Fancore


Interview: Frank Turner

After embarking on a successful run of shows supporting Flogging Molly in the States, it seems that Frank Turner, one of the UK’s worst kept secrets has finally outgrown his home-grown appeal. With his third album, Poetry Of The Deed released last year to much fanfare across the world, many hardcore fans feel dejected that their little clandestine is gaining the success he deserves. Luckily, the punk spirit is alive and well with Frank’s response being a massive middle finger to anyone who dislikes his particular brand of folk-punk. FANCORE caught up with the man of the moment to talk about incredibly strange side-projects, traditional English songs and still being punk at 28.


You’ve had a pretty good run of fortune recently, with most of your shows selling out and the announcement of your biggest ever headline show later this year. Did you ever think your career would reach these heights?

I wouldn’t say that I ever expected it but hoped would be a word I’d use, but for a long time I didn’t think it would actually happen. I’m really careful with my choice of words, on the one hand I don’t want it to sound like “yes, this is how it is” but at the same I’m not militantly underground. I’m an ambitious person, I like playing big crowds and I want to succeed. I’m very happy that it’s happening but it is pretty surreal. I spend my entire life waiting for the reality police to burst through the door and go “there’s been a terrible mistake!” And take me back to The Swan in Tottenham and make me play to 20 people. Which I wouldn’t particularly mind, I’d still keep playing.

So when you were starting out did you have a point in your mind, where if you hadn’t made it by then you would quit?

Yes, but it wasn’t related to size of venues or anything like that. If I reach the point where I feel like I’m going through the motions and feel like I’m not putting on good shows and writing good song then I’ll stop. And I hope that there are people out there, friends of mine that will be good enough to tell me when I’ve reached that point in my life. But I don’t think I’ve reached that point yet, which is good.

Do you have the people in place to keep you in check?

I have a number of friends who have been more than happy to kick me in the nuts and tell me that I’m useless, so I’m counting on them.

Your latest album, Poetry Of The Deed came out last year, six months on from the release, how do you now view it?

I’m generally quite self-critical, particularly about things I did recently. I’ve just about decided that I liked the first Million Dead album now [laughs]. It’s worse for my solo stuff as well because it’s much more my kind of project. I’m proud of all the records that I’ve made, I’m proud of Poetry Of The Deed but I’ve got a list of things that I want to do differently next time. But that’s been the case with every record that I’ve done. I’m pleased with how it came together and its been my most commercially successful album so that’s nothing to complain about. The record came out 6 months ago but we finished recording last year in May so I’ve had a long time to pick holes in it. It’s a good feeling to have faults that give you ideas for how to correct them next time round. Next time around I’ll be in a different time and place so who knows, but I do have lots of new songs on the way.

So would you say that this is your most commercially viable album to date?

I’d say it was more commercially successful than viable, it wasn’t written with record sales in mind. I wouldn’t really know how to do that as I make a real point when I’m writing of trying to ignore context and just not think about anything like venue size or radio play or any of that shit. What I’ve always tried to do is to write what I think is a good song, because to me the definition of ‘selling out’, which is a much-overused word, is writing songs for an audience other than yourself. Anybody that tells you that they write songs for the fans is either a liar or a fraud essentially, because what could be more dishonest than writing for anyone other than yourself? You are your own audience. I listen to loads of music and have very strong opinions on what I like so when I write something I try to write what I think is a really good song and the minute that I stop doing that is the minute that I really need to stop.

Selling out to me is writing songs for ‘the fans’ ‘the record label’, the radio play list or your girlfriend; if you’re trying to please someone else then you’re doing it wrong in my opinion.

You worked much more with your band on the last album, do you ever get criticised for using the band on and off stage?

There are some people who say ‘I preferred when you play solo’ or ‘I prefer the other albums’, all of which is perfectly fine as people are more than welcome to think that. Particularly when people say they prefer the earlier stuff it’s like cool go and listen to them, it’s not like I came into your record collection and took them away. At the end of the day I have to do what is best for me musically, otherwise I’m dishonest and right at this moment in time I love playing with my band and I think that we make great music together. Actually, having said that…I talk a lot [laughs] you may have noticed. One of my criticisms with POTD is that I may have got a tiny bit carried away about having the band on the album; I think there could have been one more solo song on that record. I think that for the next album I will rein the band back a little bit on one or two songs, but I’m still just writing so we’ll see.

