Blank Space + Snake = ? Get ready guys, Taylor Swift is definitely up to something. 

If you haven’t already heard, Taylor Swift caused much Internet buzz when she went on a literal social media blackout last Friday. While the ‘Bad Blood’ songstress had already been lying low online, (except for updates bestowing birthday wishes on her world famous besties), Taylor wiped all the content off her social media accounts – which sparked off netizen reactions ranging from alarm at her sudden disappearance, to anticipation for possible future music aka ‘TS6’.

Taylor Swift Blank IG

And in a bold move that could only be testament to Taylor Swift’s shrewd social media brilliance, she uploaded a single post on Monday (before anyone could get bored of speculating about her blank spaces): a 10-second video cryptically depicting what appears to be a snake’s tail flickering back and forth.


A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Taylor Swift has been associated with the snake, particularly the snake emoji, for awhile now. According to Urban Dictionary, a snake is “someone who you think is sincere and really nice, but then turns out to be a backstabber”. Ever since the whole Calvin Harris/’This Is What You Came For’/Nils Sjöberg pseudonym debacle, and the whole Kanye West ‘Famous’/ Kim Kardashian Snapchat leak, haters had been flooding Taylor’s social media pages with the snake emoji.

With that being said, it’s kinda understandable (and predictable) why the Internet exploded and went into complete furore over what Taylor’s mysterious clip could mean. Ranging from a possible T-Swift cameo on Game of Thrones, to an impending space adventure, to her opening the Chamber of Secrets. 

 But to be honest, the most likely theory is that Taylor will be dropping new music. Her 6th album to be exact, which Swifties have been eagerly waiting for since 2014’s 1989. 

And with a little Internet sleuthing, here are what Swifties have come up so far about the imminent #TS6. 

#1 Greeting card worthy lyrics

With Taylor releasing the snake vid moments before the eclipse happened, @DaleSwift speculates that the lyrics “It feels like we crossed paths at exactly the right time and place” could be from an upcoming single!

#2 A song title that transcends time

@TaylorSwiftNOW dug up this page on song app Genius, that reveals a song titled, ‘Timeless’ that’s registered “underneath Taylor’s Name” on ACE Repertory. And if you head to, you’d see the words: Timeless, coming soon. Disclaimer: while the website exists, other netizens claim that it has been registered since 2005, and might be a case of #FakeNews

#3 25 August release date

This tweet is self-explanatory. It’s amazing how dedicated Swifties are at uncovering information, especially in such ‘blink or you’ll miss it’ cases. And with Taylor’s past albums dropping in August, we wouldn’t be surprised if she really releases music this Friday! 

#4 Impending music videos!

Taylor Swift Tumblr

Now, this one we’re most excited about. Tumblr users @wildestgiraffe and @shiftyswift‘s eagle eyes spotted that both Taylor’s Vevo and main YouTube channel shows more videos that can be viewed, with her Vevo listing 77 videos (with 73 viewable) and her YouTube having 141 videos and only 140 viewable. This can only mean one thing: #TS6 is definitely coming! 

While we waited with bated breath for Taylor to finally drop her new music and reveal the deal behind the snake, this clever tweet sums it all up: 

Watch this (not so blank) space for more #TS6 updates as they hit the Internet! 

More related stories: All The Celebrity Emojis You’ll Need To Express Any EmotionJustin Bieber Cancelled His World Tour For This Relatable ReasonGLOW Is The TV Series About Women’s Wrestling Nobody Knew They Needed

Post Divider Leaderboard-Teenage Subscription


Sam Rui Talks Songwriting, Relationships And Being Self-Aware

21 Aug 2017 by Johanna Teo

 Topping Spotify Singapore’s Viral 50 chart, scoring huge gigs at the likes of Laneway Festival, Ultra Music Festival and more, psychology student-turned-R&B chanteuse Sam Rui has accomplished in her relatively new career what many established local acts have yet to. 

Admittedly, our introduction to Sam’s music only came after her debut single, ‘Better’ shot straight to #1 on Spotify. But it didn’t take long for us to fall for her brand of slow burning alternative R&B, with heartfelt tunes like ‘Never Be (Let It Go)’ and ‘Boys’ reminding us of every heartbreak we’ve ever known. Ahead, we speak with the 21-year-old musical trailblazer, where she dished on her burgeoning career, moving past comfort zones, and writing about her exes (giving us pretty good relationship advice while at it). 


