Music interview: Newton Faulkner

Newton Faulkner
Newton Faulkner
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“The whole thing is basically saying ‘I know things may not be great now, but I promise they’re going to get better’,” remarks Newton Faulkner as he discusses his sunny-side up number one album, 2009’s Write It On Your Skin.

The Brit Award nominated singer/songwriter has released four top 10 albums, beginning with 2007’s Hand Built By Robots, which also topped the UK charts. A very striking figure, standing tall with his ginger dreadlocks hanging well past his shoulders, Faulkner’s style of powerful yet optimistic folk is viewed by many as a welcomed change of pace compared to the intensity of most other artists around today.

However, despite his hopeful lyrics, Newton, 29, is somewhat surprised by how people tend to perceive him. “I’m probably associated with summer and sunshine, which is weird because I spend most of my time in small rooms looking at the rain and chipping away at stuff”, he laughs.

Faulkner’s distinctive style is again present on his latest studio album. Stuidio Zoo was released this year and has proved to be just as popular with his fans as previous releases. However, this time the sound has been completely stripped back. “I was trying to reflect the live show. I really enjoyed the challenge of something that sounded full with just guitar and vocals and very little else. Actually, it’s really improved my playing, all the parts had to be really oiled well.”

Faulkner has been involved in music for years. Beginning with playing bass for a Green Day cover band in his teens, he went on to form Half A Guy, which split up after two years. After a few years as a solo performer, he was finally signed to Sony BMG in 2007.

The days of playing in pubs are long since behind him, and he is currently on a UK tour playing to thousands of people a night, but Faulkner says his one man band will have nerves no matter how many people he is playing to. “I think, probably, the most nervous I’ve ever been (was) just before I went on last week, which was pretty much mainly new stuff. That was terrifying because there was quite a lot of people there!

“It is dangerous, but I love it. I watched festival footage back; I was at T in the Park... just watching looks so funny because there’s thousands of people jumping, I think, ‘That makes no sense!’”