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New The xx documentary released to coincide with online archive launch

'Young then' is a new archive with material also from Sampha, Jessie Ware and Koreless

By Charlotte Krol

The xx are seen performing live
The xx performing live. (Picture: Wikimedia commons/ Tuomas Vitikainen)

A new documentary that weaves in footage from experimental shows that The xx performed in 2014 has been released alongside the launch of a new digital archive.

The Jamie-James Medina-directed film is one of several new pieces of media shared on record label Young’s new archive, which is titled ‘Young then’.

Young, formerly known as Young Turks, has treated fans to unseen material by its roster artists which also includes Sampha, Jamie xx, Jessie Ware and Koreless.

The xx film centres on their 25 shows at New York City’s The Armory, where the trio played to an audience of 45 people per gig. It was designed to test people’s perception of intimacy and space, with both the band and crowd facing each other while boxed in to a small, sunken white square.

Eventually the ceiling rose and fell away, revealing the 55,000 square-foot Drill Hall in full.

“This show is still one of the most incredible experiences we’ve had as a band…it felt like being on stage at a theatre, rather than a gig, and the audience was as much a part of the show as we were; we never knew what would happen!” the band said in a statement.

“The intimacy was intense and beautiful. It was uncomfortable at times but I think that’s what made it even more magic. There were times we looked up and caught eyes with some of our musical heroes, only metres away. We did our best to remain calm and not show how fast our hearts were beating!

“When we’ve met people who were at that show, even if we are strangers, I feel like were are forever connected by that moment in New York.”

Elsewhere on the ‘Young then’ archive are recordings of Koreless performing with a string quartet at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios. There are also rare, recorded performances by FKA twigs and Caroline Polachek as well as a conversation between Young’s founders on the label’s origins.

‘Young then’ also features unseen sets by Jamie xx, Sampha, Mount Kimbie and others from a 2011 SXSW Boiler Room.

The xx have been quiet in recent years, however, last year bandmate Jamie xx released his first solo single in five years, ‘Idontknow’. Guitarist Romy Madley Croft (known as Romy) also released her debut single ‘Lifetime’ in 2020.