Newton Faulkner talks to eGigs

ahead of his Koko performance this week on Tue 1st Jun 2010

eGigs got the chance to have a quick chat with guitar virtuoso, Newton Faulkner, ahead of his Ambition Gig at Koko on Thursday 3rd June where he will be headlining the evening followed by a DJ set from Radio 1 favourite Greg James.

How are you?
I'm very well indeed.

Has having a higher profile these days meant you've changed your lifestyle?
Not drastically, I just get on with it. I don't feel my lifestyle has changed, I spend most of my time and any money on music stuff anyway. That's pretty much what I did before, although I have bought a house, which is pretty cool. I haven't moved in, I bought it really recently, and it was one of the scariest things I've ever done. I've lived in London for a long time and I'm moving to Limehouse Cut.

You're headlining the Koko this week on the3rd (June), are you looking forward to that?
Yes, I am, I can't wait, I'm really looking forward to it, and plus, it's walking distance for me. So, I can basically, just stroll down there, it'll be marvellous.

What's been your most memorable gig to date?
There's been so many for different reasons, that's really tricky. Glastonbury was a massive one actually, the first time I did that was mental, I'd never been before, and the first time I went I played. It was a bombardment of everything. The first lot of live sessions I did were also a bit mental. I was put up between two massive acts. It was a really weird situation because there was this secret person on before me, and they couldn't tell me who it was, and after me was Lily Allen. The secret person turned out to be Chris Martin, so it was Chris Martin, me, and then Lily Allen which was completely mental. I've done a gig in a hot air balloon, and I've done gigs in gorges in America. I'm very lucky I guess, that I get to do bizarre and crazy things.

Which tracks from your last album, 'Rebuilt By Robots' always get the best response?
'Lipstick Jungle' goes down particularly well live, we haven't nailed radio yet, that's the plan for the summer, because we thought about getting involved in Christmas and then decided against it. We were going to have a Christmas singles, but I think I am a summer artist, that is what I do best, festivals seem to match the important time of year for me, and live is what I do. So, we've got singles coming out over the summer, existing tracks off the album, we've done a remix of 'Let's Get Together' which is sounding really good. I'm really happy with it, and it's been really fun, but I don't have any release dates for anything yet at all, and it's still very much up in the air.

Are you writing material for another album yet?
I'm writing stuff all the time, and I'm doing music for a film as well. It's for the UK Film Council, it's an animated film, and I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into it. I'm doing ten minutes of music which is one thing that I've always wanted to do. There's loads of really bizarre opportunities springing up for me at the moment which is brilliant. It's amazing!

The film stuff is something that I've always wanted to do, and there's another film thing being made about loads of guitarists, and they're all rock and metal guitarists and they wanted to have one other thing to chuck in there, and they chose me. So that's another really thing I've got to do, and just talk about guitars for a while. It's amazing to actually have all these to get in to, it's all the kind of stuff I've always wanted to do, but it's quite hard to go out and seek. You do have to kind of sit and wait for stuff to happen, and it does seem to be starting to happen, which is amazing.

Have you got much else gig wise on this summer?
Loads of stuff, actually, the summer is pretty much full on gig time, I've got 26 festivals, and gigs dotted around. There's one I'm really looking forward to in the Paradiso in Amsterdam which actually got moved because of the volcano. I was actually stuck in Hong Kong for a week, I was really lucky, the airline I was flying on were absolutely incredible. I'd actually never been before and it was meant to be a transfer, I was only supposed to be there for two hours, and I ended up there for a week.

Do you like touring?
I love it, it's my favourite thing in the world. It's the bit that I have to worry about the least, I just seems to consistently work and get better, and go down better, and the gigs get bigger, and it just seems to be what I do best.

Is there anything about it you don't like?
There's nothing at all, I actually sleep better on a bus, and I've actually become quite healthy on the road. I've got into skipping. We had an ex-boxer on tour who taught me how to skip. I thought it was brilliant, I can chuck it in my rucksack, and I'm always in massive rooms with space, and it's now become part of my touring routine, it kind of balances out the drinking (laughs).

If you could bring a special guest on stage with you, who would it be and why?
I'm trying to think who would be really good... I would just love sit next to Cee-Lo Green who was the vocalist in Gnarls Barkley, and just play guitar, I just think that would be really fun. His solo stuff is really fun too, and I could just push the guitar side, and he could just wail. The solo guitar definitely lends itself to stuff in that direction, that just not the way I do it with most of my stuff, but it's definitely capable of doing it.

I would have loved to have played live with Eric Roche, at some point. I did get to play with him casually whilst he taught me, but we never got to play anything bigger, it would have been really fun.

Talking of the guitar how is your hand holding up since the operation?
It's absolutely fine now, the only thing that really seems to piss it off is humidity. But, everything else seems alright. I've only noticed it when I've been in really hot places where the metal has expanded slightly, but other than that it's absolutely fine. It worked out well.

Apart from the guitar, and the skipping rope what other essentials do you take on tour with you?
Speakers, and I'm attached to my laptop permanently, I've started to do much more production stuff, which has been working out really well, just my own stuff. I'm just getting into that a lot more but then I've been spending a lot more time just staring at my computer screen and playing guitars into it. Also I got into twitter when I got stuck in Hong Kong, and then off the back of that, I started to wonder what else was happening on the internet.

I just hadn't really had a proper dig around for a while. Then I went on my facebook page, and was like, "Woah! There's a lot of people here, and no one does anything." I didn't even have the access codes for it, I couldn't even get on there. And since I've got on that it's been amazing. I've taken to replying to stuff, and putting up things, and just pottering around it, and just doing that has added 20,000 people in the last week. It's been really interesting, and quite educational for me. It's weird that that's part of my job, most people do that as a fun thing, but I actually have to be on it.

What are listening to the moment?
What I'm really enjoying is the Grace Jones album ('Hurricane') from not last year, but the year before. It's actually really good, really good, just the production on it is amazing. I've been into Midlake for a little while and I just found their first album, which is quite Sparklehorse-y, almost.

When you're touring do you listen to the guys before selecting who to take on tour?
Support act wise? Yes, I'm quite involved in who gets picked for that, and I pick it half and half, half on a musical level, and half, who it is nice to have around. We are in really close contact, because I tend to have them on the bus with me, and I really like it when you get that travelling show kind of vibe. Everyone who plays is all travelling together, and it's not like there's someone travelling separately.

I did a lot of stuff where that wasn't possible in the past, and I was actually chasing people on buses by train. That's a bit depressing, so I try not to put anyone else through that. It was really fun, but if I can avoid putting anyone through that I will.

Have a good gig and enjoy your summer.
Yeah, I will, wicked, take care man.

article by: Scott Williams

published: 01/06/2010 13:53

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