Group say the Cyrus-sampling Hunger of the Pine came after the singer asked drummer Thom Green to remix her Bangerz single.
Alt-J have explained the origin of Hunger of the Pine, a new track that samples Miley Cyrus. The group apparently wrote their latest single after listening to a remix of Cyrus's song 4X4, then "got in touch" with the pop star to ask if they could sample her voice.
"She was cool with it," frontman Joe Newman told DIY Mag. "She's been really supportive of us, and she's a fan ... For us, it just adds that unexpected element to it."
Cyrus has long been using Alt-J's song Fitzpleasure as part of her Bangerz live tour. But it also appears that the singer reached out to Alt-J drummer Thom Green to remix 4X4. Green was working on the new version of the Bangerz track around the time Alt-J were writing new material, and he started manipulating clips during one of their jams.
"I was playing the guitar and Thom was responding to what I was doing on Ableton and before we knew it, we'd come up with this really interesting structure, and I came up with lyrics for it quite quickly," Newman recalled. "It sounded cool with what Joe was playing on the guitar," added keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton.
By the time Green put the Cyrus remix aside, it was already too late. "Subconsciously - although we weren't aware of it - what we were writing after listening to the remix had the same key as the remix, and the same pace," Newman said. "So, when we had established the boundaries of that song, we looked back on the remix ... and that [line] 'I'm a female rebel' just came up and I was like ... 'Can we try using it?'"
You can listen to Hunger of the Pine here.