The vocalist and bassist of The xx, Oliver Sim, has revealed that he has been living with HIV since he was 17 years old.
Sim has spoken honestly about his diagnosis in a lengthy statement shared alongside his new single ‘Hideous’, which is taken from his upcoming debut album, Hideous Bastard. Produced by xx bandmate Jamie xx, the new album draws heavily on Sim’s own life experiences.
“Early on in the making of my record, Hideous Bastard, I realised that I was writing a lot about fear and shame. I imagine that might paint a picture of a dark, ‘woe is me’ sounding album, but in recent years I’ve become a firm believer that the best antidote to these feelings can be bringing them to the surface and shedding some light on them,” Sim explained in the statement.
“I haven’t written the record to dwell, but rather to free myself of some of the shame and fear that I’ve felt for a long time,” he added. “So, I hear a lot of the music as joyous, because the experience of writing and recording it has been the complete opposite of what fear and shame have been for me.”
Continuing, Sim explained: “I realised I’d been circling around one of the things that has probably caused me the most fear and shame. My HIV status. I’ve been living with HIV since I was 17 and it’s played with how I’ve felt towards myself, and how I’ve assumed others have felt towards me, from that age and into my adult life,” Sim said. “So, quite impulsively, I wrote about it on a song called ‘Hideous’.”
The new track also features the iconic Jimmy Somerville of Bronski Beat and The Communards, who Sim has described as his “guardian angel”, who he heaped praise on for being a “powerful voice around HIV and AIDS for decades”.
Hideous Bastard is scheduled for release on September 9th via Young. Watch the video for ‘Hideous’ below.