The record is due on May 22 via Dirty Hit, having encountered various delays since the manager and label boss told us it was originally planned to come six months after the chart-topping A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.
As the band worked non-stop on the music while fulfilling touring and promo commitments around the world, Oborne was flat out keeping things on track, focusing on crafting a modern campaign and building on DSPs.
“This album opens with Greta Thunberg calling for a revolution,” Oborne said. “In 20 years, you could speak to a kid who lived through this time and this album could be their first experience of The 1975, that blows my mind. Imagine a kid in 20 years discovering this record, that is affecting culture. That outweighs any delay.”
“I don’t know how I feel about it, but I can’t imagine it being anything other than what it’s been,” said Oborne, who’s practically giddy with anticipation in lockdown. This week, he took delivery of the first finished vinyl copy of the record, taking to social media to share his excitement. Here, we find out why The 1975, and this campaign in particular, mean so much to him.
So the campaign is still going strong amidst the pandemic, how are you feeling?
“We didn’t want to move the release. It was in the process of being done, so there haven’t been any major delays. Some fans are messaging me saying it’s helping them get through, the thought of getting new songs or a new album. If anything, it would almost make us release it earlier, the only reason we didn’t is because we’re a sucker for our plans, we could never sacrifice the plan!” [Laughs].
Do you think Matty is a good voice to hear from at this time?
“He is, but I think he also feels a lot of pressure. He gets a lot of hate. So much hate. It’s because he says things that people don’t like hearing, he doesn’t tolerate sexism or racism, or homophobia. He doesn’t tolerate right wing politics, all manner of bullshit that people peddle. And as a consequence he upsets people and they attack him and people twist words. The amount of hate and negativity he got after what we did with Greta still shocks me now. I think he’s a bit weary of being that guy who fights for the underdog and gets a lot of abuse. I think he’s a bit worn out to be honest, but don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t know how to not be that person. Sometimes, I want to shield him from stepping out too much. It’s difficult when you have genuine love for people, it supercedes anything else.”
Has this been one of the weirdest campaigns you’ve ever worked on?
“It has. For reasons you know, some you don’t. It’s been the most challenging period of all of our lives. It’s been amazing, such an unbelievable creative journey and a documenting of real life. Matthew just hasn’t stepped outside of The 1975 now for nearly three years without stopping. Constantly doing something for The 1975 without any interruption or a pause of any type has been extraordinary. So much has happened in our lives, in the world around us, within our business, at Dirty Hit. I listen to these songs and they remind me of certain times, the lyrics refer to things that actually happened. It’s so weird. I used to read kids saying The 1975 was the soundtrack of their lives, when I listen to Notes... that’s how I feel.”
It’s been the most challenging period of all of our lives
Have you used any special tricks?
“There haven’t been any tricks, it’s been based around consistently releasing music that people want to listen to and having faith in the fact that, if you put out quality, culturally relevant statements, then you you’ll reach an audience and connect. There have been conventional elements like videos or singles that we take to radio or push at playlists, but the biggest thing is that the audience is just becoming bigger and not losing its appetite. We haven’t had the main attraction from this half of the campaign yet, I’m really excited to see what happens.”
Have you missed out on some promo, though?
“It’s been a bummer to not have [certain opportunities], we should be on our American tour, we would have been playing Banquet Records and then going to America. It’s a shame that didn’t happen. There would have been lots of different drivers. Over the last few weeks, we’ve built a really amazing campaign, a lot of stuff hasn’t happened yet, there are some big partnerships coming.”
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The original plan was for Notes… to come six months after A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. What happened?
“There’s been so many twists and turns, just life ones. Matthew and I have been really fortunate that the rest of the band, when it comes to how we want to market, they’ve always been really supportive and committed. The thing we collectively didn’t take into account in all our excitement and the plans we made, was that life happens as well. Over that length of time, a lot happens and some of it is fucking amazing and some of it is not. So that’s been the challenge, adapting to that. Humans are exactly that, they’re human and they’re not robotic. Records take the amount of time they take.”
What’s your favourite song on Notes?
“At the moment, it’s There Because She Goes. Matthew’s first demo of that fucking broke my heart; it was the most beautiful thing I’d heard in my life. Just the emotion. The album version is incredible, but that demo was just amazing.”
Look out for much from Jamie Oborne and Matthew Healy on musicweek.com in the run up to the release of Notes On A Conditional Form.
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