Julianna Barwick recorded much of her new album alone, where isolation sat with her strangely. From a desolate house in upstate New York to the Moog Factory in North Carolina, to Lisbon, Portugal, the experimental artist roamed fleetingly in order to take something familiar to a place it had never been – her melancholic bedroom recording behaviour on a transcendent voyage to create what we'll hear on her forthcoming album, Will.

The self-produced offering is ominous, compelling and at times, uncomfortable, as Julianna's solitude made room for honesty. Glacial chord progression, stirring loop-heavy vocals and synth-heavy textures in their stoic climb are a major departure from 2013's Alex Somers-produced project, Nepenthe, but that was exactly the point. Julianna looked towards finding her own way, as autonomous as the process may have been. It took will. But as she sits in London, connected and texting friends and family between press for the album, the Brooklyn-based artist is proud of what she's accomplished and the means she took to get there.

What does this album represent for you?

It represents not only a return to my sort of solo, hermity bedroom recording roots. It's a return to that but also a different direction from all the stuff I've done, especially post-Nepenthe, which was a completely new world for me, as far as recording and everything. There were so many people involved and there were producers and it was in Iceland. This record represents going back to my bedroom recording roots, but also diving into some synth-territory, which is pretty new to me. So it's a different direction for me.

Why was it so important for you to make that departure away from what you did on the previous album and head into that new direction?

I wanted to incorporate some new sounds and instruments. I've been touring for a while now and Nepenthe in particular, I just did so many shows. And I just wanted to incorporate some new sounds. I wanted to have some sense. I just wanted to change it up a little bit, because I played probably 150 shows around Nepenthe, which probably isn't as much as a lot of people do, but to me, it was a lot.

Why Will? There's so much to take away from that title.

I like how it's interpretive and that's really why. There's no right answer to this question. I like the way that it means so many different things. There's the guy's name but maybe the one that sticks out for me the most is having good will for someone or for yourself and the importance of that and how that has a ripple effect on everything.

What was the process like of going back to your bedroom-like recordings and producing it yourself after a few years away from that?

It wasn't really a struggle but it was definitely slow-going. With Nepenthe, it was like, okay you have five weeks in Iceland, you've got to make a record. These people are available this day and you're flying back on May 25. With this, it was like, where do I want to make this? What's going to happen when I record here? What's going to happen when I record there? So it was a bit of a challenge to finally whip it into shape, because I recorded it in a bunch of different places over the last year. It was a little bit difficult to get back into the frame of mind of making it all happen myself again, after having a partner in crime.

What did you learn from having a partner in crime and what did you take from those lessons that you threw into this time around?

Alex (Somers) taught me a lot about the fundamentals of recording, which I kind of just read the manuals of the machines that I bought and I followed my nose and did it all myself. So I got to learn a little bit about recording from him technically and also just things like, singing in a key so you can play it again and things like that. Working with him really helped me think about that. Not only that, but knowing that I had people singing and playing on Nepenthe and people singing and playing on this record. It's important to know how to be able to perform those sometime on tour. It just was a different frame of mind for me to think about those things ahead of time, this time. I'd never really done that before. I wasn’t thinking, oh I'm going to have to send music along, I'm going to play with a cellist somewhere. Things like that.

Going into it, did you have a definite vibe of something you wanted to create? Because you listen to it, there's something distinct. Was that focus something that you had in mind going into it.

What is the distinct vibe that you get going into it?

To me, it was very dark but not in an overwhelming way, just as in there was a peace about being in your deepest darkest thoughts, whether that was loneliness or insecurity. We all have to go through those emotions alone and listening to the album, that's what it felt like you were going through.

Absolutely. I was curious, because I'm just starting to talk to people about their responses to the record. I've heard ominous, dark and kind of celestial. I think that's really interesting and I kind of am digging that that's the vibe most people are getting from it. But yeah, there are a couple things that play into that. One being, I was alone when I was making all of these sounds. I had friends send their parts to me, but particularly, that week that I spent in upstate New York, it was snowing and it was completely grey. And so, it was very isolating. So I'm sure that comes across in the music. I'm not really surprised that people are feeling that. Plus, with all the synthy stuff, which is sort of new for me, I've dabbled, but this one has Moog stuff on it and other keyboards. That's what lends to the, maybe not somber, but a little bit of a more dark feel to it.

Do you have a personal way of tapping into that or is it something that comes natural to you?

I think it has a lot to do with environment. I find that isolation really brings it out of me. Especially that first leg of the trip. I like to be by myself but to have somebody to meet up with at the end of the day is my ideal. For that first leg in New York, it was complete solitude for like a week. That sits with me strangely.

Do you have ways of centering yourself and grounding yourself when you're living that transient life and you’re on tour and you are alone? Do you have things you do for yourself in terms of self-care, at this point?

For me, I've got a whole night-time routine down where light is blocked out, sound is blocked out. Hot showers are extremely important on tours when you're running around and you might not get enough sleep. And pretty constant communication with people back home is really important. In Iceland, I didn't have decent internet so that was kind of a problem. So that made me feel pretty isolated from people back home. Communication is big for me. I'm here in London right now, texting with my friends and family all day. That makes me feel grounded.

Like you mentioned, you recorded in many different places. There was upstate New York, Portugal and all types of places. What did these places offer and add to your sonic vision or where you finding things as you went along?

I was definitely figuring it out as I went along but each place was completely different in vibe and season and meaning for me, personally. Upstate New York was very cold and isolated, then I recorded a bunch in North Carolina at Moog and it was hot summertime with very friendly and I was tinkering around with new instruments I wasn't used to. So that was brand new for me. Then, in Lisbon, which is probably my favourite city on earth, I have a lot of great friends there and it means a lot for me to be there, so the meaning is very important. Each place lends its own very unique voice to the record, I would say.

Now that it's done and you have this finished body of work, what are you most proud of with it?

I'm proud that I tried something new. I'm proud that I have three different wishes and dreams, which was to have a male voice on a record and to have cello on a record and drums on a record, and I had friends that helped me out with that. I feel really happy about having those little dreams come true and how they came out. I think they're just how I would have wanted them to be.

Will is out on May 6 via Dead Oceans.