Frank Turner hasn’t really stopped working since the release of his 2013 album, Tape Deck Heart. This year, he’s spent a fair chunk of time on the road, he’s recorded an album and found time to write a memoir. We’d suggest the title ‘Page Turner’, but he’d probably tell us to get lost…
How has your year been, sir?
“My year’s been an inverse sine wave … oh dear, I actually said that out loud, didn’t I? It’s been a weird one this year. It started strongly when we did our first arena tour in the UK, and that was weird, wonderful, exciting and huge. And then we had a cool summer doing festivals and jetting around the world. Then I got bogged down in a fight to make my new record the way I wanted to. I had to take two months off the road towards the end of the year and I didn’t do much in it except argue with people on the phone. But I did get my way and we went to Nashville with Butch Walker and I couldn’t be happier with the results. So the year ended on a high too.”
How does the album sound?
“Fucking great. At the risk of talking out of my arse, it’s the best thing we’ve done as a band by miles.”
Is there a lot of Nashville in there?
“No, none at all. There’s a lot of punk rock in there. It’s certainly punker than the last two records I’ve done. Working with Butch was amazing. He’s my new spirit animal, he’s just the raddest dude.”
Is it finished?
“Sort of. We tracked it in nine days and I’m quite taken with the idea of leaving it at that. The aim was to make something raw and unpolished that captured the vibe of the live shows that me and the Sleeping Souls have done. I’ve long been obsessed with the Weezer album Pinkerton and I wanted to make something that had that feeling. So I’m taken with the idea of just doing this in nine days – although I may tinker with it a little, and then it will get mixed. So it’s mostly done.”
The last record was quite personal. How is this one?
“Well, it’s not an impersonal record… [2013 album] Tape Deck Heart was about things being broken and while this isn’t about things being fixed, it is about picking yourself up and dusting yourself down. It’s about salvaging things. It’s a positive record.”
You spent two months off the road before making the record – given your usual commitment to touring, that must have felt weird.
“It was and it wasn’t something I enjoyed very much. But I did manage to finish the book of memoirs that I’m writing next year. That was cool. I’m a book nerd and the fact I am now an author is exciting for me.”
The book’s a recollection of years on the road since going solo after your old band Million Dead split up. How did you find writing it?
“It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Turns out writing books is difficult. Who knew? The book is written up as diary entries – not that I actually keep a diary – and is basically reflections of my time on the road. I’m quite pleased with it and the people editing seem to like it too. Writing’s a very different discipline to writing music but I just kind of assumed I would be good at it … and it took quite a lot more work than I thought it would. That was a good thing in a humbling kind of way.”
What were your highs and lows of the year?
“The O2 show in February was amazing and making the record in Nashville was very special. Fighting with the label about the album wasn’t much fun and I was very sad at the passing of Rob Skipper from The Holloways. That was definitely a sadness.”
How may air miles have you clocked up this year?
“Not as many as last year, that’s for sure. The first half of the year was pretty intense, tour-wise, but the second half has been very easy by my standards. All that will change next year. Once the new record drops – and please don’t ask me for a release date, because I don’t know – we’ll be very busy again.”