The 1975

There are few bands that we’ve seen in our blogging careers hit a trajectory that The 1975 has. In just a very brief year and a half, this Manchester based quartet has gone from bedroom recordings to major label pushes. We recently sat down with front man Matty at the Marquis in Denver, Colorado. See what he had to say about early punk influences, Thai food and John Hughes films.

TMN: Welcome to Colorado! This is your first time here, correct?

Matty: This is my first time here in Colorado.

TMN: How’s the tour going so far? Are the states treating you well?

Matty: Really good. America is kinda of like, it’s amazing for us. Do you want me to expand on that?

TMN: Sure. Go ahead.

Matty: It’s an amazing place to go out on tour as a band. Geographically, it’s awe inspiring.

TMN: Have you found that crowds over here differ from those in Europe? How has the reception been so far?

Matty: We haven’t had a bad show! There’s been some great surprises like, fucking…well, not even surprises because last time we were there…Milwaukee. So much fun up there. So much fun in so many places. Philadelphia, man. Philadelphia is like playing Manchester for us. It really is. It was a better show in Philadelphia than it was for our homecoming show in Manchester. So, it’s amazing really, how it translates.

They don’t differ that much. They don’t really differ. I think that if you’re playing good music in South Hampton or New York City, people are going to react the same. I think people are slightly more open minded, people are very supportive of the idea of creativity being monetized. American people have a very good mentality, and it creates a really comfortable environment to be an artist. People like that. They think you’re fucking cool if you’re in a band, especially if you’re in a British band. So, it makes our accent, and our demeanor hold a lot of currency, in middle America.

TMN: You guys have had a rather accelerated path to where you are today, taking the blogosphere by storm. Has there been one moment in particular that’s made you stand back and say, “holy shit, I can’t believe that just happened.”

There’s been so many moments where I’ve tried to. It’s really hard to explain what this year has been like for us because it’s not been in drips in drabs; it’s not been two week and tour then go home and see your Mum. It’s been fucking non-stop since the second it started. We went on tour in January, properly, and haven’t been home since. I went home for two days, in the midst of moving out of the house I used to live in for twelve years. Then fucked off for another six months. So, you’re never really provided with an environment to be retrospective or have true hindsight because you’re always in the moment.

Maybe I could find ten minutes in between coming off stage and talking to you, but I don’t. But then when you leave I go eat, then I gotta do a show…you know? It’s really difficult to take yourself to the place to be like “Fuck, what happened?.”

I’m scared about slowing down, man. I’m scared about stopping because I’ve been in a different city, every single day for a year.

TMN: Do you think that would be a great time to step back and do some songwriting?

Oh, well it’s all I’ve been doing, just channeling it into writing. I don’t even really understand how I’m feeling at the moment. All of that confusion is translated into writing. So, I’m in a very good place creatively…you’re constantly questioning who you are and what you’re doing.

I think the best analogy that I’ve come up with is if you’ve had a holiday romance. You meet someone on holiday. At that time, it’s like the Apocalypse. As if nothing that preceded it mattered or existed and the future is like, “whatever.” It’s when you get home, that you really understand it for what it was. You almost laugh about it, you know? It’s nice how intense it is, but we’re on this perpetual holiday romance. Never going home. Never being provided with that moment of thinking, “God, look at what we’ve done.”

It’ll come soon, but I think in the record you can feel a lot of the narratives of the songs about yearning for something bigger. It’s an indulgent stimulation.

TMN: Your team has had a really interesting and effective strategy bringing your tunes to the public. It seemed like every week we were posting something 1975, leading up to the album release. Doing this really created a buzz, and allowed you guys to work with a ton of different publications. How involved were you guys in on this process?

Matty: Totally. The nucleus of everything comes from me and the band. There’s no element that has not been done by us. It’s kind of as simple as that.

Our manager Jamie is our fifth member. He runs our record label as well, he’s our manager and he is integral to every decision that gets made. When it comes to everything, like the album, there was only seven of us allowed in the studio. Everybody that works with us has been with us since the beginning. It’s all us.

TMN: Touching back on the whole blogging/online music thing, where do you guys stand with that? Do you pay attention to the Hype Machine or what blogs covered you? Or has that somewhat dissipated?

Matty: Well, it’s definitely dissipated, as has everything had to be. Our love for football, our adoration for our fucking families, everything has had to take a back seat. Music…I’m not too good, right at the moment. I probably stopped paying attention to what was going on (in the blogosphere) about 2011. The A$AP record, the WKND’s record…I know what’s going on. I know my music. But right at this moment, I don’t pay attention.

Partially for security as well! Because if I get on the internet, it’s quite dangerous place for me. I can find something that’s going to inflate or deflate my ego massively and offset my day. So, I just stay away from the internet really.

