Experimental musician Erix S. Laurent, otherwise known as Teepee and formerly known as Eric Lopez-Zareno, creates music as interestingly confusing as his nominal past. Drenching his critically acclaimed avant-garde pop in reverb, Teepee has been noted as an artist with a vision that is “fiercely uncompromising.” It has been a few years since Teepee’s last album, but now the 24-year-old Miami native is preparing to release his upcoming LP, Distant Love Or: Time Never Meant Anything, And Never Will, on December 4 via the Revera Corporation.

Teepee began experimenting with his “drone-based melodies” during his university music studies, producing tracks that adopted a “harsh, raw sound.” “A lot of that music education and theory played a large part in my earliest songwriting,” says Teepee, citing free jazz as a major influence that has carried over since that time. His first album, Morals, was released in 2009, followed by a U.S. tour that helped to accrue many new fans and connections. Following the tour, Teepee immediately locked himself back in the studio to start what would be a two-year process to create Distant Love.

The new album is all about people: Teepee’s relationships with them, as well as their relationships with others. Appropriate, then, that Teepee (who is usually a solo artist) decided on the addition of a full band to accompany him on live shows, the intent being to create a jazz-esque ensemble whose members would have great chemistry on stage, as well as be able to “effectively communicate and feed off each other’s energy.”

The tracks on Distant Love take on a melancholic feel as Teepee delves into ideas of “isolation and obstacle, hopefulness and triumph,” while still introducing a more obvious pop overtone than his previous recordings. To do this, Teepee detuned his guitar to create new shapes and sounds as a way to properly actualize the vision he had in his mind for the album. The first single, “Time Meant Nothing,” exhibits this new, poppier sound while still maintaining a reverb haze leaving no doubt that this is still the same Teepee, only evolved. “The new album is different but in a good way,” says Teepee. “There’s a lot that my old fan base will cherish, especially the noise and the drones, and hopefully a lot of new fans will find something to appreciate in it as well.”

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