Frank Turner's career has gone from strength to strength since I saw him playing a local show in The Railway, Winchester. Fast forward a few years and I find myself sat in his dressing room having a chat before he plays a sold-out headlining show at Southampton Guildhall.

R13: This is the 'hometown' show of the tour, how are you feeling?
FT: It is in the sense that I know Southampton very well; in particular I know this venue very well, having said that, when I was a kid and we used to get the bus to Southampton for gigs, we always thought Southampton kids were a bit snooty and they regarded use as yokels. I have a weird thing where part of me is like "fucking Southampton!"
R13: I can relate to that, I grew up in Portsmouth.
FT: Oh, you're a Pompey girl! My brother in law is from Waterlooville, so you both understand the politics. I actually grew up just outside Winchester; towards Petersfield.

R13: Where is home for you when you're not on the road?
FT: The place where I sleep when I'm not on the road; which is not very often, is a room above a bar in London which a friend of mine runs. It's the storeroom and there's a mattress in there and that's where I sleep. I don't need any more than that right now, I've been living out of a suitcase since 2004 and I'm very used to it. I'm sure I will settle at some point in life, but not yet.

R13: How has the tour been going so far?
FT: Its been really good, all the shows have been sold out which is a vote of confidence from the world. It's the longest and most regional UK tour I've done in years and it was designed as such. I've done a few of those short UK tours where you only play four or five shows and I played an arena show in London in April. After that I wanted to send a message to people, show them that there's no reason to panic and I'm not just going to play arena shows from now on. Some bands just retreat and only ever bother playing a few shows here and there, it's almost like they're saying "We've done the work, you can come to us now" and that's really not my approach to it at all. I love touring and I particularly enjoy touring my own country, so it's nice to see all the towns I haven't seen in a while. I didn't get much time to walk around today which is a shame but that's life on tour.

R13: You toured the States in September, how was that?
FT: It went really well, we played lots of gigs to lots of gigs to lots of people which was good and then we recorded a new album.

R13: What can we expect to hear on the new album?
FT: Lots of songs! I'm probably the worst person to ask because I'm too close to it, but it's a very raw, exposed, personal record. That's partly because that's where my head is at right now, but also because I feel that part of the reason bands lose their spark after a couple of records is that they get too self conscious about who's listening and they start getting defensive about the subject matter and start withdrawing into themselves and I don't want to do that. I pushed myself to write a record that's as exposed and raw as it could be. Now, I'm quite uncomfortable about how some of the lyrics will go across, not with the general public, but there are people I know personally who are going to be displeased. It's difficult for me, but then again, art isn't supposed to be easy.

R13: What do you get creatively from Mongol Horde that you don't from your solo work?
FT: Aggression; there's some of that in what I do, but it's not the central motivation of the music for me, whereas Mongol Horde is all about aggression and energy. Secondly, physicality, there's something about playing that type of music that is different. When we did the shows last summer I honestly thought I was about to have a cardiac arrest but in a way that was something I missed from being in hardcore bands; that feeling of coming off stage and being beyond fucked. It's almost cleansing. Thirdly, it's very liberating. I agonise over everything that I do with this, and with Mongol Horde the lyrics are pretty much the first nonsense that came into my head, it's all pretty tongue in cheek, some of it is deliberately provocative but most of it is just telling weird random stories. It has reminded me of the value of spontaneity and not over thinking things, as I do have a tendency to over think things.

R13: You played at the Olympic opening ceremony earlier in the year, what was that experience like?
FT: It was cool, it was weird, I'm still not entirely convinced that it happened. It was very surreal and odd. Every time I tried to convince myself that it was actually happening, I would find myself surrounded by ninjas, miners and Harry Potter characters, which didn't help focus the mind. I'm really glad I did it, partly because I'm a working musician so it's a piece of exposure that you can't really turn down if you're planning on eating food. Also, I just think you should say yes to things in life. I don't want to be the old guy in the corner of the bar in 50 years time telling a story about how I didn't play the Olympics. That's a rubbish story and no-one would want to hear that; I'd rather tell a better one where I did play the Olympics.
R13: How much preparation for the three songs you performed?
FT: The team working on the Opening Ceremony had been working on it for seven years, but I was there for five weeks on and off. The production team were amazing but it took them a while to realise that we didn't need to rehearse the actual songs. It was fine rehearsing moving it on and moving it off but we play these songs every day, we could play them in our fucking sleep. They kept having this planned schedule for band rehearsal, but it was a new experience for me to work on a production of that scale.
R13: Were the rehearsals aimed at them practicing shots?
FT: Partly, but every time we went down for rehearsals they would also have a chunk of the day that was solely for us to rehearse the songs. We'd all just look at each other like "Really? We don't need to rehearse this."

R13: A couple of years ago you played 24 gigs in 24 hours, how was that and would you do it again?
FT: I really hope to never do that again! I file it under things that I'm glad I did but I don't want to do it again, it was a fun little stunt. We did actually do it, we didn't cheat; lots of people think we cheated.

R13: You're playing a gig in December to raise money for The Joiners, why did you see that as an important cause?
FT: I heard on the grapevine that The Joiners is in financial trouble, and it is. I had a word with Pat who runs the place to see if I could help because one can be philosophical about it; small venues are the life and blood of the music scene, without the small venues there would be no big ones. Also, the first gig I ever went to was at The Joiners and I've played there more times than I can remember, my old band played their last ever gig there and I don't want to live in a Joiners-less world. I'm actually now playing two shows there on the same day because the ticketing system crashed when they went on sale and sold 400 tickets in 90 seconds.
The other thing is, so much of what I do for a living is relentless self-promotion, it's nice to do things that involve something and somebody else. I try to do as much of that as I can. I had an amazing day today, I went to a place called Naomi's House, which is a hospice for terminally ill children and it was really moving but an awesome experience. I was expecting it to be really upsetting and there was an element of that, but the kids were so cool and it was very humbling. It made me feel utterly useless because all I do is piss around with a guitar and there are people there who are helping out terminally ill children; I know who I'd put on a lifeboat out of a sinking ship.

R13: Can you remember what inspired you to play music?
FT: Iron Maiden; first band I ever fell in love with and I fell in love with them because of one of their posters. It was the beginning of everything for me and my parents still regard that, correctly, as the moment everything started going wrong.

R13: What can we expect to see from you over the next 12 months?
FT: Lots more gigging and a new album, I'm really excited about the new record and I think it's better than any of the ones I've done before; which is a redundant thing to say because I didn't think that, I would still be in the studio.

R13: Thanks for your time, have a great show tonight.