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To say that 2012 has been a “good year” for Alt-J would be a colossal understatement. The indie-band has gone from a promising new band with an intriguing sound to mainstream success all in the space of 12-months. TNS has been enamoured with them since we heard their first demos on the summer of 2011, and they have been a central part of our music coverage ever since. After bagging the Mercury Music Prize, an NME cover and a growing legion of devoted fans we had to do another interview with the band to see how it feels to have become so iconic in such a short space of time. TNS spoke with Gus Unger-Hamilton (keys) from Alt-J shortly after their Mercury Prize victory. Who would you have been most happy to lose the Mercury to? I would have been pretty happy if The Maccabees had won. They’ve been one of my favourite bands since I was a teenager so to win on their third album would have been fair enough. They’ve had three really good albums and I respect them for that, but Radiohead have never won the Mercury either, it’s a funny prize. Do you think the Award will help or hinder you? I think it’s going to help us in that it’s going to mean that we have people who are keen to hear what we put out next without us having to worry about being forgotten about. I think we’re now in quite a lucky position where no matter how long it takes us there will be an audience for our second album which is really nice. Has it been strange becoming so popular so quickly? It is quite strange, selling out this UK tour for next year is mad because they’re all big venues. But it doesn’t feel to us like it’s gone really quickly because we’ve been doing it one day at a time. It’s a bit like watching a child grow, if you only saw your nephew once a year you’d be like ‘Christ you’ve grown’ but he’s not going to look at himself in the mirror every day and think ‘oh my god I’ve grown so quickly’. It’s a bit like that. With a production time of a few years for An Awesome Wave it’s taken you quite a while to get here hasn’t it? Yeah I guess. It wasn’t because we were trying and failing though it was just because we weren’t really trying. We were at university, happy to be studying, writing songs and having fun with what we were doing. We weren’t trying to break out for years; once we were ready it all went quite smoothly for us. Have you had any thoughts about a second album yet? Do you think it will take you as long as the first? Probably not quite but we’re not ruling anything out. Do you know what direction you might take it in? We’ve got some songs that we’re writing for it. It’s not sounding that different from this album, there’s no new sound because I don’t think this album really had a sound. It’s just songs that we’re writing as a group that just somehow happen to have this indefinable stamp of Alt-J on them. Do you find what everyone else is saying about your music strange? Yeah it is strange because we never intended our music to be spoken about in those terms, we didn’t expect that. It’s lovely. If you were creating a musical exhibition what albums would you position either side of yours? (Laughs) I’d start off with Little Golden Book by Princess Chelsea which is a really good album, then I’d enjoy our album and then I’d finish with the first self-titled album by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. That sounds like a good session to us. Would you be able to tell us a bit more about one of our favourite tracks, ‘Something Good’?
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