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Prizes, plaudits and celebrity fans; no band could be more adored right now than The xx, but in spite of their success, these three Londoners remain reluctant to let anyone into their über-exclusive club. As their long-awaited second album hits the shelves, the band’s beatmaker, Jamie Smith, survives a grilling from Celina Murphy.
Celina Murphy, 02 Oct 2012
“It’s gonna be live on Radio 1,” Smith tells me, “and at the moment we’re just working with an arranger and composer and working out which part of the set we can orchestrate with a 70-piece orchestra, so there’s quite a lot of work to put in... but it’s fun just to do something new.”
Half an hour later, my questions about crowd-pleasing and career trajectory are still troubling Smith. Whatever he said earlier, it’s clear that being forced to distil his craft into quotable media morsels is merely an unpleasant offshoot of what he likes to do most, ie. stay up late in the studio, fiddling about with bits of songs.
He tells me that his bandmates “never talk about what their lyrics mean,” and I’m beginning to think that Smith thinks of his sounds the same way; he makes them in one world, people listen to them in another, and never the twain shall meet.
It all becomes clear when I ask about the album’s title Coexist, which was discovered during Madley-Croft’s research into the artwork.
“There was a line she found which said that oil and water don’t mix, they agree to peacefully coexist…” Smith explains, and he needn’t say any more.
Coexist is out now on Young Turks.