“I’m very much a live guy” says Newton Faulkner, playing Jimmy’s Harvest Festival this weekend

Singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner, playing Jimmy's Harvest Festival tomorrow

Singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner, playing Jimmy's Harvest Festival tomorrow - Credit: Archant

Entertainment writer Wayne Savage talks to singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner, appearing at Jimmy’s Harvest Festival tomorrow.

Faulkner will be joined by a full band for his performance

Faulkner will be joined by a full band for his performance - Credit: Archant

It was press night for American Idiot last night, then American Idiot again tonight so, to be honest, I’ve just been quietly tidying my house. Not very rock and roll, worse luck,” laughs Faulkner, who plays Johnny in the smash musical inspired by the Green Day album of the same name.

Strangely, he was part of a short-lived Green Day tribute band – one show involved the Dookie album in its entirety – before graduating to gigging on his own.

“The other two people in that band are actually in the show as well. One of them is physically in it, one of them is in a video that’s part of the show; it’s really odd the entire band is actually back together in a weird form.”

The punk rock outfit’s music is different to his.

“I occupy a slightly strange little space, (but they were) definitely an influence,” adds Faulkner, whose first album, Hand Built By Robots, topped the charts in 2007, deposing Amy Winehouse, with more than a million in sales and spending a year in the Top 40. His third album, Write It On Your Skin, gave him a second chart-topper in 2012 while 2013’s Studio Zoo was made over five weeks in his East London home studio, with every move streamed online and open to comment on social media.

Expect to hear tracks from these and his latest release, Human Love, when he plays the festival’s main music stage on Sunday.

Most Read

“I cannot wait, I love this festival (and) I think I’ve done most festivals in England,” he laughs, adding he’s hoping to get half a day before his set to enjoy the atmosphere. “To be honest, I just love festivals, I’ll do any of them. There’s a bunch you just know are going to be good and Jimmy’s Farm is definitely one of them.”

Faulkner describes himself as very much a “live guy”.

“Live’s kind of where I started and there’s something about the direct communication of it, the fact you really have to think on your feet. The live following has just never changed it’s been amazing actually. It’s simple in a way that very few things are. Making records isn’t simple, it’s incredibly complicated and there’s too many people involved; whereas live... There are enough people to have a good time, but not so many involved, like, in saying what you’re going to do next that it kind of gets confused so I love it to bits.”

Human Love has been doing very well.

“Yeah, it was quite a slow organic release. I didn’t ram it down anyone’s throats, but kind of just... A lot of people are kind of discovering it, it just keeps getting passed around so yeah it’s ticking over nicely.”

Festival-goers can expect something a little different from Sunday’s set.

“It’s a full band gig. I was solo for maybe seven years but now I’ve got a band and it is so much fun. There’s enough stuff in there (and we take) the Faulkner stuff up a notch.”

The decision to bolster his stage performances mirrored his mindset when making the new album.

“The very thought process of making this album was not to think like a solo performer, not to write like a solo performer; to take off all the filters... The drummer’s played on a lot of my albums but I always knew if I had a drummer live I would want it to be him and he’s smashing it. My brother’s playing as well so everyone in the band I’ve known for endless years so it’s quite nice.

“That was another thing we did on the album, worked mainly with friends so it was very kind of ‘un-industry’ and a bit more personal. There was lots of just sitting in the studio bouncing ideas around... I don’t have any rules any more, I don’t have to. I’ve kind of got my ‘thing’ and as long as I keep doing that I’ll be fine. If I can capture more people and grow the fanbase that’s amazing... If you dilute (what you do) down too much, if you try to please too many people you can end up losing the fanbase you’ve already got.”

I share I’ve discovered some of my favourite bands at festivals.

“Festivals are perfect for that. The thing I love about them is it’s the perfect balance between a support slot and a headline. (With a) headliner they’re there to see you and there’s a certain amount of pressure that comes with that but also they’re on your side, they want it to be good.

“Then there are people who have no idea who you are, couldn’t give a monkeys and are just kind of ‘oh, what’s that, there’s noise’. I really enjoy the challenge of that first impressions thing which is why I love support slots. I did so many I turned it into like a science, I got really into it.”

Any message for the fans coming along Sunday?

“Just don’t eat too many sausages,” he laughs.

Easier said than done. As well as music from the likes of Reef, Chas and Dave and more on the main stage there’s also a mouth-watering selection of chefs in Jimmy’s cookshack including Gennaro Contaldo, Great British Bake Off’s Richard Burr and writer, journalist and activist Jack Monroe. Youngsters can also have fun in the chipolata kid’s zone and the new science and nature trail.

Click here for the full Saturday and Sunday festival programme.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter