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How Jamie xx Unleashed His Inner Club God

Indie-pop guy on the birth of his dancey solo debut ‘In Colour’

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Jamie xx

Jamie xx in Croatia. Photo: © Borna Čavrag / Alamy



Last spring, while the xx were in New York for an unusually intimate 11-night residency ”” performing for just 45 people at a time in the cavernous Park Avenue Armory ”” the U.K. indie-pop band’s resident producer, Jamie xx, snuck away and bought a vintage synth. “It’s quite a rare thing, an old Oberheim from the Seventies,” he says. He shipped the instrument back to his London home and ended up using it to make “Gosh,” the irresistible opener of his solo debut, In Colour. “That’s one of the best times I’ve ever had in the studio,” he says. “It was so natural. I wasn’t thinking about anything else.”

In Colour is the culmination of a process that dates back to 2010. “I’ve been making a lot of [solo] music for a long time in between xx albums,” he says. “But I never finished it. I was always starting new ideas.” He worked on his own material whenever he had free time. “It was everywhere,” he says. “On tour, and then when I came home I’d be really happy to be home and I’d want to make more music. It never really stopped.”

The album is the fullest expression yet of Jamie’s taste in hip-hop and dance music (previously heard most notably on his house-tinged beat for Drake and Rihanna’s 2011 hit “Take Care”), with guest vocals from red-hot Atlanta rapper Young Thug and Jamaican dancehall star Popcaan, along with his xx bandmates Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft. It all adds up to a joyful, genre-less style that’s very 2015. “I used to think about who would be listening to my music,” he says. “Then I stopped doing that, and I was able to make this album. When I’m making something that I like, that’s probably the happiest I am ever. It comes out in the music.”

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