It was one of last year's subtle musical triumphs and an album that, to a large extent, defied genre classification, ending up among the very best releases of 2016.

No surprise, then, that El Perro Del Mar's Kokoro keeps winning heaps of new listeners and attracting continuous praise the world over, some seven months into its life.

The record, her fifth, arrived four years after its predecessor (the widely-celebrated Pale Fire), and left the moody Scandi-electronica behind in favour of richly-arranged, uplifting soundscapes influenced by Sarah Assbring's newfound love for music from places such as Pakistan, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Thematically, Kokoro very much delved into the state of the world and how the self interacted with everything going on around us. Its lyrics were self-aware but far from self-centred and the writing undoubtedly emanated from a strong social conscience.

As El Perro Del Mar prepares for a further tour cycle in support of Kokoro, the 405 has a long chat with the singer-songwriter about the creative process, performing in the U.S. on the eve of Trump's election and having Lena Dunham as a fan.

There was somewhat of a gap between Pale Fire and Kokoro, which makes sense as you'd just had your firstborn shortly after the former came out. When and how did the creative process for Kokoro start?

I think that very early on I realised that becoming a parent was all-consuming, at least for the first six months. I realised that my brain was not mine anymore and I was kind of at ease with that. For the first time in my life I was really having a break from my own thoughts and my own on-going creative process. But after six months I started thinking again and wanting to write again and have something that was my own. As a mother you are so totally owned by the child but I had so many thoughts and so much to process and so many things that I wanted to be a part of and my outlook on life had changed because of having a child. So I had to find the proper language to, you know, communicate what I was thinking. That, for me, took a long time but I think that around the middle of 2013 I started to try and find the right way to express myself and to find the right soundscape for the album. It just had to take the time that it did and also, as a parent, you have so much less time to think about things and ask yourself: is this right, is this wrong or should I do things differently? So, for me, it was a totally new way of writing and working - it was so different to the way that I had been working in the past.

Do you think that, consequently, the change in sound was a natural, organic shift? Or was it a conscious decision to make a change?

It was very much both a conscious thing and an organic one - I was conscious about it because I had felt the change in me very strongly so I wanted to go all in with that. And it was also organic, it felt very, very natural and evident and obvious for me so I wanted to go with that.

It's been about 7 months since the album came out. Having lived with it out in the world for that time and performed it live, how do the songs feel to you now?

They key thing for me when I wrote and produced the songs and made them live was really to have fun with them. That was really important for me, as was the political stance that I wanted to express. Playing the songs live has been such a joyous experience and I definitely feel, having taken that grip on writing the songs in the way that I did with Kokoro, that I was taking a step away from myself. They are highly personal but they definitely have a feeling of taking in the world and taking in people in the world and, you know, a feeling of 'us' rather than just 'me'. They feel important and that's a really good feeling. This is the strangest album that I have worked on and released and toured with - ever. And it's because of so may things but it feels like it came at the right time, sadly enough - because the world is so crazy right now. I toured in the U.S. the day of the election and it was such a strange thing but it was also very heavy and deep because I met Americans all round the U.S., talked to them, consoled them.

What was the atmosphere like?

Very sad. People were very shocked. And we were trying to find a away to have a positive outlook and still have a constructive way to view the future in the world. You know, for me, I don't feel it's a coincidence that I decided to write this album at this point of time, really. The changes that went through me just happened to coincide with what was happening in the world.

To my ears, Kokoro is the most consistent and cohesive album out of your discography, in theme and overall aesthetic. What do you make of that assessment?

Definitely. Definitely. In so many ways that was what I wanted to produce, to create. And the theme that I was writing around and the aesthetics that I was moving in, they were cohesive, they existed within themselves and that's what I am looking for when I am writing. I definitely feel the same way as you described. I think I succeeded in creating that whole atmosphere, that whole world of Kokoro so I am very proud of that.

You mentioned performing in America the night of the election...


The result and its aftermath have highlighted the us vs them mentality that is currently infecting not just the United States but also the rest of the world with so much fear and hatred of anyone who is different -

- yes.

And I can't help but think about the lyrics of the first track you revealed from Kokoro - 'Breadandbutter' - which talks exactly about that -

- oh. Yes, absolutely.

Do you think that sentiment is true for Sweden as it is everywhere else? Non-Scandinavians do have a rosy perception of how things are more enlightened over there.

Honestly, [they are] absolutely not. We have exactly the same problems and issues that all of Europe and the U.S. are facing right now. Maybe it's not widely-known but Sweden is very segregated and, if you look to the bigger cities, there's extreme segregation between migrants and Swedes. The societies and worlds rarely meet. And it's a real problem that we've been facing. Ever since I was a child, when I started travelling to the UK, I was always inspired and intrigued by the melting pot of people from all over the world living together, because that was such a strange thing and a new thing for Sweden - we're such a young country when it comes to blending all kinds of cultures together and we are facing the exact same problems, even though we are kind of naive, in a way - maybe that's the reason why people may have the view that we in Sweden have such a better climate of acceptance and respect but we are very much still young as a country when it comes to dealing with multi-culture.