A post shared by Sam Rui (@sammirui) on

How was it like prepping for your album release?

When I started recording, it was just something I was doing for fun. Then as things started blowing up, I felt like if this opportunity fell into my lap I’d be really stupid not to capitalise on it. At every step of the way, I would look back on my progress and note that I would have to up the stakes – work harder and add several factors that I wouldn’t have added if I had released it six months earlier. It was really free and easy up until the start of this year when I realised what it was turning into and what I wanted it to be. This was when I started investing in more money, effort and time, and when it started to get stressful.

For the most part, I’ve been quite lucky with my music. I haven’t had to do much to really push it, and not to be haolian, but good music speaks for itself. To do the smart thing and run a press release works (and is quite necessary to do), but you can’t do that and not have anything backing it up. I felt that people who found my music without me pushing it down their throats would really appreciate – and would be the audience that I wanted – so that’s why I just let it do its own thing.

Comparing yourself now and six months before, has anything changed for you as an artiste, strategy-wise?

If the product is good and authentic then there won’t be much of an issue. Listeners know what they’re listening to and they are equally picky. From the start, people have commented on how I should perhaps start singing more Chinese songs because the market is bigger, or make more pop and R&B songs. I could have taken that advice and maybe things would have picked up more, but I would have felt it was forced. It has worked for me right up till this point and it would be stupid for me to switch things up because this is a formula that’s already working for me. I’m still the same person, my approach and the way I sell music is still the same. I’ll let you decide for yourself if you like it – I’m not going to blast it everywhere and make you ‘swallow’ it, you know what I mean?

Having performed at Laneway, Ultra and this year’s SHINE fest, do you have any pre-show routines?


A post shared by Sam Rui (@sammirui) on

Pi Pa Gao! (Laughs) I chug this like mad. I used to drink from the bottle but now it comes in little sachets. So before shows when other people usually [do] something to calm their nerves, instead I drink Pi Pa Gao. That’s my only pre-show ritual. 

Did you have any doubts going into music?

For sure. I need to have a safety net of sorts – I still have a very traditional mindset and my family is quite a typically traditional one. Every once in a while, I tend to [think that] this is not the best thing to do. But then I think of how I’m still young and how dumb I would be not to invest my all in it seeing as how it fell into my lap. It’s better now than in my late twenties when I have a family to support or to buy my own house. I can still afford to be a little more self-indulgent. But I’m still very cautious. I didn’t drop out of school and I’m currently only on my gap year. I plan to eventually go back and finish my degree and explore other career paths that I’ve kept open, but [music] is my priority [right now]. Hopefully it becomes sustainable, but if it doesn’t then at least I’d have tried and I didn’t let what society expects of me [deter me] right away.

What does your family think of your music career?

My family is not extremely against it, but they’re always very cautious. They see me as like a rabak person who just wants to do music, and I think they still think that a lot of the decisions I make regarding what I do are emotional. And they’re still stressed about this even though they should know that I know better. But I can understand where they’re coming from. They’re always like, “Are you sure you don’t want to continue with school and do both at the same time?” 

I always stand my ground because being an artiste means there are things you need to cut out if you want it to work. I appreciate that they don’t shut me down and stop me from doing what I really want to do. I think some parents would have stopped their kid from doing music – but my parents are also not super ‘all in’, which I appreciate as it keeps me in check. My brother digs it, he gets to come to shows like Ultra for free, and he has a lot of street cred amongst his friends. He’s pretty supportive. But yeah, my family are supportive, they come for my shows once in a while and I really appreciate that.

As a young solo female artiste, has pushing yourself out of the comfort zone always been something you’re comfortable doing?

I’m a very self-conscious person, I don’t have the highest of self-esteem. When I release a song or perform, I don’t have that kind of mindset like “Yeah, I’m doing what I’m doing. If you like it, good, if you don’t f*ck you”. I don’t have that kind of mentality. Growing up, I’ve always been the sort of person who needed approval and affirmation that what I’m doing is right. I think because the trajectory for me doing music was so steady, I wasn’t pushed out of my comfort zone so suddenly that I didn’t have time to prepare for it.

