“We ended up at Robert Pattinson’s house with Rami Malek!": Alt-J on the wildest night out they've ever had

(Image credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Netflix)

Across a career establishing themselves as experimentalist indie dynamos, Alt-J have very much been pigeon-holed as three mild-mannered young men with a good handle on their pleases and thank yous. In an interview with them a few years ago, this writer was fishing for tales of wild nights that might fly in the face of their reputation as slightly non-descript, ordinary lads making interesting music. They came up trumps. I mean, can you really ever be described as boring if you’ve had a night out with Batman and a Bond villain? No, you can’t.

“We had a very mad one on the first album, we ended up at Robert Pattinson’s house with Rami Malek,” explained frontman Joe Newman. “It was mental. Emile Hirsch was there too. He’s tiny.”

“We’d been at a bar in LA and a friend of ours who owns the bar also knew Rob – Rob! I’ve only met the man once! – and then he was like, ‘Come back to my house’,” explained keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton. “I exchanged number with him and I started texting him when we were in LA. He’d always politely say, ‘Can’t make it’. I was like, ‘stop texting Rob Pattinson!’. What I really learned that night was don’t seek out this kind of celebrity culture. Don’t try and be mates with people because they’re famous actors.”

Unger-Hamilton also learned something else that night, he added. “The crazy thing about that night was at about 9am, I was like, 'I need to go, we've got a radio session' and Pattinson was like, "Don't worry. I'll call you an Uber". I was like, ‘you'll call me a what?! It was the first time I'd ever heard of Uber. That's my big takeaway from that night.”

The band said they got over their ‘hanging out with famous people’ stage, but at least they have a good story to wheel out about it, a night on the tiles with Uber trailblazer R-Patz.

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.