Interview: The 1975

By Andy McCall, Music Editor

It’s not exactly been a quiet year for The 1975.  Hailing from Macclesfield, but wishing to distance themselves from regular association the Manchester area is known for, the pop-art quartet have spent a good part of the year bringing their unique and eclectic blend of genres to both the US and Europe.  The band have played a stream of shows supporting Two Door Cinema Club, gracing the SXSW festival state side, not to mention a sell out tour in May.  All of this has only helped to garner the bands success and it’s no wonder The 1975 are heralded by so many as 2013’s band of the year.  With a debut album that recently went straight to number one, there couldn’t be a better time to catch up with band as they embark on their second sell out tour of the year.

1.      So you’re a relatively new band in terms of the level of exposure you’re garnering, but you’ve been writing and playing music for some time now.  When did you get into playing music, what inspired that, and when would you say that the band became the 1975 that exists right now?

10 years ago.  Well 10 years ago, playing as band.  We started playing at 13, and it’s taken us till now to even bother putting out a record.

The beginning of 2012, end of 2011 is when we decided what we were going to call ourselves and that we were going to put out records properly.  We’d kind of written the majority of the album by then.

2.      I read a little bit about how you decided on ‘The 1975’ as a band name.  It has something to do with a book and an artist you met on holiday, would you mind explaining that story?

Yeah, that’s fine.  I was on holiday when I was 19, and I was given all these books by this artist.  He was just this guy who I met out there.  It was loads of Jack Kerouac and other poetry.  A previous owner had written all over one of these books, and had dated it ‘the first of June, The 1975’.  It was just the use of the word ‘The’ preceding 1975, kind of intrigued me I suppose.  It was just a bit weird.

3.      Your current sound doesn’t seem to follow one specific genre; at times it can sound very pop-punky, very electronic, very groovy and then at times very atmospheric then when you think you’ve pinned down your sound you’re back in the 80’s.  Would you say that you haven’t confined yourself to one genre, and why is this?

Well yeah.  We don’t really think about it though.

We create in the same way we consume, which I think is a good representation of our generation and the way people are.  No one consumes any media in a linear way, and I think whatever kind of tribalism attitude to music, in regards to a form of youth movement or culture, is kind of dead, and I think all of those elements bleed into a generation that is more ambiguous with any form of art.  I think we are a representation of that, and it’s a subconscious form of creative expression that we don’t really think about.  But yeah, we are very inspired by what we grew up listening to.

What would you say your main influences are?

There’s so many influences man!  You can probably hear on the record, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, later Michael Jackson and Prince, you can definitely hear those influences, but the list is endless.  It’s because we’ve never had to really care, because we’ve been a band that doesn’t make music for people to listen to, just for us to listen to, so why should we care what people think about it.  And I think that’s where the honesty comes from.

4.      As a band, you’re fairly relentless in terms of the amount of material you’ve put out in a short space of time, what’s the drive behind that, given that you have been playing music together for quite a while?

 We just decided to give people a wealth of material they could invest in.  It was partially from a personal perspective, we couldn’t just put an album out, because people might not understand it, like ‘who are you?  What are you all about?’.  We knew who we were, and we didn’t really care about people not knowing, but we wanted to do it right, so we decided to create preludes to the album.  We wrote those EP’s very quickly though, they were all written in one-week periods each, and recorded in the same week.  So it was a wealth of material for people to invest in before our album came out with such a stark sonic polarity, and with those EP’S, we made sure that that stylistic polarity was evident, in order for people to not misunderstand what the album would be like.

5.       I also read that most of the material put out before your debut album, such as EPs, ‘Facedown’ ‘Sex’ and ‘Music for Cars’, was recorded independently. 

Yeah it was all recorded in my bedroom.

It seems that a lot of bands are recording music themselves, do you feel that this is          something the music industry is forcing bands to evolve into as it becomes less profitable as a result of illegal downloads etc?

But oh, I don’t know, not really.  I think everyone’s so against the industry, and I think once you’ve, not beaten the industry, but risen above it and done it yourself, you realise it’s not a monolith of terrible people.  I think the fact that more music is made on laptops is because there’s more laptops, and it’s fun to do something yourself.  Of course more kids are going to make music on their laptops because going into a studio is expensive.  It is different now, but everyone should embrace the difference, not be so retrospective in thinking ‘oh it was better when you had a cassette tape’.  Was it?  Why was it better?  It comes down to the whole argument of saying there’s so much shit music out there.  But there’s more good music now, there’s so much good music!

It’s a weird subject, I haven’t really thought about it that much, but when you mention it yeah…haha, it obviously stirs something within me.

6.      How was it for you as a band, having done most of the legwork yourselves, working with a producer like Mike Crossey, who has also worked with bands such as Arctic Monkeys?

It wasn’t too different.  We’ve done the studio before, we’ve lived music ourselves, we’ve produced music ourselves.  There’s been a lot of different incarnations of what we’re doing, that it wasn’t jarring, we knew where we were at. 

Mike had access to a kind of Disneyland in regards to recording music, and a knowledge and technical understanding that really, really catalysed the creative process.  If you have such a solid foundation with these techniques of how to record, you really have free reign to be as creative as possible, you’re not harboured by anything.  I think that’s what defined the album essentially.

7.      It’s only really just kicked off but how are you enjoying the UK Tour so far, and what dates are you looking forward to?

It’s the third show, yeah.

I love this show, this is the first time we’ve been able to do a proper 1975 show, because we kind of gained popularity at the beginning of the year.  Then when festival season started, that was when we got bigger.  It started out at Glastonbury and then culminated in Reading and Leads, when there were so many people.  And then the album went to number one a week after.

 This is the first tour we’ve had where we’ve had full lights and our full production.  It’s a proper show, man!

Oh, I’d hate to subserviate any city, because it’s all different isn’t it?  Glasgow is obviously a big one because everyone’s mental haha, Newcastle’s’ good, I was brought up there, Manchester’s’ home, London is London.  We played one of the best shows in Nottingham at the Dot to Dot festival.

It’s just fucking cool man, look at all these kids, its mental.  Especially for a band that didn’t mean to do this, we didn’t try to get this.  If you throw a party when you’re 15 and that many people come, it’s a success, so if you go round the world doing it every night and get so many more people to come, it’s just really cool.

8.      Have you had much experience gigging in Glasgow, and what do you feel about its music scene?  It might be a bit biased but I think it’s one of the best in the UK right now!

Yeah!  We’ve played here thousands of times!

We played King Tuts and The Oran Mor. We’ve played loads of places in loads of different bands.

There were great bands that came out of Glasgow that weren’t done justice like Endor and We Were Promised Jetpacks and great bands that I really, really like.  Biffy Clyro are from Glasgow and they’re the nicest guys I’ve ever met.  It was really funny, I walked over with this big speech that I’d planned, and when I got there they were like ‘are you the guys from the 1975?’, so they knew us, it was really cool.

What songs are you having the most fun with playing live?

The new ones we just put in, like ‘So Far It’s Alright’ and ‘Talk’.

To be honest it’s a fun set, I like all of it!

9.      Finally, what’s next for the 1975 after this September Tour?

Like another 800 gigs or something!

Yeah were on tour until august of next year.  We’re producing other artist’s records and just writing the second album.


Well that’s everything, but thanks for taking the time for the interview.  Good luck tonight and for the rest of the tour!

Thanks man, take care.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);