For over two decades, Athens’ shape-shifting experimental indie-pop group of Montreal has been mostly the cathartic, emotive output of sole proprietor Kevin Barnes.

For over two decades, Athens’ shape-shifting experimental indie-pop group of Montreal has been mostly the cathartic, emotive output of sole proprietor Kevin Barnes.

Through 14 studio albums and more than 20 different band members, the project as shifted through psych-pop, indie-rock and EDM moods over the years. Originally part of the infamous Athens-based Elephant 6 collective — which birthed bands like Apples in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Beulah and Elf Power — of Montreal has been a collaboration project at times, but has always originated with Barnes.

“I’ve always figured out a way to produce my own records,” Barnes said. “I am not really beholden to anyone else’s schedule or budgets. I can pretty much work whenever I want to. I’ve gone through phases of collaborating with other people. I still do collaborate. I’ve always been able to sort of establish that it’s primarily my own project and that way, I get to dictate the terms of how things operate.”

Ahead of their 15th studio album, “White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood,” out March 9 on Polyvinyl Records, of Montreal returns to Savannah Stopover after playing a headlining spot in 2013. The new album shifted even further into a solo venture, as Barnes used isolation as a tool to make the record he wanted.

“I wanted to make something that was very personal and also, it’s fun for me to build up songs track by track and play a lot of different instruments and obsess over it and get deep into the minutia of each arrangement,” Barnes said. “It’s something that appeals to me. If I work with other people, it’s a bit of a challenge figuring out where everybody fits. Collaboration has always been very positive. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any issues with people wanting something that I am not willing to give them. Because more recently, it’s kind of the opposite. Specifically, asking people to contribute specific things. The more they can give me that thing, the better.”

In an essay released ahead of the new album, Barnes talks openly about the process of writing the new material. Mixing both personal experiences, his failed marriage, and larger notions of “the lies of America the Great,” Barnes journaled his thoughts into of Montreal songs.

“It’s definitely reflective of my state of mind and most people's state of mind. You’re cycling through these different perceptions and meditations,” Barnes said. “Some of them are positive. Some of them are negative. Some of them are hopeful. Some of them are pessimistic. There’s always so much going on, I just try to channel all of it into the music.

"It’s definitely a form of therapy because it helps me get some perspective on things that are going on in my life. It’s like keeping a journal, or speaking with a therapist; you’re able to bring them from the internal to the external world. With music as well, it becomes more of a communal thing because you’re sharing it with people and you’re talking and you’re creating a conversation and starting a new narrative. It’s definitely been a positive thing for me.

“I think that it’s important for music and for art in general to be deeply rooted in your personal life experience. If we’re talking about authenticity, that’s like the best way to create something that’s authentic, if it’s actually based on things you’re experiencing. I’ve definitely written from a fantasy standpoint many times as well, but more recently, I’ve been more into that confessional style.”

of Montreal’s live show has evolved dramatically in the last 20 years. Known for increasingly brazen (i.e. playing nude) and extremely fun shows full of costumes, props and projections, Barnes and company — including his brother, David Barnes, who acts as of Montreal’s art director — shift the staging of each tour to reflect the material of the set list.

With each of Montreal tour, fans get an entirely different experience. The constantly shifting band behind Barnes will be fresh, as will be the music. This year’s Stopover show, which will include a lot of the new album, will be utterly different than the 2013 appearance.

“The live thing is sort of its own animal,” Barnes said. “With each record there’s going to be different challenges as to how we approach it and how many musicians we need to have in the band, what kind of performance art we want to go along with that and who’s going to do that. There’s a whole process with getting a live production together. But we have a pretty good system now because we’ve had some continuity with the people involved.

“We focus on the spirit of the new album and create a new energy that’s connected with the material of the new album. We just try to mix it up, shake it up, so it’s not the same thing every time. Add different elements. I always buy new stage costumes and have new looks and new outfits and everyone in general tries to invite something new to keep it fresh for ourselves and the audience.”