INTERVIEW: Frank Turner (13/05/2016)

For the first time ever, folk-punk singer Frank Turner will perform ‘England Keep Your Bones’ in full at a special one-off show presented by White Rabbit at the Brixton Electric, on May 13th. Frank will top the bill for a night of bands, DJs, and a celebration of the work that the Music Venue Trust do to support the UK music scene and also raise money and awareness for charity CALM.

We caught up with Frank to talk about the importance of the show and how it will help some very important causes.

DP!: Hi, Frank! You’ve got a very important show coming up this week at Brixton Electric in celebration of the Music Venue Trust – can you tell us about the work they do and the threat that music venues are under in the UK?
FT: Music venues in the UK, especially at the smaller end of the scale, have always had something of a precarious existence. Liberalisation of planning laws in the last decade or two (something I broadly support) has created a new set of problems for smaller music venues, mainly based around noise complaints. The Music Venue Trust has done an amazing job of highlighting these problems and campaigning for changes to the law to protect our small venues. I should also add that the night is a joint benefit – the other charity involved is CALM – the Campaign Against Living Miserably – who do sterling work on male mental health.

DP!: Do you think that the new legislation protecting smaller venues will benefit the UK music industry?
FT: Yes.

DP!: How crucial were independent small clubs when Million Dead were touring?
FT: We wouldn’t have had anywhere to play without them, which means we wouldn’t have had a fanbase or been able to develop our sound as a band, and thus make two records. The same applies to my solo career, incidentally.

DP!: What made you want to get involved with the Music Venue Trust? And do you think if more successful musicians like yourself got involved, then there would be more of an impact?
FT: I was aware of issues with smaller venues that I know and love – the Joiners in Southampton, the Night & Day in Manchester – and then Mark and Bev got in touch and explained the bigger picture of what they’re doing. I do what I can, other people can get involved or not as they see fit.

DP!: The show on Friday is also raising money for charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). How important are these shows to address the issue of male suicide and depression?
FT: Ah right, sorry, you did know about this! Haha. I think the issue of male mental health is dominated by the conspiracy of silence around it – that’s one of the main causes and effects of the problem. I think anything that anyone can do to make people speak more openly about the issue is positive.

DP!: You’ll be playing ‘England Keep My Bones’ in full as a special exclusive, what made you pick this album? Any extra surprises in store?
FT: People like that record; I like that record. It’ll be fun. I did ‘Love Ire & Song’ in full for a show or two a while back, now it’s the turn of ‘England’.

DP!: How do you prepare for an intimate crowd show as opposed to an arena? What makes the intimate experience better?
FT: I’m not sure 1,500 tickets counts as intimate…

Frank Turner plays the Brixton Electric on May 13th with support from Skinny Lister and The Wholls. Make sure to follow Frank on Facebook (here) and Twitter (here), and grab his new EP ‘Mittens’ via iTunes (here).