SXSW Interview: Alt-J
Thursday, March 14, 11:10pm, Belmont
"I promise we're not part of the Illuminati. We're not prolific enough for that," laughs Alt-J keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton. "And if we were part of the Illuminati, I very much doubt that we would be so obvious about it."
Leeds quartet and supposed non-members of the Illuminati, Alt-J were wrapping tour dates in Australia when we reached them in January. The band has spent the last year promoting its 2012 debut An Awesome Wave, which took them from being an unsearchable act (their name comes from the Mac command for the delta symbol), to year-end Top 10 lists.
The band's tweaked rock and smooth, digitized influences garners comparisons to Radiohead and a flurry of categorizing.
"We're not trying to invent 'trip-folk' or however you want to call it," says Unger-Hamilton. "We've definitely spent a lot of time developing our sound, but we didn't set out to be out of the box."
Alt-J played together over six years before An Awesome Wave came out, but they aren't the perfectionists that timeline might suggest.
"Partly our priority was on school. We didn't have the time to play as much. I'm not sure we ever planned this out upon graduating. It's all still pretty surreal."