Interview | The 1975

Manchester’s The 1975 popped up on the scene late last year with their breakout EP, Sex. Their second EP,Music for Cars was released only last month and has already secured the band a place as one of the UK’s hottest young exports. They’ve just completed their highly anticipated debut album with producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals) and if the response from their EPs are anything to go by, it’ll be a 2013 chart smash. I had a chat to the boys about touring overseas, the new album, and their upcoming Hyde Park gigs this July with The Rolling Stones. No biggie.

MM: Firstly, you guys have been busy with your own headline tour in the UK and US. How was that experience?
1975: It has been incredible to be honest. We’d never headlined a show before our December tour last year, so to play to sold out rooms across the UK and America has been quite surreal. Playing live is really exciting for us at the moment; there is a wonderful juxtaposition between it being really nostalgic, and really new and refreshing at the same time. The fact we’ve been together so long means that we’re really humbled by what’s happening.

How did the audiences treat you in the US?
Wonderfully; we love America. I think they’re maybe a little more confident in the way that they approach you and voice their opinions. I like that. We’re going back there in June. We can’t wait. They genuinely make us feel at home and we love travelling to new places and playing for new people.

What was highlight of the tour for you guys?
We got offered to support The Rolling Stones whilst we were getting ready to play a show in some tiny club in Philadelphia. That felt pretty cool. We had one of those moments when you just look at each other and think, “Us lot?” There have been so many highlights to be honest; our lives at the moment have turned into this perpetual cycle of exciting announcements and peculiar, exhilarating situations. It’s very inspiring and exciting. At a show in the UK, a teenage couple came up to us and told us that they had fallen in love to the Sex EP. That was pretty special. One of the things that I personally strive for in music is real human connection with the listener; to soundtrack someone’s life and experiences in that way is something we crave.

What was your first show together like as The 1975?
Erm… I can’t really remember. We used to just tour with our mates’ bands and stuff; we never really put ourselves out there much; we just did it for our love of playing. We did one tour where we changed our name every night, that was kind of fun. I think The 1975 came around at the end of that. Our first ever headline show as The 1975 was in a tiny room of about 150 people in Leeds. That was really special, we were so nervous.

You can hear quite a few different styles in your music, who were some people that influenced you guys musically growing up?
Thanks, we like it when people notice that. Michael Jackson, Prince, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Boyz II Men, My Bloody Valentine – loads of ‘em. We’re very inspired by the oeuvre of John Hughes. The feelings of those movies; that teenage romanticism, that’s something we wanted to capture. We want to create soundtracks to peoples lives.

You’ve produced a great deal of your music yourselves. Why did you decide to take that route and did you have any production experience beforehand?
Well, we’ve just always found that the best people to work on our band is us. It just means that we haven’t had to compromise at all; it’s all our vision. We grew up deeply in love with music and the way that it works, both technically and emotionally. When you grow up with music being your only mode of expression, then production is something you naturally gravitate towards I think – that was the case with us anyway. George (drums) is very savvy when it comes to our productions – we all share the same musical vocabulary so it makes things very simple. It has been a natural evolution.

You guys released “Music for Cars” only last month, and singles like “Chocolate” have already done incredibly well. How have you felt the response has been so far for the rest of the EP?
People have been so nice about our music, which is good because we never intended for this many people to hear it. Our EPs mean a lot to us; we kind of think of them collectively as our first album. We wanted to write collections of songs that surrounded really important parts of the album; taking a part of the story and embellishing and exploring it. The fact the people have really got into our EPs as well as the singles is really important to us. We wanted to give fans more than just a single with three versions of the same song or rubbish remixes. Our output is really important to us. I guess it gives fans a more detailed picture of who we are.

And I’ve heard word you’ve finished working on your debut album, can you tell us much about it yet?
“Chocolate”, “The City”, and “Sex” are on it, the rest is for us to know at the moment. But it’s the love affair of our lives and we are very, very excited about it.

What have you been listening to lately?
James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Bonobo.

What else is coming up this year for you guys?
150 shows and pretty much every festival we’ve ever heard of. We actually cannot believe some of the stuff that is happening.

Any plans to head to Australia?
Yeah!! We can’t wait, it’s somewhere we never thought we would go as a band. I think it’s gonna get pretty crazy. We are playing a big festival but I don’t think we are allowed to announce it yet!