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A-Sides with Jon Chattman:The 1975...'Twas A Good Year; Playing 'Games' with The Colourist

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When they look back at 2013, The 1975 are going to have a lot of pinching to do. They've sold out headline tours in the states and the UK, hit the road with The Neighbourhood, dropped an EP and full-length album, and found pop crossover appeal with their hit single "Chocolate." On a much smaller scale, they also worked in a "that's what she said" line in that song, which is a triumph in of itself. Yep, this year put the Manchester indie-synth-rockers (Matthew Healy, Adam Hann, George Daniel, and Ross MacDonald) on the map, and it appears this freight train isn't stopping. Take, for example, their track "Sex" which is quite possibly the best pop-rock song of the year. I recently spoke to the band's charismatic front man (Matty) Healy, and asked him to someway, somehow explain the success they've found this year. Read the Q&A below, and snag a copy of their album. To paraphrase Jason Segel in I Love You, Man, "It's the [breasts]."

This year has been crazy for you. Have you had a second to put it all in perspective yet?
We have not had time to reflect. We've been away for a year, and it came so quick: the rise in our popularity. It really has been an amazing year.

Is there any danger in letting it all sink in?
You have to take it one day at a time. You don't have a lot of time to resent things or be introspective. It's a very practical based thing. When we do shows, it's our down time really. It's hard work, but amazing. One moment when we're actually living, we'll [look back]. We'll find out what it all means pretty soon.

"Chocolate," for me anyway, seemed to follow an Imagine Dragons' "It's Time" route with it hitting big on alt-stations and then moving to pop radio. Did you feel that at all?
You can't compartmentalize it that much. What is pop music? Pop music is popular music. It's all subjective. It's art at the end of the day. But, a lot of it is tarnished, and a lot of it doesn't come from the right place - it's commercially minded. What's the difference what you call it? Everything we do isn't predetermined to a genre. We're openly inspired by so many things: Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, American football, Otis Redding, My Bloody Valentine, and so many bands we could go on.

Namedrop me some artists you'd like to work with on your next album.
The Weeknd, Flying Lotus, Disclosure... The Streets.

I know you just dropped a full-length album, but I'm curious if you've given the next one any thought yet.
We've got load of songs, man. I mean we've always had a load of songs, but it's now become our job, which is amazing. It feels less than a job actually. We're just making music. It's who we are.

On stage, the band seems to get along quite well. You know each other for ages. Are you essentially brothers at this point? I'd think so. Even if you weren't, actually, I'm sure you'd tell me you were.
It has been like a brotherly thing. We've grown up in the same creative environment so as a band, we share the same vocabulary. We've grown from children to men together.

Lastly, gun to your head, if I asked you to write a song about Nicolas Cage's film choices, what would you title it?
It's insane. He's been in like hundreds of movies. I just don't have an answer. You have, however, prompted my interest in Nicolas Cage again.

There was a terrifically cheesy jingle for Cherry 7-Up back in the day calling the product "cool and pink." It's brilliantly terrible, and its accompanying commercials, which used to play in movie theaters before trailers (I remember this because commercials didn't use to be played at the movies), featured a pre-FriendsMatt LeBlanc. Why is this useless information finding its way into this post? For no reason other to say that The Colourist's "Little Games" single is just as infectious as that "uncola" ditty. It also, quite glaringly, holds much more weight. Infectious is probably the best word I could throw at the California foursome when describing their music. Their recently released debut EP entitled Lido goes down as smoothly as a sip of Cherry 7-Up (dude, get over it... seriously stop writing about 7-Up stat), and makes me long for a full-length album which thankfully is well in the works.

I'm not alone in my love for this band, which consists of Adam Castilla (vocals and guitar), Maya Tuttle (drums and vocals), Kollin Johannsen (guitar and bass), and Justin Wagner (bass and keys). They've already opened up for Grouplove, Metric, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. to name a few, and that aforementioned "Little Games" track has been played on repeat on numerous alt-rock stations. Last week, the band stopped by the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains to chat about their EP and upcoming album. They also performed a pair of tracks for A-Sides, and it's awesome sauce. Watch one song and the interview. Catch "Yes Yes" on the A-Sides YouTube channel.

"Little Games"

Interview

Shameless Plug Alert: Keep an Eye out for Alec Benjamin

When I was 19, the biggest accomplishment I likely had was getting served beer at a bar. Not Alec Benjamin. This gifted/singer/songwriter writes extremely catchy music, which he plays on guitar and piano with precision. As if that weren't enough, he makes music videos that are cool. Damn cool. I won't say any more other than check this dude out. He's appearing at NYC's CMJ fest this week (respectively Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at Piano's and Oct. 19 at 1:50 p.m. at Undertone/Living Room.)

Lastly, check his "Mixtapes" here. You're welcome.

About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing.