Music

Alt-J Interview & Performance on NPR World Cafe 9.5.2014 [Audio & YouTube Video]

Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published September 24, 2014

Ahead of the release of their second album, This Is All Yours, Alt-J were guests at NPR's World Cafe, produced by WXPN in Philadelphia. Below, you can listen to the full episode featuring an interview with David Dye as well as 4 songs performed live, and watch the live performance of "Left Hand Free":

Alt-J Interview & Performance on NPR World Cafe

SETLIST

 

<h5>Alt-J NPR <em>World Cafe</em> 9.5.2014 Setlist:</h5>

<blockquote>
"Left Hand Free"
"Tessellate"
"Every Other Freckle"
"Bloodflood Pt. II"
</blockquote>

alt-J "Left Hand Free" on NPR World Cafe

The program kicks off with a performance of "Left Hand Free," one of the lead singles from the new album. World Cafe uploaded a video of only that performance to YouTube. Watching the band in the studio, the biggest thing that strikes you is that their drummer, Thom Green, is playing an electronic kit. He's triggering samples instead of playing conventional analog drums. The electronic element of Alt-J's music is one of the things that sets them apart.

The interview begins with a focus on how Alt-J have developed and grown into a commercially and critically successful band. From there, it goes to discuss songwriting and stylistic choices the band's made in making This Is All Yours. On the subject of lyricism, Alt-J are one of the most unique bands out there. Lead singer Joe Newman talks about how he comes up with his lyrics, and how this album is basically an extension of their debut album, An Awesome Wave, in that respect.

From there, they play a song from An Awesome Wave, "Tessellate." This is followed by discussion of why Gwil Sainsbury left the band, and how that's affected their creative process as Cameron Knight has joined the band to fill that role as a guitar / bass player. Also, how doing remixes has influenced the band and their recording of "Hunger of the Pine" which includes a sample of Miley Cyrus -- who's apparently a "big fan" of Alt-J. There was debate among the band members about whether or not it was a good idea to sample Miley singing "I'm a female rebel" and eventually the band decided to leave it in, which was a bold artistic choice that I must say was well executed.

The next song, "Every Other Freckle," is specifically requested by host David Dye. This live version sounds quite different than the studio recording, as it's noticeably slower and more bare. This is followed by another new song, "Bloodflood Pt. II" which is a continuation of "Bloodflood" from An Awesome Wave.

To finish up, the band talk a little more about the songwriting process, and the importance of having good monitors to perform vocal harmonies in concert. In all, this World Cafe program was a very interesting and insightful look into one of the most interesting indie bands on the scene.

For Alt-J's latest music, news, and tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page.

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alt-j-gus-unger-hamilton-world-cafe-2014-youtube-video

alt-j-world-cafe-2014-youtube-video

Source: WXPN World Cafe

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