The xx, the now-iconic London indie synth-pop group made up of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie xx, are on their way back.
Having made their major breakthrough in 2009 with their self-titled debut album, their minimalist take on a genre of music that flailing offered indie fans something different to grab ahold of, something unique.
Their debut record would go on to win the Mercury Music Prize just months after its release, propelling the band to international fame and worldwide touring dates. Their sophomore album, Coexist, arrived three years later to critical acclaim and debuted at number one on the UK Official Albums Chart and further shone the light on Jamie xx took on the main role of producer.
With substantial breaks between each release, The xx shared their last effort, I See You, in 2017 and once again scored a number one release—once again with the band’s leader, Jamie xx, taking a stronger lead in the production and mixing of the album. Now, as another three-year gap between albums emerges, The xx have revealed their intentions to make a return in 2020 with brand new material.
Taking to social media, the band said: “Looking forward to 2020! We’ve all been working on new music, can’t wait to share it with you! Hope you have the best new year.” The message arrives after The xx’s singer, Oliver Sim, revealed to Matt Everitt on BBC Radio 6 Music that the group have been beavering away behind the scenes. “I’ve done a lot of work with Romy in the last couple of weeks,” Sim told the radio station. “I’ve done a lot of work with Jamie, but we haven’t had that moment yet of all three of us being in the room together,” he added.
Now, as we ready ourselves for the return of the band, we’re revisiting some of the music Jamie xx has detailed as important works in his progression as a musician and producer. Jamie, who has released two solo records in between his work with The xx, sat down with Complex to explain ten different songs that are significant to him.
When asked which song he would choose to relax to, Jamie referenced ‘Blues Helping’ by Love Sculpture: “The largest section of my own record collection is ’60s and ’70s soul,” he said: “This is my dad’s, a blues record from the ’60s, but one with white teenagers singing it. It’s good to listen to late at night, when drinking whisky.”
Reflecting on his career to date, Jamie began discussing some of the music he was proudest of making—a conversation which led to the reference of his Radiohead remix of ‘Bloom’: “This was a step up for me at that point [in my career]. I entered a new realm of making dance music,” he said. “Thom Yorke sent me a nice email asking me to do it, and then I got to meet him when we played Boiler Room together. The pressure was on for that one, but I felt so honoured to be able to do it.”
Jamie xx 10 Favourite Songs:
- Songs to Relax To:
Love Sculpture, ‘Blues Helping’
- Songs Most Proud of Making:
Radiohead, ‘Bloom (Jamie xx Rework Part 3)’
- Album that Made Him Want to Start Producing:
- Favourite Song With Steel Drums:
Steel An’ Skin ‘Afro Punk Reggae Dub’
- UK Garage Track He Can’t Stop Playing:
DJ Zinc ‘138 Trek’
- Album that Inspired Him While Recording In Colour:
- Track that Encompasses Everything He Loves About U.K. Rave Culture:
Jamie XX, ‘All Under One Roof Raving’
- Favourite song from his label, XL Recordings:
Roy Davis Jr. f/ Peven Everett ‘Gabriel’
- Go-to song for DJing:
Bileo, ‘You Can Win’
- Song that makes Him Excited About Dance Music:
C.P.I., ‘Proceso (Barnt Remix)’
“It’s massive,” Jamie said when talking about Roy Davis Jr. f/ Peven Everett. “I don’t listen to any music that doesn’t feel at least slightly human and organic. I don’t like the sound of just a drum machine and a synth. It has to sound original and have the human touch about it, just like this.”
Enjoy a playlist of Jamie xx’s favourite tracks, below.