Music, OldVenue

An Interview with Newton Faulkner

Venue catches up with Newton Faulkner ahead of the release of his new album, Human Love.

So the big question I have to ask is, new haircut?
[su_quote]I don’t know how that’s become such a big deal but yes I have had a haircut, although I did have the same hair for a very long time![/su_quote]

It was quite distinctive…
[su_quote]It’s a bit weird because I can feel the back of my head for the first time in about 16 years, so now I’m a little bit colder than I was.[/su_quote]

So your new album is called Human Love, why is it called that and are there any ongoing themes?
[su_quote]Compared to album three (Write It On Your Skin) which, after I recorded it, I realised was all about however bad things are, they will get better, it was this weird positive, negative overlap thing. The fourth album (Studio Zoo) was quite depressing, which was me just being…honest. Then this album, I guess is just more openly thoughtful. There’s more just random thoughts, there’s no solid theme running through the whole thing. ‘Human Love’ was mine and my brother’s favourite track off the album, which is why we decided that should be the name of the album.[/su_quote]

Has anything in particular influenced the sound of the album and the step away from your older sound?
[su_quote]I purposely made decisions to make it sound different, and at sessions I would consider ‘What would I have done?’, and then consider ‘What should I do now?’, and saying ‘I’ve never started a song like this, so let’s see what happens’. We then found ourselves writing in different styles such as rock week, slightly jazzier weeks, serious folky weeks and just exploring the writing process.[/su_quote]

The first single off the album is a Major Lazer cover, what influenced this decision?
[su_quote]Well the decision was made by a large group of people from across the record label but I think it works really well in terms of the music video. It could not have been a better track and the association and the chance it provided to tap into someone else’s fan base was an amazing thing to be able to do.[/su_quote]

The thing I found when I looked into what fans had been saying across social networks was that they really like the new tribal and slightly more produced sound. So where did this tribal sound come from?
[su_quote]The tribal sound goes on through the whole album, and it’s become part of the live show. We found some drum sounds and I found myself listening to lots of rhythms and melodies. We found ourselves going further into world music, and you can hear it in tracks like ‘Human Love’ which sounds rather Asian, whilst some of the beats are African and some of the chords are again quite Asian.[/su_quote]

In my opinion this has made Newton Faulkner again sound like something that isn’t out there, as you did when you first started out. Now we’ve seen a lot of singer songwriters enter the charts in the years following your debut, and you once again sound completely different to what else is out there. Was this a conscious decision?
[su_quote]Well you don’t want to release an album that just fits in and we did some weird experiments on this, like ‘Human Love’ is just bizarre sounding. We found we could either make it really clean and sound like something from ‘Hand Built by Robots’ (Newton’s first album), or we could go past it and make it sound absolutely weird and filthy, which is what we did. [/su_quote]

I personally think the sound is a Step In The Right Direction…
[su_quote]I love it when people say “it’s a step in the right direction”; it’s a track on the album that I’m really happy with it. That track’s definitely one of my favourites off the album, I love the whole mood of it. It has a weirdly understated chorus, like an anti-chorus and the whole thing is kind of tension based.[/su_quote]

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
[su_quote]Oh that’s a hard question… probably The Presidents of the United States of America or one of the bands I grew up with. I would love that, that would blow my mind! Their first album, you have to listen to it, it’s amazing, probably my favourite album of all time.[/su_quote]

Okay to wrap things up, if you could describe your new album in three words what would they be?
[su_quote]Tribal, folk, pop? Is that about right?[/su_quote]


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September 2021
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