Is there any timeline in place for this new album?

Yes, I have an ambition to get into the studio before the end of this year so we can get the album out in the first half of next year. My manager thinks I’m completely out of my mind, given the tour schedule that we already have between now and February next year, but I think that he is soft and weak and I will prove him wrong [laughs]. I’m also going to try and put out an album of traditional English songs at some point this year as well.

That sounds like an interesting project, can you elaborate a bit more on that?

I got interested in traditional English music, partly because I’m a history buff and it’s cool combining my two loves in life. But also because I’ve had this cultural awakening in the past few years that’s entirely personal, I’m English at the end of the day and not British. I don’t hold anything against anyone from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland but I’m English and that is my culture and heritage. I just get very bored of people saying there isn’t such a thing as English culture because there is, they just choose to ignore it or don’t know about it. That applies both on a musical level, there’s a lot of English folk music that isn’t particularly well known and also on a political level in the sense that people are incredible blasé when it comes to political thought that England has made. And the ideas of native liberty and common law I think are extremely important and wonderful and brilliant, but we’ve been losing them for the past fifty years which is an absolute fucking disaster.

But anyway, I went off started researching [traditional music] and found all these amazing songs. And it’s not just this big ideological crusade, they’re really good songs and they’re funny and they’re heartbreaking and sad and catchy. I like the idea that these songs that my forebears would have known and would have sung and that’s a beautiful idea. In the modern industrial world the folk song is more in danger than it has been and the thing is there is a tradition in community in the UK and traditional songs but they’re really insular and defensive. They seem to think that they’re the monks on Mt Athos protecting the sacred flame. But most of the people who come to my shows don’t know about traditional English music, as opposed to people who go to Seth Lakeman shows for example, and I think it would be quite cool if I [could] spread those songs over a lot of new people.

After you’ve done that are there any other projects you’d like to do that you perhaps can’t accomplish a solo artist?

Well I’m writing a book at the moment so that’s underway. I’m also vaguely scoping out the plans for making 2012 the year of the side project. I’ve got all these different side projects I want to do and at the moment [there’s] just no time to do them so I’m thinking maybe do another album, do the traditional album and get the book out of the way and then not take a break as such but just stop for a while. For example, there’s an electronica DJ called Beardy Man, he’s amazing but completely utterly different from what I do. He just does weird, squelchy, odd kind of Aphex Twin noisy electronica. We ended up hanging out together last summer and we said ‘we should do a record together; it would be hilarious and weird as hell.’ I have a taste in weird electronica personally, although I’m terrible at making it, I’ve tried and it was terrible. But I reckon as long as he does the drum machine bit [laughs] I can do a bit of singing and playing guitar and we can make a really messed up twisted ‘dance folk-tronica’ fucked up record.

And are there any other potential projects in the pipeline?

Well, I’ll tell you about this as everyone involved in this wants this to happen but the likelihood of it ever actually happening is extremely low because of our schedules. First of all there’s a punk band called Hot Snakes, from Florida who me and few others think are the best punk band there ever was fucking ever. They kind of became Rocket From The Crypt afterwards and weren’t quite as good. But anyway, the band would be Ben from Million Dead on the drums, Jim from At The Drive In on the bass, Jim from Jimmy Eat World on guitar and vocals and me on guitar and vocals too. It happened because basically me and Jim and Jim ended up in a bar in Arizona in November and you know you have those conversations where everyone is drunk and just agreeing with each other loudly? Well, that’s the plan but as I say I’ve just got no idea when that would ever happen but it would be pretty funny.
With many seeing punk as a youth movement, do you ever feel pressured as an artist to stay angry and cynical?

Punk is a youth movement and that’s one of its strengths, I don’t think that’s a criticism of punk as there’s a certain type of anger you have as a kid, which punk harnesses in a beautiful way. I think it is possible to retain a sort of punk-related attitude as you get older but I don’t have any problem at all with people telling me I’m too old to be punk…well actually, maybe not just yet. But at some point if someone turned around and said it then it would be fine. Punk’s not supposed to be about these old farts who used to be in the Sex Pistols in leather jackets, sitting around and talking about ‘how it was in my day’. Punk is supposed to be about kids meeting up in bathrooms and pubs and smashing the shit out of each other and playing wild and eclectic and adventurous insane heavy music. In terms of me having a pressure to stay angry? Not really, just because I do my level best not to give a fuck about what everyone thinks I should be. I know some people wish I was still in Million Dead and some people wish I still wrote songs like ‘Thatcher Fucked The Kids’ but I’m not going to.

