Interview: The 1975 – The City


Manchester’s The 1975 have been a topic in many new music conversations this past year. Now the band follow up their much lauded SXSW saga with a new and definitive take on “The City,” the lead track (and demo) from their debut Facedown EP release from summer 2012. We recently caught up with frontman Matt Healy to discuss the new recording from their upcoming (to be named) fourth EP which drops May 20th. We also discussed a bit about their debut album, affinity for vintage gear, their first SXSW experience and more. Sample “The City” and check out our conversation with the band below.

B3SCI: What was the band’s motivation behind creating this new and definitive version of your track, “The City”? How would you best describe this extension to the demo version that initially kicked off the Facedown EP?

The 1975: Well we recorded this version for our album shortly after we did the Sex EP. I supposed we just wanted it to be something we were a bit more proud of sonically – whilst maintaining the elements of the demo that made it special. We weren’t planning on releasing this version of “The City” before the album – but after “Chocolate” came out there was such an acceleration in our popularity and peoples awareness of our name. It kinda made us sit back and want to take our time a bit. We feel that “The City,” as a song, says a lot about who we are both musically, personally and sonically and we didn’t want to miss our opportunity to get that message out to as many people as possible. We want to people to hear it now, as apposed to later, it’s a very important track for us.

B3SCI: There seemed a strategic and thought-out nature to your trilogy of EP releases. If this version of “The City” was always brewing somewhere in the masterplan, what specific role will it play on the forthcoming May 20th EP release?

The 1975: We were always planning on putting out three EPs, but I never really thought of them as a trilogy – nothing is ever really set in stone in our ‘world’, so we kinda just let them evolve naturally. I don’t really know what role the next EP plays other than to give people another set of tracks that will help them understand a little more about who we are. We thought it would be interesting writing another record around “The City” seeing as that’s how we had approached the Facedown EP. A lot has happened in the 8 months since we released that EP, so I suppose it’s just a reflection of where we’re at now. Currently I am feeling calm and humble.

B3SCI: Is there a name for this new EP yet? We must say that the working title, EP 4 has something charming to it…

The 1975: There is no name as of yet. But it’s funny you should say that…

B3SCI: We caught at least 4 of your gigs during SXSW this past March. Like many in Austin… we couldnt get enough. How would you rate this, your initial experience in America, and given all the hype about performing in the States, how do you perceive the reaction/experience?

The 1975: Thank you very much. I think seeing that our music had transcended to somewhere so unfamiliar – that was the highlight for us. We genuinely didn’t expect to see that. Our shows sold out nearly every night – we couldn’t quite get our head around how that actually worked. It really makes you understand the power of the internet. We love America anyway. It was so surreal and rewarding every second. It made us realise how much everything has changed since last year. Our album is very inspired by American cinema and pop culture, so it felt right playing some of our new songs out there.

B3SCI: With all of your running about in Austin, did The 1975 get the chance to catch any artists that either impressed you, or surpassed your expectations?

The 1975: We only got to see Haerts and we totally loved them. SXSW was absolutely mental. We did 11 shows in 5 days. We didn’t even get time to sleep. It’s an interesting place at SXSW, Austin is a kind of liberal utopia in the middle of the desert.

B3SCI: Gotta compliment the band’s obvious appreciation for vintage gear. What year is your black Stratocaster, does it have a name or a story worth sharing? How about that Fender Mustang?

The 1975: Well my Strat is actually a reissue unfortunately and not that old. But my Mustang (my love) is 1965′. I love that guitar to bits. I picked it up in LA like 2 years ago. We all love classic vintage gear. When we recorded the album our snobbery was terrible. If anything looked remotely new or easy to decipher it was tossed aside. We like manipulating the best of both worlds – analogue vs digital. There was a nice, compromised balance of valve replacements and software updates.

B3SCI: The band’s live technique and guitar work alone surpassed anything we’ve seen from a new pop band in years. How vital are the intricate countermelodies and parts that comprise The 1975? Tell us a little about rehearsal, what level of experimentation is involved, and at what point does a part in a song ‘just feel right’?

The 1975: Well I don’t really talk about the writing process very much, not to be perceived as enigmatic or cool, it’s simply one of the only things we have left that’s just for us. But our music is built up of syncopated loops and hooks, both vocally and musically. Rhythm is paramount – and everything is treated the same way. Rhythm and flow precedes all melody; from the vocals, to the guitars, everything. I think that’s because that’s what gets us exited the most. Groove, that’s what it’s all about for us. It doesn’t necessarily have to be clever or ‘bangin’ to get us excited, I think it’s just that our history of consuming music is so embedded in American black music. We take a lot of influence from house music also. It’s playing with the ideas of ‘lifts’ and ‘drops’. Minimal house for example exploits repetition in order to create a rewarding sense of pay-off. You can just as easily create a lift by taking something away or simply repeating it; we like that idea, it’s something we like to play with.

B3SCI: Is there a debut album still on the horizon for The 1975 in 2013?

The 1975: Yes there is, it is coming out at the end of the summer.

