Newton Faulkner on film, family and fatherhood

Newton Faulkner was filmed 24/7 for five weeks for his new album. He tells Chloe Hamilton about it

Newton Faulkner likes to do things the hard way. Recently he live-streamed himself recording and producing his fourth album Studio Zoo. The process, which saw the guitar virtuoso filmed 24/7 for five weeks in the summer of 2013 in his east London home studio, was the first of its kind and proved popular with fans eager to find out more about the musician’s unique method.

“It was terrifying,” he tells me over a coffee, flicking one of his waist-length, rust-coloured dreadlocks casually over his shoulder. “I could hide in the bathroom, obviously, and there were no cameras in the kitchen, but people could still hear you. I learnt that the hard way.”

Faulkner burst on to the British music scene in with his debut album Hand Built By Robots, which went to No 1 in the UK album charts. He has since become renowned for using various parts of his guitar’s body to create tantalisingly skilful rhythms which go hand in hand with bright, summery melodies. His unusual guitar-playing technique was born more out of laziness than any desire to be different, he says. “I realised that if you just do stuff that’s really, really weird, you can pretty much bypass learning the normal guitar, everyone is really impressed and it takes half the time,” he says with a grin. “I thought I had invented an entirely new style of music, and for a week I felt like a kind of ginger demi-god.”

Seven years later he has introduced even more body parts to his performance, playing polyrhythms with the kick drum at his feet at the same time as artfully picking at his guitar. His act relies so heavily on the visual experience (he’s quick to tell me that he never uses loops) that he actually had to go into training to strengthen his back for his current UK tour. “Although maybe my hair is just weighing me down”, he says.

 

Now, with four top 10 albums under his belt (Hand Built By Robots, 2007, Rebuilt by Humans, 2009, Write It On Your Skin, 2012, and Studio Zoo, 2013) Faulkner has entered a new stage in his life: fatherhood.

Naturally, his three-year-old son Beau has his own tiny guitar, handmade by the man who builds Faulkner’s instruments. Faulkner fishes his phone out of his pocket to show a photo of the grinning, gap-toothed toddler, who is providing inspiration for his next album.

“To get him to sleep, I sing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory songs in the style of Nat King Cole,” says Faulkner. “I actually played some at a gig the other day. That would be a very odd concept album, wouldn’t it?”

My Secret Life: Newton Faulkner, 27, singer-singwriter  

Family is important to Faulkner. His sister Lottie is his full-time manager, while older brother Toby collaborated with him on his latest album.

“You can say things to your brother and sister that you can’t say to anyone else and they can say things to you,” he says. “It kind of destroys any possibility of growing egos because they get stamped on violently.”

He’s not wrong. It’s impossible not to warm to the laid-back Faulkner and there’s little sign of the celebrity ego which is so often present in the successful. He frequently mimes rhythms, tip-tapping his toes as we talk, and his booming laugh echoes around Shoreditch House’s minimalist cafeteria whenever he makes a joke. Currently in the middle of 23-day UK tour, he is getting used to life on the road again. As we part, he asks Lottie where he can get his clothes dry-cleaned, ready for the trip. “Rock and roll, eh?” he says with a wink.

Newton Faulkner is on tour now ( newtonfaulkner.com)

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence