"The xx" on their relationship with each other ~ The xx Fansite
The xx (l-r) Jamie Smith, Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim. . more stuff to write about, and not just in terms of romantic relationships, either. behind his solo record In Colour, while Romy Madley Croft spent time Oliver Sim stayed at home in London during this period, he told. balamut.info [info]. balamut.info: balamut.info Romy Madley Croft [info] . in a Room · guitar · Jamie xx feat. Oliver Sim,
His hair is carefully pomaded into a small quiff, part-Morrissey, part-Tintin. He's got jetlag, which is not surprising when you learn that the band has flown to Sydney from Finland via London and Hong Kong.
It's like a good sibling relationship.
I've got a sister and I get along really well with her, too, and we argue about the same things as I do with Romy. We speak later, in a separate interview in the same bar, sitting around a coffee table. She plays guitar and sings.
She is short and pale with a mop of black hair.
Romy Madley Croft - Relationships - MusicBrainz
She wears a black top, black jacket and black pants. The xx like black. Madley Croft is quietly spoken, half swallowing her words that only just register on my tape recorder. There is a third member of the xx. He sits in with Madley Croft in our interview. He doesn't sing, but he is integral to the group's sound. Jamie Smith aka Jamie xx is a DJ, beat-maker and keyboard player.
He produces the band's music. His answers are short whispers, often directed at the table. He must be the most reserved DJ in the history of music. What did he play? It was a two-hour set. I hadn't heard it over a club sound system before. People recognised it, which was nice.
- The xx On Growing Up Without Growing Apart
- 'We’ve All Come a Long Way.' The xx Talks Sexuality, Sobriety, and Friendship
- Oliver Sim
Oliver Sim Smith met the other two when they were all 11, at Elliott School, a sprawling, unlovely institution built in the middle of a council estate in Putney, west London. The famous former student whose name was always brought up was Pierce Brosnan, who attended from to It wasn't until they'd left that they heard of the other musicians who had gone there before them - members of electro-pop group Hot Chip and indie band the Maccabees, plus Kieran Hebden the folktronica songwriter Four Tet and William Bevan the critically lauded dubstep artist known as Burial.
We really pushed ourselves with that, in retrospect. We went over the same things over and over again so much that we drove ourselves insane. With Coexist, we gave him bits and parts of verses and instrumentals, and put more weight on him to fill in the gaps. But this time he was away more and Oliver and I had more time just the two of us.
Side by side
So, more like on the first album, we made more formed demos with rhythm, that could inform or give Jamie what we were going for. And then he rips it up and reimagines it, to give us something to work on. We also had [producer] Rodaidh McDonald involved again, and I noticed that it meant that Jamie could be more creative. I could inject a little more of my own personality. We were in that mindframe of trying anything, so we tried [them together], and it seemed to fit. We weren't sure whether it was too bombastic because they were so polar opposite, but the juxtaposition worked.
The acoustic demo was very emotional, and almost too much. A friend of mine says that kind of represents how I've dealt with things. I don't deal with things I've lost in a heavy, every-day-sad way. I try and just get on with things. We had one sample that we couldn't clear. There was a woman who owned the rights to her husband's song. She lived in Detroit and she wouldn't clear it — I think because of what she'd been through and everything that was going on right then with cultural privilege.
I ended up writing her a letter and sending her some stuff. Which is basically all black music. It made me more aware of that. We grew up in a very multicultural school and it didn't feel like there was racism — not that I was aware of.
When I did the writing session with Kelela, it was at the height of everything that was going on with Black Lives Matter and she was talking me through her perception of white privilege. I felt very privileged to hear that, and it really opened my eyes to what it must have been like for her, and is like for her.
I Skype with the band from their hotel room the day before the show and, across miles of cable lines, the conversation quickly turns to the mood in the air. Our single release of "On Hold" was always planned for the day after [the U. We were thinking about: Do we go ahead with it? Is it the right thing to do? Do we move it? It was difficult, but we decided to go ahead and put out the song. Music has been such an escape for me. It helps me deal with things, face them, or escape from them.
