Jamie xx just wants to make you dance. His primary job may be creating subdued, simplistic beats for London’s quietest indie-pop band The xx, but Jamie xx (born Jamie Smith) is really a DJ at heart. “I just wanted to do some parties,” Smith says. “America is the most exciting place to come to and play people underground electronic music.” Which is just what he’ll do Friday at 9:30 Club.
A Jamie xx DJ set is a diverse affair, featuring jazz, rock and disco records peppered in with the more obvious electronic and house numbers. “I enjoy doing a journey,” he says. “I’m playing for up to three hours every night. It’s nice to take it to different places and see the crowd’s reaction.”
Smith’s most distinct production touch — readily apparent in The xx — is his deft use of space to help foster a mood of loneliness and longing. “A lot of music today is overproduced,” he says. “Ours is a little bit sparser. I’ve noticed over the past few years that more and more music has become sparse, which is a good thing.” An xx song that illustrates this aesthetic is “Infinity” from the group’s self-titled 2009 debut. There isn’t much to the track beyond Romy Madley Croft’s soft, airy vocals, some minimalist guitar strokes and the occasional percussion clang, but such simplicity is a key part of Smith’s production ethos.
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Smith is also known for his remixes, particularly his take on Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” and “We’re New Here,” a full-album reworking of the late Gil Scott-Heron’s final album “I’m New Here.” Smith’s version presents “I’m New Here” in a fresh, electronic music context while still keeping some of Scott-Heron’s original ideas. “When I get asked to do a remix, there needs to be one element of the song that stands alone that people will recognize,” he says. “And I can use that one element and change everything else and make it my own.”
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW; Fri., 10 p.m., $20.