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With album number three making a big impression, Newton Faulkner is at the top of his game. He talks style, looping and the importance of writing with the live audience in mind.
Dave Hanratty, 05 Oct 2012
“I’ve never done it!” he laughs. “People seem to think I have because of everyone around me! The stuff that I do usually happens all at the same time so the percussion is built into the guitar part while you’re playing everything else. It’s more technically challenging in that it’s much harder to get to the same point [than using a loop station] but it also gives you a lot more freedom further down the line because you can speed up and slow down and change things as you go along, which you can’t when you’re looping. But yeah, I’ve never done it. I felt like I’d missed the loop train when I saw KT Tunstall do it. I was like, ‘She’s nailed that!’. I was kind of doing my own thing by that point anyway. It’s more of a playing style than an equipment usage thing with me.”
So it’s essentially a case of being too damn good for your own good?
“I guess so!” he laughs. “ t sounds bad but I can make a lot of noise and people do get confused. There was one lady in particular who came up to me after a show and told me she thought that I was using backing tracks and I was like, ‘Okay, just hang on two seconds’, and I went and got a guitar and played one of the guitar parts from the gig, just right in front of her, not plugged in… and she went very quiet, looked a bit sheepish and said, ‘Can I have a hug?’ It’s a weird thing in that it’s not something that many people do. It’s definitely never been a part of popular culture so people are still getting used to it as a style of music. I know people that are really into the songs and have no idea what I’m doing on guitar and actually don’t really care! They just think it sounds nice. But for the hardcore guitar people, it’s quite an extreme area.”
Faulkner has something of a personal relationship with his hand-crafted Nick Benjamin guitars, warmly noting that he’s “known them all since they were bits of wood” and often lining a row of them up onstage at gigs, provding both a nice visual and quick access to different tunings. The live show played a huge part in the formation of Write It On Your Skin, with Faulkner keen to bridge the gap between the studio and his audience.