Ben Folds has embraced orchestral music for his new album - and he reckons that rock music has become too dull.

The singer has made So There with classical six-piece yMusic, keeping his pop style but adding classical arrangements.

It comes after the singer has regularly collaborated with orchestras for live gigs in the past, including the Scottish Festival Orchestra on a previous Glasgow show.

“We’ve been through such a period of re-popularising styles, like ’oh, let’s listen to 80s music or ‘it’s 70s music, but the guy is wearing a 90s T-shirt,’ and we’ve been doing that for too long,” says Ben, speaking ahead of a Magners Summer Nights show at Kelvingrove Bandstand on Friday.

“Now we’ve mixed it all up into a nice muddy brown, and you’re going ’what else is out there?’ So your interest goes to classical… I was born right after the Beatles took things from Frank Sinatra to psychedelic - since then, there’s been disco and Nirvana and hip hop, and that’s been about it in terms of innovating.

“In 1954 you’d have been blown away going to 1968 and seeing what was happening musically - going from 1968 to 1990 you can still hear things from 68 and it wouldn’t blow you away. Rap and hip hop is the only real innovation, because whitey’s been doing the same thing over and over again, and it’s time to mix it up.”

A songwriter with withering lyrical wit, Ben has always tried to keep himself ahead of the crowd, from his days with the Ben Folds Five to embarking on a solo career. Originally the singer was planning a new record where he’d work with different chamber orchestras, with the album originally inspired by the Concerto for Piano & Orchestra that he wrote last year.

It still forms the final part of the album, but meeting yMusic changed his plans for the rest of the project. They’ve found themselves creating what Ben calls a ’chamber rock’ record instead, which is due out next month.

“There are lots of ways to make albums and I know about the difficult ones, as most musicians do, where everyone doesn’t get along and someone always shows up drunk,” he says, dryly.

“But we just really got along well, and they pushed me, and it was a really healthy collaboration. Three of us would sit and score something before the rest of the guys would get there, they’d show up, do it in a couple of takes, maybe change something, and we’d be done. That’s an incredible way to work.”

It’s not always been that easy for Ben. Married and divorced four times over the years, anyone who heard 2008’s Way To Normal would deduce that the Nashville native was going through an angry period in his life, but he feels that he has found a calmer place.

“I’ve tried to spend some time being sane, and that’s a good thing to do,” he says.

“I’m 49 pretty soon, and you’ve got to start maintaining everything, including your sanity. It’s like how you maintain a car or something, you don’t have to go all LA and have three therapists and a juicer and that, but it’s good to have things in mind like ’I’ve got two days coming up and I need to accomplish this’.

“There’s a million ways to cut it up but basically it’s feeling more normal, which for me made for a lot less static when I was writing songs and it was a lot more clear to me. Maybe if your songs suck right now and you’re crazy then you should make yourself sane. And if the opposite is true then good luck with that too…”

Perhaps Ben will need some good luck at his Bandstand show, given what the weather can be like. He’s looking forward to a Glasgow return though, with a set list set to include material from So There and some new takes on old favourites.

“I’ve only done one outdoor Scottish festival before I think, so I always associate gigs there with playing inside, dark at night,” he says.

“I love playing the UK as I’m moving more northerly, because the shows get noisier and noisier. We just played the Bonnaroo festival with yMusic, amidst all these thumping bass groups, typical festival fare, and we killed it with a chamber group - that’s very exciting to me, so hopefully the trend keeps going.”

Ben Folds, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Friday, £32.50, 7pm