British buzz rockers THE 1975 have made a fruitful fixation on 1980s production tics and John Hughes’ Brat Pack in their self-titled debut. Whether you’re looking for chocolate or sex (or both), these lads from Manchester can deliver sweet jams that would satisfy your cravings.
Matt Healy (vocals, guitars) and bandmates Ross MacDonald (bass), Adam Hann (guitars), and George Daniel (drums) have been making music since the early age of 13. Inspired by John Hughes classics, they collectively wrote the soundtrack to their small town lives in an effort to immortalize moments from their youth. Matt explains, “The Breakfast Club explores so many of the ideas that I explore in the [album]–small town romance, the depiction of yearning of getting out somewhere, that kind of apocalyptic sense of being a teenager where nothing that preceded or predated it mattered.”
The 1975 have been in and out of the music scene for the past couple of years, surfacing first in the early 2000s as Drive Like I Do. A year after their latest rebirth, they’ve finally taken Europe and the US by storm with their unapologetic 80s-infused pop rock sound. When we met with them in Hong Kong, it had just been a day after they graced Clockenflap’s main stage. The lads seat at the W Hotel with a view of the harbor soothing them, as well as the surreal high of how their online breakout got them into touring with rock gods.
“A year ago, we were just kids on the internet like you, being inspired by other people. It’s funny now to us that people are so inspired by our band.”
You guys started making music at a young age, what got you in to it?
Just the uncontrollable gravitational pull that music had towards us. Someone just asked us a while ago what music meant to us. It’s the most powerful thing, but doesn’t tangibly exist. To be so defined and consumed by an idea is what subconsciously got us into music. The idea that commands you how to feel, but isn’t actually there.
A year ago, we were just kids on the internet like you, being inspired by other people. It’s funny now to us that people are so inspired by our band. It’s strange. We, now after a year of touring and meeting people, are starting to come to understand it. And instead of it freaking us out, we find it really flattering and very humbling.
Did you get any formal training?
On and off, but the musical training does not define us at all. As Jamie would say to labels that didn’t want to sign us, it’s very rare to get a band that has a strong musical knowledge and history in the application and playing of music but also with wealth of ideas, you know? I think the better the musician you are, the less you have to show off. It’s the kids trying to play everything that aren’t that good.
Who did you listen to growing up? I listened to your older stuff and your sound was very raw/punk. Reminded me of At The Drive In.
Yeah but we were never quite as good or as cool as At The Drive In. [Laughs] I think our history that’s kind of pop punk/post punk is still relevant in our energy live on stage. We still move around like we’re playing Glassjaw, but we’re not.
Our musical style was informed by black American music when we were kids. Motown, R&B, and ‘80s pop music was always there. When we were like 15 or 16, it was Glassjaw, ATDI, Hundred Reasons, kind of a lot of teen angst. We were in to skate punk, in to skate clothes, in to the culture but never actually skated. We spent too much time getting high and playing music. Ambient music was a big time for us when we got in to Sigur Rós and My Bloody Valentine.
“We are not in search of the validation of other pop stars, but of course it’s a really nice moment where your reality tilts.”
I like the way you guys write, it’s very honest and almost conversational.
You probably relate to it because you’ve been in the same things as me and all that I did. I started writing music without wanting to be in a big band, without knowing that I was going to be in an established band. So when I wrote music, I had the confidence to write lines like, “I’m not trying to stop you, love. If we’re gonna do anything, we might as well just fuck” because that was something that I said.
It’s just really a scrapbook of conversations, situations, and ideas. I was provided with that environment because I was genuinely writing music for me. People who don’t write music for themselves end up writing generic stuff about boring things. We just wrote about what we knew about. That’s why people like you are invested in it.
Who do you want to impress next? Is that something you think or care about?
We used to think we cared about it, but we don’t really anymore. To be honest, we’ve been given the privilege of not caring. We are not in search of the validation of other pop stars, but of course it’s a really nice moment where your reality tilts.
Like The Rolling Stones, at that time we were doing a gig. I wasn’t embracing the moment, but at one point I looked to the side of the stage and there was Mick Jagger. I look behind and there was George with our big banner. I looked ahead and there was my dad. It’s like the moment your reality and your concept of rockstardom are actualized. It’s really quite potent.
Story By Kix Suarez