A Beginner's Guide to Band 0171 and Their Intimate, Futuristic Pop

We're premiering the London duo's voyeuristic video for "Red Light", the third and final release off their spellbinding debut EP.
Ryan Bassil
London, GB
0171 press photo 2019
Image via PR

Sometimes technology feels more omnipotent than just a computer or a phone. The Greeks had their chiselled gods like Zeus and Aphrodite. Pagans got hot for nature, the Romans were up on astrology. And us: we’re devoted to little screens that sit in our pockets. These devices aren’t God but they are probably something close to resembling a deity in a world dominated by atheism.

Like you, I hate my phone. Chuck it in a river, burn it, smash it into pieces. Except I can’t do that. One) I’m not a nihilist; and two) it is useful for communicating with friends. Being around these devices has changed the way we as humans process memory and nostalgia, as well as communicate. That’s what Joe, one half of east London duo 0171 tells me, when we meet over a couple of tins in a London park.


0171 – completed by Joe's bandmate Georgie – make music you could best describe as fractal. Lyrics connect abstractly with one another, like glimpses of snatched conversation and last summer’s texts melded into one. For example, their debut track “1000 Words”, from February, begins in one breathless stream: “I’m sorry I didn’t reply I was doing things I didn’t think to reply I’m sorry it was nice I was lying on grass with others”. And then the instrumental thrusts and pulls you into a lift of pure nostalgic euphoria.

Today they release the video for “Red Light”, which they say is inspired by “a couple finding a sexual thrill from filming each other, and being filmed; a yearning to be completely present in the moment, where you can just feel without thinking.” There are some definite voyeur vibes, as we’re brought on a couple’s woozy adventure through New York City. It's full of close contact, intimate moments and has the feel of home footage mixed with the best moments of a teen film. Watch that below, then read on, to learn what the deal is with 0171.


Georgie: “I started playing when I was about 12 and really wasn’t that good but went religiously every week with my best friend Tarn after having sausages, chips and beans at my house. We played for our local team called Red Roses and also our school team. I now play for Goal Diggers FC which is based in Holloway. It’s one of the highlights of my week – it’s really rare to be in a space which is just women and non-binary. Me, Joe and our friends are big Arsenal fans too, we go to The Famous Cock every week to watch the boys play. Hector Bellerin in my fav – he’s a walking Angel boy.”


“I’ve always loved maths and problem solving so it kinda just made sense. I had some interesting interactions with some of the men on my course… majority of them were completely normal, but the ones who would discuss in labs who was more likely to win a Nobel prize would refuse to lend me things or reluctantly give it to me and say ‘as long as you give it back.’ Weird. I have a tattoo of a square wave on my wrist too, which nicely umbrellas my two loves; physics and synths.”


Joe: “I have this tendency to go really deep into something when I get into it. The Knausgaard books made such an impact on me cause they’re so obsessive. There’ll be like a page of him loading a dishwasher or something. Or describing being scared to go to the toilet at night when he’s younger. But you read it and it’s so specific it brings back all these memories you have about your own life. He’s talking in such minute detail about himself, and yet it really feels like he’s getting to the bottom of what living is really life. I ended up reading four of the six long books… I think that might be enough, for a few songs at least. There’s only so much you can sing about dishwashers.”


“It’s difficult to put into words what this song is like. It’s a debut single that’s 18 minutes long, complete with the best music video maybe ever made. You know when you look around at modern music and you’re like ‘I wonder which of these songs will be seen as classics in a few decades?’ ‘Weekender’ definitely did not become a classic. But that’s what makes it special – it’s just so genuine and full of emotion. We used to watch it in our flat every night before going out. Or just after dinner. There’s always something more to see: you can never know enough about that song.”


Georgie: “I learnt to play piano, first by ear, when I was about five or six. My piano teacher would teach me to recognise the emotions behind certain keys or tonality by playing fun games – for example, hiding a toy for me to find and playing sad notes when I was far from finding it and happier notes when I was getting closer. Like most people who play instruments I tried out a bunch of other ones – violin, drums, the harp – but the instruments that stuck were the ones I could sing over.”

Joe: “Yeah I had a similar run of different instruments when I was younger: first cello, then drums, bass, guitar, piano. Drums were always my best instrument, but as soon as I got my first guitar all I wanted to do was record my own songs. We’ve probably written 300 songs as 0171 now, but it’s always been the thing that makes me feel the most. I’ve always been shaking with excitement when I’m recording, no matter how good the song is.”


Georgie: "My first massive inspiration was Avril Lavigne – I was OBSESSED. Then as I got into my late teens I was really into EELS, Sparklehorse, Elliot Smith. The Eels are my favourite – I love how they’ve got a handful of songs that seem joyful and bouncy but are about crushingly depressing topics. Then I got into techno – I loved Blawan and Pearson Sound and all the big male names, but then I discovered Discwoman, a New York-based collective for electronic musicians. I’ve seen Umfang, who is my favourite, play a lot – everyone should see her, she’ll blow your head off."

Joe: "I have my neighbour to thank for my earliest loves – Britney and the Spice Girls. If we make it really big there’s a video I’ll be blackmailed with involving me dancing and singing ‘I’m a spice girl’. Georgie and I like going out to techno nights, and we love all the ‘cutting edge’ production people like SOPHIE and the PC Music brigade, but I think we’re most inspired by artists that put big emotion first. Arcade Fire really get to me. And more recently I’ve been into Big Thief’s album and also Nilüfer Yanya, especially her song ‘Melt.’"