Producing not just quality art, but that indisputable stand-alone masterpiece, is the dream of any creative. But what a "fucking obnoxious myth," Derek Miller scoffs. It's the vision that's kept the talented guitarist pushing on, steadily fostering his skills alongside his partner-in-music Alexis Krauss, as the two prepare to release their fourth studio album as eclectic Brooklyn-based noise pop duo, Sleigh Bells. But it's the same myth that acts as an unattainable concept engaged through the forthcoming project's title. An inaccessible attraction - like Jessica Rabbit.

After three years away, the pair are back with a brand new project that they've decidedly invested in more emotionally, certainly more lyrically and admittedly more sonically. Jessica Rabbit is also the inaugural release on the band's own Torn Clean label in cahoots with Lucky Number. For the first time in a long time, the pair have simultaneously unleashed their creative freedom in a commitment to that creative cliche that the journey is everything and in the meantime, learned how to find contentment and introspection within that.

You're heading out on your US tour this week. So what are you doing on your last weekend of freedom for the next little while?

Derek: Working on music actually and tidying up the new Ableton sessions. Playing the new songs. Until you get on stage, you don't really know what's going to work and what's not going to work. Since we're not a band, that requires sitting in front of software, trying to get it to sound right and mixed correct. That's a very boring answer but that is the sad truth.

No, it's awesome that you're preparing. That's promising. What are you most looking forward to performing this time around? How are things different this tour?

I don't know that they're different, besides playing new songs. The thing that I look forward to is a great crowd. Without that, the show is nothing. It's crap. We're only good if the crowd responds. Reciprocation is a necessity. We're not entitled to that, certainly. But we hope for that. We played London last night and it was, I think our fourteenth or fifteenth show here. And it was my favourite. And that is entirely attributed to the crowd's response. The fact that we're on our fourth record now, there aren't a lot of people showing up who don't know what they're coming for. The first record, there was a lot of people like, 'Let me go see what this is all about.' And that's going to be the case and that's understandable but four records in, a lot of the people have seen us five or six times already. We're sort of preaching to the converted, which is fine by me cause it's great to have a room full of people that are on your side.

It's just the US tour as of now, but do you see yourself expanding that and doing the whole Europe thing?

Definitely. For the last record, we put it out and immediately did two months of touring in the States in pretty much every city. It's good to give people time to get to know your record. Not everyone is going to buy your new record and I can respect that. But at least, you get the people who are going to listen to it a chance to get to know the songs. So we're saving the long extended tour for next year. So the spring and summer. That way, the record's been out for a few months.

Festival time.

Yes, next summer, we'll definitely do some festivals, which I actually love. I know a lot of bands have a problem with them. They have a lot of input, which means they have a lot of instruments on stage and members and whatnot. For us, it's a laptop, two guitars and a vocal. So, if we don't get a soundcheck, it's not the end of the world. It's difficult, but we can pull it off. And more than anything, we get to see other artists. And not to mention they pay well. It's much harder to make a living in 2016 as a musician and festivals pay you well. Mom and dad aren't going to pay for it.

We're grown now. They don't pay for shit. But you guys are putting out your first album in three years, which may not seem like the most ridiculous amount of time but when it comes to pop music, the landscape has changed. Heading into working on something after this much time away, what was the mantra and motive for not just what you wanted to deliver for fans but who you wanted to be as artists?

This sounds absurdly reductive, but the only thing that I'm ever worried about is trying to get something great to come out of the speakers. Something inspiring and memorable. So there wasn't really a lot of downtime. Because I feel like we almost morphed in a bad way, by which I mean, our second record sonically is sort of a metal record. Treats is a mixed bag. It's kind of eclectic. Our third record was made way too quickly although I still love half of those songs very much. So, there was a lot of experimenting with our sound and ideas that didn't feel quite right. There are a number of songs that I think are decent that just didn't fit in the tracklisting for this record. So it was a process of just trying to find the right 40-45 minutes of music. Songs that speak to each other and compliment each other and are satisfying. The other problem with putting together a record while going through three years worth of material is that it's going to be eclectic. I didn't want it to be too eclectic, because I really dislike genre hopping. So eclectic without genre-hopping, because I hate that shit. I think it's corny and it's disingenuous. That was the challenge. How do I put a song like 'I Know Not To Count On You' which is acoustic guitar and vocals next to a song like 'Throw Me Down The Stairs', which is brutal, and have it make sense. So that was the challenge and it really took that three years to find the material that we thought was radically different but that still spoke to each other somehow. It wasn't easy. And to be honest, I don't even know if we succeeded. But we did try. I'm still trying to figure it out. Some days I feel great about it.

We're really heading into an era that can almost be described as post-genre. From pop music to rap music to rock music, people are genre hopping. I was going to ask if that had anything to do with the timing of the project heading into it, as a reaction to take an opposite approach to things.

I don't know if it was a reaction to what's going on. I'm an avid fan so I pay attention. But at least that wasn't the intention. But that very well could be the case and I just wasn't aware of it. Often times, I think I'm self-aware and I realize how I see myself is not how other people see me. I think that can be true for a lot of us though. It's a dangerous place to be in but it is what it is.

