Don't put Kelly Lee Owens in a box.

She'll just press play - confusing your senses with eccentric production and honest songwriting until you're dizzy – only for your vision to finally focus enough to realize that it was you and your simple taste in the box all along. Don't let Kelly embarrass you.

The London-based sonic shape-shifter is giving you an opportunity to open your mind as she's just days away from releasing her new EP Oliec via Smalltown Supersound. Her ambient techno-faceted compilations and thought-proving themes are a product of years of experimentation and the time has come to finally share.

Mountain View

Leading up to the release of your new music, how would you describe the anticipation for your forthcoming project?

It feels good now because I've been practicing the art of patience in some way, which I think all artists have to do. Because you work on this stuff sometimes a year, sometimes two years before it comes out. So I've been working on the project for a while and just building confidence in myself as a producer and as a writer. And I wanted to take my time because I wanted to build a team of people around me that I really actually trusted.

That's quite important for me. I've taken my time with that stuff and I'm really happy with the people that I've surrounded myself with now. I feel like we're in the best position that we could be to put out this EP and then following on from that, the album at the start of next year.

So the new EP is dropping October 21. Tell me about your creative process and your specific headspace you were in creatively while heading into that?

I just finished mastering the album and it felt quite free. I had more of a track mindset. I wanted to write techno tracks and just kind of have fun. I had a lot of samples. And I pick the samples myself, so I was recording a lot of weird sounds. I had a lot of those stored up so I started playing around and sent them to Smalltown Supersound, who are putting out the EP. They really loved them and said, "You should just put this out on vinyl. It's something before the album that will show people that you're producing as well as writing stuff."

We also wanted to include the Jenny Hval rework, because that was the first ever rework that I did and it got Best New Track on Pitchfork. People loved it and I just felt that it was important for me to have stuff physically exist. I had never had anything released apart from digitally. So we thought it would be great to put that on this EP, which kind of shows in a sense the more dancey influences of things that I do.

And that seems like it happened all at once. Is that something you were able to prepare for?

That's the other thing with Joakim, my label owner, he was the first one that suggested Jenny Hval and that I do a remix of her because he knows how much I've been influenced by Björk as a female writer and producer. I just respect what she does. And he was like, "Jenny wrote a review of her last album and Björk loved it so much that she invited her to her New York show and they have this cool relationship." And he said, "why don't you remix Jenny. It's a female remix of another female and she's never had a remix done. You've never remixed anyone. This could work perfectly." There was nothing to lose.

So he sent me her album, not the new one but her last one. I listened to the first track, which has no music whatsoever and I just had the lyrics. So I just wrote the music completely and produced it and use these amazing clips of her voice, because she has this amazing voice. But it came together nicely. I just feel very lucky that people are paying attention and people like what I'm doing.

Even Jenny paid attention. You're performing together in Europe?

We're doing a show together in London. She did offer me to do the tour, but I couldn't do a European tour with her this year. So we're doing London on the 19th of October, which is a few days before the EP comes out. Her live show is amazing. She's really creative. It'll be great.

It's like everything came full circle from Björk to Jenny to you.

Yeah, and it's so nice that we're all female and we're all doing our thing and supporting each other. When it came down to the publishing of the track, for example, she was more than fair about it. She wanted to give me more than I would technically be supposed to have. And I've just never heard of someone offering more than they're supposed to have.

I didn't take it. That was my first kind of collaborative thing. And me and her wanted to try out also recording our own stuff and there may be some future stuff there as well. It's such a lovely relationship. I'm really pleased.

So your EP you have coming up, there's a lot there sonically and thematically that will be interesting to dive into. So what can we expect specifically there?

Expect the unexpected. People didn't expect me to put out dance, poppy, string songs and so I like to keep myself on my toes. I'm already starting to write little bits for the next thing that's going to come after the album and I don't even know what that is.

That's what's exciting. I'm very much about not putting myself in a box and not limiting myself. I think that keeps things flowing and free and fun. That's what it should be about. Not bowing to anyone's expectations. I don't think people like Björk have ever done that. You have to please yourself and start there, because if you try and please other people, it never works. It's so transparent these days. So many people are putting out formulaic stuff. So who knows?

The single that's recently caught people's attention, 'CBM' which stands for 'Colours, Beauty Motion' - it was inspired by astronauts' interpretation of The Overview Effect and the cognitive shift in awareness that some astronauts have reported. Why was that so important to build on thematically through music?

It just inspires me every single day. To be reminded ov our place in the universe and the fact that we're even here, it's that The Overview Effect that's so important. Everyone should see that short film at least once just to have that perspective in some sense. And to appreciate the beauty of life. It has inspired me to live and do what I want to do and take care of the planet.

There's so many poignant things in that documentary and it does include our impact on the earth. And obviously people are talking about things like climate change now and such and it's very much real. It's very much what we should be talking about, especially young people. I'm not afraid to approach that in maybe a different way that brings awareness. It inspires me so maybe it will inspire people to watch that documentary. That would be wonderful. It says everything in that that you need to be thinking about, I think.

How do you build on that shift on awareness through the other music on the remainder of your forthcoming EP as a whole?

When you have a bigger perspective, it helps to appreciate the smaller things. I can relate that to sound and how I find everyday sounds fascinating. One track, for example, I literally sampled crackers melting in hot soup. And that sounds ridiculous but I notice all these tiny little things and I like to capture them. So the big, the small, it's all important. And it's all inspiring. The songs I write, I like to either be completely transported somewhere else or to be completely present. I like those dreamy, cosmic sounds but not in a cheesy way. Something that transports you somewhere else.

So quickly, you've become known as a shape-shifting presence in a genre that so often pigeonholes electronic artists into all these different subgenres. But you seem to navigate through many simultaneously. What is the key to your versatility?

I just do whatever takes me in that moment. Whatever comes through in that moment and don't limit myself. But at the same time, I've worked with specific tools and sequences. There's a thread of some kind. But I still let myself do exactly what I want to do. And I've stayed true to myself.

Human beings like to fit each other into boxes and artists into genres and I've just rebelled against that. Why can't you just be the artist? That's it, isn't it? Ultimately, when you do get pigeonholed you're limited. You have to break out of your comfort zone. All of us, from artists to reviewers. We need a bit of a shake-up. And of course, you want to build a fanbase but all that should be about is the quality of the music.

Kelly Lee Owens' Oleic EP is out on October 21st via Smalltown Supersound. Listen to 'CBM' below. All photos in this feature were taken by Sam Dearden for the 405.