Frank Turner has based his career on hard working ethics that have seen him enjoy great success whether it’s selling out Wembley Arena or opening the Olympic Games it seems that he’s achieved a lifetime’s worth of goals and fresh off from his milestone 2,000th live show, we were left wondering, what next?
The answer is, ‘Lost Evenings’ a four night (12 – 15th May) festival that will see Turner headline Camden’s Roundhouse venue as well as introduce a whole variety of music acts to a new audience, always one to give back we discussed how he decided on who should play the festival with him, why it’s important for him to give back and what’s lined up in the aftermath.
Can you talk about the idea behind the ‘Lost Evenings’ shows and how they came to be?
I’d been toying with the idea of having my own festival of some kind for a few years. I thought about trying to do one outside, but that seems like a saturated market right now, and anyway, 2000 Trees already exists. I was running through some different ideas, and I saw my friends Wolf Alice do their four-night residency at the forum, which had a festival feel to it. Lost Evenings grew from there.
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‘Lost Evenings’ refers to a lyric in your song ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’, what was it that stood out about this particular lyric and resonates so well with fans?
It’s one of the more popular lyrics I’ve written, both with fans and with myself. It has the feel of a manifesto, a declaration of some kind.
The shows are sold out which is a fantastic response from your fans, would this help persuade you to continue this as an annual event?
Yes, that’s very much the plan.
The event is described as ‘a celebration of live music’ and you’ve given a lot of new bands/artists a platform to gain a new audience, how does it feel to be able to do that?
It feels great. I’m always trying to pay it forward, so many people helped me out in the early stages of my career, it seems like it’s important for me to pass that along the line.
You’ve picked a line up that includes a lot of bands/artists that you’ve played with previously, was it difficult choosing who to pick?
Yes, booking the festival wasn’t super-easy. Partly because I had a huge list of people I wanted to get involved, but also because a lot of people weren’t entirely sure what it was I was trying to put together. Now that it’s out in the open, I suspect that future years will be easier to book.
If you were to create a festival that could include any three headliners past or present, who would you choose and why?
Off the top of my head, Springsteen & E Street, Nirvana (1993) and Dolly Parton. Because I like them and think it’d make a good festival.
I think it’s great that along side the live music there’s also a selection of music industry workshop events to help give advice and insight into how to get work in the music industry, how did this idea come about? If you could give your younger self advice in this regard, what wisdom would you impart?
I wanted to make the festival more than just a four-day ego fest for me, haha. OneFest have been great in helping us put that side of it together. Hard to know hat advice I’d impart, in some ways, finding out as I went was the interesting and valuable part of the process. I guess maybe I’d tell my younger self to stretch more before shows. I have comprehensively injured myself over the years by not paying much attention to the physical side of what I do, and it’s less funny with each passing year.
You’ve said before that one of the stresses you have on show day is deciding a setlist but one day where that won’t be a problem for you is Saturday, where you will be playing ‘Sleep Is For the Week’ in its entirety to celebrate its 10th anniversary since release, are you looking forward to playing it? What comes to mind when thinking back to the making of that album and how well do you feel it’s aged?
Rehearsing for that night has been really interesting. The majority of the material has been pretty much untouched by me for nearly a decade, so there was a lot of relearning for me, and some members of the band weren’t around when we made it, so they’ve been learning from scratch. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the songs and the arrangements actually. I think most of it is really strong, and it’s been really rewarding to get back into it. I can see how my songwriting has changed over the years, which is interesting. I used to use a lot more complex chord structures for some stuff, haha. Lyrically, those songs take me back to some very different places, some of which are happier than others.
The last time we spoke you said that you had a change of direction for your next album and become less introspective with a focus on events that have transpired around the world recently. A good example of this is ‘Sand In the Gears’, what was it about this song that you just had to get it out into the world?
Well it seemed appropriate to release it quickly, we recorded it on the eve of the inauguration in DC. It’s lyrically indicative of where I’m heading; musically, perhaps not so much. Time will tell.
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Do you worry about whether you’ll receive the same kind of backlash you received a few years ago if you were to write more songs that had a more “political” theme to them?
In 2012 I got a bunch of hateful shit from the left. Right now I’m getting hateful shit from the right. It actually makes me feel quite good about where I sit, politically. I’m a militant centrist, in my old age.
How well is the new album progressing? Is there a time frame for when fans should expect a release?
I’m recording after Lost Evenings, in Texas, for a month or so. Everything after that will depend on how the session goes, I’m trying out some pretty radical new directions, so I’m not entirely sure yet.