Frank Turner has been in the music industry for a long time from his time in the Million Dead before their disbandment in 2005 and his debut solo album coming out in 2007 right through the current day when he’s performing his solo material all around the country alongside fronting hardcore punk band Mongol Horde.
This weekend Frank Turner ran his own mini-festival taking up residency in London’s Roundhouse for four special nights of shows. We had a quite chat with Frank about the weekend, what’s special about the shows and how his career has shaped up.
Mosh: You’re playing four special shows at London’s Roundhouse each night playing something different, was this something you chose to do yourself?
Frank: Yes, I’ve long been toying with the idea of some kind of festival of my own, and in the end, we worked out this kind of Camden takeover thing, Lost Evenings. I’m excited about it, though it’s going to be an awfully busy few days for me.
Mosh: With so many songs to perform is there a particular set list of tracks which you prefer playing or are you enjoying the variety of playing four completely different sets?
F: We’ve vaguely themed some of the nights. The Saturday I’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my first solo album, “Sleep is for the Week”, playing songs from that era. Sunday night is a solo thing. The other two nights will be more “normal” sets, but I’m trying to make sure I don’t repeat myself too much.
Mosh: Having played a lot of the biggest iconic stages in London where did the idea of creating a mini city festival come from?
F: I spent a long time trying to work out whether I could do an outdoor festival, but it’s a crowded market and 2000 Trees already exists, so that didn’t get off the ground. I was watching my friends Wolf Alice when they played a residency at the forum a while back, and the whole thing had a kind of festival vibe, which I enjoyed, so the idea sprang from there I think.
Mosh: Your debut album turns 10 this year. When emotions do you feel when you relisten to it?
F: I’ve been rehearsing all the songs this week so it’s very fresh in my mind right now – which it hasn’t been for a long time. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how strong (most of) the material is, and the arrangements. It’s quite different from what I do now – by design – so it’s interesting for me to look at how my songwriting has changed. There are parts that are endearingly naive and parts that are a bit clunky, but overall I’m proud of it.
Mosh: You’re heading out on tour with Blink 182 in a few months’, how do you feel your music will be received by pop-punk fans?
F: I’d imagine it’ll be fine, I’ve toured with Green Day, Offspring etc before.
Mosh: You starting performing solo when your band split up, do you feel being a solo artist has helped you develop more over time?
F: That’s kind of a difficult counterfactual. My life has been what it’s been over the last decade or more, I couldn’t tell you what would have happened had I stayed in a band. I guess I wanted to be independent, artistically, back then, and still do.
Mosh: You’ve been in the music business for a long time now how do you feel the industry has changed?
F: The music industry has been in chaotic flux the entire time I’ve been a part of it, to the extent that I’ve kind of gotten used to that. The internet broke the fundamental economic model of the industry, and people are still trying to work out ways around that. Music is still getting made, so I’m optimistic, overall.
Mosh: In the past few years’ you’ve formed a hardcore band, written a book and had your tour made into a film. What’s next for you creatively?
F: I’m working on a new record of my own right now, that’s occupying the vast majority of my time and energy. Mongol Horde might do something again sometime, and I have a couple of other irons in the fire. We’ll see.
Mosh: Reading and Leeds has been a huge part of your history as an artist, what does the festival mean for you?
F: I used to go to Reading as a kid, so it has a special place in my heart. The two festivals have been really supportive of my career over the years, I feel very at home there.