With their signature blend of R&B fused guitar pop, it’s no secret that this Manchester based collective are causing a stir of excitement in the indie rock world. Title track and new single, “Sex”, from their upcoming EP release, has been in rotation here and across the blogosophere for the last year or so in it’s demo form; with the official single version recently debuted by famed BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. More so, the rest of the band’s new Sex EP is equally infectious, with highlights including mid-tempo grooves on “Undo” and the melodic climax of “You”. The Sex EP sees release on November 19th, it is the second installment of the band’s current three EP release cycle, culminating to the band’s debut album with release expected sometime in 2013. Check out our Q&A with the band below.
B3SCI: How did The 1975 form and come to be, and for how long has the band been playing together as a whole?
The 1975: We met at school. We kinda started out of boredom. There was no real scene in our town at that time and we were all looking for some way of expressing ourselves I suppose. Some woman called Sheila started this run of gigs for underage kids (I think she was like a hippy council worker) and they soon turned into a riot. We would go and play there, doing covers of punk songs and ghostbusters etc. It was so drunken and personal. After doing that for a while we wrote a song and thought ‘Let’s just do this! This is well better than going to school or work. So we went under loads of names, made loads of different music and now we’re here – as The 1975.
B3SCI: Manchester has a legendary history of influential bands, was there anything in particular about this history that was influential to The 1975 in it’s formative years?
The 1975: Not really no. We met at school around Manchester – but I was born in London and George in Brussels etc. so our personal affiliation with Manchester and our understanding of it’s tribalist attitude towards music came quite late on. I grew up on R&B and Soul for example, as opposed to New Order. But as a city, it is the setting to all of our music in my head. It was the girls and endless gigs and general vibe of the place that bled into our music.
B3SCI: In the new video for your single “Sex”, your rehearsal space is dressed everywhere with iconic posters of artists. Did you guys play any role in the selection of what we see?
The 1975: Yes, all of it. That’s our rehearsal room and has been forever. We’ve never left it. We just thought it would be cool to shoot it in that room because it is essentially a visual representation of what we’re about. It wasn’t a contrived idea – just thought it would be real.
B3SCI: Some lyrical topics from The 1975 seem to explore concepts of new experience and discovery, yet the name of the band itself, and even musically, the band seems to hint towards a maturity beyond its years. What does the concept of time mean to The 1975?
The 1975: I think people are obsessed with time. That sounds a bit under revised – but what I’m talking about is our obsession with decades. We like everything to fit into our predetermined timeline of what we know and expect. It makes things easier to digest and helps us see cultural movements as ‘that time’. This can breed a lot of predictable art though – be it music or whatever. So our band take the attitude of ‘all bets are off’. That’s why we never really take contemporary music into consideration. Not to say we don’t listen to it, of course we do, we just don’t worry about ‘what’s going on’. I reckon timeless music is created by people that aren’t thinking about time.
B3SCI: The band is in the process of releasing a series of three EPs leading up to the release of your debut album in 2013. Is there a story behind these initial releases, or a story that you are trying to tell with them?
The 1975: I wouldn’t say that there is a narrative running from the first e.p. through to the last. But there is a definite theme. Sex, Love, Drugs and Fear I suppose. The songs on Sex are all about passing moments. Moments that we don’t analyse at the time – only to understand them retrospectively. Where as Facedown has a more assertive attitude. I think that’s what separates those two records. For the third, we’re not quite finished.
B3SCI: Is there a story or reason that the band has decided to collaborate with producer Mike Crossey on the forthcoming full-length album?
The 1975: He got in touch with us and said he really wanted to do our album. We were initially a bit apprehensive because we had always said that we were going to produce our debut album – same as we did with the E.p.’s. But we went over to Liverpool to meet him and shook hands on the whole thing that day. It was very easy. We are now in the studio with Mike as a co-producer and it seems to be going well. Very, very well.
B3SCI: Both your new Sex EP and it’s predecessor Facedown EP explore ambient rock concepts. Is there a philosophy or perspective that The 1975 has about ambient composition? Are there any particulars about ambient or atmospheric music that the band find inspiring?
The 1975: I suppose it was Sigur Ros who first really blew me away. I remember hearing their first album and then totally emerging myself in all things Eno. Ambient music really speaks to me. I think it’s because I first fell in love with music through film at a very early age – John Hughes movies etc. Ambient music at it’s best commands you how to feel without the use of words – I think that’s really powerful. More powerful in fact.
B3SCI: The band seems to have a strong affinity for a great pop melody. To you guys, what makes for a great pop song?
The 1975: Well that is something we’re really trying to explore at the moment. Sometimes you release a piece of music, or maybe play it to a friend, with the opinion that is really left field or something you’ve created with no intention of it being accepted as a ‘big’ song . And then it is. I used to think it was just all about structure and chords, but it’s really not. A good pop song is about how it makes you feel at face value – on the first listen. If it doesn’t take you some where immediately – through its message or instrumentation or whatever it is – it will simply be lost on you.
B3SCI: What artists or influences do you have which fans might find as a surprise? Any guilty pleasures you’d like to share?
The 1975: Well my iTunes at the moment is pretty much mid 90’s R&B. D’angelo, Boyz II Men, TLC, Brian Mcknight etc. But I’m not guilty for any of that. We find it hard to dislike music because it’s soppy or not perceived as ‘cool’. If you’re a good song writer you can find influence in any type of music whether it’s cool or not. But to be fair, Dixie Chicks just came on as I was saying that. I do feel a bit guilty about that.
B3SCI: If The 1975 could tour with any band, who would it be? (PS…you can hop into our B3SCI time machine if you like for any artist past, present, or future..)
The 1975: It would be : Michael Jackson – History Tour 1996. I was at that show in Wembley. I would have been about 7 years old. It was one of the most memorable and important experiences I think I’ve ever had. Seeing him perform catalysed a real drive within me from an early age. So that show would be awesome to fly back to and be part of. But also Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense Tour. Just cos they’re the fucking coolest. And David Byrne with that huge lamp was genius.
B3SCI: When will we finally get to see The 1975 performing in the US?
The 1975: Next year, if everything goes according to plan. We’re looking to get out there for SXSW. We might stick around and play some shows. We can’t wait actually.
B3SCI: What else should fans expect to hear from The 1975 in the year to come? Any surprises that you can share with us?
The 1975: If i knew, I would tell you. But I’m locked away in the studio. All I do know is that there is going to be A LOT of shows. And an album. A big album.
Reviewed by b3