Alt-J's Joe Newman: "I'll never be a John Mayer. I'm one of those people that just explores the guitar – I'm on that journey now"

Joe Newman
(Image credit: Alt-J)

It has been almost five years since Alt-J released their last album, Relaxer. You’d expect any player to evolve in that time, but listening to the band's frontman Joe Newman on their new album The Dream, it’s clear he’s had something of a revelation.

“I think I’m giving the guitar a voice now,” says the songwriter for the English indie stalwarts at one point in our conversation. Indeed, The Dream’s second track, U&ME, proves that to literally be the case, when Newman weaves in a name check for his “Candy Tangerine Telecaster” on the second verse.

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Matt Parker
Features Editor,

Matt is Features Editor for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.