For example, I started writing and my first song on Soundcloud was just an audio file of my voice; my face was not even there and I felt comfortable enough doing that. It slowly pushed into performances where I’d hide behind the guitar, and it’s escalated to the point where I have to front a whole band. It’s been a very steady thing and along the way I have people close to me who support me in what I do. My band is very supportive and they give me feedback and criticism, but I know it comes from a good place. So I always know what I have to work on and they’re the people I want to please when I’m doing this, and the people who’ve had my back since the beginning. I’m not trying to please everyone, just the people who matter to me.

Making a leap from Youtube covers to creating your own music and writing your own lyrics, was there anything interesting you learned along the way?

In terms of performing, I’m always open to feedback but in terms of my writing, it’s still a personal thing to me. I don’t let anyone dictate that process. Some people think like, going from covering songs to writing your own lyrics is a very big step and that you need to learn how to do it. But my favourite subject in school was Literature so I’ve always had this in me – I love the language and the way you can phrase words together to make something entirely your own. I didn’t have to force myself to learn how to write. It came very naturally,  and I take a lot of pride in what I’m doing. It gives me a lot more fulfilment than covering other people’s songs.

Your lyrics draw inspiration from your personal experiences, as well as past relationships. So have any of your exes contacted you?

Well, I think my ex hates me cos I basically slammed him in a song and made a ton of royalties out of it. We’re probably never gonna be friends again (laughs). Funny story, ‘Solid Gold’ is about the first stranger I kissed. We went out on like two dates after that and realised we weren’t going to get along but we’re still kinda mates. We’re not like super close friends, but we see each other around. When we were dating, he sent me this WhatsApp voice note, which I sampled and put it at the end of the song. It had been like three months since we spoke and I hit him up out of nowhere like “Yo, can I use your voice note in a song just for fun?”. And he was like “LOL, yeah sure”. That’s pretty much the only contact I’ve had [with an ex]. Everyone else wouldn’t want anything to do with me after what I’ve done, so yeah. 

You’ve mentioned that being empowered is relying on your own capabilities and your belief in how far it can take you. Was this self-aware mentality something you’ve always known?

Growing up, I always needed validation from outside sources to feel okay about what I’m doing. After some time, it just gets exhausting trying to please everybody. But in-between the pockets of what I’d be doing to please somebody else, I would do something for myself occasionally and be like “this is the best I’ve ever felt”. It felt satisfying to me and I was answering to myself.

But if you take that route too far, you can become a narcissist. That’s why self-awareness [is important]. On one hand you know what you’re doing is for the right intentions – this is your art, you take control of it entirely. But then, you also still have a certain sense of humility, by learning from people who have a better sense of themselves than you do. [In contrast], being self-conscious is not a good place to be because you’ll put yourself down all the time. But when you’re self-aware, it’s a good balance between being confident and being willing to learn and be put in place by somebody else who knows their stuff.

Dealing with heartbreak at a young age is always tough…

My luck is just damn suey. (Laughs) Everybody I’ve dated in the last year and a half that I’ve been single have always “not been sure about where they stand with me” and I would always take that personally. Like what about me isn’t good enough for you to commit? That’s why I wrote all those songs. There’s a line in ‘20,000’ that says: “It’s been a long time coming, even you can tell that I’m fully grown.” It’s a reminder to myself that if somebody is unsure about a relationship with you, don’t take it personally. If you’re not enough for them, it’s not up to you to try to change it. They should accept you for who you are, or not at all. It might have nothing to do with you even, it just might not be the right time, or they don’t want something serious at that point of time. You shouldn’t keep trying to shape yourself differently to fit the next person better. You should just stay firm in who you are.

 Well, you seem very grounded now!

It took a really long time though! That’s why I have so many songs on this album. By the time I wrote that last song, I was so exhausted – of feeling like I wasn’t enough for anyone, be it friendships or relationships. This is me and I have stuff to work on, but I also have a lot of things going for me and if you can’t appreciate it, it’s your loss. 

Do fans ever approach you?


