“Everything’s got too big for us already”: An interview with Matty from The 1975 (18/05/2013)

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On the final day of The Great Escape festival in Brighton, we are advised by The 1975’s tour manager to go and find the band at the bar of The Old Ship Hotel. After sitting down at a table for a few minutes, the band’s lead singer Matty strolls over dressed in a leather jacket and takes a seat. “Are you here to interview me?” The frontman talks to The Edge about touring, their forthcoming debut and playing gigs in ballrooms.

Matty, where are the rest of you?

Fuck knows. It’s Brighton!

Have you just got here?

Yeah we flew back from Amsterdam… what day is it now? Saturday… so we flew back at like, 4 on Friday morning, and then we were in London last night, and then we came down this morning.

So you’ve just got to Brighton, have you had the chance to do anything yet?

No, no I think I’ve been to 5 countries in the past 6 days. 

And have you got any time to check out other acts whilst you’re here?

No, it’s a shame about these kind of things. When it gets to Reading & Leeds, and Glastonbury and stuff we’re going to try and check out as many bands as possible. We’ll go and see Swim Deep. We’ve just come off tour with Swim Deep in Europe, we’ve just spent the past like, 2 weeks with them, so we’re all still tired. We might huddle back together and go and watch them, but yeah, I don’t know. We don’t really get any time. Tomorrow’s our only day off in the next month and a half, so we’re going to go home and go to bed. 

How are you feeling about tonight’s show?

I’m feeling very excited!

You’re playing in a ballroom! It’s cool, have you been in there yet?

I know right! No I haven’t been in there yet, I need to go check it out but we can’t wait. Brighton’s always crazy and there’s been a lot of shit going on at this festival. They wanted to upgrade us to a bigger venue but everything’s got too big for us already, like we didn’t want to start changing our shows with like, real amounts of people to just big things… and they were arguing with us, I think at one point they were like, gonna kick us off the festival because it wasn’t going to be safe or some shit. But it’ll be fun! We’ll see what happens.

Yeah it’s really small!

Cool! That’s what I want! I like it because a lot of the industry around here, they just mosey on down late on, I want them to be like, a mile away from the door, and with it just to be packed full of people who really want to see the show. 

You’ve been touring pretty relentlessly, how’re you finding life on the road? It’s all come quite suddenly.

It IS life on the road, now. It used to be like, weeks on the road, now it’s like, full on life on the road. It’s weird, you find a lot of solace in yourselves as individuals, and we’ve really embraced our relationships with each other. I think because everything’s been amplified so quickly, that it’s very dramatic, to spend so much time with each other with such a professional obligation. Which is the way I see it, now, because we never used to. We were just 4 mates who used to make music in our bedrooms, for us, and that’s changed into something that we owe people now because people really invest in this, and I know what it feels like to really, really invest in a band. I feel an obligation now to make people feel the same way that I did about records; through our live shows or records. So yeah, it’s nice but I miss my mum, I miss my girlfriend, and I miss my dog, you know?

So you’ve got your album coming out in September, what can we expect from it?

It’s very different again. I think there’s quite stark polarity in all of our records but it’s very ambitious, and I think it’s quite arrogant. I listened to it the other day, because our EPs have normally been like a lead track, surrounded by not necessarily purposely more alternative music, but when we were writing those records we found ourselves, kinda, it came out in a more left field sense. Whereas the record is more challenging in a pop format because it’s… basically when we wrote ‘Chocolate’ – which was a while ago – we were like, our album needs to be 13 of them, we need to think about it in the same way as Michael Jackson thought about  Bad or Thriller, otherwise there’s no point for us. We’re not doing this to make money or anything, we’re just doing this because this is all we know how to do, so if we’ve been given an opportunity to do it, it needs to totally define everything we’ve ever felt. It’s a cool record! I think. 

…and will it include a lot of the EP tracks?

No, it’ll include ‘Chocolate’, ‘The City’, ‘Sex’, and that’s it. I think it’s a 15 track record so there’s going to be like, 11 or 12 new songs. 

With ‘Chocolate’ were you surprised at how well it did?

Yeah! Yeah it went top 20! It’s so weird because that song wasn’t even written as a song, it was like a love letter to a really personal group of people and an idea, and the fact that it’s been embraced at such a massive level, it’s very odd. I can’t hear it in an environment where it’s just becoming part of somebody’s dialogue. To me, the main attraction is that it’s a narrative that came out of my thoughts, so it’s very strange to see it permeate places that are so unfamiliar. 

Naive people like myself thought it was really about chocolate, you’ve said a bit already but could you tell us what it’s really about?

It’s kind of about our relationship with different authority figures in our town and their perception of the counter culture, as little as there was there. We come from a place in North Cheshire, which is quite middle class and boring. You don’t really hear that much about it. It’s not Manchester, it’s next to Macclesfield, there’s not much of an identity, so I think within that searching for an identity there’s a lot of, kind of, expressing yourself within a very internal group of people, and that’s what all of our music is about, and what it’s always been defined by. So yeah, I think that’s what it’s about… and it’s about smoking weed as well, obviously.

Your new song ‘fallingforyou’ has a bit of a different sound, is that what the album is going to be like? It’s a lot more mellow.

No, not at all. The album is quite like, groovy, quite fun, quite funky. What I like is juxtaposing narrative and sense of words, with like – ‘Chocolate’ is quite a sad song but it doesn’t sound like it, it feels really life-affirming, and we like playing with that, so our record is quite up but there’s quite a dour sense of self-deprecation throughout the whole thing. It ties it down to pitching it a bit more left field. It’s a big, ambitious record with saxophone solos and the whole shebang. 

Have you thought about the cover art for your album?

I’ve thought about the cover art for our album for about 18 years. I don’t know what it’s going to be yet. We’ve got a lot of artwork coming out soon. We think it’s very important for us to put across our identity in that way.  

The 1975’s self-titled album is due out on September 9th, and is preceded by the band’s 4th EP, IV, which was released last Monday.

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