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Re:wind Newton Faulkner

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Newton Faulkner has received critical acclaim for his unusual style and sound, with his first album reaching number one back in 2007. He has since undergone reconstructive surgery on his hand after an accident and subsequently released his second album Rebuilt By Humans last year that marked another top ten album for the young dreadlocked lad from Surrey. Newton was kind enough to spend a few minutes with us before his set at the Big Chill this year.

For those that don’t know your musical style how would you describe it?

I don’t really know anymore I confuse myself these days. Its kind of acoustic based stuff that kind of spans a lot of genres and I play in quite a strange way. I do the percussive ‘tappy’ stuff that’s really fun. Just songs and stuff!

You have a very unusual technique, especially how you tap and slap the guitar, could you tell us how you developed it?

That’s been around well before I was. Michael Hedges was doing it, and has its roots in flamenco and a lot of that going further back. Also when I was at ACM, (Academy of Contemporary Music) Eric Roche, head of guitar was there, and Thomas Lee were both doing similar things and I just really got into it. Especially because I was gigging on my own at that point it just made sense to try and see how much I could push it, and every time I brought things in I got the same thing, ‘it’s really good but I prefer it on its own.’ And I figured out that the only thing that worked is a string quartet I got in and that worked really well and properly classy and it felt very grown up!

How did you deal with the news of Eric Roche’s passing?

Yes it was horrible we were really good friends and had kept in touch. It was hard. I’ve got one of his guitars that I play with every now and then; it’s a lot of responsibility playing one.

Has that relationship had any influence in terms of your song writing?

Oh definitely, I have written about it, so much is completely about Eric’s influence on my playing.

There’s been quite a lot of success with your first album.

Yes but there was four years work that went into that album before it came out so it didn’t feel unnatural, it did what it did. The setup to the first record was really carefully planned. The second one we had to rush a little bit and chuck it out really fast, a bit mental!

You’ve recorded a great cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop, what made you choose that song?

A; its an amazing piece of music, B; its made of predominantly four parts which at that time was the most parts I could do at one time. I could do a drum beat, a baseline, a melody and a vocal. I was just listening to it and thinking that should be doable and I had three days to piece it all together before I played it on the radio and I didn’t sleep for three days, three days with the metronome going constantly.

Have you got any plans to cover anything else?

I’m always messing around with stuff, I’m really enjoying ‘No Diggity’ by Blackstreet, that’s worked pretty well and I’m working on Regulate by Snoop Dog and Warren G. (Newton impresses us with a quick rendition on request!). I’m doing Bohemian Rhapsody at the moment and I’m wanting to do something in the same kind of area as that. But I will take requests obviously! F

inally, with many rumours about having names such as Deuteronomy and Battenberg can you clarify the situation for our readers?

Yea that was on Wikipedia for a little while, not for very long but long enough for everybody to write it down! My full name is Sam Newton Battenberg Faulkner; Battenberg is my mother’s maiden name.