Alt-J - Matilda |

The Brief

alt-J (∆) want you to make the music video for the song Matilda, from their new album An Awesome Wave.

The song is fuelled by the shared demise of a protagonist and antagonist. While it was originally written about the the last moments of Leon in the eponymous film by Luc Besson - and repeats Leon's last words to his final adversary - you can interpret the song in any way you like.

The band love innovative filmmakers and original ideas so be creative! For reference, you can watch 2 of their official videos, Tessellate and Breezeblocks.

Deadline for entries is 24 September 2012, 23:59 GMT time.

Awards & Judging

The winner will receive £2,500 and have their video used as the music video for Matilda.

Outstanding videos will also be nominated for the 2012 Genero Awards and in the running for $25,000 in prizes.

The winner and finalists will be chosen by alt-J and Genero.


alt-J (∆)'s name takes a little explaining. Pronounced "alt-J", the delta sign is created when you hold down the alt key on your computer keyboard and punch ‘J' on a Mac computer. The symbol has a deeper meaning for the band, as guitarist/bassist Gwil Sainsbury notes, "in mathematical equations it's used to show change," and the band's relatively new name came at a turning point in their lives.

Gwil, Joe Newman [guitar/vocals], Gus Unger-Hamilton [keyboards] and Thom Green [drums] met at Leeds University in 2007. Gus studied English Literature; the other three Fine Art. In their second year of studies, Joe played 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.

Needless to say, the response to Joe's hushed falsetto yelps and Gwil's rudimentary sampling skills was good. When Thom was played the tracks he joined the band straight away. "I hadn't heard anything like it," he says. "It was music I was looking for, I just didn't know I was. I just loved it."

Gus completed the band's lineup and together – first as Daljit Dhaliwal and then as Films – the four friends spent the next two years playing around town, developing a precise and unique brand of alt. pop that draws on poignant folk verses, crushing synths, smart hip hop syncopations and tight vocal harmonies. They dropped the moniker of Films in 2007, largely to avoid confusing the band with Californian punk troupe The Films. alt-J (∆) gave them a unique name to go with the unique, genre-bending sound they now concoct in the basement of a terrace house in Cambridgeshire.

Admiration and favourable comparisons have come thick and fast for alt-J (∆). Before the release of their instantly sold out debut single on Loud And Quiet last October, the band were described as "Nick Drake meets Gangsta Rap," and they were likened to Wild Beasts, ‘In Rainbows' era Radiohead, The xx and Anthony & The Johnsons – acts acclaimed for their ability to create the kind of patient, sophisticated, intricate music that alt-J (∆) do. An early demo of the skittish, euphoric ‘Breezeblocks' gained healthy radio play without even being released and alt-J (∆)'s Soundcloud generated over 70,000 plays in its first 6 months with little to no promotion.

From Joe's high soul cry and Thom's refusal to drum with cymbals (he started with saucepans because he couldn't fit a full drum kit in Gwil's bedroom where the band first practiced), to the sparse guitars and Gus' delicate key clunks on songs like 'Bloodflood', a neat sound-bite for ∆'s music is yet to be coined, and perhaps never will be. And by challenging what constitutes folk, hip hop, indie and pop music, the band found themselves in the studio at the beginning of 2012, already hotly ‘tipped' for 2012 by Radio1, Clash, the Independent and NME, recording their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave' for Infectious Music with long-time producer Charlie Andrew (Micachu & The Shapes, Eugene McGuinness).

‘An Awesome Wave' was released at the end of May 2012 and crash landed into the Top 20 whilst peaking at #3 on iTunes, making it one of the biggest debuts of the year so far. An amazing feat for a debut album by an indie act with little marketing, it caused a shockwave in the pop and r'n'b dominated charts. The release came with a plethora of amazing reactions that saw it touted as the "hottest debut album" by NME, hailed as "strong, addictive and enthralling' by the BBC and chosen as album of the week on Radio 1 and album of the day on 6music. The singles have been Record of the Week for Greg James, Huw Stephens and Fearne Cotton. DJs across Radio 1, 6music and Radio 2 are united in their praise of the album. Online the album continues to spread, with over 1million plays on their soundcloud to date.

Live, alt-J (∆) continue to go from strength to strength and have received rapturous 4* reviews from The Independent, who called their recent show at London's Borderline "rousing, melodic and rather magical", and The Guardian who hailed it ‘genre-defying… testament to the power of word of mouth'. The band have a 9-date headline UK tour booked for Autumn of this year, seeing them play their biggest headline show to date at the Electric Ballroom in London on 5 November. Before then alt-J (∆) will head into a busy summer of UK and international festival performances including Latitude, Green Man, Bestival, Fuji Rocks and Pukkelpop. The last few months have seen tours with Wild Beasts and Ghostpoet, four incredible sold-out London headline shows at the Africa Centre, Corsica Studios and The Borderline, as well as a show at The Great Escape that had those locked out queuing down the street.