A post shared by Sam Rui (@sammirui) on

Oh yeah, I’m quite surprised. Every once in a while somebody will send me a DM on Instagram or come up to me in person and tell me why they liked one of my songs or stories – I can’t explain to you how surreal it feels. These were songs I wrote for myself and the fact that it reached them and they related to it on such a personal level, it’s crazy. That’s the power of music and the Internet.

One time at Laneway Festival, this girl came up to me, shaking. She asked for a hug and then she started crying. I didn’t know what to do so I just talked to her. She told me she had been following me on Tumblr since five years ago, when my depression was at its worst. During that time she was [depressed] also, and she would message me anonymously and we would have conversations but I didn’t know it was her. She felt like she had nobody to talk to then, and to have someone ‘faceless’ who knew her situation really helped her through it. And she said seeing me go from that period to playing at Laneway, it made her feel like she wouldn’t be stuck there forever too. That was so crazy, I was shaking too.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Hopefully playing shows on the regular abroad, being able to support myself entirely and collaborating with artistes outside the region. I want to put Singapore on the map. Asian R&B still doesn’t have a distinct sound, so I want to create like a Singaporean-Chinese influenced R&B sound and I want to be a part of bringing Asian R&B to the world. We’ll see how it plays out.

Listen to Sam’s debut album, Season 2.0 out on Spotify and iTunes now!

Check out our Fashion and Beauty spread with Sam Rui, Trishna Goklani and Munah Bagharib in our August 2017 issue, out on newsstands now!

More related stories: We Speak To Sundown Festival Headliners Derrick Hoh, FARRAGO, Jack & RaiWhy Falling Feathers Might Just Be Singapore’s Next Biggest Pop StarCatch Ryan Reynolds, Song Joong Ki, Benjamin Kheng & More In Cinemas 

Post Divider Leaderboard-Teenage Subscription


6 Things Everyone Should Know About The Local Music Scene

18 Aug 2017 by Teenage

With the mainstream support of local music at an all time high, it’s not hard to envision the Singaporean scene rivaling the popularity of global industries – we certainly have no lack of talent here. But what really goes on behind the glitz and glamour, and what does it truly take to join the ranks of acts like The Sam Willows, Tabitha Nauser, ShiGGa Shay and more? We speak to two head honchos, Willy Tan (Artiste manager and owner of Aging Youth) and Lim Teck Kheng (Head of Marketing, Sony Music Singapore) to learn more.

#1 Be interested, then get involved

Having an avid interest in the local music scene, Willy and his friends started a web-zine back in 2004 titled ‘Aging Youth’ that focused on Singaporean music. It soon spun off into events which showcased homegrown acts and distribution of their music. Willy’s role as an artiste manager truly began taking form when the artistes started requesting for him to come onboard to help manage them. He has since worked with ShiGGa Shay, the Grizzle Grind crew, Lineath, Jasmine Sokko and has taken on huge clients like National Youth Council for the annual Shine Fest

Likewise, Kheng’s start in the music scene began by helping local artistes with the distribution of their albums. Starting with Urban Xchange in 2001 as his first A&R (artistes and repertoire) involvement, Kheng has been involved in the signing of popular acts like Gentle Bones, Charlie Lim and Linying to a major label. And the rest is history. 

#2 It’s not all about cutting records 

Jay Park Aging Youth

Sharing about his typical work day, Willy reveals that a bulk of his workload goes into landing bookings and press for his artistes. “Other days, there are meetings to see how different brands and government partners can work with my artistes to grow their business. When artistes are about to release new material, I will start the PR cycle by pitching them to the media. It’s very varied, not one single day is the same.” 

#3 Have a unique sound

Similar to fashion, there are fast music trends which tend to be adopted – resulting in similar sounding music all around. Due to the nature of their jobs, we imagine Kheng and Willy to be at the forefront of up-and-coming artistes and music. But what do they truly look out for in new talent? “As with any industry, the drive to succeed must be there. A positive attitude is very important.” Willy shares, “Usually I like to work with artistes who make unique or refreshing music. Essentially, I must really like the music before all things else.” Similarly, Kheng’s criteria mirrors Willy’s latter point. “For me, the music will always be the most important element. It will also be good for them to have a vision that they would like to achieve.” He adds, “In this day and age of the Internet, it is imperative for one to build up a good social media presence and following.” Which brings us to the next point. 

