Interview with Matty Healy of The 1975

We first caught ‘The 1975’ back in June when they opened up for ‘The Neighbourhood’ at Union Transfer and they blew our minds. We’ve been anxiously awaiting their return for months. Fresh off the release of their self-titled debut album, the boys from Manchester, England are heading back to Union Transfer this Saturday, October 12th.

This time around, The 1975 will be the headlining act for the night (with support from Linus Young). Unsurprisingly, the show is completely sold out. If you slept on getting tickets, clearly you didn’t heed our advice from June that this band was about to blow up.

Before they grace the stage in Philly again, lead singer Matty Healy took the time to chat with us about the new album, the upcoming tour, his musical influences, and even his dog.

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Independent Philly: Who came up with the name ‘The 1975’?

Matty Healy: I came up with that when I was about 19. I met this guy when I was on holiday, this artist, and he gave me some books. When I got home and went through them, one of the books he had given me was like a diary and the previous owner had dated it “1st of June, the 1975”. It was an interesting use of language, I’m just not sure why they used the word “the”. It just kind of stuck with me and then when we came to looking for a proper name it just seemed kind of perfect.

IP: After several EP’s you guys just released your first album which debuted at #1 on the UK albums charts. What’s it feel like to have a #1 album on your very first try?

MH: Very humbling, and it’s very flattering. I’m just as proud of it as an idea as I am without any kind of statistical validation. We are insanely proud of the album, and have been from the very beginning, that’s why we did it. It’s a strange feeling getting a #1 album because you have this imaginary check-list of life in your head and expect to be constantly climbing the ladder. And then when you get stuff like that it doesn’t actually change you or make you feel any different. What it’s done is just really made us appreciate why we’re doing this, you know? We didn’t really mean for this band to get this big, we were just making records in my bedroom and then people heard them and that was it.

IP: How has the album been received so far by your fans here in the States?

MH: Very warmly. We’ve got our who tour planned and much of it sold out. There are really a lot of people who are really, really embracing the band and I think a of our references to pop-culture and the music and everything are very, very consistent with America. I think people kind of embrace that and that’s easy to understand.

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IP: In the past year you guys have had the chance to share the stage with some major bands like ‘Muse’ and ‘The Rolling Stones’. What have those experiences been like for you?

MH: They were great. It was early on in the year and this year we’ve almost had a career. We’ve gone from playing rooms with 70 people in them, to playing three nights at Brixton Academy. When we did those shows it was the first time we’d played for really huge crowds and it was less of a stepping stone than a milestone for our band. It was just amazing.

IP: We had the chance to catch you guys the last time you were in Philly opening up for ‘The Neighbourhood’ and thought you stole the show. What changes, if any, happen when you become the headlining band on the tour instead of the opening act?

MH: Nothing really. I think that everything that we do, that we try to do, is always kind of a good despoliation of what preceded it. The live show is probably everything you experienced the last time but more grandeur, more The 1975. You know in the UK now we’ve got a truck with just our lighting that we take to venues so we’re very ambitious with our live show. So it’s just more dramatic, and longer, and better.

IP: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen before at one of your live shows?

MH: There’s a lot of stuff. When we played Reading and Leeds there was the whole crowd surfing thing, really gone insane. And then there were a lot of kids who weren’t even crowd surfing, I just saw legs vertically in the air. This one guy just kind of stood there with his legs pointing out of the crowd; it was really weird. Yeah, and then a lot of people throw stuff on stage whether it’s a demo or bras or something like that. Our shows are kind of cool because you find a lot of kids are just there because they just want to scream the words back, you know?

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IP: Your sound is hard to pigeon hole into one specific genre which is perhaps why it has such broad appeal. Who are some of the bands that helped to influence your musical style?

MH: Brian McKnight, Jodeci, T.L.C., Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain…so many bands. Music has been my life, and my only real form of creative expression. I think that we are just of this generation man, that the trivialist attitude to music is kind of gone now and kids, nobody consumes any media in a kind of linear format, therefore no one listens to any of type of music. I think we create the same way that we consume, you know? I think the fact that that is represented literally in our music, is just a representation of who we are and what generation we are from, you know?

IP: Your world tour is about to kick off in the States tonight (October 8th, 2013), before bouncing around to some other countries. What’s the hardest part for you about being out on the road on an extended tour?

MH: I just have to get over all that, mate. I don’t even have enough time to speak to my family, so I can’t spend any time resenting elements of my life. The ten minutes that I do get to myself I’ve just got to really appreciate. I’m living the dream, well I’m living my dream anyway, I’m not sure if it’s the dream, it’s certainly a dream. It’s a set of surreal situations strung together, and I love it.

IP: Several of our female readers wrote in when they heard we would be doing this interview and wanted to know if you were single or had a girlfriend, and if the rest of the band was single or taken…

MH: They have to find out if they meet us.

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IP: You guys have been making music together for over a decade. If you could go back in time 10 years, is there any advice you’d want to give yourself?

MH: Not really, I think I’ve done pretty well. The initial thing I’d say is to not worry about anything, and to not procrastinate. But I think everything that has brought my up to now, I’ve written about in that album, and if I went back and I changed things, then you know, I wouldn’t have the album. You seen ‘Looper’, you’ve seen that movie ‘Looper’ haven’t you? If you start changing shit, you’re gonna fuck everything up.

IP: Finally, if you could just tell us something about yourself, or about The 1975 as a whole, that would surprise or even shock our readers…

MH: Everything is quite well documented maybe apart from our obsession with dogs. I mean we are just like so obsessed with dogs that it’s a bit ridiculous.

IP: Do you have one?

MH: I do have one and I miss her dearly.

IP: What kind of dog?

MH: A boxer. I love her.

We are more than excited to catch The 1975 for a second time this Saturday at Union Transfer.

We hope to see you there Philly!

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