DIY has had its eye on Johnny Flynn and his band The Sussex Wit for awhile now. Recently we caught up with the folk singer to discuss books, musical goals and most importantly drugged up Neo-Nazis.
A lot of your songs focus on a very simple, country lifestyle and yet you come from London the biggest city in England, where do you get the ideas for your songs?
I don't come from London - I live there now, but I grew up in various countryside spots - more recently in west Wales where my Mum lives. So I don't feel like I come from a city and most of the time I want to get out of London, however it's amazing to get mixed up and lost within this bigger community of London and witness life sort of spilling all over the place....my song ideas are quite often around those exact themes - i.e. the difference between life in the city and the country. And most people in London came from somewhere else - so that's a lot of different stories and cultures to draw on for writing songs...
You have been quoted as describing your music as "the folk of my generation", how do you think folk in general is changing?
Damn, I really can't remember saying that. If I did, it might be slightly out of context - folk music is the music of any generation, but I don't have an affinity with that word. and folk music is changing as much as anything is changing - music is sort of exploding across cultures more and more almost in a big bang kind of way and so each new generation is more exposed to music from different heritages, cultures etc.
You have done a lot of acting and consider songs 'Tickle Me Pink' and 'Cold Bread' to be 'acts' from your extended single 'The Epic Tale of Tom and Sue', do you consider storytelling to be an integral part of your music?
Yes.... isn't it an integral part of any music? Whether it's a literal story with words and characters and things that happen or it's a symphony with no words and there's some emotional story in all the questions and answers that are in the music?
What are some of your favourite stories or books?
'Siddharta', 'Slaughterhouse 5' - those are from the top of my head. The list would be quite long.
A while ago we heard that you were balancing acting and playing shows, do you still act or has your role as a musician taken over for the moment?
I'm not doing any acting at the moment but I hope to have some time soon. After we've done the next few tours.
What would you like people to take away from your music?
Anything they like.
What are your hopes for the band this year?
To stay out of any more fights with drugged-up Neo-Nazis.