Jamie xx of The xx on his future plans, what the ‘xx’ really means and more

Written by
Sofiana Ramli

Last night (Jul 25), British indie electronic trio, The xx, brought the Singapore Indoor Stadium to life as they played in front of more than a thousand fans in support of their latest record, I See You. This was the band's second headlining gig here – the first being back in 2013 at The Star Theatre. But before the epic hour and a half show began, we managed to catch a quick, candid moment with the band’s most elusive member, Jamie Smith, otherwise known as Jamie xx.

Welcome back to Singapore! It’s been four years since your last gig here. How are you feeling?

It’s great but it’s very hot. We went to Gardens by the Bay this morning and managed to wander around. It was really lovely.

You guys recruited Sampha and Kelela for the 'I See You' tour. How does the band pick who opens for your shows?

We have to love their music and know that we can get along with them. With Sampha, obviously we’ve known him for a long time. And with Kelela, Romy (vocals and lead guitar) had worked with her previously. [Kelela] lives in London now, so we hang out sometimes. The band usually has a list of people before we narrow it down. We share what albums we’re listening to and talk about who’s going on tour [at the same time].

Does the band have any live show tricks?

[Laughs] I don’t know about tricks, but earlier on at the sound check we were making a new version of a song that we’re trying to play tonight. I don’t know if we’re able to do it, but we try to change things up – just for our own sanity.

Your latest music video, ‘I Dare You’, was called a ‘love letter to Los Angeles’. What is it about that city that inspires your music?

We wanted to do a video in each place that we recorded [our album]. We did one in Marfa, then London, and Los Angeles after. LA's just beautiful and a city we love. Romy is probably the one who really connects with the place and I think she would move there if she could. The sunset in LA is like nowhere else I’ve ever seen.

You’ve actually been pretty busy lately, in between producing The xx’s latest album and playing as Jamie xx. When are you planning to take a break?

After all of this, definitely! I’m going to try and live a different life for awhile. I want to just chill out and get a cat. I also want to travel to areas where we normally wouldn’t go on tour – places that aren’t major cities.

Describe I See You in three words.

Wow, okay. [pauses] Joyful, difficult and… new? [laughs]

Last question, I gotta ask: what does the ‘xx’ mean? Has it gained any meaning or is it still just an ‘aesthetics’ thing like you guys intended a decade ago?

It really doesn’t mean anything! Everything around the name is more important to us.

Watch The xx’s music video for ‘I Dare You below.

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