Thursday, August 15, 2013

Osheaga 2013 | FRANK TURNER

One of the performers I was most excited to see was UK rocker Frank Turner. A friend of mine is a huge fan and has been raving about him all summer long so I was stoked to get to experience him live at Osheaga.

And after chatting with him and seeing his set, I've gotta say, I'm a fan. His passion and energy is so awesome and I love how you can just tell how much he loves what he does.

Christina: This is your second time at Osheaga, what’s in store for this year?

Frank Turner: It’s nice to be here with my band The Sleeping Souls. I’m excited for us to do our thing. We’re a good live band and we’ve done so many festivals in our time – I remember one summer we did 27 festivals in the UK alone – we know how to do festivals. Festivals are great because it’s an opportunity to make new friends. You get people who maybe wouldn’t pay $20 to see your headline show, it’ll be like oh I’ll check them out and then the idea is that you wow them. Hopefully we’ll make some new friends today.

C: What would be the highlight of your career so far?

FT: I spent my teenage years telling everyone I was going to be in a band and everybody laughed at me. I’ve been touring since ’98 and this is my fifth album as a solo act. Lots and lots of people want to be a musician but not that many of them get to make a long-time career out of it. I’m still slightly hesitant to say whether I’ll be able to do this for the rest of my life but it kind of feels like it’s getting that way now. I’m proud of it because it’s a hard thing to do and everyone, from my school friends to my parents, thought I would eventually give up and get a normal job. And I haven’t, yet. 

C: When you were a teenager, did you ever think you’d be where you are today?

FT: There’s a difference between daydreaming and rational expectations. One of the weird things about the station I have in life nowadays is that my musical field of reference growing up were bands like Refused, Voiceless Fire, the Descendants, and that was like the summit of my musical ambition growing up as a kid. When we played Wembley, I’ve never actually been there before because I wasn’t really into that kind of bands at that status. What that means is that it’s not that I’m not ambitious; it’s all just so hilariously unlikely that I feel like you might as well try everything because fuck it. If you come across a door, just push it and see if it’s open. We’re doing an arena tour next year in the UK – we haven’t announced that yet, oh fuck it, doesn’t matter – and I’ve never done that before. So we’ll see how it goes. If I like it, then we’ll do it again. If I don’t, then we’ll move on.

C: Over the years, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned?

FT: Self-reliance is probably the main thing that being on tour has taught me. The ability to just land on your feet pretty much anywhere and don’t depend on safety nets or other people. I like the way that on tour if there’s a problem, you have to solve it now. You can’t just go call your mum. It kind of amazes me in a way when I see my friends who complain about the smallest things.

Another thing, my friend Josh who runs a club in DC called the 930 club once told me  the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given. “Try and make sure your head is above your ass at all times.” That’s a life motto to live by.

C: What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

Work hard and expect nothing from it other than the love of music and you might be pleasantly surprised. But if you’re getting into this game to get rich or famous or laid or whatever, you’re an idiot. You’re also doing it for the wrong reasons, f*ck off and leave it to the people who actually care about the music.

C: What are some of the craziest requests you’ve had from fans?

FT: There are a lot of people who know about my music and some of them are eccentric and some of them are very very into what I do, but at any point, I don’t want to sit here and sound like I’m mocking anyone who’s into my music. They are essentially good people paying me a compliment and enabling me to live the life that I lead. I get given amazing presents on tour by fans, like truly amazing and humbling stuff. From brownies, people give me a lot of brownies. I love chocolate brownies, they’re great. I collect Saint Christophers, this one was given to me by a guy named Dave Kelly who’s a lovely guy in New York. People have given me crazy stuff and I’m always humbled by it. I always have to end up shipping boxes of cool shit back home.

C: And there are a lot of people who are starting to get Frank Turner tattoos…

FT: Yeah that’s kind of a thing now, which initially I was kind of ho-hum about and I just wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I have tons of band tattoos and I think the thing is that I just don’t automatically hold myself in the same head space as Black Flag or The Hold steady or whatever. But I guess people do think that about what I do and I’ll probably get comfortable with it eventually one day. It’s cool because it’s a community thing now. It’s nice.

C: What’s up next for you?

FT: Well I’m a workaholic. We’re on tour for the rest of this year and probably the first half of next year as well, just making sure everyone knows about Tape Deck Heart. I’ve kind of written another album already, which is great, but all the way through my career to date has been bam bam bam. Part of me thinks I should possibly put it on ice and just think about it for a little while rather than diving straight into it. But then again, maybe not. We’ll see.

Keep an eye out for my article on and check out for more Frank Turner updates. Be sure to take a listen to his newest album, Tape Deck Heart!

- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28

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