TMN: Alright, let’s go back to the beginning. How did you guys meet, and where did the name 1975 come from?

Matty: Well we met at high school. We kind of played in punk bands and went started making music. We’ve stayed together for 10 years. The 1975 comes from a book that I got when I was on holiday, I was about 19. I met an artist out in Majorca, and he became a friend of mine. He just gave me loads of literature to just take home with me. When I read one of the books, I think it was on the road…

It had been used as a diary by someone, and they had scribbled all over it and dated it. It was just the use of language that I really thought was interesting. It just kind of stuck with me.

TMN: Who were some of the punk bands that you were influenced by back then?

Matty: Yeah. Well, I suppose it was because we were middle class skater scene…we were like into the whole Epitaph scene. Like, Bad Religion…that kinda thing. The first show I went to was a festival, I was 13. Less than Jake headlined, Pennywise played, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Ataris and loads of other bands. With my love of melody, that kind of drifted into more pop punk music. By the time you got to all the awful stuff, I was done with it.

TMN: One thing we always like to talk about are musical influences. Personally, I think I hear some Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, in your music. Is that pretty accurate? Talk about a few other of your guys’ big influences.

Matty: Those are exact. So by Peter Gabriel is probably one of the most important records to us. The way that it works; it’s a very, very forward thinking piece of work. It also has international smash hits all over it. I think it came at a time where pop music wasn’t so encumbered with self awareness, cynicism and irony.

You have loads of records like that. Like Bad, Graceland, like you were saying, So. There was a blissful innocence to it that provided people to be sexy and cool. Peter Gabriel…the drums alone. We copied the exact way you do that. In the EP we were doing loads of the old 80’s production techniques like shotgun micing the snares.

TMN: We had a chance to check out the video for “Girls” earlier today, which was pretty entertaining. The look on your face in the beginning is priceless. Talk to us about the concept behind this video?

Matty: Well, partially when it comes to music videos – they’re fucking ridiculous. You’re never not aware that you’re making a music video. The idea that you’re making a music video is really cool is false anyway. Basically, when we put the “Sex” video out, a lot of people were saying, “Oh, they’re conforming to a major label.” We thought the whole thing was fascinating.

We were seeing a lot of videos that were sort of these hipster videos like “Blurred Lines,” and Miley Cyrus, that we thought, “that would be the obvious thing to do. So, let’s make a video about making one of those videos.” It’s a fucking music video, so it will be fucking funny. Whatever. If everyone thinks we’re going to do a black and white video, that’s just fucking nonsense. What they were forgetting is that it was the unpredictability, and the uncertainty that made people like the band in the first place. So, we just got four models down to the studio and made the stupidest video ever.

TMN: So now that you have the album out, you’re releasing videos left and right, and currently in a full US headlining tour, what can our readers expect from you guys on the horizon?

Matty: A year’s worth of playing shows. We’re on tour until December 2014. Next year.

TMN: Alright, at this point in the interview we like to ask a few nonsense questions, just for fun. The one thing you miss from home when you’re touring is…

Matty: My dog. A boxer named Pip. She’s been with me, next to me when I’ve written just about every lyric.

TMN: What was your first job before you guys became professional musicians?

Matty: My first job? I worked in a kitchen doing pots at a pub. Then I was a barista. Then I worked in a call center with him (points to his band mate).

TMN: Name three things that are always in your fridge, no matter what.

Matty: Milk. Grapes. Tequila.

TMN: If you could create the soundtrack for any movie from the past, what would you pick?

The 1975: (Laughing) Oh, you see, that’s impossible! You don’t want to ask me a question like that. Movies that I would want to soundtrack, have the perfect soundtrack. So, Lost in Translation, I watch that and I say, “Oh, I’m jealous that it’s not my soundtrack.” If we have the opportunity to do the soundtrack for a movie like Lost in Translation, or Drive. We would be very, very happy.

If they redid a John Hughes movie well…if they do, and if we don’t get to do the soundtrack, I will go fucking bananas. If they remade Pretty in Pink, and did it properly though…and I’d go sick on that.

TMN: If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?

Matty: It would be a banquet. This small independent Thai restaurant where I’m from. The Chile Banana. It does the best Thai food I’ve ever had. I’d have all of my favorite stuff from there.

TMN: What was the first album you purchased?

Matty: Bad by Michael Jackson.

TMN: Alright, last one. If your music were an animal, what would it be?

Matty: A unicorn…no. It would be a platypus because no one knows what the fuck it is. I’d like to say wolf, or eagle or something majestic. What’s the favorite animal of ours? Ah, fuck it. We’re a platypus.

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The 1975