This year could be a big one for Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx) the producer of the xx, as next month he puts out a Gil Scott-Heron remix album (We’re New Here) and he’s going to be working with Drake on his sophomore album. Pitchfork caught up with Smith recently, talking to him about the xx, Drake and the Gil Scott-Heron album. Here’s some choice stuff:
Pitchfork: Did you have any contact with Gil while making the album?
JS: Originally, I sent him the album and there were a couple of tracks he wasn’t sure about. I had to write to him– he does handwritten letters, not e-mail– and explain why I wanted to use some of his older vocal tracks on the album. I wanted to show the difference between him then and now as well as the difference between my taste then and now. The songs that use his voice from older records are influenced by the stuff I liked 10 or 15 years ago, mostly sample-based productions like RJD2. And I wanted the album to explain itself, like a DJ set. I wanted to represent Gil well, but also use his voice as my own. So after I wrote him the letter, he said I was free to do whatever because he knew what I was doing.
Pitchfork: Are you working on the next xx album yet? JS: At the moment, we’re just making music, like we used to. We’re not thinking about it in terms of what’ll go on the album and what won’t yet.
Pitchfork: I hear you’re working with the rapper Drake, too. JS: Yeah, he was in London two weeks ago and we went to the studio. He played his new stuff, I played my new stuff. He’s not just after making a hit album again, he really wants to make things we’ve never heard before. I think I’ll be flying to New York or Toronto to work with him in a few weeks. I’m happy to try new things, that’s what this year is about.
So the bullet points: No xx album yet, Drake is pretty cool, and no, he hasn’t really hung with Gil Scott-Heron. [P4K]