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THE 1975 SCORE SECOND U.K. #1 ALBUM

U.K. buzz band The 1975 have achieved a mightily impressive feat this week by hitting #1 in the U.S. and U.K. simultaneously with second album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, notching up 58k combined sales in Blighty, 6,500 ahead of Adele's 25 (XL)and 98k stateside. So what's their story?

Ten years ago, The 1975 were teenagers in Manchester playing gigs under the moniker Drive Like I Do. Manager Jamie Oborne was tipped off about them by a fan via Myspace and a trusted partnership began. After shopping the band around to labels, and being turned down by every one, he launched his own imprint, Dirty Hit, and signed them himself.

A worldwide publishing deal with Good Soldier Songs—a firm helmed by former Warner Music U.K. CEO Christian Tattersfield—was signed in 2012, and a short-term licensing deal with Ferdy Unger-Hamilton at Polydor and John Janick at Interscope followed in Spring 2013. Oborne and the band own the rights to all their music, which is how he’d like it to stay.

The 1975's self-titled debut was co-produced by U.K. producer Mike Crossey (Arctic MonkeysJake Bugg), and the band write all their own songs, with lyrics helmed by frontman Matthew Healy—a highly self-aware, witty and extremely talented star.

Their introduction came via three EPs released over the course of 2012-2013, and, thanks to a growing fanbase, radio support and an extensive tour schedule (their live skills are supremely on point), The 1975 built enough hype to hit #1 on the U.K. charts with their first album in September 2013.

Oborne has spent the last four years working behind the scenes to achieve his dream of a joint U.S. and U.K. #1 for the second album (what that exactly entails he’s keeping close to his chest), which was recorded last year with Crossey and announced in October. Beats and BBC Radio 1 have been the key outlets for single premieres, live sessions and interviews since. And Apple Music is one of the places where the record was released on 2/26, with Oborne favouring premium-only streaming services for its first two weeks on sale, after which it will arrive in Spotify.

An incredible foundation based on the internet is how word has spread and both the band and Oborne have a very close connection with the fans. So what’s their appeal? “I often think it’s the purity of humanity in Matthew’s lyrics and songwriting,” says Oborne. “That human connection that you can’t really manufacture. It’s amazing to have that.” He adds: “I have a real sense of duty to the band to be ethically governed and make sure that they are represented in the right way and the band have that towards their fans. I don’t know what the catalyst for that was, sometimes I think it’s because they have had to work a lot harder than most bands to get their shot, so when it came I think they all respected it a bit more.”

I like it when... is a natural evolution from the catchy teenage soundtrack of their debut. Says Oborne: “They wanted it to be a distillation of everything that they loved about the first album, juxtaposed with everything they were looking for in the future with regards to music and sonics. They also wanted it to be a continuation of creating music in a way they consume it, which I think they’ve absolutely nailed.” We wholeheartedly agree, and Spin described the 18-track masterpiece as a combination of '‘80s faux-funk, ambient house, gospel-tinged R&B, Autre ne Veut-like fever-pop, and acoustic balladry.' 

Healy has spun us a fabled tale that Oborne boldly said he was going to turn them into one of the biggest bands in the world during their first meet. Oborne says he actually said they had the potential to be. Either way, there's no doubt they're on the right track, and we couldn’t think of anyone more deserving. 

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