The ever-prolific ex-Guided By Voices leader Robert Pollard is taking on new artistic challenges this year as he prepares to launch his own record label -- Guided By Voices Inc. -- and release his lat

The ever-prolific ex-Guided By Voices leader Robert Pollard is taking on new artistic challenges this year as he prepares to launch his own record label -- Guided By Voices Inc. -- and release his latest solo outing, "Robert Pollard Is Off to Business," on June 3.

"I made the album purposely into more of a classic rock-styled record, where I was a little more disciplined with my songwriting approach," Pollard tells Billboard.com. "Almost a semi-prog rock record, although it's a pop record too. Kind of in the vein of Peter Gabriel’s first solo album. It's a starting point."

Interestingly, Pollard almost dusted off the Guided by Voices name for the project.

"I was at one point toying with using the name again.... But then I thought it might be construed as I’m trying to capitalize on the name to sell more records -- and I didn’t want it to appear that way. My manager decided, 'Why don't we call that the label -- Guided By Voices Inc.?'"

For now, the label will solely handle Pollard's own records, but this may change in the future to include other acts.

Also on the horizon will be a tour to support "Robert Pollard Is Off to Business."

"I think I'm going to out in the fall -- after I have this album and a couple of more things finished, and I have a lot of material to work with. My goal is I don’t want to play anything I've played live before live. I know a lot of people expect ... 'Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory' and 'Cut-Out Witch' and things like that. I've been doing things like that for so long that I'm sick of doing that.... I want to play not necessarily mostly new stuff, but the older songs, I want them to be obscure -- like songs from 'Suitcase.'"

Also coming this summer will be a coffee table book, 'Town of Mirrors,' via Fantagraphics Books.

"I did an art show with my collages just recently. In the last couple of years, I've had people come to me and say, 'You've got to do an art show with your collages.' So I did one about six months ago. I've been talking to a couple of people from Fantagraphics for the last few years -- they were interested in doing a coffee table book. And I thought, 'I don't know if I have enough stuff ... they’ve got people like R. Crumb and Charles Schultz. I thought, 'That's pretty serious company.' But they were interested and with the success of this New York art show, I thought, 'Let's do it then.'"

Lastly, expect further musical projects from Pollard, including a brand new band.

"I continue to work with Todd Tobias, and we do the Circus Devils thing -- we have a Circus Devils record finished, and we've got another one we're going to work on soon. And I've got another project that I'm not really going to go into, because I want there to be a little bit of mystery about it – a new band I'm forming called Boston Spaceships. I'm not quite sure who's going to be involved, but I plan on that being my new band."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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