Combining skittering finger-picking, quirky beats and percussive guitar work, Newton Faulkner returns with the release of his new album ‘Write It On Your Skin’, available on July 9. We had a chat with the singer-songwriter about his new album, his inspirations and what his plans are for the rest of 2012.
“This new album is upbeat, but it stems from darker areas.”
Indeed, Newton is promising something very special with his new collection. He explains, “This time I am being very particular about what makes it onto the album and being massively brutal with each track, nothing less than 100 per cent perfection will be making the cut. I am making the album I want to make.” So it seems there will be no bending over to the “powers that be” and succumbing to the whims of the record labels. No. This time it’s all about Newton’s way, and things are being done on his own terms.
So, what kind of album does Faulkner want to make, this time around? Well, balancing “the melancholy” with “the uplifting” is something that he excels in doing, and this album conveys the mixed emotions to a tee. We asked what kind of vibe he plans for this latest record: “The album is very much upbeat but stems from dark areas. If it’s just positive and nothing else, it doesn’t fully reflect what’s going on in the world. My main message is that even though things may be difficult right now, they can be amazing eventually.” There’s kind of a “hold on, and it will be okay” vibe to the album. This reflects Newton’s own obstacles; for example, when he broke his wrist while producing second album ‘Rebuilt By Humans’, yet he still continued to make music focusing mainly on the lyrics. It appears nothing will stop this delightful ginger-dreadlocked-song-beast from doing what he loves: “Music is everything to me and I am flat out every day,” he laughs, “and putting the time in is a pleasure, especially since I will be the one to reap the rewards.” If this means spending nearly every waking hour working in the studio, writing songs, touring, then so be it. He states, “Each day is different. I have no normality to my life. One night I could be listening to mixes, another night I might be emailing vocals that I have bounced to the mixers. I’ve even been known to reply to e-mails at 3am, just to fit it all in!”
One of the main questions we wanted to ask was what inspired Newton to write? He tell us: “The inspiration for my music comes from the world around me. I am fascinated by what’s going on in the world and often sit in a coffee shop with my dictaphone, taking the atmosphere in, and coming up with ideas.”
He has even set up his own studio and has been recording his third album from home: “Recording this way gives a gentle, “looser” vibe to the music, I guess because you aren’t paying to be somewhere. The new album definitely surpasses my previous work.” For this album he has written from a different, older, more experienced version of himself and he goes on to say: “So much has changed since I made the first two albums. This time I have had the time to take a step back from it and look at everything and think ‘right, this is interesting'”. The first two records, he admits, were very personal. “Maybe a little too personal,” he adds. His lyrics touched on things that were very close to his own feelings and experiences as he had more time to focus on writing the words while he couldn’t actively play. He was discovering the sounds he could make with synthesisers and was being very experimental, in general. Whereas now, he has a better idea of what is achievable and how he can use that to his advantage within his music. A great way to test out these new techniques and material is to play the unfinished pieces at small “pop-up” gigs. “It’s a great way to test the raw material. It was interesting to play the stuff through, even when it wasn’t completely finished, and in some respects I was finishing it off while I was playing. It was pretty fun. It was a means to getting the arrangement together really, and solidifying the songs.”
When asked what track defines him as a performer and where he feels he is as a musician right now, Faulkner replies with, “The whole new album does that for me. It’s a combination of all of the factors and each track covers different areas of me and my life, as well. I think I’ve just got more complicated!”
So then, what does the rest of this year hold for Newton Faulkner? “I can’t actually look any further than getting the album finished. As soon as that’s done I will focus on something new, but for now that’s where my attention is focused.” Beyond that, time will tell. Another tour? Quite possibly. Another album? Let’s hope so. With music being such an important part of his life, we don’t think we’ll be seeing Faulkner’s infectious enthusiasm fade away any time soon.
For more information visit the official Newton Faulkner website.