With the surprise new album i,i reaching our ears today, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon has opened up about their struggles with anxiety and how that affected the record. He was speaking in a new interview with Radio 1’s Annie Mac.

He focused on a bout of anxiety which saw the singer have to cancel a tour following the release of the band’s 2016 album 22, A Million. “I’ve never had that before, [I] never quite understood what it could do to people,” he said. “It really got me. I was stunned by it. Usually I have my stuff together.”

“That’s sort of the story [of the record] for me…” he offered more, saying that “i,i is about getting through some tough times and getting to a point where you can feel vulnerable and grateful. It’s a big clearing, personally and artistically.”

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“I think at the beginning, I was comfortable because I didn’t know what was going on exactly,” he continued. Referencing later popularity and famed, he revealed that he “was lost, and [thought] that I would never get my life back or something.”

“At the end of the day, it’s music – that’s all it is. You can relax after a while when you remember that’s the reason people know who you are.”

This album offers fans far more collaborations than previous records with James Blake, Moses Suney and more all taking part in the record. “Their music speaks for themselves,” he said. “They know how to make good music. Every once in a while, you’ve gotta go out and orbit around some other people, but I’m looking forward to going back in with them at some point.”

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Vernon also shared some thoughts about the lyrics on i,i, he said: “We’re not gonna hide behind this curtain this whole time, we’re gonna say something that’s pretty basic – something you can chew on.”

Listen to i,i below

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