Everything Everything interview

Frontman Jon Higgs discusses the Mancunian band's second album and meeting Bono

Pretty vacant: Jon Higgs (second from right) and band practise their thousand-yard stares Pretty vacant: Jon Higgs (second from right) and band practise their thousand-yard stares

Their first album was nominated for the Mercury Prize, and their second is already looking like one of the big records of 2013. But for Jon Higgs and his band, Nosheen Iqbal discovers, life hasn't changed that much – yet.

Rock stars aren’t supposed to be settled, living with their girlfriend and four cats. But Jon Higgs, frontman of Everything Everything, insists life in Manchester has become no more rock ’n’ roll since the 2010 release of the band’s Mercury-nominated debut ‘Man Alive’. Except, ‘Well, we have a lot less money now than we did when we had jobs.’ He laughs. Still, four cats? ‘Yeah. I know,’ he grimaces. ‘My girlfriend wanted more. I capped it.

Everything Everything are something of an art pop, prog rock anomaly – a four-piece whose abundance of ideas has become their calling card. ‘People thought the first album was clever and there was a lot of mystery around the lyrics,’ says Higgs, who often sings in falsetto and at indecipherable speed. ‘After a while, I started to feel there was a distance between me and the audience. It would have been easy to do another freaky record, but I wanted to make more of an emotional connection.

This heart-versus-head dynamic unravels in interesting ways on their new album, ‘Arc’, out on Monday January 14. For one thing, the band sound massive: the songwriting is more refined, the harmonies are glorious and if there is a science to composing a summer festival anthem, Higgs proves himself a doctor of it with ‘Duet’ (think Elbow raised to the power of Coldplay).

‘We did use Elbow’s studio when they went off to tour,’ reveals Higgs. ‘It shaped the bigger songs on the record – the twiddly claustrophobic stuff didn’t sound right in that huge room so we began writing more vivid, bigger shapes, really.’

It’s a gear-change likely to edge the band into pop’s major leagues. Are they prepared for the surreal side of the biz? ‘Well, I met Bono at the Q Awards… Noel Gallagher pulled me over and said, ridiculously, “Have you met Bono?”’ Did Everything Everything get the infamous Bono rockstar advice talk? ‘No! He was trying to talk to me about how dark it was in the room even though it was daylight outside. I didn’t know what the fuck to say!’

Our advice? Take your sunglasses off, Bono. You’ve just met Manchester’s next major band.