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Having recently become a father and conscious of the legacy he’ll leave behind, Newton Faulkner returns to “have a positive impact on people’s brains.”
Paul Nolan, 23 Aug 2012
It’s been a whirlwind day for English singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner. Having arisen in his London home at four in the morning, he’s spent the day in Dublin promoting his new album, Write It On Your Skin. When Hot Press meets him in an upstairs room at The Workman’s Club, it’s still only quarter past three. Though tired looking, he is engaging and friendly. With Write It On Your Skin (the follow-up to two hugely successful albums, Hand Built By Robots and Rebuilt By Humans) set for release in a couple of days, I wonder if he feels in any way tentative.
“Not really, I’m generally really excited,” enthuses Faulkner, who retains his trademark dreadlocks. “It’s done very well in the build-up. Lots of good things are happening and I’m really happy with it. Plenty of people have heard it in random ways – it was on our website for a limited amount of time, and you can hear bits of it on iTunes – and people really like it, which is amazing.”
Among those collaborating with Faulkner on Write... are his brother Toby (a former drum and bass MC), production pair Nexus, and hip hop enthusiast Sam Farrar of Phantom Planet, the band which formerly counted actor Jason Schwartzmann as a member. One gets the impression that Faulkner wanted to bring more of a beats-driven, hip hop influenced style to this album.
“It’s something I’ve always done bits of,” he notes. “The first album kind of hinted towards it, and the second album was more about traditional songs. This one is just me messing around a bit more and having a really good time.”
He obviously felt the freedom to do that.
“Yeah, I don’t know why,” he replies. “I was still under an insane amount of pressure as usual, but I guess it’s partly the time thing. We were just chipping away at things, it wasn’t like, ‘This needs to be done next week, we’re doing the album now!’ I was trying to release an album last year and it just wouldn’t work. This record has had three MDs, so there’s been three full regime changes at the label. But I don’t think any of the external pressures would match the pressure I put myself under to do something good.