Kae Tempest on their collaborative new album

Kae Tempest on their collaborative new album

Ahead of their fourth studio album The Line Is A Curve (out April 8), Kae Tempest talks about letting go, working with Dan Carey and Fiction’s big plans for the release...

What themes are driving your new album, The Line Is A Curve?

“The title comes from cultures that talk about the cyclical nature of time. My last album, The Book Of Traps And Lessons, was about repetitions in life that are damaging. The speaker was on this journey towards spotting traps they kept falling into, trying to learn lessons from them. This album picks up where that one left off and says: ‘Well, it’s OK, these patterns will occur. The line is a curve, we will repeat.’ This one is like a balm for what was a wound on that last record.”

You’ve said the album has been informed by a sense of letting go, when did you start feeling that creatively?

“The process is less knowing than that. It’s not so much that I go into the studio saying, ‘I’m going through this thing in my life,’ it’s more that it just presents itself and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s what I’ve been carrying around.’ I often find that once the songs are written, I understand what I’ve been trying to get out. This idea about surrender or letting go is something I’ve been working on. I’ve had some pretty heavy mental health stuff happening over the last few years – well, my entire life – so coming from an angle of trying to recover from that is what informed me. This idea of just letting go of it.” 

How has your collaboration with producer Dan Carey evolved?

“[After three albums] we are so close and so fluent that I feel able to express through him what my desires are for the sounds. He’s the genius at the controls, but I just felt a bit more able to sing a melody line and say, ‘Something like that.’ It’s my happiest place to be in his studio, it’s where I feel at my best.”

This album is like a balm for the wounds on my last record

Kae Tempest

How did you come to work with Fontaines DC’s Grian Chatten?  

“I met Grian when Dan was first working with his band. He’s a fantastic poet with a beautiful voice, so we called him up. We made a song [I Saw The Light], then I had this idea that I wanted him and Confucius, the rapper on the track Smoking, to do these choral backing vocals on the whole album. To my surprise, they totally got on board. Lianne La Havas, who I met through Dan, is on a song too, her voice is just breathtaking. It’s not collaborations where you’re looking for hot names, it felt like a community coming together.”

Finally, how has your label Fiction been preparing for this album?

“They hope this album will occupy different places to the previous one. It’s maybe less of a hard listen, it could be understood as an album of songs rather than high concepts. They’re really excited about how it might reach new people.”

Interview by Paul Stokes

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