Notching up his second Highland festival appearance of the summer, Newton Faulkner brings the season to a close with a headline set at Loopallu this weekend.
Faulkner, who also appeared in RockNess back in June, will be bringing with him songs from his most recent album Studio Zoo.
Are you a big fan of playing at festivals?
I really like festivals. It is kind of the perfect blend of a headline gig and a support slot because both have their advantages.
Support slots, nobody wants to see you, so if you’re not terrible it’s like a massive bonus. And also it’s about pulling people in who have never seen you before and also introducing yourself.
At festivals there’s a certain amount of that as well as the headline crowds — the guys who come up the front — so it’s always a really fun challenge.
You recorded your latest album in full view of your fans, who could watch the whole process on line. How did you find the process?
It was definitely a crazy thing to do because everything from the first vocal take to getting mixes and finishing the record was all done on, in the end, four webcams running 24 hours a day for five weeks — which is a really long time.
It started off a very small thing, just a webcam that was going to be on for an hour with no sound, recording little bits of the process, but then it kind of grew. I’d definitely do it again and I’m intrigued to see who does it next, but no-one’s said they are definitely going to do it yet.
Does this give it a different feel from previous albums?
It’s what Ialways wanted to do, but I hadn’t done for a number of reasons, partly because I was trying to match the radio success of the first album (Hand Build By Robots).
The live and the recorded stuff went in completely different directions at the same time. As the records became more built up, I started playing completely solo. I’m not sure how it worked out the way that it did — I was sort of being pulled in different directions. The record company wanted everything to be big — basically to sound like Dream Catch Me. The live shows went the other way, but they were definitely working.
The album is very rough and ready with very little editing. It’s almost like it’s live.
My studio’s small and works, but if I do anything downstairs, then I have no protection from birds, trains, kids walking down the corridor...you can hear the air con working in a couple of tracks or creaking sofa noises in the background. It’s very much the opposite of clean and shiny.
Any of the new songs going down particularly well live?
Treading Water goes down really well live. Lots of strange harmonics and tuning pegs. It’s very visual — it’s the first time I’ve ever got a round of applause for a middle eight!
• Newton Faulkner headlines the second day of the Loopallu Festival at Ullapool on Saturday 21st September.