You've been releasing your new album, Sick Of What I Don't Understand, in separate parts over the last year. It’s a unique approach considering the current climate of the streaming and ‘surprise album' era. What inspired this?
It's funny because this is music I've been sitting on for a while now. And the process of writing it from beginning to end happened over a two year period. And I think the biggest shift in gears during that time was my headspace throughout it because I moved house with some of my friends and my girlfriend – and my headspace changed dramatically over these years. So the music I was making over that period of time – well, I went into this album planning to make a normal album like I normally would – but I was coming from so many different angles over this time that it didn't sound like an album any more. Instead, it felt cemented into these different eras of this two year time period. So it felt like I had to release it in separate parts. From a darker place to a much lighter place.
The album title, Sick Of What I Don’t Understand, alludes to something much bigger on a symbolistic front. Does it have a larger meaning in the grand scheme of things?
Well, I don't know how to say it very eloquently without really writing it down or thinking about it. I think a lot of it is that I took myself way too seriously, and I took my music way too seriously. I put too much pressure on it, and too much pressure on myself. The title came from a particular conversation with somebody. It had nothing to do with my music, but we were talking about music in general. It was in reference to streaming, and how patience is getting shorter these days. And he said "I'm sick of listening to things I don't understand, I want something that's straight to the point," and the funny thing is that I totally agree with him. I think over the years I've become way more impatient with the way I consume music and art. I didn't think about it in this way for a while, but I realised if I had become more impatient as a listener, I should become the same as a musician; you know, cut the fat. It's not really a big revelation, but for some reason through this conversation, I was inspired to reassemble the music I was making.
It sounds as if there’s a bit more pop influence in your music on this new project. Is the exploration of different formulas and ways to reach mainstream audiences something you prioritise now?
I was initially way more hesitant to work inside of a pop formula, But as the years have gone by, it has proved itself more and more to me. It's not a cop-out, it's complexity in simplicity. When the formula and cliches are there it allows you to ponder more about the other nuances in the production - you're less focused on weird time structures or something like that.
You work with a diverse roster of artists on the album, from grime artists like Trim to pop singers like Rosebud Leach. But instead of assimilating to their sounds, you bring them into your world. Was this a conscious decision?
I think it's similar to just my instinctive habit of making music in a dark atmosphere, which is something I should probably do less of. But I'm lucky with how well it came together because I think a few people more than others really stepped out of their comfort zone on these songs.