The Tab Meets… The 1975

JAMES LOWTHER caught up with Matthew Healy of The 1975 to discuss touring schedules, the frailty of awards and song stealing

Chocolate indie-pop interview Manchester Matt Healey The 1975 tour

The 1975 recently bagged themselves a #1 debut album (ingeniously titled ‘The 1975’), as well as an array of chart-topping singles. I recently caught up with Matthew Healy of The 1975 to discuss touring schedules, the frailty of awards and song stealing.

James: So what are you guys up to at the moment? Are you busy?

Matt: Are we busy?! Yeah, we’re the busiest band in the world at the moment, apparently. We’re on our way to London. Then we’re flying to America on Friday morning. This tour doesn’t stop until the end of December, in Hong Kong.

James: Do you have a dream venue to play at one day?

Matt: I want to do Madison Square Garden, I want to do Royal Albert Hall. There’s a couple of venues that I want to do.

James: Your album debuted at number one in the charts last month, and I’ve just noticed you’ve recently been given an award from Radio 1, for ‘Chocolate’. How does it feel to be getting all this recognition?

Matt: It wasn’t really something that we were expecting, or strived for. We didn’t really need anything like that in order to be proud of that album, [though] it’s very nice and it’s very flattering […]. But I don’t really feel any different. The only reason people think you’ll feel different is because everyone has this ladder of success that everybody’s climbing. They think that money or chart position is the sole measure of human worth when you’re in a band and it isn’t. You don’t really feel any different because we are no different. All the songs were written in a bedroom by the four of us and that’s all that really matters. But all material and statistical things that you acquire, they’re actually quite brittle. They don’t make you feel any better as a person. All they make you do is actually question your identity a little bit. So I’m just ignoring all of that and I’ll carry on making records.

James: You guys have been together for ten years, and I’ve heard that you started off kind of punky. You’ve now got this indie-pop sound: how did that happen?

Matt: We initially started the band to just kind of make noise. I grew up listening to black American music. But when I was twelve, you couldn’t start a Motown band. So it started as kind of a joke pop-punk band and we played shows and then that evolved into us realising that we loved making music with each other. Over the years we just took it more seriously and our real influences came into fruition. We became the band that we were always destined to be, I suppose.

The 1975 looking especially indie and grainy.

Looking especially indie and grainy.

James: You’ve had a busy year with festivals this year as well, haven’t you? I caught you on the Other Stage at Glastonbury, but you played Reading and Leeds a few weeks after that on one of the tiny stages, the Festival Republic stage. Was it weird to go from the grandeur of Glastonbury to a little tent in Leeds and Reading?

Matt: Well, there were almost more people at Leeds and Reading as there were at Glastonbury. Glastonbury was good, but I mean that was loads of people who came down to check out this new band whereas Reading and Leeds was a representation of how far we’d come within a year. We were in a 9000 capacity tent with about 20,000 people trying to get in. The place was nearly falling down. I think it was probably one of the most special shows we’ve ever done.

James: Is there anyone that you’d love to support?

Matt: We would have loved to open up for Michael Jackson.

James: Your latest single is ‘Girls’: how did that song come about? All of your songs seem to have romantic overtones, like ‘Sex’ and ‘Chocolate’. How did they come about?

Playing Glastonbizzle

Playing Glastonbizzle

Matt: I can’t really remember to be honest with you. This whole record was written before anybody knew who we were. With ‘Girls’ […] George heard a Toro Y Moi song and he wanted to steal the drumbeat from that, and he started recording it and then I think he started playing around with bass. Then I picked up a guitar, and as soon as I got that guitar part I realised that we either had one of our best songs or one of the shittest songs ever written, and it turned out to be really, really good. It’s a fine line with songs like that. I think that’s what you’re talking about in terms of it being romantic and poppy. But then you’ve got the narrative having a self-deprecating element to it. I think that theme has come to define our band, and ‘Girls’ is [where it’s] at its most obvious.

James: On a, sort of, personal note:  ‘Sex’, I think, starts off very similarly to ‘All My Friends’ by LCD Soundsystem. Was that a conscious choice, or just a coincidence?

Matt: I don’t think it was a conscious thing, but now that I think about it, it probably was. I mean, we actually stole the entirety of that song off one of our mate’s bands, they had a song that sounded pretty much the same and we nicked it and made it better. They’re a band called Airship, but they know about that. I think at the time it was probably a subconscious thing, but now I come to think about it, there’s definitely a hint to that song in it – it’s one of my favourite songs ever.

James: I guess that’s everything for now! Thanks for chatting with me.

Matt: Yeah, it’s been really nice to speak to you, take care mate.