#4 The local music scene needs constant support

In our Singaporean society, deciding to pursue an unconventional career definitely takes a leap of faith. Music is no different. When asked about the biggest challenges our local artistes face, Kheng offered, “It would be great to receive more support in terms of funding resources, and development of knowledge transfer, to those who form the support arm of the local music scene (sound engineers, tech crew, videographers, managers, and more.” He continues, ” The local music scene is still in its developing stage and it still requires a lot of attention and support to strengthen its foundation and ecosystem.”

Indeed, many of the Singaporean artistes you can name today would be familiar with this struggle. Willy added, “Our market is tiny. Since 15 years ago, music acts are constantly thinking of how to export their music to a larger market. It’s still a constant struggle, but we have been getting support from the National Arts Council.” The truth is, for our music scene to flourish, they do need tons of support be it from local organisations or fans alike…

#5 Fans play an important role


A post shared by thesamwillows (@thesamwillows) on

There’s a reason why artistes constantly thank their fans. Apart from the love and encouragement fans give artistes, they are fundamental in helping the artiste grow. As Willy puts it, “they are massively important in sustaining the careers of artistes, whether it’s by consuming the music or attending shows. Of course, brands are always keen to work with artistes who have massive fan bases, so that translates back to more revenue for the artistes too.” Kheng shares, “I hope more will continue to show support for the artistes. Support can be shown by simply buying a ticket to the artistes’ shows instead of asking to be on the guest list.” Which goes to show, a little goes a long way! 

#6 There is a versatile music scene in Singapore 

There’s more to the local scene than mainstream artistes. Willy reveals, “There’s a lot of exciting music bubbling in our music scene with practitioners doing different genres. It ranges from heavier sounding music to pop sounds. So there really is something for everyone here.” Some acts we’ve had our eye on? Jasmine Sokko (an electronic music artiste whom Willy has been working with), Disco Hue, The Summer State, Sam Rui and more!

Featured image: Sony Music Singapore

Read the rest of our interview with Willy and Kheng in our August 2017 issue, out on newsstands now! 

More related stories: We Speak To Sundown Festival Headliners Jack & Rai, Derrick Hoh and FARRAGOWhy Falling Feathers Might Just Be Singapore’s Next Biggest Pop StarHere’s Why The Sam Willows Gets Jealous Of Each Other 


Here's How DNCE Celebrated Joe Jonas' Birthday In Singapore

17 Aug 2017 by Fabian Loo

The band’s debut show in Singapore certainly left fans going ‘crazy crazy’ with their insane body moves and infectious hits.

DNCE’s first performance in Singapore, was in many ways, more than just a concert.  

Performing at the Suntec City Convention Centre, it felt somewhat like a Zumba class with people jumping and punching their arms in the air. It was a theatrical performance of quirky dance moves and animated facial expressions. And to top it off, it was also lead singer’s Joe Jonas’ birthday.

Credit: Aloysius Lim / Live Nation Lushington

More than that, it was an intimate showcase where the pop-rock quartet performed songs from their debut self-titled album, which included hits like ‘Cake By The Ocean’, ‘Body Moves’, ‘Toothbrush’, and ‘Kissing Strangers’. The band also went with playful covers of ’90s classics, such as ‘Wanna Be’ by the Spice Girls, ‘Oops! … I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears, and ‘We Are The Champions’ by Queen.

Credit: Aloysius Lim / Live Nation Lushington

How intimate could a concert get, you might ask. Well enough to catch guitarist Jinjoo engaging the crowd with an adorable finger heart sign. Enough to see the beads of perspiration glistening from Joe Jonas’ forehead. And enough to count every single one of Cole Whittle’s tatted-up abdominal muscles.


A post shared by Teenage Magazine (@teenagemagazine) on Aug 15, 2017 at 5:59am PDT

There were also numerous blink-and-you-will-miss-it moments that reminded the audience that DNCE at its core, was really about letting loose and having a good time. Cole was at one point running around, hydrating his fellow band members with a swig from a red cup. And Jinjoo was throwing her guitar picks to fans, and cooled the crowd off by dousing them with two bottles of water.

