Back in September, The 405 was lucky enough to be among 100 people gathered at the atmospheric Hoxton Hall to watch Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel take to the stage and showcase her new album, Citizen of Glass, from start to finish.

It was Obel's first public performance of the record and it achieved that thing whereby a truly special live rendition of a record transforms the way you subsequently listen to and enjoy it altogether. Repeat spins of the album promo over the summer had already entrenched it for us as strong follow-up to the 2013 near-masterpiece, Aventine, but hearing the songs brought to life by Obel and her three virtuoso band members really shone the spotlight on the development of the artist's songwriting, production and voice.

Citizen of Glass could not have been made by anyone other than Obel, it carries her distinct style throughout and sounds like a natural next-step after Aventine and her debut, Philharmonics. But there's an obvious evolution and growth here too and the Dane doesn't hesitate when it comes to experimenting and stretching herself beyond her comfort zone.

Take, for instance, the first single, 'Familiar' - the vocal pitch-downs in the chorus could almost be an homage to Planningtorock and the non-binary re-gendering of the timbre. Then there's Golden Green, which heavily relies on the vibraphone to a surprising, mellifluously-dissonant effect in a composition about how the mind can develop stories and change reality when envy is at play. Both these tracks very much sound like Agnes Obel songs but, at the same time, they are quite removed from what came before them.

We asked Obel to take The 405's Things You Should Know About My New Album challenge and here's what we've gleaned.

If we forced you to summarise the theme of Citizen of Glass in just one sentence, which - I guess - we are, in fact, doing - what would it be?

It's an album about secrets, about transparency and about the sensation and fragility of being made of glass.

What was the first song you wrote for the record?

It was 'Trojan Horses'.

That song's lyrics really reflect the theme you mentioned earlier ("These bare bones are made of glass / see-through to the marrow when they pass"...) -

I knew immediately that I wanted to make a song about what it would be like to be made of glass and having Trojan horses in your mind. I was thinking about how it would be to always see yourself from that perspective, from outside.

Can you identify a part of the process of working on this album that you particularly enjoyed?

Yes - it was buying a load of instruments, that was my favourite bit... That's one interpretation of your question [chuckles]. But I had a perfect excuse to buy a load of new instruments so I bought the spinet and celesta and trautonium and then it was just playing around with them and having fun with them for a couple months - that was, like, a dream come true for me. For some of the songs on this album, I loved playing with these new sounds and trying to get close to these visions I had of being made of glass, in a way.

Which of the ten songs evolved the most between its initial version and the finished album version?

'It's Happening Again'. I re-did it several times. I needed it to be right. I knew in my mind how it was, how I wanted it to sound, but I didn't know how the production should be... so I re-did it and re-did it, which is funny because it's called 'It's Happening Again' [laughs] and it was happening again and again and again. I re-did everything at least five times with that one.

OK, and - by contrast - which of the tracks was the quickest to nail down?

I think it was 'Red Virgin Soil'.

Is that because it's an instrumental?

Well, I think it was just really obvious to me how I wanted it to sound.

How or at what point did you know that the album was finished?

[Laughs] When my boyfriend sat down with me in my studio and said "now we finish it and send it to mastering!"... I was going a little bit mad because I had already gone over a deadline. The album was supposed to be done by November 2015 but then I gave myself much more time because... well, I wanted more time. Then around May or June this year my boyfriend was, like, ok now it's time. I had been working and working, getting more and more strange [laughs]. It was also at a point when I was re-doing things that I didn't really need to re-do. So I think I needed a little push to finish. So I am very thankful now that he did that. But I am very, very bad at finishing - that's my big weakness. I am so afraid of finishing projects too early, so I keep things open for a long, long time.

So would you say that you are a perfectionist?

Ummm... yeah but... I am also a big believer in imperfection because I think that perfection can sort of kill creativity and you have to be aware of the fact that a lot of beautiful things can grow out of mistakes and accidents, so if you say perfectionist in the sense of really immersing yourself with your material and your vision and your ideas then yes, I am a perfectionist. But I don't think of that in terms of right and wrong. I know that sometimes there can be something really right in the wrong thing. And I also know that it is dangerous to have too fixed an idea about what is perfect.

Are there any lyrics you are especially proud of on the album?

I am very happy with the lyrics on 'It's Happening Again' and the state of mind that I tried to get into that song ["I took a day or two to exile from the light / to unfold that prisoner they call a mind"]. I also think the song 'Citizen of Glass' - that's a song that is about time and how you can't stop things happening, whether you want it or not ["And no straining of the string / can reverse what will begin"]. I'm really happy with the lyrics in that song.

It was very special hearing the album played live in its entirety at Hoxton Hall - which song or songs are you enjoying translating from recorded form to the live setting the most?

I think 'Familiar', though it's tricky to play live. We have live looping in that song, pitching down of the voice... [laughs], it's a tricky one to play live. So every time we play it I think we are all holding our breaths, hoping it will be ok. Actually, 'Trojan Horses' is also quite difficult to play live. And 'Stretch Your Eyes'! There are some really difficult songs to play live on this album [laughs]. Actually, 'Familiar' went a little bit wrong at the show you watched in London, I remember that the effect didn't really work on the voice.

Well, it still sounded great.

Oh, thank you!

Citizen of Glass is out now on Play It Again Sam. Agnes Obel plays Shepherd's Bush Empire on 27 November. For ticket details head here.