Ben Howard stopped by Music Feeds Studio today for an exclusive live performance and interview, and in conversation he revealed he’s prepping his sophomore album for release next year and is currently getting to grips with the “weird direction” some of his new material has taken.
Producer Chris Bond, who worked on Howard’s 2011 debut album Every Kingdom and last year’s The Burgh Island EP, is back on board, steering the album towards a release some time early next year:
“Chris is up for it. We’ve got a beautiful space near home that’s on an amazing peninsula. It’s like an upgrade from our last studio but it’s not like a proper swish studio… It will probably [come out] early next year, around then. I wanted to bring it out earlier but I think we’re going to give ourselves some space and time.
A month of pre-production is scheduled after Howard’s Coachella appearances and US West Coast tour, and there’s already plenty of new and diverse material to tame:
“Some of them have gone in a really weird direction… [I’m] still playing some really stripped back acoustic stuff and just seeing how it’s all going to fit together because the songs are all getting a bit different now.
“[I’ve got songs] where I’m thrashing out the electric guitar, ones were I’m chilling out on the electric guitar and ones where I’m finger picking on an acoustic. It’s going to be interesting mashing them all together and seeing what the album sounds like.”
Work on the follow-up to Every Kingdom started only days after the English musician won Best Male Solo Artist and Best Breakthrough Artist at this year’s Brit Awards. After a couple days of celebrating, Howard loaded up his car and made tracks for Ireland where the writing process began:
“I sort of disappeared and sat in the shed and played music for two weeks. I literally got in a car, put all my guitars in and a couple of amps and drove out and played some music with friends.”
Anticipating the difference in sound, Howard is wary of turning off his admittedly open-minded fans with too sharp a turn:
“We’ll see where the sound takes us, see who we get onboard… We’re really blessed with the kind of people who have listened to our music – it feels like they’ll follow us in different directions. So we’ll see – album 2, if I start playing acid jazz, they might all leave me!”