James Bay tells us about his ‘lairy, high energy’ new album – inspired by Frank Ocean, David Bowie and LCD Soundsystem

"A new look, a new sound, a new chapter"

James Bay has revealed that his anticipated second album is due to take a more ‘high energy’ new direction.

Bay’s No.1 debut album ‘Chaos And The Calm’ was released in 2015. Now, following collaborations with the likes of Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Rod Stewart, the ‘Hold Back The River’ singer-songwriter has told NME that he’s ready to return in 2018 as “a more souped up” version of himself.

While their will still be “tender” moments on his new record, his sophomore album will be “more high energy” with “loud fucking noises” and “a lairy sound”.

“I’ve been making the new album, which I’m very happy to say is nearly ready,” Bay told NME at the MTV EMAs 2017. “The thing that really caught me by surprise is that I sat down to write this album towards the end of last year and it just came flooding out. It’s a time ago that I put songs out so I’m very close to that.”

“It definitely takes it to a new place. I’ve got a new look, a new sound. I just fancied a new chapter. There are moments on the album that sort of ‘bridge’ from ‘The Chaos And The Calm’ to the new album, but the best way I could put it is that I’ve been listening to other stuff. I got deep into Frank Ocean, LCD Soundsystem, Chance The Rapper, a load of David Bowie, Lorde. All of these sounds that don’t really relate to the first album but hugely relate to this album. I’m really excited for people to hear that and some familiar moments too.”

Asked if it would be a departure away from guitars, he replied: “Weirdly, because it’s my thing, I’ve managed to get guitar in there somehow – but maybe it isn’t as easy to tell. It’s been exciting to deliver that, but I’ll still be up there with a guitar in hand.”

And are there any more dream collaborations on the cards?

“I’m still working on me. The idea of collaborations is incredible. This year was incredible. I got to do something with Rod Stewart which was incredible – that’s coming out soon and I’m excited for people to hear that. But I’m still trying to get myself across. This is a new me, a new version.”