Newton Faulkner first entered our world back in 2007, when his debut album Hand Built By Robots rocketed up the charts all the way to the number one spot. Since then, Newton has toured relentlessly around the world and 2009 saw the release of his second full-length album, Rebuilt By Humans. Newton’s latest album Write It On Your Skin, is out now.
“For me, this whole thing really started with Eric Roche,” says Newton. Newton first met Eric when he was a student at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford. Eric was head of guitar at the time and his virtuosic, visual and unconventional style of guitar playing really struck a chord with Newton. Tragically, Eric lost his battle with cancer in 2005, but not without passing on his passion, skill and knowledge to the very capable hands of Mr Faulkner.
After two years at the ACM, Newton gigged continuously around London and the UK, whilst also making appearances at the Lapagestock and South by Southwest festivals in 2005 and 2006 respectively. After securing a publishing deal with PeerMusic UK, Newton was subsequently signed to Sony BMG and released his debut album on 30th July 2007.
The album was eagerly anticipated after the success of the single Dream Catch Me, which, after being named Jo Wiley’s ‘pet sound’ for the week, rose to number seven in the singles charts. Newton raised the bar one more notch when he performed his cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop on the Dermot O’Leary show in ensuing weeks. Newton’s technical ability shone through as he effortlessly and single-handedly reconstructed the rhythm, bass, harmony and melody of the song by use of just his guitar and his voice – radio listeners were left stunned. On record Newton was one thing, but live, he was on a whole other level.
After touring the UK, USA and building up a strong fan-base in Australia, Newton slipped back into the studio to record his second offering to the world. Working again with producer Mike Spencer in London’s Miloco Studios, Newton started experimenting with more electronic elements to compliment the largely acoustic vibes set up in his first album. Aptly demonstrated in Won’t Let Go, a punchy track co-written with Cornelius, aka Japanese producer-writer Keigo Oyamada. The album also featured more tracks that were co-written with Faulkner’s older brother, Toby, notably Badman, the album opener that is laced with cross-rhythms and a thumping backbeat.
However, before recording started, Faulkner encountered a setback that dramatically changed the course of the album. Newton broke and dislocated his right hand literally days before he was scheduled to get back into the studio. After a little healing time, (and the addition of nine pins and a metal plate into his wrist) Newton started recording and released the aptly named Rebuilt by Humans. Most noteworthy on the album was perhaps the single If This Is It, a stirring, fist-pumping anthem that plays as an ode to the times when Faulkner is on stage and for him, where the music truly lives.
Faulkner now tours with an array of multi-media weapons; including cameras, backlit screens, organ pedals, kick drums and even a real working cassette tape player. As Newton states: “Touring is the best part for me, so being able to go out and give everyone a great and unique show is such an important aspect to think about”. To see Newton live is truly unimaginable and people are often quick to assume that there are backing tracks or some sort of musical wizardry going on behind the scenes. However the only magic that happens will be right there under your nose the whole time. “We don’t use any backing tracks, loop pedals, offstage performers or any of that stuff, what you see is exactly what you get.” Faulkner prides himself on being a performer and his character both on and off stage is truly one and the same. Often spending a good while chatting to the audience between songs and always happy to meet and greet the fans after the show in his trademark relaxed and down to earth fashion. He truly is a musician for the people and of the people.