Interview: Newton Faulkner
6 albums into a career that has spanned 10 years to date, singer, songwriter and guitar extraordinaire Newton Faulkner has had much cause for celebration lately. Not only has he celebrated the milestone and the 10 year anniversary of the release of his phenomenal debut album, Hand Built by Robots, but the musician has also brought to life album number 6 in the beautiful shape of Hit The Ground Running.
Ahead of the release of the new collection, we caught up with Newton to chat about the new songs written for the record, his career, his ground breaking debut album and what his plans are for touring Hit The Ground Running. Here’s what he had to tell us…
Brendon Veevers: Hi Newton, how are you and where does our interview find you?
Newton Faulkner: Hey, I’m good pretty knackered… lead up to release is always a bit manic but I’m just sitting having a coffee at my kitchen table right now.
BV: We are almost at release day for your 6 th studio album, Hit The Ground Running. How are you feeling? Do you get nervous ahead of new releases these days?
NF: Yes, usually. But this album feels different, because it feels right I’m considerably less nervous than ever before. I’d always assumed releasing stuff independently would be more stressful, turns out I was wrong.
BV: What can fans expect from the new album and how is Hit The Ground Running different to previous albums?
NF: I really feel like I’ve finally found my recorded sound on this one, which is almost embarrassing after 10 years and 6 albums, but true so can’t avoid it. It’s got a real balance between everything I can do, guitar-wise and vocally, and in terms of writing and production too. I am ridiculously happy with it!
BV: You are well known for your covers – Massive Attack’s Teardrop and Major Lazer’s Get Free being two of your most prominent cover hits. Can we expect any new covers on Hit The Ground Running?
NF: Nope, not this time.
BV: You went down the PledgeMusic path for this new studio album. Why did you opt to use PledgeMusic for Hit The Ground Running?
NF: It’s a great direct to fans set up they have there, I didn’t the crowded funding bit which they are also very equipped to manage, but as a platform for someone with existing fan base it seemed a solid option. Also it has an element of Studio Zoo to it (the album I streamed the whole recording of) in the updates for people you have already pre ordered it.
BV: Would you recommend PledgeMusic as a platform to other artists and if so, why?
NF: I’ll tell you in two weeks. Yea, they’ve been great. The whole music industry’s the wild west at the moment so thinking outside the box is not going to anyone any harm.
BV: Are there any tracks on hit The Ground Running that strike more of a personal or favourite chord with you than others and if so, why?
NF: Yes, quite a few. There’s stuff about my son, break ups…a whole bunch of person issues, but the main feeling you take away at the end of the album is pretty hopeful, because I still am.
BV: We noticed on the last record that there was more focus placed on your vocals and the production that previous albums. This gave Human Love a much more commercial, almost-Americanised sound record. Is this evolution of our music deliberate or organic?
NF: I don’t think I’ll ever stop experimenting, same with the live show, I really feel I’ve found something I’ve been looking for for a long time on Hit the Ground Running, Human Love was part of that journey.
BV: Can we expect the same style on Hit The Ground Running, something different or perhaps a return to your folk roots?
NF: It’s definitely more organic, as for folky, I’m not sure. It’s much for soulful, particularly in the vocals. It’s real, and played and not heavily edited, which makes me happy.
Has there ever been any plans to try to break the U.S?
Hell yea at some point, but there’s nothing in the dairy at the moment.
BV: Your debut album, and one of our all time favourite records, Handbuilt By Robots, turned 10 years old a few weeks ago. What did you do to celebrate and do you think the record has stood the test of time?
NF: Awh thank you. We thought about doing a gig but, then only the people at the would be there. We thought about a live recorded version, but then people would have to buy it. So what we did is make something special and free that everyone can access, which was a video of the whole album played live and spectacularly well filmed which is up on my Facebook page.
BV: Your previous records have all found success in the charts – do you place importance on the charts these days in terms of an albums success?
NF: No, if I had made any compromises, I’d want those compromises to be worth it but I haven’t so I’m just proud of it. Whatever it does.
BV: You toured with the Green Day musical, American Idiot. What was that experience like and would the West End stage be something you would like to return to?
NF: Really fun, incredibly hard work but learned so much and made some awesome friends. It’s actually hard to some up in words, having not acting since I was a kid, to be the lead part and a particularly demanding part at that, was…terrifying, which was just what i needed.
BV: What touring plans do you have in place for the new album?
NF: Touring starts in Europe on the 20th September then runs through UK and Ireland till December.
BV: Aside from the promotion of the new record, are there any other projects in the pipeline for fans to know about?
NF: I wrote some tracks for a film that’s not out yet and I can’t talk about. I’ll let people know about as soon as I’m allowed. I loved it, well up for doing for film stuff now the albums finished.
Newton Faulkner’s new album Hit The Ground Running is out now.