10 Questions With…Turin Brakes

Turin BrakesToday at A.T.W.N. we have “10 Questions With” Olly Knights, the lead singer of the English Folk-Rock band Turin Brakes. With their 6th studio album, “We Were Here” out today in Europe, October 8th in North America , Olly stopped by to answer a few questions on writer’s block, the nerves of sharing new songs, his favorite books, and family life.

Writer’s block is something all of our contributors can relate to, and most of our readers as well. As a songwriter who has had the dreadful experience before, how did you break through it?

I made a solo album called “If Not Now When” – It was hard work but I started to find I could write about my kids and my family, I knew they weren’t TB songs so I fixed up an old 8 track reel to reel and made a proper bedroom record, that then re-opened my mind to songwriting, there’s a nice documentary out there by Phil Bloom about it….

Sending your creative work out into the world to be experienced, and judged, is an exhilarating and terrifying experience at times. With your new album, “We Were Here”, set for release September 30, what are your nerves like knowing your new songs are about to be heard for the first time?

Actually this time round I feel quite calm! That is a first for me… I think it’s because it feels like such a team effort this time, we’ve really found a good way to work and also the material just sounds super strong, very comfortably Turin Brakes world and that’s a world we knew we could trust and wanted to get back to the core of.

I know it’s a ridiculously tough question to answer, and most don’t like to play favorites, but can you name a few bands Turin Brakes loved touring Stereophonicswith?

The Stereophonics was incredibly exciting, we were just kids and they were a real proper rock n’ roll band, we had a chance to prove ourselves to their crowd and people still seem to remember us from those shows 13 years ago! It was like joining the circus for a while….

People’s passions often change as they age, whether they want them to or not. Now for the fans like myself, who’ve been following you for over a decade, how have you and Gale been able to keep on the same page musically? I mean, you two have known each other since primary school.

We communicate on a very deep level because we have deep memory references. I suppose we somehow developed a combined taste, stuff is either good or bad and for some reason we mostly agree when it comes to creating music together.

Studies show… Ha ha ha , yes water is wet…

As someone who has two young kids, I get up everyday at 5am to write before my day job so I don’t lose out on too much family time. How have you and your wife managed to juggle family life along with each other’s creative pursuits?

We have no rules to be honest, the best thing about being a musician and a dad is how much of my life I get to live with my kids, I think they pretty much believe I’m one of them.

Favorite book from your childhood was…

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy, just kidding, actually it was Watership Down, so sad, so very English, it reminds me of a past I probably never really had but it’s helped shape some of my neural pathways for sure.

If you could have a pint with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Prince – But we’d both need to have had a few before we met otherwise he’d just be shy and so would I and we’d just be two very quiet oddballs in a pub staring at each other.

tb2013bOne band, one book…

Band – revisit an album called “Crime Of The Century” By Supertramp – They were like the black sheep to Pink Floyd and grooved out some mega minded music at this point, so so wide and groovy…

Book – All the Leonard Cohen novels in one non linear gulp!

The latest book you couldn’t put down was…

“Sane New World” by Ruby Wax, a hilarious take on depression and incredibly touching, I hated her as a kid but I realized it was because I could see how utterly terrified she was back in the 80’s and 90’s.

Reading or Watching while out on tour?

In the old days of tour bus’s we’d demolish box sets of Curb You’re Enthusiasm… Now it’s all Kindles and iPhones in Hotel Rooms.

The one cartoon you wish your kids would stop watching…

Zoe 101, Brittney Spear’s little sister and pals act badly in a phantasy college campus for kids in California. Not actually a cartoon but might as well be…

If Gale were a superhero, would he be a cape guy, or a spandex-suit guy?

He’s a bit small for a cape so I’d say spandex as he is quite muscular.

We Were HereThanks to Olly for stopping by ATWN. Turin Brakes new album “We Were Here” is now out in Europe on Cooking Vinyl, and you can find all the links here. For those of us in North America we have to wait until October 8th, but you can pre-order it on Amazon and stream it now at Paste Magazine. For more music from the band, check out their Soundcloud page, and check out the fantastic fan page, Ether Site.

BTW Olly gave so many great answers, we couldn’t keep it to just 10.  We’re sorry for any confusion for the math majors out there. 😉

jay