It’s okay to be vulnerable
– How was the recording process for this album?
ROMY： It changed as we worked. I used to write lyrics first, and then I would create the melody afterward. That was when I first started writing songs. But now, since doing more sessions about songwriting for other people, I’ve learned the more traditional method, which is writing a melody with some chords and then writing lyrics afterward.
So, I tried that traditional method for this project, and a lot of the songs started with Fred and me singing together from nothing. I heard him play some chords, and I sang some melodies, and then I took the demo home and wrote the lyrics at home when I could be more honest. Most of the songs were written this way. The song Waitless was written just at home on the acoustic guitar, and I really wanted to challenge myself to take it off the guitar and put it into the sound like the rest of the album.
– What is the difference between solo project and working as The xx?
ROMY: It’s completely different. In terms of songwriting for The xx, meand Oliver work together and share songs as a way for us to experience the feelings. Sometimes it can be very abstract, while this solo project, I’ve enjoyed being more direct and just writing very specifically about a person and the time and my own experience.
– “Strong” tells us to be yourself, accept yourself, and release Yourself. How did you come to deliver this message through this song?
ROMY: I think I’m interested in sharing an emotional or thoughtful message in dance music. I’m really drawn to songs that have depth. But you can still dance to it. You don’t realize the lyrics, and then you listen to the lyrics and you’re like, “wait.” I like that contradiction. And in a way, the song and the music were written at the same time. And so it felt like the euphoric music might have helped me be in a safe place to write a more deep message.
ROMY: And that becomes just a wider spread message that it’s okay to be more vulnerable. It’s a message I’m writing about to myself as a reminder and to other younger people.
– What about “Enjoy Your Life”? It reminded me of Pete Heller’s “Big Love” and Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You.” During the pandemic, I danced to this song at home instead of going out. Do you sometimes party at home with friends instead of night out?
ROMY: That’s so nice. I was definitely inspired by “Music Sounds Better With You.” or other French house and sample-based songs. It was my reference for that song for sure.
During the lockdown, I realized how much I missed dancing and clubbing. I was in the kitchen with my wife dancing. It made me appreciate the power of dancing and clubbing. I love going out with my friends becuase it’s such a nice way to connect. Also, it can be a way to talk about your feelings because sometimes on a night out, not just because you have some drinks, but the conversations you have outside the club or on the dance floor can be intimate and more open than just having a coffee. That’s something I love as well.
ROMY: I wanted “Enjoy Your Life” to have that French House feel you mentioned, like Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You” or Mojo’s “Lady”.
– I used to dance at home with my wife every time your new song was released and guessed references [laughs].
ROMY: Cool! That’s how I want my music to be received [laughs].