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Scout Beck

Frank Turner
'Positive Songs...' interview

Scout Beck, Editor

It's his sixth studio album and one Frank Turner has described as his 'definitive statement, a summation of the first five records'.

'Positive Songs for Negative People' will hit on August 7, with single release 'The Next Storm' out on August 3.

The album brings back long time band The Sleeping Souls and was created by an invigorated, physically and psychologically fit and sober Turner.

It sounds an intense and focussed time. Recorded live, in Nashville in nine days, the musician sought to bring back the freshness and vibrancy of a debut.

Single releases 'Get Better' and 'Mittens' are laden with defiance and infectious energy - 'I got me a future/ I'm not stuck on the past' he calls on the former, a triumphant declaration of his musical life as well as his personal.

'Positive Songs...' is less introspective than last album, the soul baring 'Tape Deck Heart'. It's about looking out rather than in, covering a walk through London on opener 'The Angel Islington' a song to his cousin, and eulogies to Christa McAuliffe, the American schoolteacher who died in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and close friend Josh Burdette, a Washington DC club security man who took his own life.



Lead single 'The Next Storm' comes with a video featuring WWE champion wrestler and UFC fighter CM Punk, and sees the singer going a few rounds in the boxing ring.

Following the album release Frank will head for a record ninth consecutive appearance at Reading and Leeds festivals, before embarking on a 16 date UK headline tour in November.

We caught up with Frank as he prepares to deliver 'Positive Songs for Negative People'.

Hi Frank how are you?

"Good thanks, just busy gearing up for the new album."

What can you tell us about 'Positive Songs For Negative People'?

"It's my new record. I think it's one of my best, I'm very excited for people to hear it."

You've described it as a definitive statement, a summation of the previous albums - can you elaborate?

"Well, it's the music, you'll have to listen, if I could explain it in words I wouldn't need to make the music. Something about it feels like it's an apt summation of the music I've been making as a solo artist; that applies to the title as well. I have no idea what, if anything, that means for the future, but for now I'm enjoying the fact that I think I achieved my aims with this album."



You were aiming for a raw live sound with this record, are you happy with the result?

"Yes"

How did you create that?

"The Sleeping Souls and I rehearsed the shit out of these songs over a long period of time - two years or so - playing them in soundchecks and at shows all over the world while we toured "Tape Deck Heart". We demo'd them about four times. Finally they were ready to go, so when we got into the studio with Butch Walker, we were able to cut the record live in 9 days."

After over a decade in the industry how easy was it to recapture the energy and exuberance of a debut?

"I felt quite driven this time around, partly by the need to justify my continued output to my audience, partly because there are things about the previous record that trouble me, and partly because I think these songs are strong."

Is there a song that stands out most for you? One that captures the essence of the album?

""Get Better" serves as a pretty good introduction to both the lyrical and sonic tone of the record. But I like all the songs."

There's a song about Christa McAuliffe on the album, why did you feel you wanted to write about her?

"Because her story is so engaging. She died on television in front of the world, in the upper atmosphere."

Where did the inspiration for the video of 'The Next Storm' come from?

"We found out CM Punk was both a fan and a nice guy, and we sent him an email."

You are heading for a record 9th appearance at Reading/Leeds fest, how do you feel about that? Do those shows still have as much appeal for you as ever?

"Reading and Leeds are very important to me. I used to go to Reading as a kid, and indeed in my later years, to hang out. Million Dead played there. Since 2007 I've played every year. It's my home, essentially. I can't wait to get back there."

Read our 'Mittens' review here