Billie Eilish wanted to be uncomfortable while recording her upcoming second album, Happier Than Ever. In a new interview with Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe, the singer explained that her goal in the studio during the sessions for the follow-up to her multiplatinum, Grammy-winning debut, 2019’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, was to surprise her fans — and herself.
“I really wanted it to be unexpected, almost. Honestly, it’s so funny, because I write with structure in my head about verses and pre-choruses, and then chorus, and then verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, chorus, end,” she told Lowe about the single “NDA,” which arrived Friday (July 9). Explaining that that’s how she and her producer/brother Finneas leaned how to make music, Eilish said “NDA” was “not in my comfort zone, and that’s fun to me.”
The dark single is the fifth release ahead of Eilish’s highly anticipated album, out July 30 via Darkroom/Interscope Records. And in the self-directed video, the muscle car-loving 19-year-old hangs out on a desert highway at night as two dozen professional stunt drivers skillfully weave around her. She told Lowe that there was originally a completely different concept for the visual, but that it all fell apart due to some unnamed “complications and it didn’t work out. But it was OK, because we then had deadlines and I was like, ‘OK, OK. OK, think,'” she said. ” I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’… And I figured it out. It’s definitely one of the coolest videos I’ve ever made in my life.”
Eilish said that the sessions for the album included “so much reflection,” during which she realized things about her life that she’d never processed before, and figured out a way to get those emotions out and turn them into sounds. She pointed to one song fans haven’t heard yet, “Male Fantasy,” which she said pretty much wrote itself. “Afterwards, I’d listen and I’d be like, ‘Oh my God, wow,'” she shared of the track. “Things, feelings, emotions. You don’t even realize they’re there until you do. It’s a crazy process, this album.”
And in case you were wondering, yes, she thinks the new album is “much better” than her debut. “I feel so impacted by this project, and I am beyond happy about that,” she said. “So I hope that, yeah, it can move on in that same realm in other people’s lives too.”
Watch the full interview below.