Musicscan: You are known to be a heavily touring artist: how do you make sure to stay mentally and physically in balance to be able to continue? Touring can be pretty tough…
Frank Turner: Touring can be hard but you get used to it. I've been doing it for a long time now. I guess I try and eat right, work out, drink less than I used to when I was younger and so on. The mental side is arguably harder, but there are coping strategies. I always have lunch on my own, for example. It keeps me sane.
Musicscan: Sometimes I think you prefer to play the acoustic versions of your songs instead of having them with full instrumentation and volume. Is there any truth to this? How to you choose between both options when it comes to your shows and the recordings in the studio?
Frank Turner: The way the songs are on the album proper is how I want to present them, for the most part. The Sleeping Souls are a big part of everything I do right now. That said, the paradigm of one person with a guitar is at the heart of what I do, and it's fun to play solo shows every now and again to remind myself of that. I think a good song should be able to stand up on its own, stripped back like that.
Musicscan: From the outside perspective you keep on following your DIY roots and ethics while the circumstances have become professional and commercial: is it hard to stay true to what you come from and to find an arrangement with the industry? What lessons have you learned already?
Frank Turner: I've learned a lot, I've been working with, in, and occasionally against the music industry for a long time now. I obviously don't have a problem with it overall; I think the DIY ethic can still apply if you're signed to a big label, it's just a question of using the time that gets freed up (when someone else is making the records) to do other creative things. I've learned to always read the small print, to be slow to trust people but to be loyal once I do.
Musicscan: How do you deal with expectations? Is it easier or harder to come up with new songs nowadays knowing that there are tons of fans waiting for new tracks?
Frank Turner: I long ago learned not to pay any attention to that kind of thing, it's counter-productive, and possibly artistically dishonest.
Musicscan: You are playing pretty emotional songs with personal lyrics: but is there the necessity to create a certain distance between you and the songs and lyrics in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality when it comes to writing them?
Frank Turner: I think you can make a distinction between emotional honesty in art, on the one hand, and factual reporting of your life on the other. I have a lot of stuff that I strictly keep private, but it's possible to write about it all the same. I think staying honest in my music is important.
Musicscan: Do you sometimes feel the urge to write a gentle pop song but then dismiss this idea again, because you think it does not fit the “Frank Turner aesthetic”? ,-)
Frank Turner: Nope. I write whatever the hell I want.
Musicscan: What does it mean to you to see fans getting tattoos being inspired by your lyrics or the artwork of your albums?
Frank Turner: Initially it was something that freaked me out a bit, it made me feel a little uncomfortable. But thinking about it, I have a lot of band-related tattoos myself, so I can't really say I don't get the mind-set. I just think I don't necessarily hold myself in the same mental bracket as the bands that I've chosen to commemorate in ink.
Musicscan: As you are having music related tattoos yourself: what made you getting them and what do you (still) connect with them?
Frank Turner: I wanted to mark important times, places and ideas in my life. I do still connect with them, yes.
Musicscan: Lastly: you signed some hundred copies of Positive Songs For Negative People i've seen: how long did it take until you misspelled your name, or until you had to do a break?
Frank Turner: Haha, last week I probably signed more like 5,000 copies. It gets pretty tiring and you lose track of what the fuck it is you're doing, but it's part of the job, and I guess it makes some people happy.