Festival Q&A:
Newton Faulkner

The singer songwriter chats to Big Issue North about cutting his dreads in his music video and visiting Yorkshire to play Grassington Festival on 30 June

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What have you been up to since your last album, Human Love?
I played Johnny, an addict, in American Idiot in the theatre, I’ve written six tracks for a film, done a few tours, generally kept myself out of trouble.

What was the inspiration behind that album?
All kinds of things. I try not to rule out any avenue of inspiration when I’m writing. I was listening to a whole bunch of Mongolian and other world music and was definitely writing with festivals in mind.

How’s the new album coming along?

I’m getting there. I’m focusing on things that work as solo performances and using my voice in ways I haven’t used it before at the moment but it’s still early days.

How would you say the sound of your music has changed throughout your career?
Every album’s been a reaction to the last thing I did, in one way or another. The last two in particular are polar opposite ends of the spectrum production-wise. I’ve become more comfortable and confident in the space that I occupy in music industry, which means I now do pretty much whatever I feel like, which is very freeing musically.

In the song Get Free why did you decide to cut your dreadlocks? And did you think it would cause as much of an uproar in the media as it did?

As I have been asked in every interview I have ever done about my hair I thought this time I’d take control of the situation. That video remains one the the most stressful experiences of my entire life – would have been a waste of a good haircut if we didn’t film it though.

Are there any artists in the charts at the moment who you would like to work with?

I think Laura Mvula’s amazing. Would love to work with her at some point.

What are you looking forward to the most about coming to sunny Yorkshire and playing Grassington Festival?

I love playing, I love festivals. I’ll be very surprised if I don’t have a pretty good day all round.

Will you be sticking around to watch other acts like Bananarama?
Yes, I would think so. Depends a little bit on vans and hotels and stuff but I would definitely like to.

What has been your best and most memorable place to tour and why?
The first proper tour on a proper tour bus in the UK will always stick in my mind. It was at that point I felt, fuck, I’m actually doing this!

Which of your songs means the most to you?
So Much on the second album I wrote about the man who taught me to play the way I do, Eric Roche. That’s definitely up there.

What’s your most annoying habit?
According to my son, singing ALL the time.

What’s your favourite item on a full English?
Hash browns.

What’s your favourite film trilogy?

Star Wars – the original trilogy

What’s the first album you ever bought?

Reef, Glow

Interview: Georgie Dias

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Newton Faulkner

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