Counteract caught up with Newton Faulkner on his latest full scale UK tour at his Birmingham show following a few smaller runs and showcasing some new material from upcoming album, Write It On Your Skin.
Following some time out from the spotlight, “I’ve been away doing lots of recording” Newton reveals. Preparing some new material for his adoring fans in his home built studio and being a bit of a perfectionist he finally has an album’s worth of material which he is wholeheartedly proud of. With the expectation being much more intense after 2 successful albums he reveals how he has dealt with this change from album 1 carrying little to no expectation to the present day where the air of expectation is there. However, he explains that it’s a decision of his not to follow the current trends to be popular. “I made a decision not to try and follow what’s popular and continue to do my thing”. This shows what sort of person he is, not changing his style with an air of self confidence in what he’s doing. Newton explains that regarding what is popular is due to the debate that there really isn’t enough guitar based music being appreciated. “It definitely works in cycles, one moment everything being released has a dancey edge while the next it’s folk based, I just wait until my music becomes popular again” he jokes.
Someone in the next room along is playing Tom Jones and Newton discusses reality TV programming, explaining that while knowing several people having entered competitions, “If someone can come out of the process of a reality music TV show and maintain a successful career” he has no problem at all with it, because it’s important for fans to “create a connection with everything surrounding the artist”, which is what you get from those types of shows. Although this is one possibility, Newton offers the flip side of a successful career following these shows and that it all depends on how the industry reacts but people shouldn’t be surprised “If you have one big hit and nothing follows, then that’s just the reality of the industry”. When talking about his own fans he acknowledges the fact that they are “laid back” but anecdotes of hanging out with fans in airports and being happy to take photos whenever asked reveals the side to Newton that he is undoubtedly very down to earth and sees his fans completely on a level.
Previous to this UK tour, Newton went on the road with his “Pop up shows” tour and explains, “The three elements which made the tour was; roadtesting new material, playing places new for me and using social networks to sell tickets innovatively”. The response was incredible, with whole villages petitioning for him to come to their area. “Some people thought it was a hoax”, using social networking to contact him about the shows, he laughs, explaining how no money was necessarily transferred so it wouldn’t work in that way. “I use social networking casually”, which Newton agrees has completely revolutionised the way in which fans can communicate with their favourite artists, and whilst people can use it in all weird and wonderful ways, he decides to just use it as a means of contact to answer fan questions.
Write It On Your Skin is due out this July and is “as close to the live performance as possible”, which stands somewhere in between a full band and a solo acoustic artist, because although he has the solo energy using a variety of sound effects, he produces a louder sound than expected. Newton suggests that this is different from his other albums in terms of the way in which the track have been put together, being a lot faster than the previous. “Write It On Your Skin is something of my production debut”. He explains that when recording, when the demo was good enough to make the cut, the importance to himself was that there isn’t too much “sheen” during the mixing. This helped authenticity he wanted the album to convey.
With several festival appearances scheduled for the summer, Newton offers an insight into the differences between headline shows and shows during a festival. “It’s a lot less organised at a festival”, smiling as he refers to the busy nature at festivals, with there not being a massive amount of time for preparation, unlike headline shows. “It’s much more of a case of getting up and doing your thing at festivals”.
Newton Faulkner seems very open about his experiences in the industry and whilst he has a solid fan base he shows why it’s important to stay down to earth but also true to your own style without following trends.