If Biggie Smalls was still alive he’d be a fan of The xx.
Take the first album from the most relaxed, minimalist band in the world, and play it over The Notorious B.I.G. rapping about gats and the size of his appendage. Who in their right mind would think that's a good idea? Ironically it's the best idea that Californian DJ Wait What has ever had.
"When I first heard it, it was pretty surreal. I liked it. I still don't know the full story about it, I don't really know where it came from. But I'm into it, I'm glad it worked."
Oliver Sim confesses that both he and his sister are huge fans of Wait What's 'The Notorious xx'. That said, Oliver seems to be a fan of basically any mixtape that samples an xx song.
"I like our songs being sampled, but it depends in what kind of way. I think when it's people at home doing stuff, it's nice to hear. I love remixes, when they're taking something you've done and taking it to a really different place it's exciting, it's inspiring. It gives it a new life in my head. But then, you know, in other ways you're pretty protective of it. It's your baby! You'll sometimes end up turning on the TV and seeing our music on a really bad TV show, and it kind of kills my heart a bit. But you know, you don't have control over those kind of things."
This is generally the part of the article where I give an example to back up what Oliver's saying. The thing is, I've never seen a bad TV show that's used an xx song. Then again, I don't watch Channel 7. Besides, Oliver seems to think it's much harder for artists in the UK to control whether their music will appear in ‘Boardwalk Empire’ or ‘Cougar Town’.
"With TV in England it's a blanket rule — either you say 'yes' and your music is allowed to be used on TV, or you say 'no' and it's not. It's a black or white deal, so [if you say 'yes'] your music can crop up in the weirdest places. But in terms of artists sampling our songs, we do have a level of control. Rihanna is the only artist we've signed off on and given permission to release something with our music."
As far as I'm concerned, if Rihanna is asking for permission to sample your music your band is doing OK. Oliver isn't content with doing OK, though. He wants The xx to be taken seriously, instead of being passed over as a bunch of kids that got lucky.
"When we were coming out with our first album people were bringing our ages up, because we were 19 when we made it and just turned 20 when we released it. In a couple of write-ups it was like a double-edged sword, because they really liked this album but they thought it was a fluke. I don't think they thought we made a conscious effort — they thought we stumbled across this record. They thought we were underserving. To a degree it was kind of true, we did stumble across it. But that's how I think it happened. Naturally. It just came out of us. It wasn't contrived, we weren't trying to do something just to be different."
Surely the release of 'Coexist' has those same critics eating their words. It's an album that Richard Kingsmill still can't shut up about. It was labelled a 'masterpiece' by Uncut. Even Robert Christgau gave it an A-minus; impressive considering Vampire Weekend is the only band he actually likes. It seems quite ironic that the only people not on board the hype wagon are The xx themselves.
"We haven't had that proper moment to stop and take in all that's happened. But I do feel good about it. We were in Australia when 'Angels' got released, and it was the first time we ever heard it on the radio. It was a really big moment for us. And after that, just driving around, we heard it about ten more times."
Well, Oliver, that's Australian radio for you.
The xx play the Brisbane Convention Centre Tuesday April 9.