Alt-J are back with a brand new track, ‘Every Other Freckle’. They’ve now given us three songs from their forthcoming second album. ‘This Is All Yours’, the follow-up to their debut ‘An Awesome Wave’, is out on September 22. These 50 geeky facts about the Mercury winners should tide you over till then. Ready? Let’s begin…
Credit: Press/Gabriel Green
They’re often likened to Radiohead, but keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton reckons that’s just because “we’re vaguely clever and posh.” Singer Joe Newton isn’t much into the comparison, either: “We’ve only got one [album], our shelf life compared to them is a blink of an eye.”
Credit: Richard Johnson/NME
The band are, however, keen to stress they’re not posh. “People like to make jokes about how we all have long, ridiculous names, and we don’t really — Joe Newman, Gwil Sainsbury, Thom Green. There’s a perception that we’re these privileged guys, and we’re not,” said Gus in 2012. “In any case, I hope people judge us on our music and not on any of that.”
Credit: Dean Chalkley/NME
Alt-J formed at Leeds University. It took a little while to get going: drummer Thom Green “didn’t really understand what he was listening to” in practices at first, according to frontman Joe Newman. “He was struggling but he knew that he enjoyed playing the drums to the guitar riffs and the things that I was singing.”
Credit: Ed Miles/NME
The group’s songs tend to go off on exciting tangents – an affect of the trio’s jigsaw approach to songwriting, according to Joe. “With writing I normally end up just collaging loads of ideas together and fit it into an overall narrative, sometimes from personal experience, sometimes from things I’ve overheard, or read or watched.”
Credit: Jenn Five/NME
Joe meanwhile was born in Southampton, whose grass common inspired the track ‘Bloodflood’ – or rather namely “the fear that can happen when you’re approached by people [there] who look like they’re gonna hit you… sometimes you get some unsavoury characters… you think someone’s going to approach you and kick you in the balls.”
Credit: Richard Johnson/NME
Miley Cyrus used ‘Fitzpleasure’ in a video interlude during her recent Bangerz tour. “Straightaway I thought ‘Wow, that’s weird, she’s a huge celebrity! Then I thought it’s not actually that weird. I knew she’d tweeted about us in the past and just because she’s hugely famous it doesn’t make it any different from anyone else liking it,” said Joe.
The band retreated to Hampshire to write their new album. “I’m going down to Southampton in January to stay with Joe’s parents and Joe’s dad’s gonna put us in a room and make us write songs! Pretty much like a writers’ retreat, far from the madding crowd. It’s gonna be good,” said Gus.