Even though you’re very self critical, do you ever worry that one day you will just make the ultimate Frank Turner album and have nothing else to say and nowhere to go?

There will always be a case of that, as the world is still full of people who think ‘Greetings From Asbury Park’ is the best Bruce Springsteen album, I mean they’re wrong. I think the nature of music is such and the nature of fandom if you like, is such that people will attach themselves to a time and place that they get into something and also to their perceived ownership of something. I think that’s unavoidable to a degree but again what I have to do for my own sanity and dignity and creative responsibility is to do the best record that I can at the time…and whether or not you think that my first album is the best thing I’ll ever do, fine that’s an opinion that people are allowed to have.

Do you think that with your success any current artists are ripping off your sound as a fast-track to fame?

I haven’t really thought about it very much to be honest. I’d be terribly entertained if they were, I’d find it very funny. I think the problem is that ever since I started having any kind of success in music I sort of twigged; I remember having a conversation with Cahir the lead singer for Fighting With Wire years ago. He was like ‘the problem is man, me and you are the kind of people who are going to be in bands who blaze the trail and don’t make the money.’ There’s just something about our personality and approach to music that means we’re always going to be those people. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody started ripping me off and doing much better than me. But I can’t say that I give that much of a shit to be honest.

Finally, you’ve already said you’re doing 2000 Tree and T in the park this summer, any other UK festivals to be announced?

We’re headlining Wood Festival, which is a folk festival down in Oxfordshire which is going to be really good. There’s loads of others that we’re doing that we’re about to announce any day now but I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about and I don’t want to get us into trouble.

Announced within a few days? Is the fact that the Download Festival announcement is coming up in a few days a coincidence?

I’m not doing Download, I can tell you that much.

Reading Festival then?

Erm, well I can’t really say [laughs].



Against Me! Announce UK Shows
March 17, 2010, 11:58 am
Filed under: Music News, Punk, Tour News | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Against Me! have just announced a trio of UK shows for later this summer.

JUNE
01st – LONDON Garage
02nd – MANCHESTER Academy 3
03rd – BIRMINGHAM Academy 2

Tickets go on sale this Friday 19th from 9am and can be found RIGHT HERE.

For those who are too impatient to wait for the band’s new album, ‘White Crosses’, luckily some terribly naughty individuals leaked the entire album online, and to make things easier frontman Tom Gabel posted the album’s lyrics so that you could all have a good singsong. Visit Gabel’s blog HERE.



Frank Turner- Isabel Video
March 17, 2010, 11:47 am
Filed under: Folk, Frank Turner, Music, Punk | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Folk-punker Frank Turner has released his new video for ‘Isabel’, available for your viewing pleasure above.

The song comes from 2009’s ‘Poetry For The Deed’, but to see the song in action make sure you catch the British singer on his current UK tour.



Green Day: Rock Band For 2010 Release
December 13, 2009, 4:35 pm
Filed under: Green Day, MTV, Music, Music News, Pop Punk, Punk, Rock and/or Roll | Tags: , , , , , , ,

After the success of Beatles: Rock Band it seems that the people at Harmonix/MTV are set to unleash a new band-centric title in teh hugely successful rhythm game franchise in the form of a full Green Day: Rock Band game scheduled for 2010.

The following statement has been released by MTV:

“This game will feel like a natural extension of Green Day and their music that will deepen the fans’ connection to the band and their history,” said Alex Rigopulos, CEO and co-founder of Harmonix Music Systems. “Fans will be able to enjoy some of the greatest songs from the Green Day catalogue in this standalone game or via Rock Band due to full export capability. We are thrilled to work with Green Day to revisit key moments from their career, including their likenesses, content and imagery, through our innovative form of musical interaction.”

Besides confirming a global release in 2010 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii, the the track list will be fully exportable, allowing you to play the songs or Rock Band 1 or 2. This exportable option is only for PS3 and Xbox 360, not Wii, however. ”

With the recent Green Day global takeover, it isn’t a surprise that one of the most successful and mainstream acts of the decade are to follow the Fab Four’s footsteps. Will you be buying the game or do you think that bands like Led Zeppelin should be first in line above the pop punks?

