You say what you want to say then you f*** off - that's the trick." RM Hubbert is telling me about the power of brevity in music, but he could equally be talking about the arc of his career.
"I don't enjoy making music that much," he says, chuckling. He chuckles a lot, RM Hubbert, or "Hubby" to anyone who knows him. "It has to have a purpose. The purpose of the RM Hubbert thing is to make me feel a bit better, and when it stops doing that I'll have no problem stopping."
There is an irony, he says, in the fact he spent years dreaming of being a full-time musician and now he has attained his goal he is ambivalent towards it. "It's not that I don't like it or I'm disillusioned by it or bad things have happened," he says, scratching his arm nervously, "but it's got to a point in my life where music is not that important. What's important is feeling better about myself. And this has done that over the last five or so years."
The guitarist and sometime singer, 39, has worked as a band booker at King Tut's in Glasgow and an expert programmer - he still dabbles to make ends meet - but these days is a predominantly solo artist, cooking up a punkish, puckish brew of flamenco techniques, sumptuous open tunings and, yes, pop structures.
The man himself brands it "a weird type of music. It's not radio-friendly." Perhaps not, but after years entangled in the musical undergrowth, notably with avant jazzniks El Hombre Trajeado, Hubbert has emerged with two solo albums under his belt (the instrumental First & Last and the collaborative Thirteen Lost & Found, produced by his friend, Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand) and a burgeoning reputation both at home and in Europe.
We meet first thing in the morning, in a café in the hinterland of the west end of Glasgow. Having dropped his German girlfriend off at work, where she tests video games, Hubbert has replenished himself with a cooked breakfast and now sips a Diet Coke. He is as bright as a button, unremittingly gracious and thoughtful, unafraid of gaps in the conversation as he searches for a response he is happy with. He's a big man - broad, deep and solid - with a scruffy beard and arms wreathed in tattoos which he seems determined, subconsciously at least, to erase with his fingernails.
His faith in "the RM Hubbert thing" is bearing fruit: while the stress of making Thirteen Lost & Found left him with a bald patch on the back of his head, the record won him this year's Scottish Album Of The Year award, and the public and critical appetite for its follow-up, Breaks & Bone - "The last of the ampersand trilogy," he laughs - could hardly be greater. The trick, as he calls it, is working a treat. "It's really flattering," he says. "I'm always surprised that there are fans of my music who I've never met but are into the music and tell their friends about it and tweet about it and cheer me up every morning."
Behind the jovial, ursine exterior, however, lies a past - and present, and future - of chronic depression, hence his need for therapeutic gain through music. The condition was diagnosed following the death of his father, Tom, in 2005. Then his mother, Rose, died two years later. Understandably, Hubbert has sought to exile the black dog from his life by any means necessary.
He knows all too well what the alternative feels like.
"After First & Last I was playing and writing constantly, because that was the one thing helping me get out of my head a wee bit and giving me space to breathe," he recalls. "And then I started to rely on it too much, to the point where my mood would really dip if I had a s*** show. My mood would plummet."
Hubbert, then, is clearly not the archetypal troubadour. Does he attract odd characters? "I get stalkers," he says, "on Facebook and Twitter especially. There are a few who come to a lot of shows and they're generally all right." He had to stop playing in people's houses, which was a blast early on but soon became unsettling. "It was great when it was friends of friends putting on the shows, but after I began to get more attention I noticed the people asking for it were fans. I did a couple and they were just weird."
Sounds a bit Alan Partridge. "It was. I didn't quite get to the Room of Hubby but … it was weird." As is the fact he is increasingly getting noticed while out in Glasgow (although he lives in Troon). "I use it as a reason to stay in the house. I presume I know these people but I don't; they've maybe come to a show."
And they're thinking: "There's that RM Hubbert." Maybe he should change his name to That RM Hubbert. "I think you'll find my name has been legally changed to 'Scottish Album Of The Year Award-winning RM Hubbert'," he replies, with a cackle.
Before we part, Hubbert to allow his cleaner into the flat ("Don't knock it - it's saved my relationship"), there's time for five quickfire questions.
Guilty pleasure? "The Muppets soundtrack. There's a tune called Life's A Happy Song which I love to pieces. It's the happiest song you'll ever hear."
Digital or analogue? "Analogue."
Musical anti-Christ? Hubbert ponders long and hard. "Robin Thicke. Blurred Lines is horrendous."
All-time musical hero? "D Boon [of Minutemen]."
And his favourite new act? "Adam Stafford is my biggie. His new album is stunning." Hubbert scratches at his tattoos again, deep in thought. "Actually, Richard Dawson is the man. He's a lovely guy. He's always a bit pished, which is fine - I have no problem with that whatsoever. He's my tip for the top."
Having said what he wanted to say, RM Hubbert gets into his £1500 people carrier and, shall we say, buzzes off back to Troon. No tricks this time.
Breaks & Bone is released on Friday on Chemikal Underground.
RM Hubbert tours Scotland from September 26-29, see rmhubbert.com