∆ (pronounced Alt-j) was formed when Gwil Sainsbury (guitarist/bassist) , Joe Newman (guitar/vocals), Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) and Thom Green (drums) met at Leeds, UK University in 2007. The band currently resides in Cambridge.
Gus studied English Literature; the other three Fine Art. In their second year of studies, Joe showed Gwil a handful of his own songs inspired by his guitar-playing dad and hallucinogens, and the pair began recording in their dorm rooms with Gwil acting as producer on Garageband.
First as Daljit Dhaliwal
and then as FILMS
, the four friends spent the next two years playing around town. According to the Breezeblocks Songfacts
they were forced to rechristen themselves Alt-J, because of a case of mistaken identity with US band The Films
. Their name is derived from the keyboard shortcut that creates the mathematical ∆ symbol on a Mac.
Their eponymous first 4-track demo ∆
, was recorded with producer Charlie Andrew in London and showcased the tracks 'Breezeblocks', 'Hand-Made', 'Matilda' and 'Tessellate'. A 7" containing 'Bloodflood' and 'Tessellate' was released by Loud and Quiet on October 2011.
Their first 2012 release for Infectious Records
was the triangle shaped 7" 'Matilda'/'Fitzpleasure', followed by 'Breezeblocks' as an advance of their first album 'An Awesome Wave
', released on 25 May 2012.