OTW #508: The 1975

Already massive, and destined for more...
The 1975

Manchester foursome The 1975 speak to Clash having just concluded a sold-out May tour, taking in such impressive haunts as London’s Heaven and the Oran Mor in Glasgow, both 500-plus capacity venues.

And for fans of the rising band, it’s likely to represent the last time that they take to such relatively small stages. They’ve outgrown these spaces, and are booked into Brixton Academy in early 2014. They’ve opened for Muse and soon will for The Rolling Stones, and were courted for similar slots by both The Arctic Monkeys and Rihanna.

It all amounts to a whirlwind of hype. But The 1975’s ascent isn’t quite as sudden as you might think.

Although the band’s first recorded music only emerged in the summer of 2012, The 1975 actually formed back in 2002. The silence was a very deliberate one: they wanted to be ready. And the wave of radio support that’s greeted their tracks to date is evidence that their time has come.

Relationships between members have grown, of course, but the roots were strong early on. Singer-guitarist frontman Matthew Healy recalls the actions of drummer George Daniel at their first-ever rehearsal. (The band is completed by bassist Ross MacDonald and guitarist Adam Hann.)

“He dived straight into a Porta Loo, and broke the side of it. On that day, I thought: Yes, this is who I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

The 1975’s earliest gigs were to skate kids who hung around at community centres in Cheshire. Before that, they served as a high-school punk band. These influences haven’t been wholly forgotten – but it’s clear that the band’s sound has evolved away from a punk style.

Live, though, the band still channels the energy that drove them through their punk-ish early shows. “Live, we go pretty sick,” comments Healy. Today, a broader palette of influences is mined for inspiration, the band’s sound borrowing from R&B, soul, pop and even electronica. In Healy’s words, it’s a “stylistically heightened” mix.

Particularly striking is Healy’s lyricism. He doesn’t lack for confidence. “It’s all about me,” he says, “I’m so self-centred.” The swagger and bravado is backed by a story told through confessional wordplay, and a personality worth engaging with. And although The 1975 wear certain influences on their collective sleeve, they’re not absolutely reliant on them.

From a prolonged silence, then, to a pronounced scream. Life for The 1975 is about to get a lot louder.

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Where: Manchester

What: Britain’s biggest alternative act in waiting, it seems

Get 3 songs: ‘Chocolate’ (video above), ‘The City’, ‘You’

Unique fact: Healey is dating a supermodel, but refuses to name her.

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Words: Cai Trefor

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