John Grant is widely considered one of the most thought-provoking LGBT artists of his generation, and the US singer remains as defiantly outspoken as ever on his first album in three years, Love Is Magic.
Grant, who released decut solo album Queen of Denmark in 2010 after the demise of his former alt-rock band The Czars five years previously, has painted gloriously moody and intricate soundscapes over the years in songs that tackle everything from the Michigan-born star's struggles with addiction and mental health to his sexuality.
Renowned for combining folk-rock melodies with spacey synthesisers, the tracks on Love Is Magic - set for release in the UK next month (12 October) represent John's strongest embrace of electronic music yet, and the album's recently unveiled title track wouldn't sound out of place being performed on stage at Camden's Electric Ballroom in the mid '80s.
"Each record I make is more of an amalgamation of who I am," says Grant. "The more I do this, the more I trust myself, and the closer I get to making what I imagine in my head."
He continues: "The lyrics, of course, continue to be very important to me.
"They’re just snapshots of everyday life where myriad moods and every sort of horrible and hilarious occurrence one can imagine mix with the pedestrian resulting in the absurdity and beauty of life."
John, who was named our Man of the Year Award at the Attitude Awards in 2013 after publicly revealing he was HIV-positive the previous year, turned 50 this summer; and while ageing does't both him, he admits the milestone feels incongruous with his mental state as both a man and artist.
John Grant, shot by Francisco Gomez de Villaboa for the October issue of Attitude
"I’m not even close. I’m very wise in certain areas, much more than I give myself credit for, but then I also have triggers that bring me back to being that little boy who thinks he’s never going to be good enough."
"That’s the thing about becoming an adult. If you haven’t worked through all this shit early in life, which most people haven’t, then you’re constantly projecting the past on to the current landscape.
"A lot of the things that you perceive as happening are not what you think, they’re just phantoms from the past and that’s what I find particularly difficult."
John Grant will tour the UK in support of 'Love Is Magic' in October and November - check out the full list of dates below:
Oct 30 – O2 Academy Brixton, London
Oct 31 – Bath Forum, Bath
Nov 2 – Octagon, Sheffield
Nov 3 – Albert Hall, Manchester