When you think of back-up bands, most people think of hired, faceless, musicians- This is not the case with The Sleeping Souls. Both live and in the studio, this band pumps the blood and oxygen into the heart and soul of Frank Turner’s music. With an amazing energy and uncanny knack to compliment Frank’s gifted singing and songwriting, we wanted to put the band that backs him into the front! Check out The Sleeping Souls!
AMBY: How did the The Sleeping Souls come to be?
Ben: Many moons ago, just as Frank’s old band were imploding, he went out on tour selling merch with a band called Reuben. Tarrant, Nigel and myself were in the support band on that tour (Dive Dive), we got talking about stuff and ended up recording and playing on Frank’s first release Campfire Punk Rock. We first went out on tour when Sleep Is For The Week was released, a succession of keyboard players came and went in the first couple of years but Matt was for life, not just Christmas.
AMBY: Who influences you as a musician?
Tarrant: Right now, John Entwistle and John Paul Jones when we’re doing Frank Turner stuff. It changes depending what I’m listening to. For the last album it was more Mo Town.
AMBY: Which songs are your favourite to play live?
Tarrant: The Real Damage, Dan’s Song, English Curse, Rivers… you get where I’m heading with this.
AMBY: What do you do outside of music for fun?
Tarrant: We’re in the US at the moment and my favourite pastime is shooting guns at the local firing range. We fly back to the UK next week though so that will have to stop and going to the pub will shuffle up from second place back into first.
AMBY: What is the craziest thing to happen to you while touring?
Tarrant:I used to tour manage a band called The Aliens who took first prize in every category of crazy you could think of (great band by the way). I’m not going to go into that here, but by contrast pretty much all aspects of our touring are sedate.
AMBY: How do you compare British audiences to North American ones?
Ben: The American audiences seem to be generally more open and receptive to new music, we’ve done more support tours here than in the UK, but we’re at different levels in the different territories, and headline shows in the UK are a special thing.
AMBY: What is the best part of playing and recording with Frank?
Tarrant: Obviously Frank’s a great and prolific song writer and that’s a fairly fundamental thing. Beyond that I think for me its the opportunity to play music in a great band with some great musicians. Nigel, Ben and I have been playing music together for over 12 years, 6 of those with Frank, and 4 with Matt. And we’ve been doing it constantly, unrelentingly, and virtually non stop. That’s meant some sacrifices and sometimes its been negative for other areas of our lives. But I can also unashamedly say its made us very fucking good at what we do and there is a lot of reward in that.
AMBY: What was the experience of playing the Olympics Opening Ceremony like?
Tarrant: What can you say… fucking amazing! Actually we took a bit of heat for it at the time because some people in the DIY / punk community saw it as too commercial to be a part of. That kind of attitude constantly boggles my mind, on numerous levels. The show itself was superb (massive respect to Danny Boyle) and represented an interesting counter cultural take on British history.
AMBY: What’s the best gig you ever played and why?
Tarrant: It’s tough to pick a single show. There’s definitely a highlight reel: Headlining Wembley Arena this year; playing the Olympic Opening Ceremony; Reading Festival mainstage last year – the list goes on.
AMBY: Which member would you kick off the tour bus and why?
Tarrant: I wouldn’t kick any of the other members off the bus.
AMBY: What song could you live without ever hearing again?
Ben: Oh, there’s way too many, unless you mean one of ours, in which case I pass!
AMBY: What is the best song of 2012?
Nigel: There is something about being on tour all the time that disconnects you from what’s happening currently in music. So – Freebird?
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about The Sleeping Souls that nobody knows yet?
Nigel: Who knows what people may have discovered about us? But I guess nobody knows how far we can take this, and what we can achieve. It may be little, it may be a lot, but I can promise we will try.
If The Sleeping Souls and Frank Turner are in your town, be sure to take a night out because the music is amazing! Take a look at their North American Tour Diary video below! And lastly, thank you Sleeping Souls, for giving me your answers!
Alicia & Yaz Atout