  The just released teaser trailer for the game can be viewed above.



Interview: Poison The Well guitarist Ryan Primack
November 23, 2009, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Modern hardcore pioneers Poison The Well have had quite a year. The Florida five-piece have been tearing round the world in support of their masterpiece “The Tropic Rot”, the most progressive release of the band’s career. We caught up with lead guitarist and band leader Ryan Primack to talk tours, the future and where this is all going.

You’ve been on a tour of the UK with Rise Against and Thursday, what sort of reception have you been getting so far?

A: The shows that we’ve played with Thursday and just us have been really good, it’s been our normal crowd really. Some of the shows with Rise Against have been really funny, some of the crowds have been super receptive and then some of them have looked at us like we have seventeen hands growing out of our face! It’s been great!

Have you been checking out the sets of the other bands?

A: Yeah every day. Us and Thursday are poor so we didn’t bring anyone to help out onstage. As soon as I’m done playing I’m out onstage making sure everything goes off good for Thursday so I see them every single day. I’ve caught quite a bit of the Rise Against sets, it’s pretty epic. We’re noticing in Spain it turned into an Iron Maiden concert almost cause people were humming along to their guitar riffs just like they do on “Fear of the Dark” (for Maiden).

You’re touring the new album “The Tropic Rot” at the moment, how do you feel the album turned out?

A: I’m pretty happy with it. I’m as happy with it as I am with any record, which means that when it comes out I already hate it (laughs). But that’s how I usually work, everything for me is a work in progress. Everything I do, in hindsight, five minutes later I think is shit. It’s normal for me though.

Have you figured out the next step in terms of where PTW are going on another record?

A: Polka party (laughs). We’re probably going to try and keep reinventing what we do. Sometimes it’s tough when a bunch of guys with zero common sense try to produce something, but you do what you can.

Was the recording process a smooth one?

A: Yeah, this time it went really smoothly. I don’t know if that is good or bad. Maybe it’s better if you have to fight it out.

Has the new line-up helped with this?

A: We all got on really, really well. I only had to kick them six or seven times. In the face.

Do you feel you sound tighter live with the new guys?

A: Now we do. It was a little shaky at first but now it’s definitely come together.

This is possibly your most progressive-leaning album to date, was this a conscious decision or something that developed over the making of the album?

A: It’s pretty much something that naturally happened, we just put together songs, did what we do and hoped for the best and it came out at least mediocre. I’m just one of those people that is incredibly self-defacing about what they do. 

How have the new songs been received live so far?

A: Good, the one’s that we’ve been choosing to play have been going down pretty well. I think maybe next year we’ll start breaking out the more obscure ones and see what happens. We’ll try and gently break it to people.

Often with bands that have a progressive sound you see them performing their whole albums live, is that something you’d ever do?

A: I would totally love to do that, but we’d have to have a bunch of extra people besides the five of us. I wouldn’t want to just do it on (backing) tracks like some bands do. To me that steals away from the point of seeing as band live now. We’ve been trying to get Andrew from Thursday in to do keyboards but he really doesn’t want to do it.

Why not?

A: He really doesn’t like me (laughs). There just hasn’t been time to figure it all out. He’s my favourite dude ever, in the world. More so than Jesus.

Who plays keyboard on “The Tropic Rot?”

A: I do but I didn’t want to put it down there because on (previous album) Versions it looks like I have a laundry list after my name. I felt self-serving and a little embarrassed to be tooting my own horn so this time I just put that I played guitar. I don’t want to be the kind of musician who’s like “check me out!”

Do you plan any UK headline dates in support of the album?

A: Hopefully, we did like, a couple earlier in the year but it was really brief. We don’t have anything for next year as of yet. We kind of went real heavy for this year, people kind of need a little time off. We’re all growing older as people. Sometimes you just want to be at home for a little bit.

PTW are cited as a huge influence on a lot of hardcore and metalcore bands. Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon recently mentioned you in Kerrang, and we spoke to UK band Your Demise last issue and they also cite you as a big influence. Would you say you notice a lot of bands that are cast in the same mould as PTW, and how do you feel about influencing so many acts?

