To support the release of their new single ‘Shades of You’ on May 4 – and in celebration of surpassing 32 MILLION STREAMS on Spotify alone – Cardiff haze poppers XY&O have announced a spring residency of live shows at The Big Top!
Entry to all shows is FREE, and each gig features support from different artists (including Safari Gold, Jack Ellis, Sønder Choir and rising stars Hvnter and The Dead Method).
WATCH: XY&O – Low Tide
XY&O’s Big Top residency shows are:
- April 19th: XY&O + Safari Gold
- May 4th: XY&O + Jack Ellis + Blue Honey DJ Set [single launch show]
- May 17th: XY&O + Sønder Choir [semi acoustic show]
- June 1st: XY&O + Hvnter + The Dead Method [presented in association with the Forte&Project]
We caught up Skip, Nick and Tudor for a mini interview before their residency kicks off!
Q. Where and how did the band form? Introduce all the members and maybe tell us a bit about your musical influences
Skip. We met in Cardiff, I was at University there. Me and Tudor crossed paths down at a little studio in Cardiff Bay and almost immediately decided that we should write some songs together. Our tastes are styles when it came to writing where similar, but also different enough so that we could spin off each other. He yinged, I yanged.
I knew Nick because I was recording and producing some tracks for a band he was in at the time, he was only about 16/17 and had an amazingly original style of playing guitar and writing even then. I thought it would be interesting to rope him in and see how his musicality fitted with the songs me and Tude had started.
My musical tastes are pretty broad. I can usually find something I like about a track or genre. Some of my biggest influences would be artists like Prince, John Martyn The Cure, Sting, stuff my Dad was listening too as I grew up. When I hit early teens and started finding my own music, then it was all about Jimmy Eat World, Alkaline Trio and Blink 182 for a couple of years. I like heavy music, soft music and everything in between. Atreyu to Arianna Grande.
Nick. My influences constantly change, at the minute I’m listening to a lot of electronic soul type stuff as well as artists such as Mt. Joy and Jordan Mackampa.
Tudor. My musical influences are pretty broad and always changing. I love haunting and spacey music like Daughter, RY X and Sigur Ros. I’m also a massive Coldplay fan (saw them in Cardiff for the first time not so long ago and it only confirmed my obsession). I’m currently listening to a lot of traditional Colombian music (probably due to watching all of Narcos on Netflix in three days).
Q. Where are you all from originally? How did you end up in Cardiff?
Skip. I’m originally from the valleys, a little town called Abercarn. I came to Cardiff University though so lived in the city for 3/4 years at that time.
Tudor is from Barry and Nick from Whitchurch so they’re both Cardiff boys.
Q. What are your musical memories from being younger? What made you all decide to get into making music?
Skip. Most of my musical memories just revolve around listening to it. I sang in school and stuff like that but the most vivid memories for the first times I heard certain artists. I remember listening to REM, Led Zeppelin and Sting CDs in the car with my parents. I remember the first time I heard Youth & Young Manhood by Kings of Leon and amazing records like that. I used to sing and make up songs as a kid, and I guess I just never really stopped…
Tudor. Family BBQs that went late into the night with Bob Marley albums being played back to back. I’ve always been obsessed with how music makes people feel and I suppose I wanted to be a part of that process.
Nick. Listening to Jimi Hendrix in my dad’s car was a big one, I remember being pretty mind blown that those kinds of sounds existed (especially the solos in All Along the Watchtower). I think it’s that curiosity that got me into music
Q. What are your favourite music- related spots around Cardiff – venues / shops etc?
Tudor. We’re big fans of The Full Moon, Clwb Ifor Bach, Womanby Street as a whole really. Gwdihw is a pretty cool place and The Big Top of course. That’s a great venue for intimate gigs.
We’re also looking for a New York Deli sponsorship so will give them a shout out too!
Skip. Also, Bomber’s Deli…un-related to music, but if you’re in Cardiff and it’s lunch time then you need to check that place out.
Q. Tell us about the Ten Feet Tall/Big Top residency
It’s going to be a chance for us to experiment with all of our new lights, equipment and music. Our live show has evolved massively and we’re keen to show it to people in an intimate setting. We’re using the gigs to try out new songs, experiment with arrangements and just generally play some fun local shows because we haven’t really played in the city that much. We’ve made all the gigs free entry because we’d rather people just come and enjoy, critique or just listen to our new music
Q. What’s been the best gig you’ve played to date?
We actually played at Glastonbury 2016 on the BBC Introducing Stage. It was obviously pretty amazing so that always ranks highly. It was only out 10th gig as a band so very strange and looking back on it, it almost feels like a different band. Our live set up then was very different to what it is now. We played an amazing gig at The Phoenix in Exeter in the run-up to Glastonbury. It was a BBC show at a big sold out theater and the crowd were amazingly receptive to us.
Q. What are your plans and hopes for the future?
Our new single ‘Shades of You’ is scheduled to come out on May 4th so we’re excited for that. We’re shooting the music video for it next week actually.
We’ve just been picked up by the live agents Primary Talent so we’re keen to get out playing live much more. We’re hoping to use the residency to fine tune our live set too.
Tudor. We want to go over to the US and play for all the Americans that have been streaming our music for the last two years!
XY&O is the creative amalgamation of songwriters Skip Curtis, Nick Kelly and Tudor Davies.
It began in early 2015 – Skip (from the Valleys) and Tudor (from Cardiff) began writing music and songs with the intention of pitching them to other artists to use. Skip quickly roped in another Cardiff native Nick Kelly in hopes of bringing another dimension to the music. After posting some early demos online under the moniker ‘XY&O’ the trio started seeing their play count rise. They started receiving airplay on US Radio stations as well as gig offers from US promoters, some of whom assumed the band were from Cardiff, San Diego.
Early on, the boys wrote what would become ‘Low Tide’ – bringing with it the genesis of their unique style, coined by Skip as haze pop. ‘Low Tide’ was self-released and went straight into Spotify’s Global Viral Chart at number 7, reaching an audience worldwide, but was particularly well received in the US. The track has since gone on to accumulate over 20 million streams. The trio gained huge popularity on all online platforms, it was at this point the three had discovered that XY&O had somewhat unintentionally become a band.
The band slowed things down the second half of 2016 and early 2017, allowing Nick to finish his final year studies at University but have now re-focused their efforts into their live show and have recently been taken on by live agents Primary Talent. The boy’s story was picked up by the Wales Online in late 2017 which led to them being featured live on the ITV News at 6pm talking about their unusual story of being a little known Welsh band with an audience in the USA.
They hope to expand their live following over 2018 as well as release plenty of new music. New single ‘Shades of You’ is set for release on May 4th, 2018.