The cover was recorded at BBC’s iconic Maida Vale studios as part of a live session that was broadcast on Radio 1’s Future Sounds last night (November 30). Sim was backed up by a choir including Romy, MUNA‘s Katie Gavin, Låpsley, Marika Hackman and Casey MQ.
“My initial idea was I’m going to cover one of my favourite artists in the world, my number one diva, which is Romy and her new song ‘Strong’,” Sim explained [via DIY]. “And then I gave it a go and I just couldn’t, it was so hard! I’ve realised that me and Romy have a home within The xx where we often sing in unison, but when we step out of that, when Romy really stretches her voice she goes one way, when I really stretch my voice I go the other way.
“I was driving round in my car, trying, trying, and I was listening to the radio and The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ came on and I ended up singing over it, singing over those incredible strings,” he continues. “What came of it ended up being a hybrid of Romy’s song with Fred again.. ‘Strong’ and The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ being backed up by my fantastic queer choir.”
You can listen to the cover (starting around an hour and 29 minutes in) here.
Last week, The xx announced that their second album ‘Coexist’ would be reissued for its 10th anniversary with the addition of live versions of fan favourites ‘Angels’, ‘Chained’ and ‘Reunion & Sunset’. Their last album together, ‘I See You’, was released in 2017, but Sim has since promised that there will “definitely” be new music from the trio in the future.