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Alt-J lands 'Awesome' award

Alt-J

Alt-J Credit: Alt-J

Alt-J is an unlikely band to be on the road to stardom.

For one thing, its name is actually a symbol: the delta sign that is created when you hold down the "Alt" and "J" keys on a Mac. On top of that, its music is extremely hard to classify, containing elements of acoustic folk, electronica and hip-hop.

Despite all that, the band's debut album, "An Awesome Wave," has earned comparisons to Radiohead and netted the group Britain's prestigious Mercury Prize.

amNewYork spoke with drummer Thom Green.

You get asked often about the band name. Do you regret choosing it? We like the name, but it doesn't mean a great deal to us. It's just a name we all agreed on. If I could go back and maybe not have a symbol for a name, I wouldn't be opposed to it because we do get asked that a lot.

When you write a song, do you tend to start with melodies or beats? It varies. Usually [singer/guitarist Joe Newman] has an acoustic riff. He'll bring that to everybody and we'll gradually develop a song. It can take a while, because we don't compromise or settle.

A lot of your lyrics are inspired by movies and literature. What are some of your favorites? My favorite book is "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath. It's very powerful. The film "Leon," which our song "Matilda" is based on, is something we all like quite a lot.


If you go: Alt-J is at Webster Hall on Friday at 8 p.m., 125 E. 11th St., 212-353-1600, $22. The band is at Terminal 5 at 8 p.m. on Sunday, 610 W. 56th St., 212-582-6600, $25.

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