Ten Questions with Frank Turner
English singer-songwriter Frank Turner tells us why he tries to live a life Henry Rollins would approve of
1 Describe your sound in one sentence.
English punk rock kid grew up and discovered songwriting.
2 Your album is called Be More Kind. Who most needs to Be More Kind?
All of us, not least me. We could all stand to try a little harder on that score I think. It’s the thing that comes out in the wash in the end.
3 How have your beliefs most shaped your music over time?
As someone who grew up with punk rock, ethics and values have always been central to my thinking about music. In a way that isn’t as true for, I guess, jazz or indie or whatever. I still try and live a life Henry Rollins would approve of, though as I get older, I like to think I have a more realistic take on some aspects of that!
4 Big venues or cosy venues?
It’s nice I don’t really have to choose. I play a variety of different sized rooms around the world, and the variation keeps me fresh. Both big rooms and arenas have many things to recommend them for a show.
5 What is your favourite song to perform live and why?
I’m an unashamed populist when it comes to my shows and setlist choices. I like the songs that make the division between stage and audience feel less important.
6 What does success as a musician mean to you?
On a mundane level, it means not having a day job. But it’s not a mundane thing. I get to be creative, travel the world, be my own boss. These are wonderful privileges to enjoy. In the end, success really means making music and playing shows I can stand behind and be proud of.
7 What message would you give any young person wanting to be a successful musician?
Educate yourself as to how the industry works. Be your own harshest critic creatively.
8 What’s your favourite memory of your times in New Zealand?
New Zealand has always been good to us. One of my childhood best friends lives just outside Auckland, and getting to catch up with him is always a real joy.
9 You can only fit one album by another artist on your device — what is it?
Reconstruction Site by The Weakerthans.
10 You’re curating a music festival. Who’s on the bill, alive or dead?
Springsteen, Nirvana, Sam Cooke. Frank Turner plays three New Zealand shows on November 29 in Wellington (two shows, evening show sold out) and November 30 in Auckland.
I’m an unashamed populist when it comes to my shows . . .