Indie quartet Alt-J celebrate Mercury Prize win

The four-piece band won the award for their album An Awesome Wave.
The four-piece band won the award for their album An Awesome Wave. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Indie quartet Alt-J have won the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize for their album An Awesome Wave.

The four boys, who met at Leeds University in 2007, looked stunned as they collected the award - despite being the bookies' favourites.

Plan B arrives for the awards bash.
Plan B arrives for the awards bash. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

They beat acts including rapper Plan B to win the £20,000 award at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London, on Thursday night.

Singer-songwriter Richard Hawley, who was nominated for his album Standing At The Sky's Edge, missed out again.
Singer-songwriter Richard Hawley, who was nominated for his album Standing At The Sky's Edge, missed out again. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Singer-songwriter Richard Hawley, who was nominated for his album Standing At The Sky's Edge, missed out again - six years after claiming he lost to Arctic Monkeys.

Accepting the award on stage, Alt-J - which comprises Thom Green (drums), Joe Newman (guitar/vocals), Gwil Sainsbury (guitarist/bassist) and Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) - said there were too many people to thank.

Indie quartet Alt-J celebrate their win.
Indie quartet Alt-J celebrate their win. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

We might just thank everyone on team Alt-J who has ever made a difference.

– Alt-J

The band also thanked their parents for "not making us get jobs".

Speaking backstage, Unger-Hamilton said the £20,000 prize money would not change their lives too much. He said: "It won't nearly pay off our student loans."

But he admitted to being a fan of his own work, saying: "I like listening to it and I think that is a testament to it, it's the same four guys."

Newman said the band would celebrate in traditional style.

He said: "We've just won a Mercury. Christ, I'm going to stay out and carry this as long as I can."

Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw pictured at the awards evening.
Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw pictured at the awards evening. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Simon Frith, chair of the judges, said the music had a "hypnotic" quality and was a deserved winner. He added: "One of the things the Mercury has always been about is sounding fresh."

Rupert Jarvis, Felix White, Sam Doyle, Hugo White, Will White and Orlando Weeks of The Maccabees (from left to right).
Rupert Jarvis, Felix White, Sam Doyle, Hugo White, Will White and Orlando Weeks of The Maccabees (from left to right). Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

HMV's Gennaro Castaldo said the win would likely result in a "five or sixfold" increase in sales.

He said: "Alt-J are one of a handful of nominated artists along with Django Django and Ben Howard who are reaching a tipping point in their careers.

"Winning the Mercury Prize, and the recognition and huge exposure it brings, is just the catalyst they need to connect with a much wider audience and step up to the next level, like Elbow did a few years back."