The xx - Oliver Sim, Romy Madley Croft, Jamie Smith. Two of them met because their parents were friends. They were only two years old at the. Power of three: Oliver Sim, Romy Madley Croft and Jamie xx () “We've never been 'born for the stage' performers,” Madley Croft continues. I'd talk about both of them but I'm a gal, so naturally, Oliver Sim was the the chemistry with his counterpart Romy Madley Croft is undeniable.
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Technically it was neglect, but it worked very well for us. In the last five interim years, the band drifted and did not see each other much. But you know I found things like performing—performing is the greatest high of all. The members of the xx are quick to dispel that notion.
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I find I get quite anxious traveling. Touring in the U. But then seeing all the people in the audience, it gives me courage. My dad said something so nice to me, after Brexit before the elections. I remember speaking to him and feeling incredibly down. So we have stayed away from using pronouns or time or place because I want people wherever they are, whenever, to be able to connect.
I think there are some people that would appreciate me basically speaking up a bit more, especially people in the queer community. Gay relationships also play a big role in a lot of your newer music videos, and on social media, you regularly promote your partnerships with LGBTQ charities. It gives me a lot of courage to be more visible. But now hearing that it does mean things to young people, to be open about your sexuality, is wonderful.
We were pretty private about most things in our lives at that point. How does it feel to address that in a song? For however many years it took to write this album, a lot of stuff came to the surface about my addictions and my drinking and yeah, it came into the music. Another thing that my dad has taught me is that the one way you can combat shame is just talking about it. Putting it into a song is that times a million. But it really has helped me. But primarily without sounding selfish, it was for myself.
Is it tough being sober on tour? Sobriety is definitely hard. But you know I found things like performing—performing is the greatest high of all. I think just confidence. I understand myself a little bit better.
Is that what he said? Who have you been most nervous to meet? We did a residency in New York at the Armory in , there was only about 40 people, and we were never told who was coming. We were playing a show, I looked at Romy, and dead behind her was Madonna. She was staring me dead in the eye. She was one of the scariest people. But I loved that. 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. 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.
Because of that roll call, many journalists assume Elliott was a performing arts school that actively encouraged musicians, a hipper version of the BRIT School that spawned Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash and Adele. The members of the xx are quick to dispel that notion. There were a lot of naughty kids there and the teachers would focus on them, making sure they wouldn't do each other harm, and we'd be left to go to the music room and play.
Technically it was neglect, but it worked very well for us. Music rapidly became a passion she shared with Sim and the two began writing songs, then nervously got onstage in tiny clubs to play them. Smith saw their second show. I never wanted to be onstage. They had the guts to do it. So I joined, standing up the back. Madley Croft has referred to the split as being like a divorce. I'd known Baria for five years and we haven't spoken since. Maybe we still need time. The music of the xx is a hybrid of the dream-pop atmospherics of Cocteau Twins, the doom-laden washy guitars of the Cure circa Faith, and the stark, synthetic beats of early New Order.
At the core of their sound is the subdued vocal interplay of Sim and Madley Croft. It's almost as if the listener is eavesdropping on a private conversation between two people who are intimately close. From early in their career it led to a lot of conjecture as to the exact nature of their relationship.
It turned out they were neither of the above, nor were they likely to be in the future. Although they don't discuss it now, both Sim and Madley Croft are gay. It was written about early in their career and Madley Croft even did an interview with her girlfriend in , but as she told The Times the following year, ''in the same way Oliver and I have never shouted about our music, we have never shouted about our sexuality, because neither of us feel it has a huge role in our personality or our music.
It's not something that defines us, nor is it something we deny … it's just something that we keep personal and private. We're not singing at each other. We're singing outwards, as separate people.
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