How to get your band to sound like The 1975

Don't let Somebody Else beat you to it – here's how to sound like Matty and co. in a few easy steps

The 1975 havemastered a sound of their own – a floaty, sample-happy staple that taps into 80’s nostalgia with a futuristic sheen, and it’s a sound that’s influenced numerous artists in their wake,not least Dirty Hit labelmates The Japanese House and Pale Waves, both of who have had songs produced by 1975 members. Forming a new band? Need a head start and want to pay homage to Matty and co.’s heroics? Here’s all the essential kit you need:

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First, get yourself a sampling pad

The 1975, George Daniel

Drummer George Daniel also acts as a go-to producer, and he’s arguably the key component in shaping The 1975 sound. He was a drummer first, but he’s more of a tech-head these days, having studied music production at A-Level. His talent shines on 2016’s ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’, especially on the record’s drawn out, ambient instrumentals. His secret? A sampling pad. He says he had the Roland SPD-SX before “anything else.” The piece of kit allows him to integrate samples into recordings, and the band can edit them in real-time when playing live.

Feeling flush?

Spend a pretty penny (well, £629) on George’s first piece of kit, the SPD-SX.

On a budget?

Roland samplers are brilliant, but they don’t come cheap. If you’re just starting out by need something versatile and able to store hundreds of samples, get an AKAI MPX16. It also has a built-in mic, just in case you’re on tour and happen to pass a flock of seagulls or something.

But don’t settle for one gadget

The 1975's Matty Healy

Samplers are perfect for experimenting, creating quick loops and integrating field recordings with noisy backdrops. But in a studio environment, you’ll need something reliable to record on. There are a few software essentials new bands should swear by.

Feeling flash?

Get Ableton Live, a programme used by everyone from Skrillex to Justice. After that, invest in some plug ins. The 1975 used iZotope on ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’, most notably for the record’s title track. And if you want the full set, get an Ableton push controller, so you can edit parts live.

On a budget?

Look, you don’t always need perfect studio sheen to make a hit. Steve Lacy collaborated with Kendrick Lamar this year, and he famously uses just an iPhone copy of Garageband. Logic is also a cheaper alternative to Ableton.

Next, prepare to conquer stadiums with a Healy-approved guitar

One guitar changed Matty Healy’s life. Or so he claimed when speaking to Music Radar. He told them: “I don’t use the word too lightly, but I got very depressed and I was in a bad way, just after a time when the band very much didn’t get signed. Our manager was going to Los Angeles and just said, ‘Just come with me and get away from it.’ So I went and I met loads of people and I ended up going out and looking for a guitar. I bought my ’65 Mustang and, since then, everything just changed.”

Feeling flush?

Get the real thing, change your life, become a world beater. A Sunburst model will set you back £702, but it might help you become the next 1975. You could also go for guitarist Adam Hann’s early preference – a John Petrucci model.

On a budget?

Change your life just a tiny bit with a trusty Stratocaster.

Forget about a clean sound – up the ante with these pedals

The 1975 at Madison Square Garden

You’re 80 percent of the way to becoming bonafide stars. But there are still a few minor tweaks you need to make.

Invest in a handful of pedals to help master all-encompassing atmospherics and reverb-soaked vocals. Matty keeps it simple with chorus, fuzz and delay pedals. Those bare-bone essentials will help with taking choruses to the stratosphere.  

Feeling flush?

Matty uses a Boss DD-3 delay, an Electro-Harmonix Clone Theory, and an Analogman Sun Face fuzz. Save up all three if you can.

On a budget?

Start simple by just getting the DD-3, or pick up a more affordable chorus pedal with the Behringer UC200.

Anything else?

The 1975 at Madison Square Garden

It’d be a bit of a shame if you’ve invested all your hard-earned cash on the above and neglected to get some of the obvious essentials: a trusty amp and a not-too-flash bass. Guitarist Hann uses a Hiwatt, which he’s called a “flexible, transparent amp.”

Bassist Ross MacDonald keeps it simple with a Fender Precision – he’s been seen playing both the standard and vintage models, usually plugged into an Ashdown amp. Once that’s sorted, you’ve made it. You’re ready to take over the world.

Feeling flash?

They don’t come cheap, but guitarists can always count on a Hiwatt. For the bass, pick up the Ashdown 60.

On a budget?

The EB Lite is a cheaper Ashdown option, and it’s great for beginners. For guitars, there’s a reason Marshall amps are some of the most popular on the market. Pick up a MG30CFX if it’s your band’s early days.

What’s left? Oh yeah. The lights. You’ll need lots and lots of lights. Try Poundland.