I was reading an interview with Rolling Stone where you said, "The guy that made Treats would hate Jessica Rabbit, but fuck that guy. Fundamentally, it's not who I am." That sounded like a very internal conversation about where you stand. Who is that guy now?

When I made Treats, I was reeling from a death in the family that was tragic and I felt destructive. At first, I shut down emotionally. I was drinking and doing a lot of hard drugs and I was really detached. That was a survival mechanism. Because to really digest and feel everything that was actually there, it would have been difficult to survive. So I ran, unfortunately. And while I was incredibly productive - I woke up and did the band, thank god I had the band - I still feel like I didn't face it. I was tested and I failed. That was my interpretation of it. Other people around me think that I handled it the best way that I could and that we all had to get through it and everyone has their own coping mechanisms, but at least I was productive. I'm not proud of the way I treated myself or the way I dealt with my first very serious challenge in life. That was years ago now and I've put myself back together somewhat. I have a lot of work to do but Treats is just this loud numbness. This record, Jessica Rabbit, feels much more invested emotionally and certainly lyrically. It's okay for me to feel things again. The guy that made Treats would have thought that this record is self-indulgent and pretentious. But I was not in a healthy place. So when I say, "Fuck that guy", I really mean it. I pity me at the time. But I tried. I'm still alive. Fuck it.

A lot of people and critics are going to listen to the project and talk about the shift, sonically. But it says more-so about the personal shift that you've made. That sounds like one hell of a journey to start the project in one place and end it in an entirely new introspective one. That's a win.

You know, I enjoyed the lyric writing process for the first time and I worked hard on it. And that wasn't the case on the first three records. I'm not really afraid of being judged and I don't feel particularly vulnerable revealing some of the things that are on there, because I don't know anybody whose life is perfect. It doesn't feel particularly risky to say something like - forgive me for quoting my own lyrics - but the chorus for 'I Can't Stand You Anymore', it goes: "You're killing me but I'm killing me too" to be candid about my self-destructive tendencies and what-not. Half the people I know are self-destructive in some capacity. I don't know any saints. I just find it to be relatable.

'I Can't Stand You Anymore' is one of my favourite songs on the project because it does have that blunt edge to it. Emotions are delivered so candidly but through the melody and instrumentation, there's such a softness there, where it feels more than just a ball of rage. You can sense the time given to reflect on healing and the truth of the pain that remains despite that time.

I'm so glad you picked that up. That's absolutely the case. Especially the bridge, it's my favourite part of that song. It's a great vocal but the bridge, when it gets really lush and pretty, she switches to an apology. Everybody has had those conversations when you've said something horrible to someone you love. "Fuck, just forget that I said that." There was a concerted effort to marry those things into a sound to support that feeling it sort of gives. It's hopefully beautiful. It feels really bright to me. And that's a result of putting the time in. We didn't do that on arrival. I feel like that record, I wish I could do that again. Some of the songs there, there's so much potential there. Some of the songs I love, but some of it was rushed so it lacks the nuance. A song like 'I Can't Stand You Anymore,' I've been working that for two years. It changed shape a lot. That doesn't happen without the benefit of spending a year or two on it. It was worth it. We weren't sitting on a beach somewhere, relaxing. We were working.

Here comes the inevitable, "what does Jessica Rabbit represent for Sleigh Bells on their fourth studio album and the creatives they are right now" question.

Jessica Rabbit, for me, is sort of committing to the cliche that the journey is everything and that there is no such thing as a destination. When I was a little kid, that was one of the first women that I ever loved. And that's embarrassing, because she's a cartoon character. But I was seven or eight years old and I was certain that I would have her. Not in an aggressively sexual way, because I was too young but there was something going on.

An awakening.

An awakening. Perfect. Thank you. A part of me would not accept that it was an impossibility. That I would never have her. And there's this part of me that is like, she's out there and someday I will have her. Records are like that. They're the white whale. I'm always on the verge of making the record that I've been trying to make my entire life. But really, that's just a spring that's never ending. And I know, no matter what, some of our fans, this will be their favourite record. For some of our fans, that will be Treats. For me, it's still ahead of me. I haven't hit a ceiling, quality-wise. And I believe that with every fibre of my being. I think that's why I feel like it's a frenzy. It feels really close to the type of record that I want to make. I feel like I can do it. I work at it.

And that might never happen. It's art. By the time you finish something, you've healed something from it and then you need to make something else for another reason.

Exactly. That's what Jessica Rabbit means to me - being a little diluted. Part of me thinks that I will. You're trying to make your masterpiece and that's such a fucking obnoxious myth that such a thing actually exists. But as a fan, some of my favourite artists pulled it off. But I'm sure that they'll disagree with you and that's just the way it goes. I'm trying to get comfortable with the fact that I'm never really going to pull it off in my eyes. I will spend my life clawing and fighting for it and that's a great life. But there's no such thing as arrival.

Jessica Rabbit will be released November 11 via Lucky Number.