An interview with Newton Faulkner over coffee

On 15th April Newton Faulkner played Rock City, and I had the chance to interview him before the gig. When I met him he was as calm as his music, offering me coffee and being as hospitable as he could in the small artist lounge. We had an interesting chat, delving deep into his experience on the road and his musical knowledge.

P: One of my favorite songs of yours is badman.

N: Ah thanks, there’s been a lot of call for this I think I might bring it back for the next tour, it could work well now with the three piece set up.

P: Yeah I quite like it, I think the song’s lyrics are important. I was wondering, would you consider yourself quite environmentalist?

N: I’m not entirely sure, I’m definitely not a proper hippy because I like grand theft auto too much and you can’t be a hippy and play computer games… in terms of full ethics I try and … I think it’s common sense. I wouldn’t say I’m an extremist, but I think you definitely have to respect the world around you or it will crumble.

P: Who are your favorite artists at the moment, especially new artists?

N: I tend to go into a bit of a whole when I’m writing a record, but I have a long list that I’ve been collecting on his tour of stuff to check out. We have I See Rivers on the tour which are giving me stuff to listen to, and the people in my band giving me different things. But at the moment I’m just collecting names, I haven’t actually gone through them. I don’t tend to listen to that much stuff when I’m making a record. When making the record I was listing to a lot of world music stuff.

N: I knew I wanted this record to be bigger, with a lot of pop sensibilities, but I also think that when pop is just influenced by the pop, it gets really boring really fast so I try to be far and indirect as I could. I ended up getting into a Chinese folk band a lot.I also tend to spend a lot of time listening to my friends because all my friends make music. The Temperance Movement I know quite well, actually I know all of them and they’re doing awesome stuff.

P: Another favorite song of mine is teardrop, are the any other covers you want to do at the moment?

N: Well I’m doing Justin Bieber ‘Sorry’ at the moment and that’s really fun, I think it lends itself to double time really well but I’m just emerging from underground. I’ve got a list of over 100 names to listen to.

P: If your music was turned into a musical what story line would it be?

N: I really not sure about a story, I’m alright with writing songs. My dad used to write children’s books so I could use that.

P: How did you get into music, would you have any advice for people wanting to break in?

N: I don’t think there’s any rules any more, I don’t think there ever were really, but now there’s even less than before … so just enjoy it, do whatever you want to do, there’s so many ways in, internet, label service deals. There’s very little artist development, you basically have to already have everything already running…So basically you have to have the fan base, have the artist work already, and then take it someone and say we’ve done your job.

P: Do you think the internet is really useful new for artists then?

N: In some way. But in some ways it’s just a place you can get music from without paying any money. It’s helpful for getting your name around. It should be leveling the playing field more than it is. What you should be able to do is write a song, record it on your laptop and it be able to get ten million views and be able to be a massive hit . That doesn’t happen yet. I hope that one day it will, because it seems that that’s the way it should work, but everything is a bit too controlled at the moment and people are told what to like. Just being in front of human beings has more of an impact.

P: Are there any countries that you haven’t played in that you would like to play?

N: Yeah loads, I haven’t played anywhere in Africa or India yet. There’s a part of Scandinavia that I definitely want to get to. I was showing my son on the map that I’ve been to quite a few places, and pointing to them all. It was interesting. It highlighted the gaps for me. I has a driver on a tour who moved to Sweden, and he said that everyone was listening to the third album there in every shop it was playing….but the album hadn’t been released, so they’d obviously have just found it… it’s really hard to analyse whats happen globally, I’ve heard there’s a lot of good things going on in Japan at the moment so I will have to go there.

P: So when you travel round do you have a lot of time to visit places?

N: Very very little time, especially it’s somewhere where you’re not there very often like Australia. Australian’s promo schedules are so brutal especially if you’re from the poplar opposite sides of the world, because they’re going to assume that you’re not going to be back for a while. So I’ve done tours where there’s twelve radio stations and a gig everyday, and I’ve woke up at 4 o’clock every morning, they really make the most of you!

P: OK well good luck for tonight, and we look forward to seeing you!

Newton Faulkner went on to play an amazing gig at a packed Rock City. The crowd was enthusiastic, knew every lyric, and there was a nice mixture of slow songs to sway to, and upbeat tunes to jump around to. Not to mention his absolute gem cover of Justin Beiber’s Sorry.  The support act, I See Rivers are definitely ones to watch, with the most perfect harmonies I’ve ever heard. In true fan-girl fashion, I managed to get a hold of the set list after the gig, and felt ever so accomplished. Not a bad day at all!

Newton Faulkner will be starring in the American Idiot tour; a musical based on Green Day‘s music, around the UK later in 2016.

by Priyanka Mistry




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