An interview with the British indie-pop band ahead of their Bangkok show.
Formed in 2005 in London, The xx has built up a devoted audience with their dreamy, R'n'B-influenced sounds in hit tracks like “Islands,” "Basic Space" and their latest single “I Dare You.” Ahead of the band's debut Bangkok show on Jan 29, we caught up with Romy Madley Croft (guitar, vocals), Oliver Sim (bass, vocals) and Jamie Smith (aka producer Jamie xx) to talk about their 2017 album I See You, remixes and the power of collaboration.
Many reviews of I See You make mention of a “joyful” or “more upbeat” sound. Was this a conscious choice or the result of any life changes?
Oliver: We’ve had relationships and ended relationships and grown further apart and grown back closer together than ever before as friends, we found ourselves in each other, saw one another and appreciated it a lot more. And a thing we’ve learned is that what makes this band special is our friendship and I See You is a reference to that
How has your songwriting process developed since you first started as a band?
Jamie: We’ve definitely changed the way we work together as a band over the years. Recently we spent more time writing together and we put less restrictions on ourselves. In the past Romy and Oliver only used to write for themselves and we would only write things we could play live. Now we have removed those guidelines and are a bit more musically free.
The Jamie xx remix of “On Hold” sounds radically different from the original. As a band, do you see songs as things that can be “reworked” over and over?
Oliver: Definitely! We’ve had a lot of remixes over the years, and it’s definitely a great way to collaborate with some of your friends and favorite artists, like the recent Four Tet remix of "A Violent Noise." Or when Jamie can put his own spin on one of our tracks.
This will be your first Bangkok show! Is there a thrill to playing a new place for the first time?
Oliver: We’ve done a lot of touring around the world so it is always a thrill to visit somewhere for the first time. I don’t know why it’s taken us so long to finally visit Bangkok but I cannot wait to come. Other than the excitement I feel for playing the show, I’m really looking forward to exploring and getting to know the city.
Romy: There is always a thrill playing something new. It’s amazing to experience new cultures and to see how the crowd will react to our music, we can’t wait!
What’s the best thing about being on tour?
Oliver: Definitely the warm welcomes from all the incredible fans
What are you listening to on the road right now?
Oliver: We’ve actually got a playlist of our tracks we listen to—everything from Al Green to Fleetwood Mac to our label mate Sampha!
You guys are all involved in various projects. Is it ever hard to separate these different creative outlets?
Romy: We find sometimes working on different things can help influence each other. For example when Oliver and I worked on Jamie’s album we worked in a completely different way to what were used to and this helped us when we came to making music as a band again
Finally, there were five years between Coexist and I See You. Any immediate plans for new xx material?
Romy: We can’t reveal anything just yet. Stay tuned!
The xx will perform at Thunderdome Muang Thong Thani (Popular Rd.) on Jan 29. Tickets are B2,800 through Ticketmelon. Watch the video for band's single "I Dare You" below.