The 1975 Interview
On an unreasonably cold evening in mid February, we had the opportunity to meet up and have a chat with indie quartet The 1975 ahead of their Cambridge show. These guys are one of the major buzz bands of 2013. Regular HMCMB readers may remember them under their previous guises: first as B I G S L E E P and The Slowdown, who grabbed a spot on our Songs of 2011. The 1975 seem here to stay, with 2 EPs under their belt, another set to release in March and a much hyped début album later this year. We caught up with Matthew (guitar/lead vocals) and George (drums), and got a chance to talk song writing, the internet and the forthcoming album.
The band are now on their second headline tour: ‘a humbling and new experience’ for them. This tour will include some dates in America, including a spot at SXSW. We asked them where they were most looking forward to playing? ‘New York’ they both said in unison, with matching smiles. The guys both stressing the fact they had dreamed of playing somewhere like that they and that they ‘never thought it would happen’. They quickly clarified that as a modern band opportunities are available at earlier points in their careers. This was to become a general theme throughout. It became very clear that these guys were intently aware of the nature of their own existence, this no doubt being one of the reasons they thrive in it.
The band have been together since meeting at school but this will be their first full album. With 2 EPs released and a third on the way the band already have a loyal following, plenty of radio recognition, not to mention a jokily dubbed ‘fucking awesome’ website. Previously described as a band, ‘home-town: the internet’, we asked them what they thought about the importance of their online presence. After considering carefully they agreed that the band never wanted ‘to have a strung up online identity’, but as they jokingly and perhaps rather astutely admitted, they ‘probably wouldn’t be a band without the internet’. Their site, which they said they have kept ‘complete control over’ thanks to their label, is in full black and white. Matthew particularly stressing the security they feel in maintaining a ‘dour aesthetic’, in contrast to a lot of the ‘life affirming pop’ they create. A contrast seemingly mirrored in everything they do.
Originating from Manchester, The 1975 said have never seen their ‘geographical location’ as very ‘relevant’. Having never truly grown up there, they claimed the city’s largest influence on them was as ‘gig kids’. In the early days they say they took inspiration from a massive variety of acts, and that it granted them early access to playing live music. Now one of their greatest assets.
The band are set to release Music For Cars EP on the 4th March. We wanted to know where they got the ideas for the new tracks. They told us they like to ‘try and listen to our (old) songs and imagine that it’s not our band’, joking that ‘you cant get done for ripping yourself off’ before yet again reconfirming it as an ‘important point’. It was in these kind of sudden contrast, from the jokey to the serious, that the reality behind these guys and their lovingly crafted identity was shown. The juxtapositions of a band walking the line between the intently stylised and the fun and the positive was a much an extension of themselves as it was a genuine decision. In past the band have sighted everything from indie rock to 90s R&B as influences. But as Michael succinctly put it, ‘we’ve been together so long as individuals and as a band that we didn’t have to search for an identity’.
With so much material already released before the album we wanted to find out what the band thought of using EPs to release music? While for most bands an EP is just a ‘single, a remix and a b-side’, their reaction could not have been quicker. Clearly having struck a cord that they ‘see these EPs almost as our first album, and our début as our second.’ Adding that ‘just because it’s 5, not 10 tracks shouldn’t diminish the quality of it.’ Each of the EPs released so far has been made up of a single and at least 3 or 4 other original tracks intended to extend and deepen the meaning behind each single. Perhaps quite a deep perspective, but certainly an idea we can get behind. Music For Cars they said will be no exception.
What can we expect the new album to sound like?
Their latest single Chocolate is brilliant and they said it best represents them, and that ‘that’s where the album goes’. Matthew told us we could expect a ‘very groove based album. Big drums, big bass’, before chuckling, and don’t forget ‘fucking hell loads of choruses’. The release is clearly a big deal to the band, George admitted: ‘it’s gonna be ridiculous to give people about six years of our lives!’ The album is due to arrive in May. As the interview came to a close, another shard of honesty emerged, delivered as eloquently as ever on their album. ‘It’s not really a question of whether it’s an honest expression, it’s the only expression that we have. And that’s it.’ And with that refreshingly honest comment, and a shade of that intensity that creates so much of their allure, the interview came to an end. From their aesthetic to their frenetic live performance later that evening, these guys – as they have always been – remain a major one to watch. And their album? Well we can’t wait to hear it.
(Words by Adam Eccles)