Officially stepping onto the music scene when White Fence's Tim Presley formed Birth Records solely to release her songs, Jessica Pratt's second album On Your Own Love Again is finally here. Although the first album was a collection of songs she'd recorded without much intention for people to hear, by 2012 Presley had Pratt's self-titled debut on the shelves. Since then, Pratt moved from San Francisco, where she worked various customer service jobs, to LA. Embracing the hermit side of her personality, she confined herself at home with little distraction to write and record On Your Own Love Again, an album which feels much more warm and comfortable to Pratt: "It was the most time I'd ever allowed myself to work on one project and focus on it so it was all very new to me in some ways."

Although her songs could be from any time over the last half-decade, Pratt is now signed to Chicago's most diverse independent record label Drag City, where the likes of Ty Segall and Wand also reside. Comparisons have been drawn to the likes of Joanna Newsom and '70s sensations Pentangle, but the truth is, Pratt's material is so much more gently complex - it's challenging to draw one particular comparison. And her ageless voice makes it even harder.

Although she wanted to keep a little mystique and not give too much away about the lyrics themselves, she revealed a lot of the record is about loneliness, pain and strange interactions with humans. "I like the idea of people being able to connect with songs," she earnestly admits, "in the sense that if the lyrics are just abstract enough that people are able to project their own psychic experiences onto them."

Eager for the release of On Your Own Love Again, despite struggling through a bout of flu, Pratt spoke to us about LA's music scene, categorising her music and the new album, of course.

So what have you been doing since the first album, have these songs for On Your Own Love Again been sat around for a while and have you been itching to get them out?

I have been very much itching to get them out. I've been very busy the last couple of years. I kind of started a new life in Los Angeles - I quit my job in San Francisco and was getting out of a very long relationship and making the transition here was an adjustment. But I've been very eager to have a new record out. Cause in a lot of ways it feels like the first real debut record, since the first one is more of a collection of songs really that were recorded in a very circumstantial way. So it feels very gratifying to get this one out.

You've said before when you moved to LA it was the first time you didn't have a job and you just had time to do music, do you think having so much of your own time influences your songwriting?

Yeah I think it's crucial. It's very difficult for me to be able to focus on more things than one thing at the time and having a job especially the jobs I've had have generally been some kind of customer service thing. It's a hard place to exist psychically and then come home and try to access your deepest and most creative self and be unadulterated by that world. So it was very rewarding to have that time to myself and I'm trying to cultivate an existence in which I don't have to have a day job all the time. As much as I can even if I have to be poor while doing it because it's the only way I can work.

What was it like when the first album came out, you never had planned it but Tim Presley made a label especially for you, is that something you ever thought would happen?

I didn't even really know Tim when that happened and I played like two shows a year and people did like it but I never took it very seriously. Occasionally there would be someone who would talk about maybe putting something out but I don't know why I didn't really want to follow through with it completely. So it was very sudden when it happened it was a weird whirlwind situation.

Have you enjoyed it?

I have it feels like it's been so long now. It's been a couple of years but yeah anyone wants to be recognised for the things they make. I guess I'm just excited this new record is out because I feel more proud of it and I feel like I can back it 100%, whereas the first one was almost like someone else's songs coming out or something. By the time they came out I felt I'd grown so much.

How was your creative process different this time?

It's funny because even though I played music a lot and recorded somewhat in between the first record and this one, the things that ended up being the bulk of the record this time were all written and recorded in a pretty short period of time, basically right after I moved to LA in September 2013 - within three or four months, which is good, I think it naturally works that way so the songs feel connected to one another. It was the most time I'd ever allowed myself to work on one project and focus on it so it was all very new to me in some ways.

Did you find you spent most of your time on it?

Yes, I intentionally tried to come here and not get involved in too much. I was really trying to finish it and I know I'm a very easily distracted person so I was trying to embrace the natural hermit side of me as much as possible.

So you recorded and produced this one yourself?

Yeah, my friend Will mixed it and he added two instrumental tracks to two of the songs, but aside from that it was a very simple straightforward home production thing.

What was it like for On Your Own Love Again to be released on Drag City?

It was a very validating experience to work with them. They're such a reputable label and they're really cool people too. They really just are punk rock in the way they just like music and are very unapologetic about the decisions they make. I love that about them.

What's LA's music scene like, is it true it's very close knit?

Well LA's a weird place where there are so many tiers of activity or fame or success or non-success, which is kind of the beauty about it. It's communal in a strange way - there's a lot of judging that happens here obviously, but it's kind of a free for all like, "Oh I need a bass player," and someone from a really big band might end up playing with you or some seventeen year old kid that really likes your music likes playing with you or something. There's so many people doing the same thing like music and interested in a lot of the same stuff. It's very fruitful and constantly surprising. It's an exciting and diverse music scene. It's more active [than San Francisco] unfortunately, I don't know why but that's the case.

On 'Back, Baby', the title track, would you talk about the meaning behind your lyrics?

Do you really talk about exactly what the songs are about? I like the idea of people being able to connect with songs in the sense that if the lyrics are just abstract enough that people are able to project their own psychic experiences onto them. That's how you bond with music and get to have your own experience with it. A lot of the songs on this record are about pain and loneliness and strange interactions with humans. I think you have to leave a little mystique.

You've said previously you fear being classified as strictly folk or freak folk, what would you classify your music as, if at all?

It's not that I necessarily mind. I love folk music and freak folk as a genre is not inherently a bad thing. I think that it's pretty broad - weirdly broad. It's just that I want my music to be able to appeal to a lot of different kinds of people and for people to be able to hear the various influences within it. Because of the way the first record was recorded it was a very straightforward sounding thing I think and I'm really excited that the second record is not really that way. I don't necessarily want to categorise the sound or I'm happy it doesn't have to categorised. People are making all sorts of comparisons and the breadth of them is kind of delightful to me.

What do you hope to do with your music?

I'd love to inspire anyone. Just being able to have people like it enough that I can continue doing it and have them want to hear new versions of it is a pretty rewarding experience itself. But that's the good part about playing music and putting yourself out there is that someone might like it that you never expected to, someone that you respect. It can bring about all kinds of situations that are fun.

What was the first show you went to?

I went to see Bob Dylan when I was fifteen. He played in the smaller town next to mine called Red Bluff, Northern California that is very much a one-horse town. He played at the Red Bluff radio grounds, a very small auditorium thing with a dirt floor. It was a very strange experience, there were a lot of hicks in the audience, someone broke a bottle and there was a street fight.

You have a tour coming up - do you like the travelling side of music?It's great. I certainly wouldn't be travelling the world in any other fashion probably.

Who do you usually listen to?

All kinds of stuff. I'm excited about a lot of new music. I haven't heard the full new Panda Bear record yet, but everything I have sounds great. There's a new record by Ryley Walker coming out which is going to be really good. I like some of the new Perfume Genius songs a lot too; he's such a great singer and songwriter. I've just heard a couple songs by this girl that lives here named ITASCA (Kayla Cohen) - her stuff is really beautiful.

On Your Own Love Again is out now Drag City. Read our review of it by heading here.