I'd talk about both of them but I'm a gal, so naturally, Oliver Sim was the Those moves, plus the chemistry with his counterpart Romy Madley. Romy Madley Croft, one-third of the British indie rock band with Oliver Romy Madley Croft, one-third of the British indie rock band with Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, announced her engagement to “I mean, I am (gay). The xx - Oliver Sim, Romy Madley Croft, Jamie Smith The boy and girl went to nursery school together, then primary school, then college.
Side by side
The same song was used by the BBC during coverage of the British general election. They found that to be the most surreal of all. Throughout all this, they toured the world together, living in each other's pockets, but their friendship remained strong. Advertisement The boy's name is Oliver Sim. He plays bass and is the co-lead singer of the xx. His lanky frame is tucked into a corner booth inside a bar in Kings Cross on a grey Friday afternoon.
He wears a black trench coat over a black skivvy and black pants. 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 & Oliver Sim (The XX) - Interview
She wears a black top, black jacket and black pants. The xx like black.
"The xx" on their relationship with each other ~ The xx Fansite
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.
BAEBLE BAE ALERT: Oliver Sim of The xx
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. This time around, the trio decided to be less precious, more exploratory.
And we've also realised that the thing that makes us sound like us is, ultimately, our personalities.
- The xx: The shyest band in England
That's the DNA of the band. It doesn't require so much thought. Both singers have distinctive voices - understated and intimate - and playing styles: Sim's droning basslines are spare and careful, while Madley-Croft peels out shimmering, gossamer-thin guitar runs. And producer Jamie xx has certain sounds and song structures he likes to use, both with the band and in his solo work. When the three of them make music together, it's immediately clear who you're listening to.
And his solo record helped inform this one. If he'd brought along that Hall and Oates sample from lead single On Hold, we would have thought it was inappropriate for The xx, but we've just tried to be more free with how we worked this time around. Working on his solo record with him helped with that- it was the first time the three of us had worked together without having to think- does this music fit with things we've done before as The xx? Sim is, bless him, very open when discussing the shortcomings of earlier records.
A shy gay man still getting to know himself, he started writing songs with Romy, who's also gay, when they were both They had already been friends most of their lives: But songwriting was tough new skill to learn.
They murmured their lyrics, played quietly, buried themselves in reverb. They sounded almost apologetic to be expressing their messy feelings in front of strangers.
BAEBLE BAE ALERT: Oliver Sim of The xx - Baeble Music
We were just 16 when we started writing some of those songs, so a lot of them were about expectations. We sang about our hopes and dreams of what it might be like when it came our turn to be in love. We have more stuff to write about, and not just in terms of romantic relationships, either. We've grown as individuals, and the friendship between the three of us has changed.
There's still heartbreak in there, but I think there's also a lot more joy in our music now. 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.