The XX plays a gig in the states

After playing South by Southwest and Philadelphia, band members are ready to write again.

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Courtesy The XX London-based rock group The XX recently commenced its first U.S. tour, in which the trio played SXSW in Austin.

The XX played a sold-out show Sunday night in the sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church. The three mates from London released their self-titled debut record last August, which had a very minimalistic crisp sound. Romy Madley Croft, the soft-spoken lead singer/guitarist, sat in on a phone interview with The Temple News, during which he talked about the South By Southwest music festival, life as a rock star and more.

The Temple News: What was it like for you growing up and playing music?
Romy Madley Croft: We started playing music together when we were 14 or 15, just at school, in the music room and stuff. That sort of developed into a hobby and something we loved doing, so it continued on.

TTN: How did The XX start playing live shows?
RMC: We started off e-mailing and sending messages on MySpace to venues saying, “Can we play gigs?” and then we [were] approached by our record label, Young Turks, at a gig, and they offered to get us some gigs and give us space to rehearse. After that, they sort of took over for us.

TTN: What was it like traveling outside England to play shows? Was it scary at all?
RMC: It was kind of weird. They [Young Turks] eased us into it. We started off in Europe, not too far away from home. Then coming over to America for the first time was definitely a really big thing. It was very exciting.

TTN: What did you think of America when you first came over here?
RMC: I thought it was great. I’ve visited New York before, not playing music. I really enjoy playing here. It’s such a big country. There are so many different types of places and things. It’s very exciting.

TTN: You have been on the road for quite a while now. Does that ever get tiring?
RMC: Yeah, it definitely does get tiring. I think we’ve been touring pretty much non-stop since September last year. There are times when you want to go home, and you don’t really get much time on your own. We start to be creative separately and alone at first, so we don’t really get that separation we’d like to start writing songs. It’s not really the most creative situation.

TTN: Do you ever get a chance to check out new bands?
RMC: It can be quite difficult because when you’re on your own tour, there are a lot of bands you want to see but miss by a day. We pretty much just see the support bands, and that’s it.

TTN: How was SXSW?
RMC: It was intense. We did [the CMJ Music Marathon] before, and we learned from that to not to do as much as we had before, so we did four gigs. We’re kind of perfectionists when it comes to our sound. It was hard to get a perfect sound because we were rushed in to do sound check. It can be sort of hit or miss. That bothered us a bit. It’s still fun though.

TTN: Where’s the coolest place music has taken you?
RMC: We went to Australia and Singapore, and that was kind of crazy, just to be on the whole other side of the world playing to people who knew about us. It was great. Singapore was crazier because of the screaming. I never heard that high-pitched scream before.

TTN: What’s the coolest part about being a rock star?
RMC: I guess just getting the opportunity to see all these places, and it’s great to be able to go somewhere and feel welcomed and have a purpose. I think going on holiday somewhere could be quite scary. You have to watch out for what you’re doing and where you’re going. Coming with music, it’s really exciting.

TTN: When you were first writing the record, did you ever envision it turning into something this big and taking you around the world?
RMC: No, definitely not. When we started writing songs, they were just for us, just because we love music. I didn’t think anyone would ever hear them, really. It’s kind of crazy that so many people have. It’s great that people enjoy them. It’s a big surprise for us.

TTN: What are your plans for when you’re finished touring?
RMC: I think, take some time off and get back to writing. I’ll just sort of take a break and let it naturally happen. I’m really looking forward to seeing what actually happens when it comes out.

TTN: Do you think you’ll do anything different from your last recording process in the next one?
RMC: I’m too sure, really. I know Jamie wants to start his own studio and get like a flat and make a studio there. We recorded at the record company’s garage. It was like a tiny studio. I think we’ll have a little more privacy. You know, we were right in the center of the record company. So I think that will be good, but, yeah, I’m not too sure.

Colin Kerrigan can be reached at colin.kerrigan@temple.edu.

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