The 1975 england (Official)(Facebook)

Rating 8.7


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Giveaway: The 1975 @ Santos Party House, New York City THIS FRIDAY


The 1975, who straight murdered it at our SXSW showcase a couple weeks ago & left Austin levelled in their wake, are playing a free all ages show at Santos Party House in New York this Friday. The first b3sci’er to email us with the subject line “I Want To Party Like It’s 1975” wins a +1 on the V.I.P. guestlist. You can RSVP for the show here.

The 1975 (Facebook)

Rating 10.0


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The 1975 – Head.Cars​.Bending

the 1975

b3 faves The 1975 come through with possibly their most challenging track to date with “Head.Cars.Bending.”. The R&B influence hinted at in earlier songs like “You” & “Chocolate” is dialed up further here with the band embracing more untraditional song & rhythm structures for indie pop. “Head.Cars.Bending” is quite unlike anything we’re heard before (in the best sort of way) and we’re definitely co-signing this particular lane for the band. The 1975’s s/t EP is due March 3rd on Dirty Hit.

The 1975 (Facebook)

Rating 8.2


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The 1975 – Chocolate

“Chocolate” is sweet as its name suggests, a buttery concoction of harmony and pop that’s soulful to its core. The track is the first release from The 1975’s forthcoming Music For Cars EP, the final installment of their EP trilogy, which is set for release March 4th. The band are currently in the studio working on their debut album with producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals, to name a few) and it’s a safe bet that we can expect more great things from these guys in 2013. Preview “Chocolate” below.

The 1975 (Facebook)

Rating 8.2


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The 1975 – Sex (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)

What happens when one of the hottest bands in the world links up with one of the hottest producers in the world? Other than the obvious answer of something you need to listen to, there’s this remix that Ryan Hemsworth recently did for title track from The 1975’s forthcoming Sex EP. Hemsworth meticulously transforms the uptempo pop-rock anthem into a laid back, beat-swaggered strut. Earmilk had the premier for the track earlier today, be sure to check it out and grab a free download while you can. You can pick up the Sex EP on 11/19 via Dirty Hit/Vagrant.

The 1975 – Sex (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)

Ryan Hemsworth (Facebook)
The 1975 (Facebook) (Pre-order Sex EP)

Rating 8.4


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The 1975 – You

“You” is the latest song to drop via the forthcoming and second EP from The 1975. The closing track on the Manchester collective’s Sex EP, “You” couldn’t be an any more appropriate climactic conclusion with it’s melodic climb to the top of the world. It’s an anthem of the most telling sort. We recently had the chance to chat with The 1975 about their forthcoming EP, debut album in the works, R&B inspiration and more, you can check out the Q&A in full here.

The 1975 (Facebook)

Rating 8.6


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Interview w/ The 1975

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.

The 1975 england (Facebook) (Pre-Order Sex EP)

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The 1975 – Sex

The 1975 keep it coming with this final and single version of their track “Sex”. It’s a got a bit less dynamicism than its earlier demo (released under other various guises) but it’s still as catchy of a tune as can be. Sex will be the title track of the band’s next EP expected November 19th. Preview this official single version (aka panty dropper) from the breakthrough Manc collective below.

The 1975 england (Facebook)

Rating 8.2


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The 1975 -The City (No Ceremony Remix///)

Manchester scene titans collide on this fresh remix of The 1975’s “The City”. Big atmospheres. We’re into it.

The 1975 england (Facebook)

NO CEREMONY/// england (Official)

Rating 8


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REVIEW: The 1975 – The Facedown [EP]

The 1975’s first official release is finally with us and serves to carefully weave together four tracks with a wealth of atmospherics, industrial beats and expansive choruses. Track two, “The City” is definitely the focal point of the EP and whilst everything around it does a great job of setting the scene and showing the band’s capacity for development, it feels like their slingshot is still pulling back. These four young guys from Manchester have set out with a mature approach to representing their hometowns rich musical landscape, past and present, and considering the quality of the demos heard last year I’m sure there’s still more big tracks to come. By Nathan Hetherington

The 1975 england (Facebook)

Rating 8.2


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The 1975 – The City

The 1975 have developed an identifiable and forward thinking cast of Manchester indie rock. The band, aka T H E S L O W D O W N and B I G S L E E P within the last year or so, will be releasing a debut EP Facedown under The 1975 guise. Rightfully, the crew have attracted some noteworthy love from the blogosphere and tastemaker radio, and their track “Sex” is easily one of our fave of 2011. Pick up a copy of their Facedown EP August 6th and preview “The City” from the forthcoming below.

The 1975 england (Facebook)

Rating 8.2


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The Aces – Physical

Red Bull Records will release on June 23rd “I Don’t Like Being Honest”, the debut EP from Utah band The Aces. “Physical”, the EP’s first stream, is mixed by heavyweight Mike Crossey (The 1975, Fickle Friends). The track gets it’s dough on it’s tranche of undeniable/strong hook writing and candy sweet production. Into it.

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