Do you get worried about trusting other artists with your vision, especially with your music being so purposeful?
Yes and no. With Christopher, you learn so much about someone from working with them, about their process. Sometimes originally you feel like you don’t want to let go because it’s your baby. I’m always collecting images and I know exactly how I want something to look from very early on in the process of writing. When you work with these people you already know you want them to put their own mark on the project. You don’t want to force yourself too much onto it. You want them to have their voice too.
That was the same with working with Liam Morrow on the design of the album cover [‘Gardenia’]. He did a masters in design in RCA in London, so his approach is that we talk more about the record itself than how it looks and draw parallels between design and the music, which sometimes don’t connect very easily. I feel privileged to work with such amazing people.
Tracks like ‘THNX’, ‘Summer’, ‘Heart’, they’re so distinct and instantly recognisable at this stage, so nostalgic to a lot of people. You said in an interview in 2013 that there’d be things you’d change about some tracks if you could go back now.
They wouldn’t exist if I could go back now; they were very of a moment. Looking back I don’t have any regrets, it’s all progression. As a musician or whatever you’re doing, everyone looks back on their early stuff differently. After doing ‘Luneworks’ I said, ‘That’s all that there is in this’. It’s really empowering to destroy something and start again.
Do you feel like you’ve really found your narrative as an artist?
If I work on something and I don’t like it I will just delete it and start again. I’m aware of that becoming… Not an issue, but I’m aware that naming this project after my own name means there’s nowhere else to go after this. There’s a finality to it. But there’s always progression, I don’t know if I’ve found exactly what it is, I now want to make something better again. There’s always that hunger to make something better than the last.
So do you feel like this moniker, or direction, is pretty final?
You can’t just keep deleting work… I was quite young when I started and I had built this box for myself to exist in. I was 17, so it’s difficult to continue in that space when you’re 25.
You’re based full time in Dublin at the moment. How has that affected your creativity?
Yeah, I’ve got a studio around the corner from here, which is great. But I can work from anywhere really.
I’d imagine there’s a pretty hectic tour and media schedule ahead of you with the release of ‘Gardenia’. Is it nice to reset in a city that’s traditionally a little more lowkey?
Yeah, definitely. I do see myself moving soon, but it is nice being home, especially in a hectic campaign of setting things up. It’s nice to be somewhere comfortable. Dublin is amazing, it’s the best city ever, but I think it’s necessary to just go for a while.
You use your social media platforms to nail your colours to the mast when it comes to social issues, like the Belfast verdict, Repeal the 8th. Do you think it’s important for artists to be vocal about things outside of their art?
I think be vocal about anything you feel is important. There’s so much injustice that it’s wrong to sit quiet. I don’t like getting overly political, but I think everything is political so it’s difficult not to. I like the idea of making music that doesn’t have a narrative or… I don’t like when things are over intellectualised, in the sense where I like listening to something or experiencing something where you build that narrative or idea yourself. I like watching films or listening to records that are open for you to make what you want of it and I want to do that in my music.
I don’t feel it’s necessary to tell someone every nook and cranny of what the song is about, what the song is meant for. There’s a beauty in making up your own idea of what’s behind it.