UK indie rock quartet Alt-J were formed at Leeds University in 2007 when vocalist Joe Newman showed guitarist Gwil Sainsbury some of his own songs. The pair began recording in their dorm rooms with Sainsbury acting as producer on Garage Band. They were soon joined by fellow Leeds students Gus Unger-Hamilton and Thom Green and the four pals spent the next two years developing their music, first as Daljit Dhaliwal and then as FILMS until a case of mistaken identity with US band The Films forced them to rechristen themselves Alt-J. Their name is derived from the keyboard shortcut that creates the mathematical ∆ symbol on a Mac (on our computer, it's actually Option+J that creates the character).
This sinister love song is a single from their debut album, An Awesome Wave and was partly inspired by Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's picture book Where The Wild Things Are. Newman explained to Interview Magazine: "The song is about liking someone who you want so much that you want to hurt yourself and them, as well. We related that idea to Where The Wild Things Are, which we all grew up reading, where in the end the beasts say 'Oh, please don't go! We'll eat you whole! We love you so!,' that they would threaten cannibalism to have that person - it's a powerful image."
Newman said to Interview Magazine regarding the song's music promo: "Our video for this track has a really different message, and yet it worked really well with the song. It's quite a weird one; people aren't sure what's going on. We liked that you might have to go back and watch it a second time to figure out what is happening."
Maurice Sendak's classic children's book was originally going to be titled The Land Of Wild Horses. However, Sendak found horses difficult to draw, so he created the strange, hairy creatures that rampage through Where The Wild Things Are.