The 1975 gave fans a scare in 2015 when after wrapping up years of touring in support of their self-titled 2013 debut album, the group deactivated all their social media accounts. For many, this was it, a silent goodbye from the elusive band that shook up the worlds of pop and rock with their shimmery chords and irrepressibly catchy hooks.
"It would've been a bit of a rude way to leave it, wouldn't it?" drummer George Daniel told Rolling Stone when he and singer Matty Healy visited the office. According to Healy, the deactivation was nothing more than the group sitting in a room and simply hitting the "off" switch on their accounts, which they reactivated soon after. While the move has been perceived as a PR stunt, Healy claims it was simply a harmless experiment.
"We just wanted to see that whole thing of desirability as way more potent than obtaining something," he says.
When the 1975 returned, the band's visual presentation had shifted from the moody black-and-white palette of their debut album's era to bright pink and neon, a perfect match for the glammy, flamboyant single "Love Me," off their upcoming second album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. In the song's video, the band performs while surrounded by models in bright dresses and cardboard cutouts of stars like Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus and Ed Sheeran. "'Love Me' as a song was born [out] of our confusion as to how big we'd gotten, in our eyes," Healy explains. "We can't say how big we are, but for us, we surpassed a lot of our expectations. So 'love me, if that's what you want to do' is really the sentiment of it."
As to whether the song and video are a cultural critique, Daniel and Healy seem to disagree on that point. "We weren't having a dig at anyone or at culture," the drummer says.
"I think we kind of were, though, a little bit," the singer counters. "We didn't really change that much and we felt that maybe our perceived notion of who we are as people should've changed."
Even while the band hints at the past in their sound and renewed aesthetic, they hope that they try to engage with their own awareness of now, with Healy considering the 1975 as a participant in today's "selfie culture" and its "hierarchy young celebrities have based on who you're friends with, who people see you with."
"We're not really in that world because we don't really go out that much," he adds. "We wanted to comment on that and comment on how things maybe aren't as cool as they used to be."
Though the 1975 largely recall acts like INXS and the Cars, they find it hard to even consider themselves a rock group. "We want to be really postmodern," Healy asserts. "We want to create in the way that we consume. There's not really room for bands that do one thing anymore because people don't consume just one type of music."
I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It will be released on February 26th. The 1975 will be the musical guest on the February 6th episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Larry David.