When we say extra, we mean extra.
We’re always watching, Dear Reader. Watching and taking note. If there’s one trend we’ve seen ‘you lot’ take to heart over the last few months, it’s the art of over analysis.
As bands get even more teasy and mysterious with their new releases, revelling in the abstract and cryptic, so too have their fans. No move comes without a theory thread, reaching in every direction to work out what they mean. We live in a time where people can have worked out the themes and intent behind a record before ever having heard a note of music, or read an interview with the person who wrote the lyrics. No image, number of phrasing is left unturned in the hunt for new information or meaning. It’s fan culture 2.0, and it’s as extra as they come.
Obviously, we bloody love it.
So, because we’ve been sat here since dawn looking at the latest mysterious post from The 1975 - shared via social media last night
- let’s start deciding increasingly unlikely outcomes based on the absolute minimum actual information!
Regular readers interested in The 1975’s current buzz-fest will remember this one well
, but for those of you at the back - a catch up.
Catalogue numbers are, as we’re sure you know, the unique identifiers a label gives to each release. Occasionally different formats of the same thing get a different cat number, occasionally it’ll be the same one with a modified extension. Some, such as the famous Factory Records, assign a number to more than just the music - tagging every artefact they create.
Where The 1975’s label, Dirty Hit, is concerned, it’s pretty simple. You get two letters, DH, and then a five digit number. The 1975’s recent live album is even named after it’s catalogue number - DH00278. Almost as if they’re trying to make sure we pay attention to them.
We’ve already noted that Matty Healy has one in his Twitter bio (DH00280), as does the band’s manager (DH00271). If those mean anything, or are just further suggestions to fans to keep their eyes peeled, we’re not sure.
Where they become useful is in relation to recent communications from the band. A week and a half ago, when the first posters started to appear in the wild
, they contained the identifier DH00327. Notably, they also mentioned the title ‘Music For Cars’. That’s what everyone is expecting The 1975’s third album to be called, so everything looked pretty much as expected at this point.
The diversion came when, a day or two later, the band’s socials put out a message titled ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’
. That had a new number, DH00325 - signifying it refers to a different release. Since then, we’ve had a split of communication using the two. Generally, the band’s online messages - their website, four hidden images in a zip file which later were posted to social media - have related to DH00325.
Meanwhile, those original posters have started to appear more widely in more locations, joined by larger billboards using a technique called détournement - pasting their message over the top of another ad. Our forever useful friend Wikipedia describes it as “a variation on previous work, in which the newly created work has a meaning that is antagonistic or antithetical to the original”. Interesting - and related to other themes around the band's current movements - but not the point we're making here.
While there have been some sightings of the four DH00325 images as posters
in the real world - not including versions pasted up by fans themselves
- it appears the majority of the physical communication around the band relates to DH00327. Putting our music industry hats on (they're pointy, there's a 'D' on them for some reason; must stand for Dork, right? - Ed
), that basically means they’re spending more dollar on that release currently. We’re pretty certain that means it’s the album, and we’d suggest the fact they’re investing in it to the extent of significant ‘outdoor activations’ (the original posters are now appearing on the London Underground network
, ‘FYI’), it can’t be too
All very interesting - but how does it relate to that latest image, you ask? Well, this one is DH00325 - or as we’ll refer to it, ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’. We have no idea what this is - it’s been suggested it could be the lead track from the album or an EP, but we’ve no real evidence for either. We were expecting the ‘What A Shame’ EP to arrive before ‘Music For Cars’, but a few months back manager Jamie Oborne tweeted
that the project had become “a much bigger idea”. That could be whatever ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ has grown out of, or something else entirely. This most recent communication looks kind of cinematic to us - maybe some sort of film accompanying a separate release of new music, tangentially linked to it’s themes, perhaps? Everything we can draw is wild speculation, apart from one thing.
There’s a date on the poster.
Running the numbers
We said we’d get extra, so here’s where we deliver.
The image contains a block of numbers in a four by four grid. A quick glance, and we see an obvious date - 1st June 2018. We’re supposed to see this - it’s almost certainly not misdirection. Whatever ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ is, it’ll be with us on that date.
That’s interesting, because as any big fan knows, 1st June is basically The 1975’s Xmas. Their name came from a line scribbled in the back of the book reading ‘1st June - The 1975’, and Matty Healy has tweeted the same phrase out consistently over the years, especially in the build up to their third album.
If we’re honest, we expected that to be the date that ‘Music For Cars’ arrived. So what does it mean that we’re now seeing it assigned to ‘A Brief Inquiry…’? Does it mean we’ll have to wait longer for the third part of the band’s trilogy of records, or is it something that will come alongside the previously predicted full-length?
Some think the window for the band to announce and release a full album is too short now to see ‘Music For Cars’ arrive in early June. In 2018, though - with their own lines of communication and digital servicing - big acts can move very quickly. Though they were a big deal, both the music industry and The 1975 have come a long way since the months of build up for ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ a few years back. Oborne has even noted this
, saying that the live campaign around the record will be different, with no smaller run to build up this time around. There’s no doubt if they dropped a record tomorrow, unannounced, it would be huge. In fact, it’s almost unheard of for a really massive act to give us that traditional 8-10 week warning that an album is coming. The fact that ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ is dated 1st June could mean something for ‘Music For Cars’, but equally even though we don’t think the band have finished work yet, we can’t be entirely sure either way.
But, you’re missing something. Look again.
No, really, look.
Why the heck have they stuck ‘The 1975’ on the third line of the date? That doesn’t make sense. It’s already on the poster at the top. They don’t need it on there twice. Yes, it could be a call back to that '1st June - The 1975' refrain, but what if it isn't?
With that in mind, we start looking at the grid in different ways. Is there anything else we can pull from it? Well…
If you start reading from the top right we get a 1 and a 6…
…followed by a 5 and an 8
Here’s where we start reaching hard. The main poster is configured in UK format - day, month, year. So, if we convert those two pairs of numbers, we get 1st June, followed by 5th August. And why do we think it might
be 5th August, well. Swap your reading of that second pair to US date format and it reads 8th May. And this image was posted on… yep, you got it - 8th May.
We know, this feels like a step too far, but why the heck would the band think to add ‘The 1975’ into the date if there wasn’t some kind of hidden message? Maybe there are others? Let’s look.
Yep. Adam Hann is the new James Bond. Nailed it.
That message, and some wild, daft, definitely wrong speculation
First, disobey; then look at your phones. We’ve seen this appear on every bit of communication from the band so far. But what does it actually mean?
Well, we’ve now had two bits of communication featuring those hulking VR headsets. There was one with a child as part of the four ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ images last week, and now this one, featuring the band’s Adam Hann peering through one.
Now, we don’t have loads of cash, dear reader. You don’t make millions from making magazines, you make serious, long lasting mental health issues that require therapy. But enough about that. We do have a VR headset thingy, sort of. Rather than some pricey Oculus Rift ‘thing’, it’s a bit of heavy plastic you strap your phone into to watch VR videos.
Like, you look at your phone. Literally right at it.
Too far? Yeah. Thought so. Still, buy some magazines
Still. One of those three images is in a car. Like, 'Music For Cars', right? It's all connected.
Worked out your own theories based on the new communication. Everyone does. Let us know yours on twitter at @readdork, and we promise not to look at you funny. Probably.