It has been just under a week since Mick Flannery released his provocatively titled fifth album ‘I Own You’. While the roadtesting of some of the new material live has presented Mick with some of the more typical challenges of translating songs from the studio to the stage, it is elsewhere on the to-do list of album promotion that Mick finds difficulty. “It gets into my head that I’ve been talking about myself incessantly for about a week,” he says with a laugh. “And I start to hate myself. I hate that character that you’ve been talking about.”

Playfully self-deprecating comments such as these highlight Mick’s uneasiness about self-promotion, but he does later admit that he has grown much more comfortable with interviews than he had previously been. “I’ve had to for my own mental health. It definitely used to make me very embarrassed. I would get very upset if I felt that I was misrepresented. I have taken it as a given now that it’s impossible for your personality to come across as you would like it. It’s not gonna happen. Forget about it.”

These fatalistic attitudes, however, do not preclude him from expressing his feelings about the world around him. ‘I Own You’ features some tracks that see Mick expanding the scope of his narratives to include more general themes of inequality and “prevailing greed”. Getting older has shifted his focus to some degree. “I was just naturally progressing into caring less about myself as an individual and just thinking about the individual in society. The political animal.”

The result of this shift is anger. While he insists he does not “go around the place angry”, there is no doubt that his recent reflections on the world have had an impact on him creatively. “We do get presented with stats about wealth and inequality,” he says with an almost deflated sense of disbelief. “How is this even possible? How can so many people lie down and take this?”

So what is pissing Mick Flannery off in 2016? He has said previously that he was heavily influenced by the death of Freddie Gray, and the unrest that followed in Baltimore. He was moved by the efforts of community leaders to keep the peace and not answer violence with violence. “I was trying to figure out if I could actually have that mentality if I were in their position. I don’t think I’d be able to. I don’t know if I would be wise enough to feel that way”.

While he acknowledges that he is not particularly well read on subjects such as these, he tends to go with his feelings rather than cold statistics. He reflects thoughtfully on these issues and he patiently considers his answers, which are often quite frank. What about the media?

The media disappoints me a lot. It seems irresponsible. The highest example I suppose would be American examples. Their modus operandi seeps down and seeps into other countries in the way that they treat the news as a business. The more you can sell, the better the news. Or the worse the news, as it turns out. There is a lot of fear mongering”.

While this social consciousness is reflected in several areas on the album, he has concerns about exploring this live. He has given some thought to including some imagery or backdrops but the idea was ultimately abandoned due to his apprehension about the stage not being the right platform. “The way I think privately is not always relevant to someone who’s just coming out on a Friday night to see some music. They’ve worked all week. They’re looking up at me going ‘it’s easy for you to have enough time to think about all this shit and get angry about it and sing to me about it, but please fuck off! I just want to hear the song. Leave me alone. Stop preaching to me please’.”

This is not his only concern. “I suppose I don’t have the balls in a lot of ways. I have restrictions in me. I have a lot of self-doubt that would stop me from even thinking about being some kind of figurehead or activist. That might change. It’s hard to know.”

So we might yet see Mick in political office? “That would be horrible”, he says in a characteristically deadpan reply. “I have a lot of friends that I value a lot and I know they would just inherently hate me if I started to fuckin’ bullshit on about stuff like that.”

Later, when discussing new track Cameo, the conversation takes a philosophical turn. He reflects on the nature of reality, the meaning of life and whether or not mankind has lost the ability to empathise with one another. Semi-nihilistic feelings emerge when he concludes “We’re all just knocking around. I dunno, it just seems like a lost cause sometimes”.

It now feels almost irresistible to ask Mick what Gay Byrne asks every guest at the end of his Meaning of Life programme. What would Mick Flannery say to God at the pearly gates?

Fuck you!” he retorts with playful brazenness, bringing the interview to an end with a roar of laughter.

While the fiery pit is being prepared for Mick after his blasphemous indiscretion, he will continue to promote his new album at home, and abroad in the UK, Germany and Holland, while also compiling footage for an upcoming documentary.