ATI Magazine caught up with the incredible Newton Faulkner, read our in depth interview with him below.
Q1: If you had the opportunity to get a inspiring message across to a large amount of people, what would your message be?
A1: That is actually a question I’ve thought a lot about a huge amount and it’s hard to draw solid conclusions. I did one of those talks at the Oxford Union and I asked them, What would be the best use, I have a very simple philosophy that seems to kind of encompass everything that needs doing in a very simple way, which is basically, every tiny small kind act, just creates a small ripple that eventually comes back to you and that seems to work. If I can promote that then that’s going to do as much help as anything else.
Q2: How did you get started with your music? And if you weren’t an artist/musician what would you want to be doing?
I can’t imagine not being a musician, I am rubbish at everything else. I have no idea. I look like I could be a Sailor, maybe. I’ve got a bit interwar with it, maybe some kind of deep sea fisherman.
Q3: What or who keeps you motivated and inspires you?
A3: Everything, I find music endlessly fascinating and if it’s not playing an instrument then it’s the whole production side off things and if both of those kind of plato then there’s stuff too listen too, I am very rarely, not excited about music.
Q4: What is the most memorable experience of your life/career so far? And what have you learnt from it?
A4: I should be able to answer that (laughs) I’ve had a really good time, when I’ve released, wait what have I done, five albums now, just starting on my sixth, I love playing live, so every gig is memorable like I like gigs where it’s right, because it’s nice when everything goes right, I think might love gigs where everything goes wrong more, because it’s more of an interesting challenge.
I’ve done some very strange things, I mean, the powers gone to the whole venue and I’ve ended up standing on a table, in the middle, slowly rotating, because the people behind me couldn’t hear me my voice and the guitar because it was going that way, so I slowly rotated until the power came back on, that stuck in my head, that was pretty weird. I’ve done gigs in hot air balloons. I’ve some really weird stuff, so it’s really hard too just pick one, the first Glastonbury was good, but last Glastonbury I played Bohemian Rhapsody in my pants, which was as memorable for me as it was for anyone else.
Q5: Would you go back and change anything in your journey so far? (If no, why)
No definitely not, I am a stronger believer that everything kind of happens for a reason, and everything is leading towards one defiant point. Yeah, I feel like everything, every record I’ve made, I’ve made for reasons that I 100% believe in.
Q6: In the next two years what do you ASPIRE to have done?
A6: In the next two years, I need too finish writing this record this year and get it out this year, I’ve also done a bit of film music over the last few months, which I absolutely loved doing, it’s fascinating so I’d like to do more of that if the opportunity arises. I definitely just want to do more touring in general, just get better, the last batch of stuff I’ve written is very, very, serious on the singing front, there’s seriously technically challenging vocals which I’m really enjoying, it’s really fun, especially when I’m managing to get both going at the same time, so I can do a hard vocal and a relatively complicated guitar part to a standard that I’m happy with which has been a long road because obviously when I first started out I was much more of a guitarist then I was a singer, ever since then I’ve been trying to keep everything on the same level just because I can’t think of that many people that have done that. Where they’ve been able to play as well as they can sing, as well as they can write. Playing wise that kind of kicked of and I got into some very technical things and then I’ve been trying, I’ve been training my voice hard too catch-up with my playing and then trying to write stuff that actually kind of showcases both is a whole other challenge. It’s a constant kind of balancing act of different things. Then also producing it in a way that makes sense as well, I’ve produced one whole album so far, I think I’m doing a huge amount of this one as well, definitely keeping myself busy. So in the next two years I’m probably just going to keep doing all of that.
Q7: How much of your life and background have influenced you to become a songwriter/musician?
