What can you tell us about 'The City'?
"In a way it's a protest song. It's saying that no matter how homeless, poor or jobless we are, we won't let that affect our love and relationships. From a production point of view, brass was very important to the song. There's a great saxophone moment which I love, because it's quite a gutsy, rebellious instrument and that suits the theme."
It looks like you were having a lot of fun in the video...
"The idea was to portray an escape from the city, and Santa Monica beach is right next to its city, so you can party on the sand and still have that urban feel. It's filmed in 16mm, which was expensive but important, because I feel that a lot of the digital stuff nowadays lacks any depth. I'm still very much an analogue person!"
It's probably your most radio-friendly single yet. Are you hoping for greater commercial success this time out?
"I'm back on a major label now, which helps! I wanted to create songs that were more radio-friendly this time, but saying that, the music all came before the record deal, so I wasn't being told what songs to make. I'm in love at the moment too, and when you feel like that you want to share that emotion with as many people as possible. That said, I'm not ashamed of wanting commercial success - I don't always want to be on the outside and not let in."
Do you feel you've been treated unfairly as an artist in the past?
"I've been sidelined a lot in the past as an artist who isn't allowed to be successful and is difficult to market. I want to gain a wider audience now, but I won't compromise my writing or production choices in the process."
Does the positive tone of the track carry on through the record?
"There are about four sad, melancholy moments on the album, but in general it's jubilant and about falling deeply in love. It's a really romantic record and it's extremely honest. Every song is a true story and not disguised with the folklore and fairytale that I've been known for in the past."
What's prompted the change in musical style?
"I'm in a confident place. I've exorcised a lot of demons and overcome a lot of my problems from when I was younger. I've healed and I'm probably in the best place in my life that I've ever been. I've recently moved back to my hometown of Southwark - and a big theme of the album is returning to your roots and being grateful for what you have."
Why is the album called Lupercalia?
"Songs about love are obviously the most common theme in pop music, but I wanted to approach it in a way that hadn't been done before. The title refers to the Lupercalia festival, which is the ancient fertility and love festival that happens around Valentine's Day. I strive to be original - it's one of my biggest ambitions. There can be nothing worse sometimes than a soppy love record - imagine if I'd called it To Love: Patrick Wolf!"
How does feeling happier affect your music?
"It's affected the lyrics, which in turn affects the production and what kind of world I want to create. For example, I didn't want to use harpsichord on this album because it's too dark, too baroque and too nocturnal. Instead I've used harps, brass band and strings - all these things that signify romance, love and celebration - rather than suicide, depression and aggression, which my last album was about. I also wanted to make something that I could listen back to in a few years' time. It's hard hearing some of my darker albums because I find yourself revisiting those painful memories."
What are your favourite songs on the LP?
"There's a song called 'Bermondsey Street', which is a love song for a straight couple and a gay couple. It's for the straight couple to realise that the gay couple are experiencing the same emotion of love, but that it just happens to be between the same sex. I wanted to try and eradicate the prejudices that come with gay love. I also love 'The Days', which is like a wedding waltz song, and 'Together', which has a classic disco production with an amazing string section."
What do you make of the current music scene?
"I think there's a real hunger for things that seem human, tactile, organic and handmade - which means real instruments. The charts have been so whitewashed with Auto-Tune and simple one-chord songs with hedonistic lyrics about partying, money and celebrity. In fact, the current music scene is partly what inspired my album to be made in this way - I wanted to go against all the computerised music and record something naturally. Saying that, there's a lot of good music that's not getting aired by radio. Hopefully that will change over the next few years."
Do you feel that now is the right time for a comeback?
"It's been a very intense two years and I've had to be 100% dedicated - it's involved a lot of sleepless nights and I've barely had time to socialise. It might seem weird to some people for me to be releasing a much less complex album, but it's a completely honest one and it's true to my life at the moment. Whether people want that from me, well, we'll have to wait and see."
'The City' is out on March 14. Lupercalia follows on May 31.