The 1975 British band & its pursuit of musical happiness

Chuck Smith (The Philippine Star) - April 4, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The British indie rock band The 1975 has a lot to live up to.

The band — composed of Matt Healy on vocals, Adam Hann on guitar, George Daniel on drums, and Ross MacDonald on bass guitar — was formed in 2012 and is based in Manchester, a city in England known for its rich musical history. Bands like The Smiths, Oasis and The BeeGees, among many others, have emerged from “Madchester,” the musical scene that was developed in the city during the late ’80s to early ’90s.

“We only have our own standards that we need to meet. The whole Manchester thing is different because there are a lot of Manchester kind of bands, but we don’t really sound like any of those bands. It’s not really what we’re about,” Matt told the local media in a press conference organized by Ayala Malls recently.

The 1975 came in town for a series of performances at Market! Market!, Glorietta and Fairview Terraces.

Although the band is relatively young, The 1975 already has a number of radio hits (including its popular single Chocolate) and a very solid fan base around the world, including the Philippines.

The band’s songs have an ’80s pop vibe that shifts from punk-pop to indie rock, owing to what drummer George described as the “cinematic” influence in their music. The British and foreign press have tagged The 1975 as “a band on the rise” that is “making Madchester proud,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter.

Matt said the band’s playlist of favorite songs runs the whole gamut — from heavy metal music to new wave band Talking Heads to boy group Boys II Men and even R&B singer Ashanti. It’s this kind of musical “openness” that makes the group’s music accessible and fresh.

“It’s all real-life experience. That album is kind of like a diary, a scrapbook of ideas. We’re defined by being very honest,” Matt said of the band’s music.

The 1975 even did a cover of British boy band One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful for a radio show last year. The performance received positive press and a nod from One Direction member Harry Styles himself.

Asked if there is any truth to the rumors that The 1975 will collaborate with One Direction, Matt said, “We’re not collaborating, we’re writing a song for them.”

“They asked us and we said yes. Whether they use it or not, we don’t know. We went to the studio and we met them. We started playing around with ideas. We’ll see what happens. They don’t need us. They’re only like the biggest band in the world,” he laughed.

Matt was not out to dismiss the British boy band, even though their music isn’t even comparable to one another. The 1975 is simply out there to compete; its members are doing what they do because it’s what they love to do.

“We don’t really see a lot of pressure because we only do this because we love making records. It’s an easy thing to say, but we do it because we love it,” Matt said.

He further said, “I’ve been in this band since I was in my teens. We’ve all been together. As we’ve grown up, our social vocabulary, our musical vocabulary all became one and the same thing. We’re very much a unit. This is about loving each other in the pursuit of happiness.”

Asked about future plans, Matt said the band is currently writing new songs for the second album. “We’re writing it right now — on the tour bus, in the Philippines. I can’t say how our sound will change. What has changed in dynamics of the band? We weren’t the same people when we started the band. So everything that we’ve done, we’ve grown together and the band has grown in the same period of time.”

“We know how lucky we are. We’re very, very lucky and very, very fortunate. My advice (to other bands) is to pursue things out of happiness as supposed to ego,” he said.

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