JACK Garratt has been indoors for "two and a half months" when he answers the phone in his London home.
He's understandably chatty, but you get the feeling being in COVID-19 isolation hasn't been complete torture for the electronic producer, best known for his breakthrough hit Worry.
"I kept myself in a level of self-isolation for about two weeks before the UK officially started issuing the stay-at-home order," Garratt says. "I'd just come back from a tour in Europe where it was quite rampant and I was quite cautious."
Garratt is half way through the release of his long-awaited second album Love, Death & Dancing, which is being released incrementally in four volumes. He's described the record as being, "Dance music for people who don't want to go out," so isn't it perfect timing?
"It's funny how that's turned into dance music for people who can't go out," he laughs. "It definitely isn't some sort of PR stunt."
Garratt's 2016 debut, Phase, was a phenomenal success. It was only denied No.1 on the UK charts by David Bowie's posthumous Blackstar and Adele's 25 and the album's success earned the then 24-year-old the Brits Critics' Choice prize and the BBC Sound of 2016.
The year also featured a debut at Splendour In The Grass and sold-out sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne.
The one-man band of electro-pop and soul was touted as the future of British music by some critics. However, others were scathing.
The Independent's Emily Jupp compared him to Ed Sheeran and wrote, "If Jack Garratt represents the sound of 2016, be prepared for a year of blandness."
The fame, acclaim and criticism had a devastating impact on Garratt's mental health and he struggled for several years to produce a second album worthy of his expectations.
"When I was trying to prepare myself on the first record, I wasn't preparing myself, I was defending myself," Garratt says. "I was building callous skin and doing everything to harden myself to make the words of the journalists, who decided to hate me one day, hurt less.
"It doesn't work. Being callous and hardened doesn't stop you from hurting when someone says you don't deserve your career. It means you absorb it and your callous skin stops it from going out again. Those thoughts and feelings sit and fester in your mind."
The two volumes already released from Love, Death & Dancing, which include the singles Time and Better, point to grittier production and more personal lyrics.
Honest, is a word Garratt readily uses to describe it.
"It [Phase] was a very naive-sounding album," he says. "It's very much me of that time. Which was erratic, unsure, misbehaving and maybe falsely talented.
"I knew all those things when I was making this record, so I knew they were things I wanted to be better at. They all rooted back to a core value - I wanted to be honest."
Jack Garratt's Love, Death & Dancing is released on June 12.
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