To change the subject - but still focusing on Sweden - in terms of where the music industry has gone in the past few years, Sweden is among the leaders of the streaming trend. If I understand correctly, Sweden was the first place where -through Spotify - streaming became the predominant way for consuming music. As an independent artist, do you think streaming is a sustainable path so as to be able to make a living from the music you create?

I'm hoping that it might lead to that but I wouldn't say that it is like that at the moment, because if you were to look at the rates that you are given by Spotify as an artist, they're so minimal it's almost a joke. And to think of how Spotify is growing and how Spotify has grown in such a short time it's really... well, again - it's us, the musicians who lose out, only this time it is someone else who is getting the money. I'm answering that in a sincere way from my perspective as an artist. But it's not that I'm against streaming, I really think it's a very good, simple way to receive all kinds of music that you want to get hold of whenever you want it so, of course, it is a great thing for us artists as well. But, still, the money is distributed in a very strange way, a very unbalanced way, like it's always been. I'm still hoping that things will be better. A balance needs to be straightened out when it comes to streaming and digital services and - if I can be blunt - especially when it comes to Spotify. But I guess that, ultimately, you're happy when your music is being listened to and when people want your music and when there is a service that makes your music reachable.

Spotify lets you see where in the world your music is being listened to most. Do you have any idea what your demographic is?

I think... Stockholm. And the UK, France, Spain and Mexico?

Yeah, that's pretty accurate, actually. According to your 'About' page on Spotify, Stockholm is number one. Then Madrid, Barcelona, Mexico City and then Gothenburg, your home town.

Wow, yeah - they're patriots!

Do you ever look at stats like that when deciding where to tour?

The thing is that I've always been very in the dark about that because I wanted to stay in the dark about it. But in recent months I have been taking charge of things with my label - I run my own label now - so I have been looking more into these things. I still don't want to be strategic in that kind of way - I want to be an artist and a musician first and that is the most important thing for me. But, you know, it is fun to look at [these stats] and have an awareness around it all. I haven't toured in that kind of strategic way, yet, but it might be a good thing, I might think of it differently in the future.

What's it like being your own label boss?

It feels very good to have taken this step, being independent. I am very happy about that.

I guess it allows you to be in control of your own destiny.

Yes, I am. And I can't blame anyone and I have to stand up for myself. That's really how I feel like I want to work. And it feels right, I'm excited about it. But it is a lot of work as well.

One of your early tracks, 'God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)' was synched to an episode in the fourth series of GIRLS, which significantly reignited the exposure to it. In contrast to the current insufficiency of streaming incomes we were discussing earlier, are synchs like that what makes being a musician commercially viable?

Definitely. It's really important. With that example it was important in many ways because it came from a pure love for my song and a pure wish to have it in the series from Lena Dunham herself. Yes, there was the financial aspect but also it was important that it came from the perspective of pure love for my music, so it was a really huge thing for me. I was really happy about that episode.

My favourite song on Kokoro, which I have played to death, is 'Nougat Mind' -

- ah I'm so happy. I love that song too.

So I was wondering if you could indulge me and tell me a bit about it and what it means to you.

It came from the state that I was in when I was a new mother and breastfeeding. It's such a bizarre state - you are so lost and you can't really reach your own thoughts. And you can't even speak sometimes. You can't find the words - simple daily words are gone. And I was just so fascinated with that state of being, what had happened to my mind and whether I was ever going to get it back again. And then I was diving into work again and starting to find the language that I was looking for and the outlook on the world that we're in, which is basically what the album is about too - you know, the consumer society, the way it pacifies us and makes us passive as political beings - and I wanted to translate that state of being, that I - as a new mother - was in, into an overall state of people living in a consumer society of today and not having any energy or closeness to taking any responsibility for our own lives or for each other's lives. So that is really what it's about. Being numbed by what we are presented with - what we have to grapple with.

Jenny Wilson is one of your close friends and I know she's working on a new album at the moment -

- yes, she is. She is really excited about it, too. Just really high on working on it. I think she is pretty close to finishing it.

Will you be making a cameo on it or do you have any other plans to work together in the future?

Yes, we have! We have plans to work together this summer, actually. We are going away to make something together. It's going to be a quick thing - just us two making something... experimental. The plan is for us to make something that is more like a conversation between each other through music. I am looking forward to it so much. We are trying to find the time to do it but it's definitely our plan to try and make it over the summer.

You've just released a cover of Carola's 1991 Eurovision-schlager, 'Fångad av en stormvind', in support of EON's renewable energy campaign. What else is in store for you this year?

I am working on something right now. I wasn't really finished with Kokoro when I was done with the album. I felt like I still had more things to write about that were in that kind of landscape, especially politically, since so many things have happened around the U.S. election and I've felt that I had to continue writing about this. So my plan is to make an EP as soon as I possibly can and that will be a continuation of Kokoro. Also, after having a child there are so many things I have learned about the creative process and one of those things is to be quicker - there is no reason to wait and there is no reason to hold on to things. Life is really short. Just create and communicate through music. That is my definite goal and that is what I try to live through.

Kokoro is out now on Ging Ging and the full version of 'Fångad av en stormvind' is available to stream here . El Perro De Mar plays London Fields Brewhouseon 5 May 2017. For tickets visit here.