Credit: Aloysius Lim / Live Nation Lushington

And between their roof-raising catchy party anthems to heartfelt soulful songs, DNCE’s appeal really shone through. In an entertainment industry where rehearsed perfection is the norm, DNCE and their ability to just have a good time was refreshing, infectious, and certainly made for a super fun night.

Featured image: Aloysius Lim / Live Nation Lushington

 Want more DNCE? Here’s a throwback to earlier this year when we interviewed them in Korea!

More related stories: DNCE’s Cole Whittle Talks About Epic Birthday Plans In Singapore, All The Celebrity Emojis You’ll Need To Express Any EmotionGLOW Is The TV Series About Women’s Wrestling Nobody Knew They Needed


The xx Reveal The Bravest Thing They've Ever Done

16 Aug 2017 by Bryan Yeong

It’s been less than a month since The xx rocked a sold-out show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but their mark as one of 2017’s gig highlights so far is indelible. We caught up with the winning trio amidst their whirlwind world tour to talk about their love for Singapore, tight-knit friendships and their growth as a band.

Not many acts come to tour Singapore with every album – and Jamie has been here as a solo artist too. Is there something about Singapore that draws you back?

JAMIE: When you are touring so much it’s really the people and the crowds you play to that make a place memorable. The vibe of the crowds in Singapore always makes us want to come back.



A post shared by The xx (@thexx) on

While the tone of I See You is bolder and more upbeat than previous albums, you’ve also previously mentioned it’s an honest reflection of yourselves. How so?

JAMIE: I actually think, as well as having the most joyful songs we’ve ever made, I See You also has the most raw and solemn songs on it too. We went through lots of ups and downs whilst making it, so that is a good reflection of ourselves.

In terms of songwriting and recording, how differently did the band approach the making of I See You?

ROMY: In terms of songwriting, Oliver and I worked very closely together this time, [whereas] in the past we’ve always mainly written separately. I think it just shows a natural progression in our friendship, in our openness, in our self-confidence, to be able to sit in the room together and write a song. For some reason, we always used to find that quite scary even though we’re best friends, so I’ve loved working and writing together. We give each other notes and tell each other if it’s not good, which is cool.

t[For] the recording, we went to different places around the world this time – we went to Marfa in Texas, Los Angeles, Reykjavik in Iceland. It was amazing to get out of London and see some different parts of the world, it was very inspiring.

The xx’s album artworks are often very striking and unusual. Can you tell us about the concept behind the reflective cover of I See You?

JAMIE: There is an obvious literal reference to the album title with the the physical album being a “mirror”. The title references how your friends can often be a mirror for how you see yourself.

I think the lyrics in the new album is probably the most tender and romantic ever for The xx, with songs describing love and relationships. Would you like to share us about the lyrical concept of the new album?

ROMY: We always love writing about relationships and emotions and the way that people make you feel or the way that you feel about people. For the first time on this album, we’ve written about how we feel and how we see ourselves. So it’s a slightly different idea in some of the songs – like in ‘A Violent Noise’ and ‘Replica’, Oliver is sort of questioning himself and the way that he’s going about his life, and any struggles he’s gone through. And I think that’s really brave and it’s great that he was really open to facing some things that were troubling him on this album. So I think facing things is a theme, as well as romance.


A post shared by The xx (@thexx) on

Congrats on the ‘I Dare You’ music video. It’s fantastically tonal, the visuals and colour choices are great, and also features a solid cast, including Millie Bobby Brown and Paris Jackson. How did it all come together?

ROMY: Thank you! I’m so glad that you like the video. I think that we are very proud of it, and we are very proud the whole series we did with the director Alasdair McLellan. We did three videos and this last one was a collaboration with Raf Simons from Calvin Klein who creatively directed it, so the cast are ambassadors for Calvin Klein and Raf wanted to have them in the video. We were up for it because we were excited to have actors in the video as we’d never had that before. We’re just really big fans of Alasdair’s photography and it was amazing to do the music videos with him because it’s not something he’s really done before, and we’re so pleased with how that turned out. We really wanted to explore that warmer side of ourselves; I think we felt like maybe sometimes we’d been perceived as quite cold – a bit like vampires – in the past and I think we wanted to show that behind closed doors, we’re warm people. The sunlight and the youth and those elements [in the video] show a reflection of what we’re really like.

