Stockholm's hip neighbourhood of Hornstull has a lot to recommend it: situated by the scenic Liljeholmsviken bay, it enjoys a busy, lively daylife and nightlife, without quite getting as hectic as other parts of Södermalm may at times feel. It is home to the Swedish capital's much-loved cinémathèque, Bio Rio, as well as one of its best music venues, Debaser Strand, and must-visit record store, Mickes. Easy to see, then, why the city's princess of alternative-pop, Ji Nilsson, has chosen it for her home and also the place where her music is born and raised.

The 405's predisposition to a frequent bout of Nilssonitis is well-documented and when her debut album, Scandinavian Pain, was announced earlier this summer, it seemed like a good opportunity to reconnect with the singer-songwriter to learn about how the project came about and how life has been treating her since publicly coming out.

When I last spoke with Nilsson for the 405's Fourcast back in June 2015, the Swede explained that she was not interested in the album format and had a preference for EPs. We begin our interview by exploring when that feeling changed and turned into work on Scandinavian Pain as a long-player. "Yeah, I really didn't want to make an album back then", she muses. "I think I was afraid of making a big deal of my music, but I'm not anymore. I felt like if you release an album, you have to be a "real" artist and I never felt like one. I think one of the reasons for that was because I don't do live gigs. But as time went by and people kept listening to my songs, wanting more and saying kind things, I guess I just matured into it and felt I could be whatever kind of artist I wanted."

Her subsequent signing with Razzia, her label, happened fairly quickly: "I met with Per, my A&R, and we totally clicked and I felt like we could do something great together. He's such a music lover and so not cynical, just super-open to my ideas and really likes what I do. I haven't changed my sound, I do everything I want with it on my own terms and he's super-supportive."

The inspiration for the album comes from Nilsson's life and what she describes as a terrible 2016. "It wasn't like I planned what the album should sound like", she explains, "I just wrote songs like I always do - it's like a therapy session - and that's the theme of the album; my feelings. My pain, my nostalgia, my friends, my family, my love, my lost loves, my grief and my liberation."

Speaking of liberation, prior to Scandinavian Pain, the persons Nilsson was addressing or discussing in her songs weren't identified by gender. I ask her whether she remembers the turning point when she felt confident to address love interests by a gender, namely female. She explains that, like the sound of the album, this wasn't something that was part of a plan: "I just wrote "her" and "she" one day and felt really good about it. I used to think that if I wrote lesbian songs, that's all people would focus on instead of the actual music. Like when you do interviews and you have to talk about your sexuality instead of your work. But I don't mind talking about being a lesbian at all, actually, and people ask more about my music so... maybe I was over-thinking it before. Or maybe I wasn't ready". So, did that feel liberating, I ask. "Yes!", she offers. "More liberating than I thought it would, actually."

The magic all happens in her flat in the western part of Södermalm. There she writes, produces and records her music all on her own. Does that process ever feel lonely? "Yes it does", she says. "Sometimes I feel like a crazy person spending so much time by myself, but I'm very social and have many wonderful friends so I snap out of my work mode on weekends and evenings to hang out with them. I also adopted a dog last fall and that helps. He needs his activities and I talk to many dog owners in my neighbourhood on my daily walks. I only work alone when I'm really deep into something personal, like when I started making this album. But after a self-involved process like that, I always work with others as co-writer or producer for their projects. It's a really nice and well-needed break from me, myself and I."

I ask who the first person she plays newly-finished songs to is. "Hmmm... I think Julia Spada is often the first person to hear them". And what about Scandinavian Pain? Who was the first person to hear the album in its entirety? "My big sister. She loved it. It's very personal for me but for her as well. The song 'Sofi' is written for her and 'Ivan' is written for her son, my nephew."

Spada, a successful Swedish musician in her own right, is not only one of Nilsson's closest friends but also a musical inspiration. When I ask who else she's been listening to whilst making Scandinavian Love, Nilsson name-checks Frank Ocean, Billy Who, Marlene, Rihanna ("always and forever Rihanna!") and old Swedish folk music. But it's hard to draw a link between any of these influences or indeed any other contemporary artist and Nilsson's own brand of pop. It exists in a realm of its own, which combines easy hooks, predominantly mid-tempo tap-a-longs and probably the best vocal ad-libs you'll have heard in ages.

The album's first heralding single, 'Save Me For Later', is only too happy to advise a former girlfriend of how wonderful things have been since the breakup that rendered her "former". It's an instant, vindicating winner of a song and certainly one of the highlights on the record. I wonder whether it was inspired by a particular relationship in Nilsson's past. "People think it's about my ex ", she responds, "but It actually isn't. Like all my songs, it's based on my feelings, but it's not related to a particular breakup, no."

The album closer, 'In My Blood', explores the difficulty of getting over a love post-breakup. Nilsson describes the track as the best song she's ever made.

"I'm so in love with this song", she says. "I think people can relate to the feeling of ending something and kind of being ok with it, but someone you love will always, always be in your blood. You can live without them, but you can't escape the love you once shared."

What does she think it is about relationships and romance that tends to inspire the majority of pop songs? "Most people have fallen in love, fallen out of love, been heartbroken, hopelessly devoted and in doubt", she elucidates. "I think it's something every person in the world can relate to in some kind of way, so I guess love songs will exist as long as we do."

Most recent single, 'Proud', was released so as to coincide with Stockholm Pride and really marked the public coming out of Ji Nilsson. "It was released on the first day of Stockholm Pride and I was on the cover of Sweden's biggest paper, talking about loving girls, among other things", she tells me. "I hadn't thought much about it, at first, but when people came up to me saying "thanks for doing something for the queer community", it felt really important and special. It was one of the best weeks of my life, so far, I loved every second of it."

As for the eye-popping artwork for the new record, Nilsson explains that she wanted to do "something super-Scandinavian", having regard to the title. "And what is more Scandinavian than John Bauer?", she asks rhetorically. The image is a homage to Ännu sitter Tuvstarr kvar och ser ner i vattnet ("Still, Tuvstarr sits and gazes down into the water"), one of the illustrator's most famous paintings from the 1913 children's fairy tale anthology, Among Gnomes and Trolls. Photographer Adrian Wigerdal shot the image. "Adrian was standing in the cold water with his expensive camera dangerously close to the surface, and then we mixed that old Scandi folk art inspo with a neon lights-like visual design by super-genius Minna Sakaria and our lead word was 'John Bauer on crack'", she laughs.

Before our interview comes to a close I have to ask Nilsson about live shows. She has, to date, turned down all gig offers. I want to know whether she might be tempted to take the album on the road and play it live to fans but she's not budging. "Not at all", she laughs, "but I sometimes wish I was. It would be so much better for me, from an economic point of view, but I really don't feel like doing it. I feel so much pressure and anxiety when I think about doing a live gig, so It's quite easy to just not do it. Maybe I'll change my mind someday, maybe I won't..."

Scandinavian Pain is out now on Razzia. You can catch Ji live at a venue near you... not anytime soon.