When the subject matter of a record is so overt, it can become difficult to extract the discourse from it. When I sit down to talk to Thomas Cohen, the cycle for his debut solo record, Bloom Forever, has largely focused on his personal life. It seems kind of sad, because his record is so great.

Although references to the passing of his wife Peaches Geldof are impossible to deny ("Sleeping alone / it's hard to go in our country home" he mourns on 'Country Home'), there's a light that seeps through the darkness. The title track, for example, was written upon the birth of his firstborn son, and Mother Mary sees the former S.C.U.M frontman look forth with optimism. There's so much about Cohen's record that has been overlooked in favour of an often tabloid-esque commentary on its dramatic and tragic subject matter.

I sit down with Cohen with a hope that we can talk his old band, political apathy and his new-ish found love psychedelic country; he seems happy to oblige.

How has the tour been?

Really, really good. So good. Everybody's just so good at their job, and I don't think my band have played a wrong note yet.

How do you think your approach to playing live has changed since you were fronting S.C.U.M?

I think it's changed a lot in that these songs have a lot more meaning. It's not like (I) really considered that, but it's forced upon you, there's a different mood to each song. S.C.U.M was kind of expression for expression's sake, I think, which was great and really exciting at the time. With this, there's a bit more musicianship to it.

This year marks five years since [S.C.U.M's first and only LP] Again Into Eyes was released, how do you see the legacy of S.C.U.M? Is that still a record that you're proud of?

Absolutely, I think I'm proud of it considering we were a band for six years and only made one record. I really delayed the recording of the album because I really wanted to make an album that I'd be proud of, which could easily have not happened. I haven't listened to it for a while. I think the last time I listened to it I was in an aeroplane, and I thought that there was a little too much reverb, but aside from that...

Obviously there's a huge stylistic shift between Again Into Eyes and Bloom Forever, but are there any formative influences that remain important to you?

I guess there's core stuff that will always form stuff that you do musically.

The records you grew up with?

Yeah, records you grew up on; those people that really captivated you when you were thirteen or fourteen. People like Bowie, Lou Reed, Patti Smith - I don't think any of those are that present in S.C.U.M's record, apart from maybe vocally a little. But as for the core influences on that record, I didn't really know how to make something that was euphoric or atmospheric of shoegazy, that was a massive mystery to me until I got into the studio with the right people. Once I kinda achieved that it lost its appeal quite quickly. When I came around to writing this record I was like 'right, I know how to do that now, how do you write a song?'

Were there any records that directly influenced the shift in dynamic?

Definitely, I think by 2011. We were on tour and had a show in Zurich, and then we were supposed to have a show in Milan but it got cancelled. We took this nicer route home and went through the Alps and listened to a lot of, like, psychedelic country and rock - once I heard that I felt like I knew what I wanted to do.

Bloom Forever is a massively honest record, is that something you look for in music?

Yeah, definitely. I think that, if you're capable of making something honest, it makes you into a true version of yourself and regardless of how that comes across, that's what really shows. You can see if somebody's being brutally honest, it shines through and really transcends everything else, for me those people are the people that I get really infatuated with, I guess. I guess the last band that happened with was Future Islands, there's just so much brutal honesty. He (Samuel T. Herring) does that move where he unmasks himself onstage, whimpers and then puts it back on. It's always there, it always happens. I wouldn't really reference them, but it's in music that I seek out. If you're a psychopath, it's much more interesting to be honest about being a psychopath than pretending to be this other thing.

Have you noticed many people coming to these shows that saw S.C.U.M?

Not really, I don't think we had much of a fanbase. These shows have been really nice. It's kind of uncomfortable but kind of nice when people cry. It's happened at every show, and you finish a song and have to check if everyone's alright. People leave crying and gather themselves and come back in. There was one guy that was into S.C.U.M, I think.

How do you feel about London's music scene at the moment?

I quite like it in London at the moment, I think everybody's quite divided. The East of London has been gentrified to such a point where everybody has to be there, but it's nice that there's no unity within the music scene in London. There's no scene, just lots of people making interesting stuff, which is quite nice.

Do you feel a political responsibility as an independent musician?

I don't think I've ever felt a responsibility up until recently, really. I think our generation has been so entirely apathetic that there's never really been a route of showing that you're angry. It's just a no-man's-land politically. Now though, young people are much more engaged and realising that they're angry and that they're political. I've met a lot of seventeen-year-old kids who are much more progressive about so many issues like gender equality. To then have this disgusting austerity overriding everything on a day-to-day basis just seems to be getting more and more awful.

Bloom Forever is out now on Stolen Recordings.