Red Bull Studios Spotlight: The 1975

How four Manchester-based boys found their sound and conquered the charts.

The 1975 live in Red Bull Studios London
The 1975 live in Red Bull Studios London© Alice Peprell

We’re not saying that Launched At Red Bull Studios was solely responsible for the rise of pop and rock’s most exciting new acts, but you can't deny that the TV series has a knack for spotting the next big thing.

Since the second series hit UK television screens earlier this year, the likes of Bastille, AlunaGeorge, Willy Moon, A*M*E, Deap Vally, Laura Mvula and many more have swiftly seen their stars rise.

Making a particularly big splash since they walked through the doors of Red Bull Studios London have been The 1975.

The Manchester-based indie rock quartet have broken into the big time at an astonishing pace, hitting their high point this week with a UK number one for their eponymously titled debut album - beating out Nine Inch Nails’ comeback LP no less.

“We were very happy just being an experimental RnB band and playing shows to no-one and not selling records,” says frontman Matthew Healy. “In eight months it has totally changed, we've got a number one album!”

The current musical direction and band name may be relatively new (“We used to change our name every night," says the singer) but the line-up of old school friends has stayed the same for an impressive ten years.

“We were 13 when we got together,” says Matthew. “Adam [Hann] and me on guitar, George [Daniel] on drums and Ross [MacDonald] on bass.”

© Alice Peprell

It’s this long-serving commitment to the band and its various experimental tangents that forged the immediate and intelligent sound that got the boys to the top of the charts.

“I was one of those obsessive Michael Jackson kids,” says Matthew. “In my dad’s car there was a lot of Motown, soul and original RnB: Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, The Stones and Martha Reeves And The Vandellas.

“My mum would listen to a lot of Whitney and Mariah. She was into D’Angelo, for a mum that’s pretty cool right? I think she might have seen him on the telly and fancied him.”

This cumulative effect of listening to all that rock, pop, soul and RnB has seen The 1975’s dreamy melodic indie sound described as a winning amalgam of Vampire Weekend and Foals.

“We just like to create our own little world and we go through different genres I suppose,” say Matthew. “We like to keep that hypnotic grand feeling to everything we do; whether it’s RnB or indie based.”

They may wear their inspirations on their sleeves but their confident sound and appealing melodies marks The 1975 out as something much more special than just a mish-mash of homages.

"As proud as we are of ourselves, we are equally proud of the idea that a band like us, after being together for ten years can get a number one album by simply making music," says Matthew. "No bullsh*t. I think that's really cool."

Check out the band’s episode of Launched At Red Bull Studios here to see why their rise to fame has been quite so assured.
 

More from Matthew Healy here.

More from Red Bull Studios London.