It’s been four years since his last album, Human. Now, Rory Graham, better known as Rag’n’Bone Man, is finally ready to share details on the long-awaited follow-up. “It feels like it’s been forever,” the singer-songwriter tells Zane Lowe on Apple Music.
“It was to just have time to live with the songs, really. That was important to me because the production of this record I had to get right,” he adds. “All the songs were written on acoustic guitar and on a piano. There was no production done to anything for a good six months to a year. That just gave us time to let the songs breathe and realize whether they were good enough.”
Rag’n’Bone Man expects to drop his 15-track sophomore effort, Life By Misadventure, April 23 via Columbia Records. Newly-released single “Fall In Love Again,” detailing self-sabotage, is among his most vulnerable to-date. I’ll avoid the conversation / Say that I need my space, not ‘cause I want to / I will make some poor excuse / Every time that I get close to you, he sings.
The moody, downtempo certainly teases what fans might expect from the record, which Rag’n’Bone says unravels in “timeline” fashion, as he puts it. “I talk about things of my teenage years and how tough and crazy that was. Then, the present right now, where I feel very calm. And I feel like I’m not really Rag’n’Bone Man at the moment,” he explains. “I’m just a dad to Rubin. I live my life here at home, and everything’s cool. But then also, being really worried about the future of the world that I brought him into. So, the album’s basically like growing up, becoming a dad, and then being really scared of the future.”
When most of the songs were written, Rag’n’Bone then turned to a playlist he created to extract bits of inspiration regarding arrangement, production, and style. The list included songs from which particular sections or moments struck him, “like the drums from [one] song, or there was a particular harmony in a Beach Boys’ song, or there was this John Lennon thing that I had,” he says. “So, there was this big, long playlist of stuff, a lot of Paul Simon and early Elton John and [things] like that.”
“I loved the sound of the piano, and I wanted it to be thick and warm. And just have a little essence of a ’70s vibe about some of it,” he continues. “And [I wanted to] do something where we can just go in and play the record live. And it’s not countless overdubs. I don’t think I overdubbed one vocal in the whole recording of the record. I think everything’s just a one take.”
Upon release, Human bowed atop the UK albums chart, snagging 117,000 copies sold.