Don’t be fooled by that nostalgic band name. The 1975’s time is now. Since tearing out of the Manchester toilet circuit in 2012 with a volley of buzz EPs, schoolmates Matt Healy, Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann and George Daniel have enjoyed pinch-me moments at every turn. Hearing first single The City on Radio 1. Opening up for the mighty Rolling Stones at Hyde Park. Seeing 2013’s self-titled debut album elbow aside the talent-show puppets to hit UK#1. “We never even thought about being on the radio,” admitted the shellshocked band in one interview. “It didn’t seem like a realistic prospect.”
Yet here they are. In the age of the throwaway two-minute pop single, The 1975’s ascent is heartening proof that real bands can still achieve commercial success on their own terms. Both live and in the studio, the four-piece push the envelope, shaking up an ambitious sonic cocktail of stinging indie guitar, synth-pop atmospherics and whip-smart lyrics. Holding it all together, meanwhile, is drummer George Daniel, and his hybrid setup that combines traditional acoustic drums with samples triggered via the Roland SPD-SX and RT-10.
“The reason I started to use Roland electronics was because I had a lot of sampling that I needed to do. I currently trigger bass drum and snare, but mainly the electronics is [done using] the SPD-SX. I had the SPD before I had anything else. I just used to try and figure out all these mad [drum] parts and then I was like, ‘Ah! Triggering seems to be the way forward!’ And as soon as you look into it, you realise how simple it is, especially with the Roland stuff.”