Frank Turner is a folk punk artist heralding from Winchester. Having cut his teeth in the music industry playing for hardcore punk band Million Dead, he embarked on a solo career. This has been one that has taken him to the status of a global star. A frequent favourite on festival line ups, Turner has toured extensively and displays all the attributes of what it takes to be a hard working musician.
At Take it away we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to Frank about his music and forging a career as a solo artist. Here's what he said.
Can you give us an insight into when and how you started out making music?
I got interested in music when I was about 11 years old when I got into heavy metal. I got a guitar for Christmas after bugging my parents, got a chord book and basically haven't looked back since then.
Did you ever come up against difficulties when learning? How did you overcome them?
I'm almost entirely self-taught, musically speaking. There's been a lot of times when I've felt pretty dead-end, progress-wise, but a little self-belief and dedication goes a long way. Looking back, I'm actually pretty glad I learned the way I did, learning by ear gives you a better feel for more folk-orientated music anyways.
How did you make the step from playing as a hobby to being a full-time musician?
I was heavily involved in the DIY hardcore scene in London for many years, putting on shows and so on. From that we (Million Dead) just kind of gathered momentum until we reached the point where we were just about making enough from touring to dispense with full-time jobs. Things just kind of evolved from there. For many years it was a very poor, hand-to-mouth existence, but I enjoyed it, and it's led to better things.
Does the experience of playing shows as an individual differ from that of playing in a band?
Sure. You take more of the credit for the successes and more of the flak for the failures. It can be much lonelier on the road when you're on your own.
Are there any musicians in particular that you would say that led you to pursue a career in music?
From the very first I felt like if I liked music (which I did) I wanted to be involved in making it too. So people like Iron Maiden, and later Nirvana and Rancid, have been important to me. Nowadays I'm inspired by people like Loudon Wainwright III and Bruce Springsteen.
Are there any artists you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
Very many. I'm writing an album this summer with my good friend Jon Snodgrass in Colorado. There are loads of people I'd love to work with - T-Bone Burnett is pretty near the top of my list, as is Nick Cave, though I'd be very intimidated in both cases!
Any advice for those just starting playing and starting out?
Work hard and be prepared for little reward from it, aside from the pure satisfaction of the music, for a long time. But if you can survive that part, it means you're doing it for the right reasons anyways. Enjoy yourself.
What are your thoughts on the Take it away scheme?
I think that anything that helps get younger people into music is good
Although I think a little adversity is important too - Rock 'n' Roll is, and will always, at heart be rebellion music.
For more information and forthcomig tour dates check out Frank Turner's website.