Oliver Sim, who is the songwriter, bassist, and vocalist of The xx has released a new track ‘Hideous’ plus an accompanying video. The single is off his debut solo album, ‘Hideous Bastard’, which is out on the 9th September via Young / Remote Control Records.
‘Hideous’ is inspired by Sim’s love of horror movies and his own life experience, unpacking themes of shame, fear, and masculinity and features Jimmy Somerville (Bronski Beat and The Communards) on guest vocals. Sim has been living with HIV since the age of 17 and has spoken candidly about his HIV status. Sim realised whilst recording ‘Hideous Bastard’ that his HIV status was causing him a lot of fear and shame and impulsively decided to write a song, called ‘Hideous’ about it.
I thought I could release ‘Hideous’into the world and be done with it. After playing the song to my mum, being the protective and wise mum that she is, she gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received. She suggested that I spend some time having conversations with people in my life first. Either people I hadn’t told yet, or people I had told but hadn’t wanted to talk much further on it. Since writing ‘Hideous’, I’ve spent the past two years having those conversations, which was difficult and uncomfortable to start with, but has allowed me to feel a lot freer and has only strengthened my relationship with myself and with the people in my life.Oliver Sim
One of the people with whom Sim spoke was Jimmy Somerville and eventually this led to the two men becoming friends.
I knew for Hideous I wanted a guardian angel to appear in the song and sing to me the words I needed to hear. Not only has Jimmy been such a powerful voice around HIV & AIDS for decades, but the man quite literally sounds like an angel. I reached out to him as a complete fan boy, but now consider him a real good friend.Oliver Sim
‘Hideous’ is a great pop song featuring a gorgeous contrast between the vocals of Sim and Somerville. The lyrics and particularly the last line (Been living with HIV/Since seventeen/Am I hideous?) are raw, honest and pack a punch.
The video for ‘Hideous’ was directed by French director Yann Gonzalez, who has also collaborated with Sim on a forthcoming queer horror short film of the same name that premiered as part of the Semaine de la Critique at the Cannes Film Festival.
Stream / Download ‘Hideous’ HERE.
Photo credit: Casper Sejersen
Oliver Sim was recently interviewed by the New York Times – read the article HERE.