A7: I think everything, for writing I think it’s you have to take what you can from everything that happens to you, everything you see happen to other people, everything that affects you at all, you kind of need to log in a little space in your brain, everything could be useful at some point. So I’m constantly on the lookout for things and the more I research into how other people write and the best people to talk to actually are tour bus drivers, if you want to know how people write, it’s fascinating because you hear stories. Some songwriting legends have been on the same bus and your like so what does he do when he’s on the bus, he sat with a notebook looked out the window, literally wrote down everything he saw for every drive we did. Every street name, he will jot it down if it’s an interesting one, names of shops, interesting shops, anything that comes into his mind he will write down as well, constant and I think that’s how you have to be if you want to write all the time.
Q8: What lyrics mean the most to you and why (ones you have written and or ones you didn’t write)
A8: There’s so many beautiful songs out there, the last record I was really pleased with lyrically was stuff like Step In The Right Direction, I was really please with because it was such a, it could be really “non committal” if I got it wrong, it’s alright but it’s probably going to be okay, that’s not what I was trying to say but I was worried about it coming out. I was really pleased with where that landed, I think that ended up being quite powerful but there’s nothing that clever going on, just simple lyrics that work and get the message across. Not any specific lyrics just more of what you take away from it, because lyrics are strange things because they could be amazing in songs but when you write them down they sound rubbish. There’s a huge difference between poetry and song lyrics, they do overlap but they don’t have too. So a lot of songs are beautifully lyrically but if you read them out, you would be like that’s a bit weird to say, wouldn’t say it like that. One of my favourite songs ever is Colin Hay, Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” that’s got some beautiful lyrics in it but again there’s nothing that you pick out that’s massively poetic, it’s more, it’s what your left with at the end of it, it’s the fullness of the visual.
Q9: If you could collaborate with anyone who would to it be and why?
A9: I don’t know at the moment, I know it sounds terrible but I’m really enjoying working on my own. I’ve got someone programming drums for you and he’s an absolute genius in his own right, this guy called Dan Dare who’s got another project that’s coming out soon, which I think is going to be amazing. There’s loads of good people around, theres a girl in Amsterdam who I write with every now and then who’s amazing called Tessa Rose Jackson, I did Stay and Take off the last record with her. She’s one of my favourite people to write with, other then my brother who I write with a lot because we live in the same house and we both do music, what do you think of this, it should be more like this, so it’s quite casual writing. The challenges that I’ve set myself for this record in the short term I feel like I want to get the exact vibe and the bulk of the songs done completely on my own, so the vibe and the tone has been set by me alone and then I can bring other people in around it. Because what I don’t want to happen which has possibly happened in the past, is that theres been too many people involved from the very beginning and its all been a bit messy, too many things leading in to many different directions and I’m trying to pull it one way and someones try to pull it that way then A&R want it over there and I think it’s over, by the end your not entirely sure what you’ve made whereas if it’s literally just me in a room the majority of the first bit, then I can be like this is what were doing, this is what it is, I like to work with you too add this to it, as opposed to someone else coming in and then it screwing the picture a bit.
Q10: What is most inspiring message you have internalised in life so far?
A10: There’s loads. One of my favourite music quotes is one from Eric Roach I don’t know if he got it from someone else, it is Music is a language, make sure you have something to say, he’s an instrumentalist as well so he’s not talking specifically about lyrics, he writes lyrics as well but it’s that thing about writing for a purpose and not just for the sake of it.
Amazing question, I love it, I almost want to sit down with a pen and paper and write a short book. Life’s complicated always, I work like a lunatic, that’s one of the things I’ve managed to do recently, I’ve gone massively to far in certain directions in the past, is that work life kind of balance thing. I did work and do pretty much nothing else for years, like I did solid work for years and I loved what I was doing so I didn’t really mind at the time, but over the last few years I’ve been like I’m stop at this time in the evening and I’m not working at weekends apart from I am working this weekend but that’s an exception, but I have started carving out time to do some normal stuff, because obviously I have a studio in my house so I can work, if I can’t sleep I’m likely too just go into the studio and make some noise, make use of the time. It’s a really counter intuitive thing but in order to get more work done, I had to work less but in a more focused way. That’s been hard, that’s nothing something that has come natural to me, as I just don’t like stopping anymore, I’m like the bus on speed, I feel like if I go below a certain amount of adrenaline I might just die. So I have to proof myself wrong on that because that’s obviously not a sensible way too live your life because you’ll end up being a bit knackered.
