Being gay is – and is not – at the heart of Sacha Sacket's music, the 30-year-old musician told On Top Magazine in a recent interview.

Sacket's fourth studio album Hermitage takes him in a bold new musical direction; it's darker and more haunting than previous releases. The Los Angeles-based artist calls the album “escapism.”

“Escapism definitely factors into the record,” he said. “Forced isolation as well.”

“There was a need to get out on my own and hear my own voice. Rediscover what I had to say. I think we tend to have so much distraction around us, so many people weighing in on things. I really wanted to see what isolation would do to the songs and where I would go on my own. I think I had too many people's opinions swirling around everything I did and I knew I had to cut that off if I was going to record ANYTHING. You have to allow the creative process to guide you, it doesn't work the other way around.”

“So running off to a cabin in the woods seemed like the best way to do that. Music is a communion of sorts. It's a spiritual and emotional experience. When things get too business oriented and formulaic, it's important to cut yourself off and return to why you do it in the first place. Go places that you haven't been before. I knew I had to cut off where I was for a while to go somewhere new. People tend to hold onto what they know, and who they think you are. But we are growing and changing all the time. It's important to escape from that environment if you want to take some real risks and cast a new mold,” he added.

Sacket initially dismisses being gay as fitting into his music, saying it's an “indirect thing.” Upon reflection, however, he adds: “I felt very alone growing up, I always kept the secret of being gay. And music was pretty much the only outlet I had to express myself freely. I don't think I would be an artist if I wasn't gay, actually.”

He then ebbs back: “Music ushered me through some very dark moments and continues to do that. Hermitage is a lot about escaping the world to find yourself again. So, I don't know if my sexual orientation has much to do with it as a whole. How many times can you come out to yourself?”

On the other hand, Sacket is committed to gay rights, telling us he's “very pro gay rights.”

“I think it's insane that gay marriage is still an issue in America,” he said before Maine voters repealed a gay marriage law. “It's quite embarrassing. We know much better than that … I just can't believe it's taking so long to get some pretty obvious stuff on the books.”

But being gay seems to eat at him, and he returns to the subject: “Being gay threads through my work, just like many other aspects of my life. If anything, I feel it's important to say I'm gay because that's my truth. But it's also really important not to laser focus on it, because that is not who I am as well.”

Sacket's Hermitage is a soulful collection of stirring songs available Tuesday, November 17.