XY&O are a hugely talented live band from Wales who have totted up no less than 30 million plays of their songs on Spotify already! We grab a quick interview to find out more as they drop their new single 'Fever'.
For those in who aren’t familiar with your work, can tell us a little about your background and your sound?
We call ourselves a haze-pop band. We originally planned to write songs for other artists but once our music started getting played on the radio (in the US primarily), so we decided that perhaps we should form a real band around our music.
How did you go about choosing your name?
The name chose us.
How long have you been together and who plays what in the band?
We formed in Cardiff about 2014 but didn’t really begin to start playing live and releasing music regularly until about 2016.
There are three of us, Skip (Vocals), Tudor (Beats and programming) and Nick (Guitar).
Your brilliant new single ‘Fever’ which also comes with a Deep House Remix, has just come out, please tell us about the release?
Fever is a more chilled groove than some of our earlier material. It's a more mature, organic, instrument infused sound for us, less electro and dance but more funk and groove. We let Tudor (TDOR) flex his Deep House skills on the remix, he’s added a great piano hook and played around with the vocals, it has a great energy for the dance floor.
What was the inspiration behind the track and the title?
Fever is about healing and the realization that the only thing that's going to make you feel right is in the hands of another person.
Your biggest track so far was your debut single, 'Low Tide’, did you expect so much success so early on and how did you embrace it?
It was a total shock to us. The streams just started going up and up the reception to the song online was incredible. We definitely embraced it of course, but we were in no way really ready to capitalize on the attention we were getting. As it was our first single, we were still really setting ourselves up as a band. We hadn’t played a live gig, didn’t have a website or any real images, barely any social media presence, so we’ve always been chasing our tail really trying to catch up with the success of that song.
You’ve done a few reworks and covers in the past including Drake’s ‘One Dance' and Tina Turner’s 'What’s Love Got To Do With It’. Which other track would you most like to cover and why?
We’ve previously experimented with a cover of Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill. Maybe that will surface one day! It’s a great song, driving beat, atmosphere, emotive lyrics an iconic song….maybe best left alone then actually!
Who would you most like to make a collaboration with?
Hmmm. Living artists, maybe big Tom Jones. We’d get a proper Welsh love-in going.
Being a live band, where have been your best gigs so far and where would you most like to play in the future?
Glastonbury festival, playing on the BBC Introducing stage. It was an unreal turnout from fans and a great performance, although we played a very different live setup back then. In the future, we’d love to play more shows abroad maybe. I’d love to play some gigs in Paris.
How important is playing live for a developing artist? Having performed at Glastonbury for the BBC Introducing stage, did this open more doors for you as artists.. what gave you your big break?
Playing live is central to 99% of developing artists I think. I don’t think many artists are really seen as genuine and authentic unless they play live. That is assuming they can physically play live obviously! There are lots issues and reasons why some people can’t play live of course but I think if an artist is able to, then playing live allows a genuine real connection between fans and audiences.
We're not sure if we’ve ever had a big break to be honest!? We’ve had lots of small and medium sized ones. The success of Low Tide on Spotify, etc, has definitely been the driving force behind our momentum as a band.
As a band what’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome so far?
Establishing a sense of identity. Music can be consumed so passively now that it makes it hard to really establish who you are as musicians. Again, probably due to the early success of Low Tide, we still find people asking if XY&O is just one guy, two guys, three guys etc. Who we are and why we write music get’s lost and people might latch onto our songs, but they often don’t know who or what XY&O are/is.
Have you any plans to release and tour an album in the near future?
Yep, we’re hoping to get an album out next year. We have our next single almost ready to go for early next year then we’re hoping to get onto an album after that. And then some live and tour dates built around it all too.
Who are your musical heroes?
Skip – Prince.
Tudor – Chris Martin
Nick – Daryl Hall and John Oates
What’s your most prized album?
Skip – I have an early Arcade Fire EP, it came out before there first album but actually has early versions of track used on their second album ‘Neon Bible’ which is pretty cool!
Tudor – One of them would have to be Alt J – An Awesome Wave. It came out whilst I was at Uni and I remember it not sounding like anything I'd ever heard before.
Nick – I think it’s probably ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ by Bombay Bicycle Club. I remember counting down the days until it came out and listening to it back to front for days on end. Proper masterpiece
What do you have planned for 2019?
More music and more shows. And also an album containing our favorite creations yet.
XY&O ‘Fever’ is out now on Electric MVM.