“Emily you made it,” a comment reads.
Dedicating over forty of your evenings to concerts across the globe requires a nomadic lifestyle, living out of suitcases and subsisting on Uber Eats and quick showers at hotel rooms. With The 1975 now deep into the crowded East Coast leg of their current tour, Still…At Their Very Best, Sachs has had a packed few weeks, but she tells GQ she’s not even close to tired of it.
GQ: What I want to talk about first are just the logistics of pulling this off. How do you go about getting tickets for all the shows?
Emily Sachs: I got kind of lucky with their last sale. A bunch of my friends and I pooled our efforts. Somehow Ticketmaster was in our favor that day. I only had to buy one or two on resale.
You’re always filming your videos from right up against the barricade. How early do you have to get there to secure that spot, and what does it involve?
I only started camping out for them at the last two shows [of last year’s tour]. I had heard things about their wristband system, but I didn’t realize how much of a staple that is between their security and the community. People have started camping out a day or two ahead of the show now, but it’s because their security has such a good relationship with looking out for the fans. They come by in the morning and give you a wristband. They make sure that whoever was first in line all the way to up to 200th gets to walk in in the order of how long they’ve been camping out. I wouldn’t do that for any other artist, because sometimes it’s just chaotic. You could be there for days and then not even be the first one in.
Does camping out ever get difficult or uncomfortable?
Obviously if the weather is bad, it’s not the best, but the other logistics are a lot easier than I think the average person would assume. Most concerts are in city areas, most of the people lined up have hotels where they can go use the bathroom and people can leave, get lunch, get Uber Eats. I didn’t camp in the beginning, but now, even if it doesn’t mean being in the front row, I get to spend a Saturday having a picnic slash tailgate with my friends.
That was going to be my next question—do you run into other people like you who follow the band on tour?
That’s honestly part of the reason that I do it, too, is just because I’ve met so many fun people who also are a little bit silly and like to camp out for the band. And it’s just going to all these cities and getting to see friends from around the country, around the world, that’s our way of meeting up and hanging out. Some of my friends that I have now where I live in New York are people that I met in Cardiff.
Are you ever joining, like, a work zoom meeting from a tent?
Yeah. I’ve definitely taken some Zoom calls from tents. I’m really fortunate that my work lets me work from wherever and we live in a wonderful modern age with hotspot cell service, so I’ve taken Zoom meetings from tents, Zoom meetings from the lines.
Technologically, what kind of work goes into the filming and documenting?
It’s a lot better now that I have a new phone with more storage. Also, iCloud’s limit was upgraded. For most of the 1975 tour up until last month, I had maxed out four terabytes on iCloud. So every couple days I’d have to go through, post what I wanted to post, put it on a hard drive, clear out my phone. That took way too much time. So I’m really fortunate that it’s just going to iCloud now. Obviously after a show I wanna be in the moment with my friends and reflect on it and meet people who I’m meeting up with after the show, and then once we’re at our hotel with Uber Eats or in a car to the next place, I go through—I used to record a lot more just for my own enjoyment, but as you get used to the show or as I got familiar with the show, I started mostly recording parts that seemed different or interesting. If I were not at the show, that’s what I’d want to see, what changed from night to night. So I’ll go through my videos and check for any new bits in the show or things that changed and try to upload a few of them before I go to sleep. I’m like sitting there nodding off. And then as I have free time, depending on how much time is before the next show, I try to get the rest out.
Before seeing your videos, I would have assumed it got repetitive to see the same show over and over. But your TikTok actually shows the little changes between each show and how that’s kind of part of the experience. Would you say that’s accurate?
Yeah. I think Matty’s mentioned to a few people that the show is evolving over the course of the tour because they realized that with social media, it’s not like a play in the theater where everyone goes in not knowing anything. Immediately after the show there’s footage online, so whatever bit they pulled, they have to change it up for the next few shows to keep it interesting for people who are following along online as well as on the tour.
You’ve become a figure of your own in the fandom. What is that like?
It’s cool, but it also feels a little strange. I’ve always been someone who likes to take videos at shows. And I’ve posted prolifically, whether it was BTS or One Direction, for years. There’s just something about TikTok where I was posting stuff from The 1975 last November for weeks and just my friends were seeing it, and then one day something in the algorithm picked it up and everyone was seeing it. And I just thought, okay, this is what I’ve been doing all this time, I might as well keep going because people like it.
I also wonder myself sometimes. I’ve met a couple of the other band members or had them repost some things, but I don’t like to assume. Any recognition is really cool and I’m really grateful for it, but unless someone deliberately is like, “Hi Emily,” I just kind of assume the minimum. Maybe they’re aware of some of the content and maybe they appreciate it.
In that New Zealand interaction that you had, he asked what you were doing there, and you said you just wanted to visit. If they’re going to a different country, is it kind of like, this is a good excuse to travel to that place?
Yeah. That’s honestly how it’s been for most of the times that I’ve traveled for bands or other artists. I think even with BTS, I had just gotten an offer letter from my first job. My friend had tickets to Hong Kong. I had a few weeks before I needed to start. I’m like, well, why else would we take off and go to Hong Kong at the last minute? I get to see a lot of cool places. With that New Zealand show in particular, I had a friend that I’d met through One Direction who lived in Melbourne, she had visited the States a bunch of times. I had never gotten to Australia. So I worked it out where I spent a week visiting her in Melbourne and then went off to see the two shows in New Zealand.
Do you ever need to take a break?
I think right now I feel that. I think I’ve hit the point where we’re several shows into the tour and I think for the next two weeks, because they’re all on the East coast, it’s just back to back to back. Not in the sense that I’m burnt out, more in the sense that I’m thinking, “I’ve gotta clean my apartment for all the friends that are coming to Madison Square Garden who wanted to stay with me.
Is staying at other people’s places a big part of this?
Sometimes it’s other people’s places. Like friends I made through BTS in London, I’m able to stay with them for some of the UK shows. For these ones on the US tour, not as many people live in the cities, but because there’s so many of us going to them, it’s easy to get a couple hotel rooms split between a bunch of people, and since you’re camping out half the time, you’re mostly just using them to get ready, store luggage, and it makes it really affordable when you have a lot of friends to share.
Is there a particular 1975 show from your run that really stands out to you?
The first immediate thing in my head is the one a few days ago in Detroit. It was their Halloween show. And I think a lot of us, I mean we expected some costumes, but the amount of love that they put into that show from start to finish, it was just full of so many Easter eggs. Like all of their crew, their photographer got involved. They kind of just broke all the rules and clearly put so much time and effort into making it special that everyone walked away just shocked. Out of their more standard shows, their show in Finsbury Park, which was like a festival-sized show, that felt like such a culmination of everything they had done for the last year, celebrating their At Their Very Best show with all of their family there and one of the biggest crowds they’ve had that’s just there for them.
My last question is a big one: Why is this something you’re so passionate about?
I’ve been asking myself that question too. I think I find that whenever I have too much free time, it ends up being filled with something that I’m passionate about, whether it’s traveling to new places or traveling to see concerts. I feel like a lot of people have this idea that they’ll travel the world and do all these cool things when they’re retired and I think it’s really important for me to do it while I’m at an age where I can enjoy it, and do it for my entire life. So I’m sure something will come up in the summer after The 1975 is on their break for a bit. I already know Niall Horan’s on tour. I don’t know if I’ll go to dozens of shows, but I’m sure there’ll be something that’ll come along that is something that I can travel to and see friends and just keep that going.