To celebrate the release of his debut album Something on High (out now via Atlantic Records), we sat down for a drink with James Page, aka Sivu, to discuss everything from his Harry Potter-esque writing cupboard, to his collaborations with Alt-J, and of course, the album.

Your debut album, Something on High is our this week, how are you feeling about it?

Scared. It just feels like, as it's taken so long, it isn't real. I held up my first vinyl copy the other day and I was just like, 'wow'. It's cool though, I'm not expecting massive things to change, it's just nice to have a record out, and for people to be able to discover it.

The title, Something on High, that's a Van Gogh reference?

Yeah, it's weird. The album is about me growing, from moving away from my parents up to London. The lyrics are about my insecurities and anxieties, so I started looking into how that affected other people's art, and I literally discovered that Van Gough painting online; I thought, 'that's interesting'. The Wikipedia description said of the painting that 'this is the closest a man comes to "something on high"'. But I didn't ever see it as a religious reference, for me it was more about the highs and lows of this man who was riddled with doubt - I thought it was an interesting thing, and it echoed some of the themes in my lyrics.

You've had a ridiculous 18 months with tours for Bombay Bicycle Club & London Grammar, Radio 1 airplay and a string of prestigious festival sets - what's been your highlight?

Playing the Barbican with Stornoway was one gig I'll never forget. That whole tour was so lovely. You know what, I've been so lucky. I've done so many amazing things I have to pinch myself to remind myself sometimes. Finishing this record feels like a bit of a pinnacle right now.

Lyrically, it's an album about the frailties of the human condition; was there any particular sound you had in mind it terms of instrumentation and production?

Definitely. The first time me and Charlie were in the studio together we sat down, and I had 'God Speaks in Tongues', which is an acoustic song, and he was like "where do you want to go with this?"

Sivu started because I saw Björk playing 'Hyperballad' on Jools Holland, and this video is just insane; you've got this crazy old man beating this snare drum, but around it you've got this electronic music with big strings, and I thought, 'that's the dream'. On top of that, I love Wild Beasts, so they're always one I have in mind and Kate Bush as well. There were those three artists which were crucial, and I think we were bound together by Beck too.

The first time that I noticed a lot of momentum building for you was around the turn of the year - you were on pretty much every music site's hotly tipped list for 2014 - did you feel that pressure when putting together this record?

You know what? I didn't. The blogs for me were always so lovely and so reassuring. We didn't ever do that BBC Sound poll, it was never really of interest; the blogs were different and more positive - I was like, fuck it, they all seem to like it [Sivu was the joint winner of the 2013 Blog Sound]; so whatever we are doing is working.

The album opens with 'Feel Something' which is probably the most electronic track on the album, was this something you did deliberately?

100%. It was never going to open the album. It was the last one I wrote, and the last one I recorded; no one from my management or the label had ever heard it, but I just went to Charlie and did the track based around this crazy drum loop we made. It just felt like starting the album with that was making a statement.

'Can't Stop Now' is all about how this is the path that you're taking, and how you've come to far to stop now - What was the point that you felt as though this could be your actual job?

I still don't feel like that. Everyday I wake up and I think, oh my god, I hope I can do this for another year. I've been playing in bands since I was 15, and I've always just kept going. To be honest, I don't think I'll ever stop.

Didn't you still have a full time job up until late last year?

Yeah, I decided to quit and focus on this as a career. In the back of my mind I thought, this won't ever happen, but I've got to go for it anyway. It felt pretty great walking out of there for the last time.

Do you have a personal favourite song from Something on High?

'Feel Something' will always be pretty special, because to record that track we just stumbled across it unplanned. Once we finished that track everything else just seemed to make more sense. 'Communicate' as well though. We put that on an EP and planned to make it a B-side, but the more I sat with it the more I liked it. It's my favourite track to play live.

For me, my favourite new track is 'Love Lives in this House', it's got this really dark, sinister edge - can you give us a little background on it?

Yeah, it's a really old one; I wrote it around the same time as 'Better Man Than He' and 'Sleep'. I lived in a flat in Kennington with my girlfriend, my best friend and another girl; the dynamic was odd. It just didn't really work. I had this one little cupboard in my room that I wrote the album in. At night I'd go in there, and I'd have to be really quiet, but I didn't have anywhere else to go. The song is really about just feeling uncomfortable and about my two worlds colliding.

That was my routine; I'd get home from work, have my dinner, spend the night with my girlfriend and friends then at about midnight I'd force myself to write, so I'd go into my cupboard... this sounds a bit like Harry Potter.

In terms of subject matter for a song, do you find it easier to write autobiographically, or do you like to put someone else at the centre of your stories?

I could never do the latter. I always wrote about me, but I would take feelings I had and would relate them to something else. Like, the track 'Bodies' is about wanting to wipe the slate clean, and that's just how I was feeling when I first moved to London - I just used a biblical context.

On the personal side of things, do you ever worry about putting yourself out there in your lyrics?

It's weird. At the time when I write them and record them, I didn't really think about it. I spoke to Marika [Hackman] about this: sometimes when you write a song, you don't really know what it's about. Now the album is finished, I'm going back and thinking 'wow, that's what I was going for, and I didn't even realise.' So yeah, now it's a bit strange when people are saying 'what's this song about?' and I actually know. It's weird though cause it's such a self-loathing record; in a positive way though.

Did you deliberately use a moniker to protect yourself from this?

That's exactly it. I'd performed songs under my own name for so long; and at this time I was writing so differently. At the time I liked the idea of Sivu being more of a character; so that's why in some of the early videos he was a bit more elusive, and in 'Bodies' he was an actual character. This has changed a bit now though, but Sivu is basically an outlet for me to talk about things I wouldn't normally talk about.

You did some vocal samples on the new Alt-J record too - how did that come about?

I'd just finished my album and Charlie went straight in with Alt-J afterwards and he literally called me and said 'Joe has this idea, he wants loads of different artists singing different lines'. So I went down with Marika Hackman to meet Joe - Conner Oberst and Lianne Le Havas also contributed lines to that track. I love Alt-J, so to be on that album, even if it's just a couple of words is incredible.

That's just one of the many things that have made it a pretty ridiculous 18 months for you - Do you have any thoughts on what would you like to do in the next 18 months.

I haven't really done much headline touring, so now the record is out, and after the Bombay Bicycle Club & Nick Mulvey tours, I'd love to prioritise that. Also, I want to finish my next record next year - I want it out in 2015. I have ten songs written already, so I'm just really keen to work quickly on this.

Something On High is out now.