Interview: The 1975

Emma Ainley-Walker interviews The 1975 after their recent gig at 02 ABC in Glasgow.

Excited to be in Glasgow?

Very much so. We’ve played loads here before, we love it here. (It’s a good city for live music.) It’s always really really good, they get very into it. There’s loads of kids that have been to our shows for years under different bands in Glasgow. Glasgow’s one of the only places where we actually had a little following. There’s quite a good alternative music scene in Glasgow because they’ve had a lot of relevant acts.

How did it feel to have your album debut at number one?

Strange, very strange from our perspective because we’ve been a band for so long never really yearning for that type of validation. We never really expected it nor wanted it, not to diminish how flattered we are or how proud we are, and how proud we are of the idea that a band like us has had the opportunity to have a number one record. I think that reflects something positive on the people who are buying music because we’re a real band. It’s cool. But those things, you know, they don’t make you happy. If you’re doing it for the same things that I’m doing, from quite a selfish, indulgent – it’s very very indulgent this music we’re making we’re very lucky that people are embracing it- but it’s quite a selfish thing being a musician a lot of the time I find. You’re really creating to aid yourself, so all of the material things that come with it and all of the statistical things that people who aren’t necessarily as creative, they really care about it. I don’t really care that much.

You had quite a lot of success with your first three singles and that’s great, they’re all great. But have you noticed since that happening the crowds changing at your gig changing?

That’s just something that happens, isn’t it? With every venue that got mentioned we were like ‘no, you’re mental we’ll never sell out that venue’. Now, we’ve had a number one album we’re doing three nights at Brixton Academy. It’s massive. You do see an evolution in the crowds.

We got a lot bigger over festival season, so a lot of the shows people were catching were festival shows, which are tailored to us as much as possible but there’s only a certain amount you can do unless you’re headlining. This is the first tour we’ve been able to do with all our production and our lights and our everything, so this is The 1975 show. And it’s going to be wicked I think.

You mentioned festivals. Do you prefer doing festivals or a tour like this?

Festivals are quite strange. For us our popularity was ever-growing as it went on so our initial festival crowds were people who’d heard about us and were coming to suss us out. So that was kind of Glastonbury, there were 35,000 people there but all kind of there due to being interested by what they’d heard whereas, by the time we got to Reading and Leeds it was like a homecoming. There were fans singing tracks off the album that hadn’t even been released. That was different. One felt like our first festival and then by the end of festival season it felt like we’d been doing festivals for 20 years. So I love festivals. And the fact that big crowds, they act as as a kind of a singular entity you know. The idea of the individual is more apparent in a small room with eyes and judgement and personalities. The whole jellyfish idea of a big crowd, it’s easier to understand really, I think it’s a simpler idea. It makes your responsibilities as a front man more solidified because you feel like an interaction with a singular- they move as one.

What does it feel like to see that many people?

We keep saying that, when you get a number one, when all those people turn up, because you’ve got a predetermined idea of what that’s like that you fantasized and imagined as a kid, when it actually becomes a reality you think that you’re going to have this almost revelation, almost on a spiritual level. A genuine form of enlightenment or enrichment or resolution. But you find that, because it’s such small steps, I don’t know. It sends me mental. You try and take it in and you just can’t. Everything’s retrospective.

Where does the name ‘The 1975’ come from?

It comes from a book that I got given by an artist that had been used as a diary by someone before me. They dated it ‘1st of June The 1975’ lots of times. And I just remembered it, ‘The 1975’ always stuck with me and then we came to settling on a name and it seemed kind of appropriate.

What do you want people to know or to take away from your album?

I don’t know. I just care so much about our output and I think a lot of music pushes people to be at their most ambivalent. Like indie music in particular. I’d hate that. I’d rather people fucking hate our album than think it’s nondescript because I would take that as a personal judgement on me. I just want people to feel. I think music is at its best when it provides an antiquated romanticised soundtrack to your memories. If it does that, then you’ve got it.

Is that what the album does for you?

Well that’s what it is. It is that romanticised soundtrack of my adolescence. If it takes people to that place, if it makes them see their memories in a cinematic almost 80s movies kind of way, if it makes them feel half as nostalgic as it does to me then I’ll take that. That’ll do.

If you could recommend any artists that are around at the minute who would choose?

James Vincent McMorrow’s new song is insanely good. We’re remixing it at the moment. It’s so good, it’s like one of those songs that annoys you, you get jealous about. It’s so simple, why didn’t I do that? We also like Phox. They’ve got a song ‘Slow Motion’ that’s really really nice. Also, Marika Hackman. She’s amazing.

What is a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview that no one ever asks?

Oh let me think. That’s a really difficult question. I quite like that question because it means that you think about it on a personal level. Interviewing can be quite a stale thing, it can be quite tedious. I think the only way to really make it enjoyable is if it actually becomes a genuine conversation. I like that question because it proves that you care about how I’m feeling.

[Emma Ainley-Walker]

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