For those that don’t know, I am studying Music Business at university and I’m currently in my final year.
One of the classes that I have is called Musical Opportunities and each week we cover a new topic on how the music industry is changing and how that effects the way we relate to music, culture/trends etc.
Every lesson that we have, I will be writing a blog post sharing my thoughts in different matters in the music world. The reason why I thought this would be a good idea is because after I finish my BA Hons I want to move on to get a PHD in Ethnomusicology because I am really interested in understanding the emotional and psychological process in creating music and how that effects different cultures especially the alternative music scene, and how that effects and influences theatrical musical performance.
Sounds deep right? Haha, all will be explained in the coming weeks as I progress with my “specialist” studies.
All my discoveries within this genre will be under the new feature, Art & Culture. So if this is something that interests you or makes you slightly curious to learn more and follow my journey within the “science” behind music, then make sure to keep an eye on this category and follow us online so that you don’t miss any articles!
Today I am going to be talking about the ways that people can communicate within music and the band that I have chosen to feature for this article is none other than, The 1975.
I had been doing quite a bit of research into the band a few weeks prior to my first Musical Opportunities (MO) lesson where we were asked to choose an artist/band and write an article on the ways they communicate (which is what I’m doing now), and how I can take elements from the way they communicate and make it my own.
I was quite excited and immediately wrote down a whole load of notes.
This is what I came up with:
They communicate through their music.
The 1975 don’t class themselves as a political band as they believe that they should create music in the same way that our generation consumes music. I highly doubt that there’s anyone out there that can say that they only listen to one artist, one band, one genre of music because all art in whatever form is pretty much always influenced (to some degree) by something else or something that has come before it. “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Talking about their Debut Self-Titled album which came out in 2013, Polydor said “The 1975 reflects the Manchester art-pop quartet’s shape-shifting adventurousness, an album of indelible choruses and mesmeric melodies that glides from electro grooves to alt-rock explosions to dreamy interludes.” (Polydor, 2013) I couldn’t agree more.
It seems other artists are starting to understand our generation by creating music that we would like to listen to with this years BBC Music Sound of 2016 award going to Jack Garrett who “ is an incredibly exciting artist. He’s influenced by and understands a lot of different genres, from blues to electronica, and through his song-writing and live performances has become something of a phenomenon both live and on record.” (Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, 2016) He mixes genres and is the sound of this year.
They communicate through words.
Through their music, they touch on all topics that they believe/feel that everyone (their listeners) go through, have experienced and/or understand.
When it comes to addressing things that have happened in the world, they don’t tend to unless they are in that country performing around the time that the incident/event happened.
For example they were preparing for their performance in Brussels and heard that they were the first band to ever perform after the incidents happened.
In an interview, the lead singer, Matthew Healy said that he doesn’t really talk about these kind of things because as a band, they’re quite “fantastical” as such as they are providing something for their listeners, kind of other worldly/an escape but because it was such a huge incident that affected so many; and with it being so fresh and recent as they were the first to be aloud to perform after this ‘terrorist attack’ he would have to think of something to say about it.
They communicate through momentary interludes.
The different ways the band tend to communicate is with the use of visuals (which I will break down and explain more later within this article), the things they say in between songs (momentary interludes), Twitter and the interviews they have, whether it be videos, magazines or radio.
There have been several occasions where Matthew aka Matty has taken time to communicate with his fans by telling them things that are on his heart – some really big and important issues that affect everyone (like stated above), some fan testimonies that have resonated with him and he feels the need to share, and fun updates etc.
Their message is always honest.
In terms of lyrics, the band hide very little from their fans. If it’s a lie or just stories that they have made up that they have no personal or emotional connection to, they don’t feel good about letting their fans hear it, so they make sure to share things that have happened in their lives.
They speak with experience which is why their fans are so supportive and relate to them so well because it’s true, the fans feel like they know them on a more personal level, and they’re not fake.
Their biggest yet somewhat unspoken message is to invest in your career and in what you love.
Pretty much all the money that the band make gets put right back into their shows because they are huge believers in investing in what you’re most passionate about. They are passionate about their music so that’s why they invest in it because at the end of the day, that’s their career. That alone communicates to their fans that they shouldn’t waste their money on materialistic things that will only make them happy for a short amount of time, but to invest in things that will propel them forward in their careers and just in genuine things that they are passionate about.
In my own musical practice, as an artist who is a fan of The 1975, I have learned so much about music and my generation just by spending time watching the interviews that the band do and seeing the response that their ‘hardcore’ fans give. They sold out a 20 thousand seat show in 8 seconds. They post a picture on Instagram about their name being put forward for a Mercury award and fans immediately head over to the website to put their votes in (my vote included 🙂 ). They have so much power, yet they don’t force it upon anyone.
They communicate through social media.
When it comes to great web design or creating engagement, people like to know what you want them to do with that information. There is a difference between tweeting ‘I have a single out!’ and tweeting ‘My new single is out! Click the link in my bio and give it a listen.’ or ‘Share/retweet this tweet.’ But there is also a difference when you have a massive following of people that you have built a strong relationship with over a period of time.
They ‘know’ so we ‘know’.
Before The 1975 became famous they spent around 10-11 years performing as a band with each other under different names, but they were unknown. I believe it was in that time that they weren’t ‘public’ that they were able to gel with each other, know each others strong and weak points, decide who they were as people and musically and know where they stand in the world. They had their strategies in place so as soon as they released their first EP, people could connect with it immediately because it sounded like it came from people who just really knew.
Even in terms of the way they release music, they’ve never released singles. They always put out a full body of work whether that be an EP or Album and we now know not to expect that from them because that’s not what they’re about.
They release 4 EP’s before they released their first album so people could really understand what they were about, the type of music they made and their story.
They reinvent and improve.
Another thing I have learned from them is that they don’t just listen to other bands and take from that, they listen to their own albums and EP’s in full and dissect it. They try to build upon it and make it better. They reinvent and evolve from their own sound so that when you listen to their next project, it’s just another level of themselves. I think this also comes from the fact that they’ve been a band for so long (and as Matty said) that once you’ve thought about yourself and your direction on one level, you tend to delve deeper into your character and product and think of it on a new level – or else, you will stop growing and improving.
What I have learned.
I want to take the time to find out where I’m at and what it is that I believe and create with that same thing in mind. Thinking outside of the box. I don’t listen to just one genre of music so I shouldn’t try to fit myself into one just so that I can say I’m THIS type of artist when I’m really not.
This idea reminds me of Janelle Monae. I believe she is one of the few nowadays that can put out an album where every song is a completely different genre. It showcases what she can do as an artist, but also it shows that she is influenced and interested in so many different types of music. She was one of the first artists that I think really embodied this factor that we consume such a vast and varied amount of music, and she even started to play with the idea that maybe one song can change several times like experimental music.
What are your thoughts? What has your favourite band taught you about music/the world? Let us know in the comments below!
(Click on the images and quotes to go to the link.)