How The 1975 became 2016's brightest band
As they take to the stage, the opening act at the BBC Music Awards 2016, The 1975 must surely be looking back at the past 12 months with a certain satisfaction, or bewilderment. 2016 was the year the charismatic gonna-bes from Manchester became actually-look-they-really-ares. And here's how it happened:
"A big part of our character is camp frivolity"
Back in January, Matty could be found talking up the band's hot new single The Sound with Nick Grimshaw, and describing this ambitious 17 song album that the band were about to release. I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It came out on February 26, and caused an immediate stir with its unabashed pop/funk hybrid, not least from people on Twitter worrying if they could fit the whole album title in a tweet.
Here's how Matty thanked fans when the album went to No.1...
And here's Matty meeting some of those fans on their way to school:
And then there were the festivals...
First there was this exceptional performance at Radio 1's Big Weekend in May, at Exeter's Powderham Castle. Almost immediately followed by...
And the growth in confidence with every big gig becomes palpable. Matty assuming an ever greater rock star status as the months go by, so that by the time September rolls around, their Reading + Leeds performance is swaggering and assured, with fans backing them to the hilt:
After having grown so much as performers (and picking up a Mercury Prize nomination along the way), the next logical step was surely to expand their sound. Cue the orchestra!
Live Lounge Symphony
This special concert, complete with Justin Bieber and One Direction cover versions, was the grand finale of Live Lounge Month and took place at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. The band were accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic orchestra, and it suited them rather well.
And Matty was in fine form, suggesting at one point that Justin Bieber tours with a lion, because of course he does:
And it's all thanks to BBC Introducing...
Back in March, just as things were really kicking off, Matty popped back to BBC Introducing in Manchester to discuss the band's early years, and the crucial support they got from BBC Introducing in Manchester at the point they needed it most. Not that Matty ever doubted it would happen, as he told Michelle Hussey and Natalie-Eve Williams: "We were always very ambitious. We always knew that we didn't fit in a small venue... We felt like a bigger band. It really is like a victory lap every time we come back."