Q13: If you could have a song to be the soundtrack to your life what would it be and why?
A13: Probably something utterly stupid for me, yeah probably like Bushes of Love or something. There are certain tracks that I believe sound like the inside of my head on a normal day, something like there’s an amazing Japanese producer who did a version, it was like a Jazz/Brazil but if you listen to Corneilis I think that’s kind of what my brain sounds like.
Q14: What are your biggest dreams? and what are your biggest fears?
A14:I do probably live the dream and I do music for a living that’s amazing and however hard it gets, I’m still doing music for a living which is amazing. I’m not really motivated by, I think someone asked me what my definition of making it in the music industry was and I was like to be honest, mines really simple and it’s do I have to do anything else, if the answers no, then I’ve made it in the music industry that’s it for me, like what I love about it is the work, so I just love doing the work, I’m not really init for anything else, so anything else is kind of like a bonus, but as long as I’m allowed, I’m half way through writing another album, pretty much another whole album, I’m writing for some other people, I’m helping out with other projects, I’m having a really fun creative time. I find it really hard too look beyond that, what do I want too happen next, well I just don’t want it too change. Obviously money is a nesciaity but as long as I can keep making music and touring, to people that want to see it and the whole pledge pre-order campaign, has been amazing to watch, it’s been really inspiring to see people respond to the record that I’m just starting too write.
Has it always been as fun and exciting?
I’ve had some horrible times, I think it’s impossible to go through life without, I’ve hit some absolute brick walls every now and then but they’ve never lasted that long. I’s not plain sailing at all, I am one of the very people that I know that have been in the industry as long as I have and is not actually not horrifically bitter, and I’m kind of an expectation to the rule, because it’s so easy to get disillusioned. Your a product, your not making art, your making tins of beans for a factory, that’s one of the first things I was told ACMS, so I went to the Academy Contemporay Music and one of the first lectures the guy put a can of beans on the table and said this is you, this is what you are, your a product and if you want to go into the music industry then you need too understand this. You can work around It and make it something that works for you or you can get very bitter and twisted about it, which is what most people end up doing at some point, it’s not always this case, but if you go into any creative industry for the money, its not going too end well, jus because the money isn’t always going to be there, it’s going to come and go, your going too make mistakes, your going to do stuff that’s too weird, your going to do stuff that’s too commercial and all those things you need to be able to do, to be able to do the stuff you need to do. I’ve managed to, I use music and work as a distraction when things are bad, so the more stressed I am and the worst life is, the more music I will do and sometimes the happier music I’ll write too because sometimes I am writing what I want too hear, too cheer myself up. I don’t want to ruin it for people listening, theres a lot stuff I’ve written I was happy at the time, and there’s other stuff where I’m just like I can’t do this anymore, cheer myself up and do music from that angle, but you can go to the same point from both ways.
Q15: What is next for you/your plans for the next year?
A15:I have no idea, I’m juggling a huge amount of balls, between my own stuff, I’ve got my own album, I’ve got this film project which I’ve done a huge amount of work on, which was so much fun, I think it’s one of those things when people realise it’s me that made it, there going to be very confused, it’s so not what I’ve done in the past, it’s almost the complete opposite.
Q16: What would your advice to be to those out there who want to live out there dreams?
A16: Just get on with it, it’s very simple but it’s definitely not going to happen if you don’t try and do it, so the first step is trying to do it, I’ve never had any kind of safety net, I just threw myself into this, with no, I didn’t give not doing music for living a thought at any point. I don’t know if that’s wise, that might be incredibly unwise, I might of got incredibly lucky but I feel like safety nets are obviously very sensible but can also make you quite lazy.
Q17: Lastly, for those who don’t know where can people follow your career?
A17: On all the social media sites, I’m on everything.