We see the colour blue much on this album’s appearance: album cover, skies in music videos… What gives?

ROMY: Well, I’m glad that you’ve picked up on that, because that is definitely a purposeful theme. When we were discussing visual ideas – that’s something I’m very involved in and get very passionate about – and again with the idea of being seen as a bit cold and detached, we wanted to include a lot more natural light and warmth and sunlight on this campaign, as a reflection of what I feel we are like behind closed doors, which is warm and fun. The blue skies sort of came about when we were experimenting with mirrors and reflection, we wanted to have the sunlight in the reflection. The blue reflected in the mirror looked really beautiful – we made everything about the sunlight and the blue and mirrors. Those themes combined very much encapsulate the way I feel about this album, which is brighter, warmer and more celebratory.


A post shared by The xx (@thexx) on

I See You feels a lot more intimate and happy than the previous album. Do you think it’s because you have more fun in doing this album?

ROMY: Yes I do, I think we have had a lot more fun and worried less, and [felt] a lot less scared about what we should do, what people expect from us, what we expect from ourselves and just [focused on] making music that we enjoy and experimenting. And that’s been fun. Obviously it’s very difficult making an album too – there were definitely some stressful aspects. It wasn’t all just fun times, but in comparison, I’d say this has been my favourite album to make.

With this album it seems there’s a new direction emerging: of transformation and breaking barriers. Was this a necessary progression for the band?

ROMY: Yes I definitely think so. We all just let go of the barriers that we had set around ourselves. We always had this rule that everything we recorded had to be playable live, exactly as it was on the album, and in a lot of ways I’m grateful for that – it shaped our sound and made it what it is. The fact that we don’t have layers and layers of instruments was because of that rule to make it minimal and playable live. But we never set out to be a minimal or a simplistic band, it was just our own limitations that made us sound that way. I think that we let go of that slightly on this album and we were like “let’s just see how that sounds”, still with the intention of not filling up the sound, because we like having a spacious sound, but we were just less strict with that rule.

What is the bravest thing the band has done?

OLIVER: I look back at our earliest shows and I don’t know where that bravery to get up on stage came from. It didn’t come naturally for any of us – we were shy teenagers with bags of insecurities, but we still got up there, did it and continued at it until it became comfortable.

Looking back and examining the present, how would you say you’ve grown and evolved as artists and as individuals?

OLIVER: I think we’ve grown a lot in confidence, it was something we were all lacking quite a bit. It partly has come with growing up but I believe this band has helped us with it a great deal. We’re still far from being the most confident people around but we’ve come a long way.


A post shared by The xx (@thexx) on

Being longtime friends and bandmates, has your friendship ever made it difficult to address work issues? 

OLIVER: It’s often the other way around; we don’t hold back at our words with one another which can get tense, but I’d rather things were said out loud than be tiptoed around. Because we’ve known each other so long, we can also sometimes assume things instead of [addressing it], which can get wires crossed, but we’re really trying to avoid that by speaking more.

Being such a tight trio, what do you think is the biggest change or growth from the first album to your most recent work, I See You?

ROMY: I think that we’ve all grown up together very closely. Oliver and I have been friends since we were three years old and we met Jamie when we were 11 years old. And we’ve been there for each other through different aspects of growing up, and I think that in the past few years whilst we were making I See You, we were growing into adults and having to be more accountable for things that we were doing. Having more responsibility and just trying to take better care of ourselves, sometimes that’s hard. I think I realised that it’s important to give friendships attention and love, just as much as you would with your romantic relationships. And I’m really grateful that we’ve learnt to appreciate each other, and I think that’s very special.

Special thanks to Love Da Records for making this interview possible.

Was The xx your favourite gig of 2017 so far? Share with us your concert highlights in the comments below!

More related stories: 8 Reasons Why The xx’s Concert Is The Best Of 2017 Yet, We Speak To Sundown Headliners Jack & Rai, Derrick Hoh And Farrago, Justin Bieber Cancelled His World Tour For This Relatable Reason, DNCE’s Cole Whittle Talks Epic Birthday Plans In Singapore

Post Divider Leaderboard-Teenage Subscription

Get the Juicy Bits Delivered Fresh To Your Inbox