea really.
Aos. You’ve toured relentlessly around the world and played many festivals like Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds. You’ve also toured with the Off Spring, Green Day, Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphy’s, many punk rock bands who have had defining albums in the last 20 years. What has it been like touring with bands you’ve grown up listening to? Any tour stories? Anywhere in the Future you’d like to tour?
FT: It’s been fantastic being given the chance by a lot of established bands, many of whom are bands I worshipped when I was a kid. I pinch myself pretty regularly to be honest. And I’ve been able to learn a lot from the side of the stage watching them play up close. I’d like to tour anywhere I haven’t been before really. South America is quite high on my list.
Aos. ‘England keep my bones‘ is a terrific folk punk record Frank. I believe that is your highest chart topping record to date. The album title came from a shakespeare play, ‘The Life and Death of King John‘ and the album is deeply routed in English heritage. Can you explain in more depth about this album?
FT: Actually “Tape Deck Heart” has been the biggest record to date; “England” has a very special place in my heart all the same. I don’t write concept albums, per se, but at the time I was interested in the idea of national identity and culture. I’d just started touring internationally on the previous record, so I’d had time to think about Englishness while sat in American malls and service stations and so on. It’s not a nationalist idea, importantly. It’s a consideration on what effect nationality has on individuals. But then it’s about other things too.
Aos. Your last record ‘Positive Songs for Negative People‘, How did it come about? Were you trying to reach out to anyone in particular? Have you drawn conclusions from any past personal experiences?
FT: The previous record, “Tape Deck Heart“, was kind of a break up record. It was about a time of collapse in my personal life. “Positive Songs” is about the recovery from that, trying to be optimistic and putting things back together. If my songsare addressed to anyone, it’s to myself, I’m very wary of telling anyone else what to do.
Aos. What books, poetry or literature does Frank Turner like to sit back and read?
FT: I read incessantly. Mostly history and economics, though lately I’ve been making a serious attempt to get through some classic novels. Mandelstam, Mailer, that kind of thing.
Aos. What’s your current musical set-up and what helps shape your folk punk sound? Type of Guitar and Guitar Pedals?
FT: I play acoustic guitar for the most part (Gibson Hummingbird, through a Fishman Aura Spectrum DI live). Occasionally I play some electric (Gibson LE Les Paul through a Kemper amp, no pedals). The rest of the band have their own setups.
Aos. What Music do you enjoy listening too?
FT: Music that sounds good.
Aos. What does the future hold for Frank Turner and ‘the Sleeping Souls’?
FT: More music, more shows.
Aos. Finally, In your own words, How would you sum up Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls currently at this moment in time?
FT: A singer and his band making music.
Cheers to Frank Turner.
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