He came, he conquered, he left, but he has a new album in the form of ‘England Keep My Bones‘ just around the corner via Epitaph Records. He is Frank Turner, and if you caught him last week, you are probably still buzzing. Whilst he was in town Deborah Konopnicki caught up with him to chat about the tour, the new album and more. Click below to expand this post and check it out. ‘England Keep My Bones‘ is instores June 10th. You can pre-order a copy now [Here].
Hey, Frank! How are you going?
I’m good thanks, in Australia and nearly over my jet lag, which is nice, given that the tour is almost done!
Thank you so much for taking some time out to have a chat with us today. I really appreciate it.
How has your time in Australia been so far?
Great. It’s my second time on your fair island, and last time was one of my favouritest tours ever, so I’ve been longing to come back. I’m pleased to say that in the intervening year, you guys have sustained your awesome quotient, and the shows have been a blast. It’s nice to have sold out gigs on the other side of the world.
How was the show in Melbourne? Being able to play in The Arthouse again before it closes, did you have any set expectations of how things were going to play out before you landed?
It was great, it’s an honour and a privilege to have played the Arthouse one more time. Uh, I guess I expected it to be fun, the show sold out some time ago. I was not disappointed.
How have you found the crowds at the shows compared to previous times?
Last time round not so many people knew my stuff, I was touring with Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry and Ben Nichols from Lucero. I felt like I was introducing myself to people. This time round it’s more like we’re old friends having a catchup.
You have a brand new album that you have coming out in June called “England Keep My Bones”. How are you feeling about that album at the moment?
I’m feeling good! Haha. Although arguably I wouldn’t be putting it out yet if that wasn’t the case… I’m really happy with how the record came together, can’t wait until everyone hears it properly.
Now “England Keep My Bones” is an old Shakespeare quote. Why did you decide to go with this title?
An English teacher friend of mine suggested it to me when I was slightly struggling for a title. The minute I heard it I knew it was right for the record. I don’t write to themes, they become apparent afterwards, and this time it seems like England and death are the two things on my mind. So here it is.
You’ve said that you wanted this record to feel more like a solo album with a backing band as opposed to a band record. How did you go about making it sound different?
Last time round, I think I was a little excited about having a stable band lineup to take into the studio; also, we worked out all the arrangements in about two weeks of intensive rehearsal. As a result the feel tended towards the rock end of the spectrum and it became a band record – which is fine, but it’s definitely in the side field of what I want to do. This time we were all on tour together pretty much the whole time when I was writing, which meant we had much longer to work on arrangements, plus I was more confident in not using people on some songs, as opposed to just throwing everything on all the time.
As you’ve also said, the album isn’t drastically different to what you’ve done before, but there are some nice little things thrown in here and there to spice it up a bit. What were your thoughts when heading into this record? Did you know what you wanted to create?
Well, as a rule I try to just write what I consider to be good songs, and not overthink things too much beyond that. But it is nice to try and do new things – an acapella song, for example, or to use a brass section for the first time.
Have you played any of the new tracks live yet?
Yeah quite a few. The reception has generally been positive, which is always nice!
Is it hard when playing a show before a record has been released when you debut new songs? As in, is it intimidating or are you finding that people are being very receptive?
I wouldn’t say intimidating. I’ve been playing some of the songs out since before we recorded, which is actually a really useful exercise, playing songs live really knocks them into shape. You have to put them at the right point in the set, so as not to lose the crowd too much.
Do you have any favorite tracks from the new record?
All of them, haha.
There are a few lyrics and passages on this album that talk about how England is home.. well, more poetically than that! Would you say that it is a semi concept on sorts?
Yes, though as I say I didn’t plan it in advance. I don’t spend so much time at home these days, and the distance gives me a chance to think about things in a slightly more abstract way.
Your last release “Poetry Of The Deed” was an incredibly popular record. Did you find any pressure to create a record that would maybe match the success of that release or is that something that you don’t think about when heading into the studio?
Actually I feel like I did the pressure thing with that record – after ‘Love Ire & Song’ there was a fair amount of expectation, and I was trying to push myself towards making something a little more epic. Now that that’s done and dusted, it was actually more relaxed being in the studio and writing this time round – I just felt like I know what I’m doing a little more, the album will be what it will be. Getting mellower with age maybe, ha.
You’ve got something pretty cool coming up on the 21st of April… you’re due to play your 1000th show at a gig in London! How are you feeling about that? It seems like an epic number of gigs!
Yeah it’s pretty cool – it’s slightly daunting in a way actually, but there it is. I’m ready for the next 1000.
What would be at the top of the list?
I couldn’t pick one show from all of them, there have been too many to think about! I’m lucky, in that my job gives me a lot of highlights.
Just finally, what are you expecting from the rest of your tour here in Australia?
Brisbane and Perth, right now.. More awesomeness. It’s actually a shame to think I won’t be back here for a little while, the tour has been all too brief, but then I often feel like that, doing what I do. I’ll be back as soon as is reasonable, with the band in tow if everything works out.
Cheers to thewhitesound for the videos. Click the link to watch the complete Sydney show.
New Frank Turner album ‘England Keep My Bones’ out June 10th via Epitaph Records. Pre-Order Now [Here]
Purchase previous albums ‘Love, Ire & Song’ and ‘Poetry Of The Deed’, or Frank Turner T-Shirts & Hoodies [Here]