A: I’m immensely flattered. I’m one of those people who never quite hears it though. I’ve been told by people “That band like totally rips you off man!” and I don’t really hear it at all. They just sound like a band doing heavy music you know? None of us reinvented the wheel, or invented a better shaped wheel. I think that the fact of the matter is there were a lot of people in America who had a similar idea at a similar time and some of us got lucky. There’s a lot to be said for the fact of people saying it had an immense influence. It almost seems to me that it a direct musical influence as much as the idea that you can do whatever the fuck you want. Make no apologies about it, just do whatever the fuck you want. Make sure what you’re doing is honest. Maybe that part of the influence I can see because I think that throughout our career the one thing that has remained constant is the big middle finger in the face of those saying “Well if you just do the same thing you’ll be more successful.” That’s why we’re all poor and happy.

We consciously know we’ve made decisions that have negatively affected our popularity but at least we made the decisions on our own. I would rather fail while being honest than succeed while selling somebody a farce.

What sort of negative feedback have you got in the past?

A: It’s not heavy enough, you don’t sound like a hardcore band anymore or this is pussy shit, which is usually an American one. Completely with no real reason. Mostly stuff like “There’s no mosh parts so I’m bored” I can completely live with that.

Do you feel that you’re damned if you evolve and damned if you don’t?

A: You’re screwed no matter what so you might as well at least do what’s honestly in your heart and soul. I’d rather fail and be honest like I said than sell a farce and be rich. Besides then I’d be miserable “Oh my life’s a joke!” That’s why they’re miserable, nobody’s out to get them they just realise their life’s a joke.

Who are your biggest influences at the moment, and have they changed over time?

A: All my things that were my influences when I started writing music with the band are all still there. It’s still an amalgamation of late 90s hardcore, 80s hardcore, punk rock from all generations, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, early metal.

Now I just have more, all that stuff is still there but there’s also soundtrack music, obscure country artists, instrumental music. I still think the root of the matter is when I want to get excited about life I still listen to Bad Brains. I’m still a hardcore kid. When I’m in a great mood I put on Leeway: Born To Expire. I just don’t mosh in my room any more…not that I ever did, that would be so uncool! Hey we were all fourteen once!

At Fancore we are all about championing the cause of up and coming bands as well as more high-profile acts such as yourselves. Are there any unknown bands you would recommend to our readers?

I always take a chance to plug one of my friend’s bands cause I think they’re fucking awesome, a band called Furious Dudes from Miami. Just a really cool, sloppy punk rock band. I guess lately I’ve been listening to this American band called The Carrier a lot. We played in Adelaide with this band called Chorus, who were really good.



Henry Rollins announces UK spoken word tour

rollinsspoken

 

Former Black Flag singer and Rollins Band leader Henry Rollins has announced an extensive UK spoken word tour early next year. The burly vocalist rarely minces his words so these dates will be a treat.

Catch the wisdom at:

Dublin Vicar Street January 12
Glasgow Academy January 13
Leicester De Montfort Hall January 14
London Royal Festival Hall January 15
Manchester Lowry January 16
Leamington Spa Assembly January 17
Norwich UEA January 18
Bournemouth Opera House January 19
Liverpool Academy January 20
Newcastle Academy January 21
Leeds Academy January 22



Fall Out Boy Release New Songs In Greatest Hits

Fall Out Boy are planning to release a Greatest Hits bundle, which will include the band’s first new material since 2008’s Folie A Deux. 

The first of the new tracks, Alpha Dog is taken from the band’s Welcome To The New Administration mixtape which was the precursor to their fifth studio album and surprisingly left-off the final track list. If you didn’t catch the previously released snippet you can catch the full song on the video above.

Sure to fuel the rumours that the band are about to call it quits for good, bassist and sometimes-main man Pete Wentz told MTV News that he doesn’t want fans to think he is cashing in. “To me, calling it a greatest hits [means] if you’re not an avid Fall Out Boy fan, it’s an easy way to get all the songs, to take a dip in the water,” he laughed. “But if you are a Fall Out Boy fan, you can just go buy those two [new] songs off iTunes, or you can buy the package, because you will find some stuff in there that you’ll think is cool.”

The album, entitled Believers Never Die will also include DVD commentaries and a bunch of other goodies for all you FOB die-hards and can be yours from November 17th.