If you’re a fan of The 1975 (or simply someone who uses social media), then you’ve probably caught wind that the Manchester band with “an undefinable sound” are gearing up to release their third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships in November. The news arrived with a lot to chew on — less than a year after the album, the band will drop their fourth release, Notes on a Conditional Form, in the spring of 2019. For anyone who fancies themselves a fan, it’s a lot to take in.
Speaking as someone who spends a great deal of time swimming around in a sea of diehards online, I can attest to the fact that we have been clucking away about this new “era” since April 3, 2017, the day that frontman, Matty Healy marked the official end of their second album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It in a tweet that sent the fandom into a frenzy.
The 1975’s massive following are made up of a particular breed. If I could be so bold as to speak for us all, I would tell you that we are a group of mostly women spanning from the tender age of 13 all the way up to moms, and maybe even grandmas. Of course, there are a ton of male fans as well, who scour the racks for staples that match the clothing worn by all four members of the band. And who could blame them? Since their inception in 2002—and their big break 5 years ago—the band have nearly perfected an aura of cool that feels timeless.
Having formed their band while attending Wilmslow High School together in 2002, guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, drummer George Daniel and the wild lead vocalist Matty Healy have managed to sync their vibe without missing a beat. Similar to the loyalty the band have to each other, fans of the 1975 have mimicked that behaviour in not only their love of the music, but as a collective group. I know this because I found two of my closest pals through our shared fandom of the band and the impact of those friendships has surpassed our love for the boys.
I read every inch of information available to me, watched countless interviews and videos, and commented with great pride and stamina on debates and general gossip about the four friends from Manchester, England that had seemingly stolen the hearts of thousands of people across the world.
It all started in 2014 when I was cruising YouTube for music about falling in and out of love. As I trolled the search results, I came across a video that read “The 1975 – fallingforyou.” There wasn’t an actual video, it was simply an image of one of the bands four EP covers but the title of the track was a near perfect match for my feelings. I clicked on the link. For the next four minutes I sat and cried with my eyes closed. I cried because I was overwhelmed by the ambient sound making its way through my ears, and I cried because somehow this band I had never heard of had nailed down precisely how I was feeling.
This experience would later be solidified when I learned that a lyric from “fallingforyou” is a fan favourite, often tattooed on body parts and sung at the highest octave during live shows. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to witness this until much later, as The 1975 had just performed in Toronto at the Kool Haus, a venue that no longer exists (RIP), a mere two months before I’d “fallenforthem.”
With no concert opportunity in sight, I did what anyone in my position would do: I took my new obsession to the internet. I immediately began to follow the blogs, groups, accounts, (and whatever else necessary) to connect myself with the boys. I read every inch of information available to me, watched countless interviews and videos, and commented with great pride and stamina on debates and general gossip about the four friends from Manchester, England that had seemingly stolen the hearts of thousands of people across the world.
And then one day, my comments gained some responses, which lead to a lovely exchange with a fan that frequently commented on posts. That exchange lead to direct messages and after passing what I can only assume was some sort of approval process, I was promptly invited to a group chat with other people just like me. Part of me was convinced this was some sort of catfish scheme where I would eventually land on MTV, humiliated and hating that the band that brought me to this point. Another part of me sensed this could be the beginning of something wonderful. Each day my phone would light up with notifications from the girls talking about the most recent tweet, dissecting a photo that was posted somewhere, or daydreaming about where the boys were at that exact moment and what they were doing.
Over time the group chat began to dwindle down as members parted ways for one reason or another. It left in its wake, a young 20-something from Washington, a hip suburban mom from Michigan, and myself, the lone Canadian, to decide if what we had was special enough to keep going. Spoiler alert: it was. We began trading in discussions about The 1975 for conversations about our lives. Almost out of nowhere, these two women became friends I could rely on; people who knew some of my most intimate feelings and would check in on me after a few days of white noise.
In 2015, The 1975 jolted fans out of their sleep when they deleted their social media presence on June 1st—the holiest of days—as it had inspired the creation of their name when Matty found the inscription “1 June, The 1975” in the back of a poetry book. Almost simultaneously, the girls and I began typing back and forth in rapid fire commands. We would spend the next several hours debating what the disposal of their social media accounts meant.
Each channel was reinstated the next day, but the bands usual black and white aesthetic had been replaced by pink and white. Again, a round of debate took place in our group chat. By October, The 1975 finally confirmed what we had speculated for months, their second album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It would soon be pulsating through our eardrums. It was then and there that we decided to meet in the flesh to celebrate two things: the blood, sweat, and tears that had gone into our band related detective work, and to celebrate the bond we had formed miles away from one another.
The three of us would meet up appropriately enough on June 1, 2017 when the The 1975 were set to perform their sold out show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Soon enough, we would put faces to the names of the women behind the screens that shared experiences with breakups, family drama, jobs loses and more all without knowing if the other was actually “real.” When we finally came face-to-face at our questionable Airbnb in Brooklyn, all doubt was lifted as we immediately embraced each other with giant squeals in anticipation for the night ahead.
In true fanatic form, we hyped ourselves up during the subway ride to Madison Square Garden, howling like a bunch of groupies from the ‘70s. We ate a giant slice of New York pizza and ogled the piles of fans rushing down the sidewalk to the venue doors. We couldn’t wipe the stupid grins off our face as we ourselves, rushed to the open doors with so much excitement in our hearts that I was almost certain they could burst. Our faces lit up as we referenced conversations from the group chat about this very night, allowing inside jokes to now take full shape.
The show was a magical blur of our souls exploding all over the arena. You couldn’t avoid feeling the raw sense of admiration at Madison Square Garden, from the front row of the crowd to the highest point in the very back, where my newly formed best pals and I sat in awe. This was our moment and we were not only sharing it with each other, but an entire stadium of people who were experiencing the exact same overwhelming emotions at once.
It was all happening. A friendship that once seemed fleeting in an online world had finally mixed with the real world and solidified for us all that there are good people everywhere. Sometimes it just takes an incredible band to help you find them.