By Michael Osborn
Entertainment reporter, BBC News
Brett Anderson's album sounds stripped-down compared to Suede
Former Suede frontman Brett Anderson has taken more than three years from the Britpop band's dissolution to the release of his first solo album.
The 39-year-old musician, who recently worked with ex-bandmate Bernard Butler as The Tears, says he wanted his debut to mark a departure from the electro-rock common to Suede's hits.
"I didn't want to make another guitar-based rock record, but strived to make music with a different sound to it," explains Anderson.
"I've made six of those albums - it would have been boring for everyone if I'd rushed ahead and made another one.
"I'm really proud of this record, which I wrote with a keyboard player and feels different than it would have done with another guitarist," says Anderson.
He believes the result is "unfussy" music, with space for his distinctive vocals.
Anderson's self-titled debut - which he describes as "melancholy and intimate" - was made with a group of musicians he had not worked with previously, in an effort to break fresh musical ground.
"It would've been very easy to pick up the phone and call people who used to be in Suede, but I wanted to stretch myself musically and socially," says the singer-songwriter.
It is difficult to avoid drawing comparisons between Anderson and Suede, who were at the forefront of the Britpop movement in the 1990s and scored a string of hit singles and albums.
Anderson explains that the transition from the helm of a successful band - who split in 2003 - to solo status has had a huge impact.
"It's an enormous life change - as pivotal as leaving home or divorcing," explains Anderson.
"The part about being in a band that had become tiring and repetitive for me was having your life mapped out for you, and this childish need to belong to something which tells you what to do all the time.
"I wanted to develop beyond being an emotionally immature person who just gets up and writes songs. This solo record has made me shoulder virtually all the responsibility," he says.
'Never say no'
But the performer adds that the change was made on his terms, bringing about a "joyousness and re-engagement" with his work.
While Anderson's project with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler is in mothballs, the prospect of a Suede reunion is not dismissed out of hand.
Anderson pictured at the start of the Britpop movement in 1993
"I would never do it just for the money, but would not have a problem with it if it was for the right reasons. Like if a member of Suede sent me a great piece of music, and I was inspired to write to it and felt we could make a great record.
"I'd do it if it didn't come across as sad, but that's a big if - I don't think bands can reform without it looking sad," he adds, in reference to a recent spate of musical reformations.
"I never count things out, but it's not like I'm sitting here planning a Suede reunion."
Anderson's next project will be a follow-up record to his solo debut, the chart perfomance of which he admits still worries him.
"Of course I'm concerned, it's part of the process. But I don't think I'm ever going to repeat Suede's levels of success because that was a moment which is different to what I'm doing now. I'm not chasing that at all.
"But it enables you to keep on making music. If the album undersells massively, I'll have to think what my next move is."
Brett Anderson's eponymous debut album is released in the UK on 26 March.