When I call Aldous Harding to talk about her four New Zealand Music Award nominations she's in Cardiff, preparing to leave for London, where she'll kick off her European tour.
"I'm getting my things together," she says. "Standing in the bedroom, looking around, smoking, trying to work out where to start, really."
Is she an economical packer? I ask.
"Oh yeah. I love it," she says. "One of my favourite things to do on tour is take everything out of my suitcase and put it back neatly. That makes me feel like there's order."
Has that order spread to other aspects of her life?
"Not at all," she laughs. "Maybe in my songwriting. Nowhere else. I have things very tidy in my home and in my songs. I don't like them all over the place. Everything else is chaos."
There's a theory, I say, that an ordered workspace reflects an ordered mind.
"Oh ... that's not my experience," she answers. "My experience is that the cleanliness is an effort to placate the chaos of the mind. It's not an extension of what's going on in my head, it's a rejection of what's going on."
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This is what happens when you speak to Harding. One second you're talking about packing a suitcase, the next you're spiralling into the chaos of the mind. So I change tack and ask how she feels about her nominations.
"I don't want to seem evasive or ungrateful. I'm very touched that people recognise my efforts. But they're all someone's best you know. Someone's favourite. Each one is individual and worth its own weight, so it's hard to…"
Harding trails off. She's talking about all the Tūī finalists and I say it must be difficult to talk about her own nominations without sounding a little arrogant.
"I am a Kiwi so it's not even that. That 'Tall Poppy' thing is very ingrained," she says. "And it's not that I can't take a compliment. If someone said to me, 'We think this is the best song you've ever written,' I would feel that was a compliment. But this seems ... you know."
What Harding is saying, I think - and she returns to this a number of times - is that while she's touched to be nominated she doesn't particularly dig the inherent competitiveness of awards. For someone to win, others have to lose and that doesn't gel with her views on art.
"I don't want to take away from the culture and the tradition because it is special, it's just not what I'm trying for," she says. "I know it's an all-round recognition of music but I don't want artists to feel like they have to measure up against each other in any way.
"But I am touched. I can't help but be touched. I'm working really hard and it feels good that people can see that."
When doing press for Designer, her brilliant third record that's up for Best Album, she frequently asserted that she was simply, "an unremarkable person working really hard to create something remarkable". As I repeat her well-worn quote back to her, I hear a sharp sigh.
You're sighing! I exclaim.
"When?" she replies.
"That was me lighting my cigarette," she protests innocently.
Okay, I say, not entirely believing her. Do you feel that quote is still representative?
"Absolutely. I don't ..." her voice trails off and she sighs deeply.
That was a sigh!
"That was a sigh, you're not wrong," she grins. "But it is still how I feel. I don't feel like a remarkable person. I don't see myself as special. I look at the things I've done and there is effort in that. I am just a regular person standing up and trying to do stuff. Maybe that's remarkable? I don't know."
Being on tour means she won't be at the ceremony. Any FOMO over missing out on the evening's razzle dazzle?
After consideration she replies, "Mmm ... no. I don't think I'd do a very good job at any of that.
"Part of me would like to be there just to see what it would feel like, the night itself. But I like the idea that someone may read out my name while we're doing a show. There's something nice about not being there because I'm busy doing it."
She's recently taken to playing a new song, Old Peel, live, so I ask if work is underway on Designer's follow-up?
"I guess so, if there's another song," she says in a mocking tone.
How far along is she?
"None of your beeswax," she taunts.
Oh, come on, I say.
"Nah!" she laughs, jeering with playground authority. "Get out! I'm busy! You'll find out soon enough."
Then, she's gone. Back to packing her bags as she attempts to bring order, no matter how slight, to her chaos.
* The New Zealand Music Awards will be broadcast live on THREE on Thursday, 14 November from 8.30pm.