Keith Richards is offering assurances that a new Rolling Stones album is in the works. In a wide-ranging interview with the Wall Street Journal, the Stones guitarist said “it will happen,” although he declined to specify a time line.

“It’s in the early stages,” he said. “We have some stuff down, which is very interesting. It’s more difficult for [Mick Jagger and me] to write together the further apart we are, but it also has its benefits in that we come back to it from a different angle.”

Richards went on to describe the co-writing process with Jagger as “an interesting challenge,” adding that he and his longtime creative partner “live off the fire between us.”

Keith Richards

“There’s no point in my giving him a song that’s beyond his range or that he’s not comfortable with,” said Richards. “What I really like to do is write a song where Mick goes, ‘Yeah, right, I’m in!’ That’s what I try and do, because I’m writing for the lead singer of the Rolling [expletive]  Stones, and that is my job--to give him a riff that he leaps on and goes, ‘Right, I know what to do with this.’”

The band’s longtime producer, Don Was, shared his thoughts with the WSJ as well. The veteran soundman was effusive in his praise for the creative dynamic between Jagger and Richards.

“The songwriting that Keith and Mick did last year was really something to behold,” said Was. “The three of us sat in a room, with them facing each other, five feet apart, with guitars, and there’s something magical that happens that’s still as fresh as when they started.”

The new album, when it’s released, will be the Rolling Stones’ first album of new material since 2005’s A Bigger Bang. The band recently announced a series of spring and summer concert dates in the U.K. and Europe.