So I hope — and the vibe I've gotten from people — that the single gave some light relief. Nothing has actually changed yet except the fact that it's been brought to light, which is quite a daunting, scary thing to realize. Music is a completely different thing from anything else in the world. But maybe it is a good idea to take responsibility.
I do think it's important that everyone does everything they can. We have the power to do anything at this point, but we haven't really got to that point yet — we're still working out how to play songs.
Working on Jamie's record — making music not for The xx — definitely helped open our minds a lot more to not having to worry about what's appropriate for what we've done in the past, because Jamie's record was a new thing.
We didn't really go into this record with that worry.
It was just, "This is what I've made. But in this new wave of just being more open, it just flowed.
I loved it instantly. It was a different challenge: Jamie presenting us a beat with a lyrical theme, and us writing inspired by the theme of those samples.
Most of the records I buy are from [an earlier] era. And those are the best-sounding records, in my opinion. The music that made me want to start producing all sampled music from 20 or 30 years before it. I rarely sample something that's contemporary because I think it needs to have aged for it be usable; ready to be reinterpreted.
But that lead sample from David Lang on "Lips" is just so simple that it's quite timeless. This album was difficult to name. I couldn't think of an overriding theme. And how crucial it is feeling seen in any sort of relationship. Towards the end of Coexist, we had a couple of short tours where, although we were on the road together, we weren't speaking very much.
We were there to do a job, and once the show was done we'd go our separate ways to our hotel rooms. Those were some of my unhappiest moments. Party music, this ain't. The tempos might be faster, the chords a tad glossier, the vocals more forthright, the melodies leavened with earworm samples and updrafts of hopeful major chords, but for the most part, these are still songs concerned with loneliness, regret, vulnerability. For every up tempo offering such as Dangerous or On Hold, there's a torch song marinated in tears.
Brave For You sees Romy contemplating the death of her parents.
A Violent Noise finds a sensitive homebody struggling to connect with a brash and clamorous outside world. With its entreaties to "Test me, see if I break" and "take it out on me", Test Me feels borderline masochistic. For such a small place, Iceland has a really rich musical history, and while we were there we listened to a lot of local pop radio.
As a result, we made that song, which is the poppiest thing we've ever done. With its pained vocal and twangy guitar, album centrepiece Performance could have been something off their first album, the lyrics an update of The Impressions' immortal 'sad guy faking happy' ballad, Tracks Of My Tears.
The biggest struggle I find with writing positive, happy love songs is that it's very easy for them to sound cheesy. I was wondering why there's such a huge market for heartbreak in pop songs and not so much for joy, and I thought, maybe it's because people aren't sitting around writing songs when they're swept along by the euphoria of love - they're off enjoying it!
It's only when heartbreak hits that you feel you can wade through it in a song.
Also, both Romy and I feel braver putting these difficult emotions into songs than we do saying them out loud to someone, which is strange, I guess, as a lot more people end up hearing the songs.
It must be very odd, for a trio of self-described introverts, to suddenly become quite so popular. Their debut album won the Mercury Prize, its critical and commercial success a huge surprise to the band who'd strapped it together in a garage behind a London studio with very modest ambitions.
Soon afterwards, their songs were being sampled by Rihanna and covered by Shakira. Jay Z and Beyonce came to one of their gigs, sat in the front row and sang along to every song.
Sim fronted a menswear ad campaign for esteemed French fashion house, Dior. Still uncomfortable under the spotlight, he took to drinking heavily to deal with the stress, until it became a problem for the rest of the band. Sim's struggles with his own self-destructive tendencies are explored on the song, Replica.
He hasn't had a drink now in over a year, and credits his two bandmates with helping him through tough times. Very early on, someone said we were the shyest band in England, and that's stuck with us ever since.
But really, if you take any normal teenager off the street and stick cameras in their face and put them up on stage, they're not gonna be very easy to speak to.