“Michigan! Over here, Michigan!” An old man with a bandaged hand is calling out to Oliver Sim, one of south west London foursome THE XX. He’s referring to Oliver’s charity shop baseball jacket. He’s not mad (well, maybe a little bit), he just wants to know whether Oliver is from Michigan. No? Well, has he been? A smiling shaken head. Well, he must go. It’s beautiful in Michigan, hot in the summer and bright white snow in the winter. It seems everyone wants to talk to these four quiet teenagers. They have good eyes, if you know what I mean. There’s something about them that is strangely alluring despite the top-to-toe black.
We’re on our way to a pub in Ladbroke Grove a couple of days before their gig at Brighton’s Loop Festival. It’s just round the corner from XL Recordings’ office where Young Turks, the label to which THE XX are signed, also resides. Having started the group at school (“Yes, the same one that Hot Chip, Burial and Four Tet went to. No, we never knew that at the time.”), to be on the brink of releasing your debut album must feel a little mind blowing.