For Billy Lockett, the only way he felt he could properly move forward was to put his past to bed and start afresh.
In recent years, Lockett has been flying the flag for Northampton as one of the town’s most successful exports.
However, he hopes his new EP Burn It Down which is released this month will mark a new chapter in his career.
Following a recent run of shows in Switzerland and Germany, Lockett will head out on a UK tour in March.
“My fans haven’t really heard anything from the ‘new’ me really,” he admits.
“I toured for about four years but I’ve put all that to bed really and sort deleted and reinvented myself with Burn It Down.
“I got really sick of what I was. At the time I loved those songs but I had a realisation and found myself in some way about three quarters of year ago.
“I wanted to just start again and write a new record that really meant something to me.
“This is the first time I’ve felt like what I’m doing is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”
Lockett, whose previous releases include 2014’s Old Man and 2013’s Your Love Hurts admits it’s a daunting decision to wipe the slate clean.
“People who have heard my new material say it’s a progression,” he explains.
“In my mind I was putting to bed something I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with.
“I felt the music was just the product to use to make myself famous but then I started to realise that was superficial rubbish which doesn’t matter.
“When my dad passed away I stopped really caring about doing anything for the wrong reasons and thought ‘do I actually like the songs I’ve written’ and I didn’t.
“I thought ‘why don’t I write songs that I love that will just sell themselves’.
“A song used to take me a day, now it takes me two or three months
“There’s a craft to it which I didn’t have before. I think people can hear it in the songs now and Burn It Down is testament to that. It’s done better than anything I’ve ever released in just a couple of weeks.”
Lockett’s new EP features the tracks Burn It Down, Holding A Gun, Alone and Blackmail Kiss and is being released via his own label Selfish Records.
“Burn It Down was the first song wrote out of this new collection of work,” he explains.
“It’s about a situation where you’ve been in a relationship for four of five years and you’re not actually enjoying it but carry on because you’ve been doing it for so long.
“Do you stop because it’s best to start afresh or not?
“I’ve had success with my old sound but I need to get rid of it. I had to start afresh.
“The titles of the records are quite depressing but the record is really chilled out.
“It’s all piano and all about the vocals. There’s a very chilled out vibe to it and quite different to what it’ll be live.”
Lockett wrote the EP in the basement of his Northampton home and while the EP may have a chilled sound, he plans for a rawer live show.
“I’m not that guy you’re going to put on when you having a crazy party,” he explains.
“I write the sort of music you put on when you have long drive at night time. I know my place and know where I fit and where I want to be.
“I’ve a full live band now and there’s a really raw sound. I used to have a lot of backing tracks in the past and it wasn’t really working so I decided to put more time and effort as a band and make it sound huge live.
“There’s a more grungy, dark Tom Odell feel to things which is pretty much where I’ve always wanted to be.”
While previous EP Old Man was recorded in London, Burn It Down is very much a product of Northampton, with everything from recording, mastering and videos filmed in the county.
“When I was younger I used to put Northampton in the ‘It’s not London’ box,” Lockett admits.
“A lot of musicians do that and think they need to get out and away. However, this new sound and EP has been all about Northampton.
“Old Man was done in London and was a big thing, but honestly, I wasn’t that happy with it.
“This time I said to my management ‘I’m just going to lock myself away and do it all myself with people I know’ and it’s been the best thing I’ve done.
“The EP was mixed in Northampton and it was mastered by Sound Bunker in Northampton and it sounds great. Even the makeup artist for the video is from here.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without the support from the town.
“I have to massively praise Northampton as you wouldn’t be able to get any of this support in the same way in London.
“Here we really appreciate helping each other out – we want good things to come from this town.”
Burn It Down will be followed by a UK tour before Lockett begins work recording what will be his debut album.
“This EP is to test the water,” he explains.
“Once I’ve done the tour I’ll look to start getting the recording going. You can’t wait for ever.
“People are scared to put an album out but I think you’ve got to commit and say ‘This is me and these are my songs’.
“An EP is nice, but I want that real body of work.”
Locket is also due to feature on a forthcoming Sky Arts documentary about technology in music.
His UK tour kicks off in Manchester on March 25.
For more information, visit www.billylockett.co.uk