Alt-J are back with a global remix album so Rachel Byrom caught up with Gus Unger-Hamilton to discuss their new tour and their creative process.
We’re so excited that you’re bringing your autumn tour to the Sage, Gateshead. Were the venues picked specifically to exhibit what you’ll be performing?
We’re really happy to be coming back to the North East. It’s been a long time and we love it up there! This whole tour is taking place in more classical music venues and it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while. We present our shows almost like an installation rather than something traditional; the audiences are watching the video and listening to the music so we felt that picking a more classical performance space would be quite a cool thing to do.
What can we expect from your autumn gigs? Will you be performing any new remix tracks?
We’re not going to be performing the new album in full live but I think we’re certainly going to work some of that music into the performance. We’ve got some footage of Pusha T performing, for example, so we can work that into our visuals.
Was your performance of ‘In Cold Blood’ ft. Pusha T on The Late Show the ignition for the album? And could you tell me a little about the process of creating ‘Reduxer’?
We’ve always talked about our influence from the world of hip-hop in terms of our production and song lyrics, so it was natural that at some point we would address the hip-hop inside us and this album allowed us to do that.
By the time we did The Late Show, the whole album was finished, really. There’s a song called ‘Deadcrush’ on ‘Relaxer’, which kind of sounds like a hip-hop track with the bass, drums and strings. We thought this would sound really cool with someone rapping on it. We weren’t in the studio with the artists, I’m sorry to say! We were just emailing stems around – a really cool open way to work.
We’ve got artists on the album from Germany, Spain, Ireland, Australia as well as the UK and America so it’s really exciting that it’s so global.
How do you think ‘Reduxer’ will be received by fans?
With young music fans today, it’s completely normal to be into indie, hip-hop, electronic music and listen to a bit of classical – it’s not as tribal as it used to be. I don’t think our fans are die-hard guitar music fans that HATE urban music. I think that really shows where society is right now, in terms of our music, and that’s a really exciting place to be.
What’s at the top of alt-J’s bucket list?
I’d like to gig on Antarctica – that’s the only continent we haven’t played on!
Alt-J head to Sage, Gateshead on Thursday 25th October. Tickets, priced from £30.00, are available at sagegateshead.com.