The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?

The 1975 have just released their third album, ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’. A staggering work of shifting expectations, it’s quite probably their masterpiece. To find out more, Dork headed round to frontman Matty Healy’s house to quiz him on what life’s currently like in the most exciting band on the planet.

The 1975 tell big stories of little moments. Kaleidoscopic, full of heart and with an eye for detail, both their wide-eyed self-titled debut and the attention-grabbing ‘I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It’ soundtrack a Peter Pan sense of adventure in a world that’s heavy with the everyday. They find the strange, beautiful and the beautiful, undeniable. 

For a hot second, their imminent third album ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ was going to be their last. The final chapter in a story about growing up and finding yourself, that grand conclusion was soon postponed as the band realised they weren’t done yet. 

Instead, ‘A Brief Inquiry’ finds The 1975 facing the end of the decade, on the cusp of their thirties, and still asking questions. It’s Bonfire Night, and we’re at Matty’s house doing the same. “It’s a weird time for me,” he admits. 

The band have been out of the spotlight since they headlined Latitude in 2017 but they’ve not exactly been taking it easy. If following up their world-reaching second album wasn’t enough of a challenge, the band also had to contend with Matty taking himself to rehab to deal with opiate addiction. It’s one of the many things he wrestles with across ‘A Brief Inquiry’. Mortality, technology, growing older and breaking dawn hope are also looked at with an open mind and a tilted head.

Finished in September, five years to the day since they released their debut, the band have spent their time since working on fourth album ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’, which also makes up the second part of this Music For Cars era.

It sounds hectic because it is. There’s an urgency racing through The 1975 now that inhabits everything they do. Every decision is fearless. Change is always an option, but the band are dedicated to growth, not fresh starts. If you thought The 1975 were big before, brace yourself. Things are about to get massive. 

I’m really excited,” Matty admits, but that’s always been obvious. The 1975 bubble with excitement in everything they do. The release of ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ is part one of the vision. ‘Notes…’, though still under construction, is another. Live is where it’ll all become real though. Face to face, that’s where it counts. 

“I’m not scared; I’m not hiding from anybody. I don’t give a fuck,” he beams. That stance is one he repeatedly takes on record. “I’m excited for these live shows. We’re going to be so much better than we’ve ever been. We’re so much fitter and wiser. We’re better players; the songs are better, the show is better.

“It needs to be like The 1975 on crack, but not actually on crack. It’s a good vibe. I’m really excited,” he repeats. ‘The 1975’ was about wanting to be known. ‘I like it when you sleep…’ was about proving they had more to say. “Because that second record was critically acclaimed, you naturally feel like you need to play all the critically acclaimed stuff live.” Now, the band are beyond that. They’ve proved their point. It’s time to play.

“Of course I’m self-aware, and now, I’m just so excited to play loads of first album shit, lots of EP shit, and making it about what everyone loves about The 1975.”  

Which is, anything goes. The 1975 do whatever they want, and it’s an attitude they’ve poured into ‘A Brief Inquiry…’.

“It’s become about trusting our instinct,” he reasons. “It’s become about doing what feels right. We all know that, like a magpie, it just has to be pretty for me. It just has to be beautiful. A magpie will pick up a diamond, a piece of foil or a bit of glass, as long as it’s shiny. As long as it’s shiny, it doesn’t matter.”

And this record dazzles. Across the fifteen tracks, The 1975 dabble in everything.

“I just love beautiful sounding stuff. That’s my only barometer for what passes,” he declares. “It happens like that because that’s how I listen to music. That’s how I consume things,” so why would The 1975 be any different? This band is how they see the world.

“I don’t have a filter on it. The idea of it being the record we wanted to make, I think that would speak of some sort of intention. There were moments that I wanted. Real, sincere moments or outward moments like ‘Love It If We Made It’. I just wanted great songs over everything. Style, genre, all that sort of stuff doesn’t matter anymore.”

The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?
“It needs to be like The 1975 on crack, but not actually on crack”
Matty Healy, The 1975

They might draw from the ever-growing, always-accessible catalogue of inspiration that is art in the streaming age, but ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ never feels like a playlist on shuffle. It bounces giddily, recklessly between what you’d expect from The 1975, and what you wouldn’t. Always from the heart, it’s deliberate and accidental. But it all feels connected. It’s all part of the same story. See, this band, they build worlds.

“You want the record to have a life. We just keep going until it feels dynamic. You wouldn’t think to put ‘How To Draw/Petrichor’ there, right? That’s the point. The juxtaposition of form. When it delineates who I am, that’s when it feels complete. When it’s got enough scope to have a personality” – that’s when it’s finished. “Personality is a very dynamic thing,” he explains.

That’s especially true when you’re Matty Healy. He asks lots of questions and answers most of them himself. He makes grand, outrageous statements that make for great headlines, but they’re never in isolation. He changes his mind. He gets distracted. He’s excitable and shares secrets. There’s always more. All of him is in his music. 

“I have to live records. I have to be the person in that record. I have to be that version of me; I have to dress like it.”

Right now though, Matty is in a strange place. He has to try and put ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ out of his mind. It’s unlike him, “but I haven’t been thinking about it that intensely. It was such a relief when it was done; I’ve been revelling in that. I was so quickly onto ‘Notes…’; I haven’t been thinking about ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ since we finished it. I had to crack on. I had to forget about it because I didn’t save anything for the next record.”

There was no, ‘oh this is good, better hold it back because we’ll need something good later’.

“You climb the mountain, bobsled down as fast as you can, then start climbing again. I’m back in self-loathing mode and all that, but not really. I’m certainly not in rest-on-my-laurels, celebrate-my-art mode. I’m more in do-better mode.”

After a split second to think about it, Matty admits he’s desperate for people to hear ‘A Brief Inquiry…’.

“I wouldn’t change it,” he declares before checking. “Would I change it? I wouldn’t change it. I can’t,” he concludes. “It’s definitely our best record.”

It’s a bold thing for an artist with a beloved back catalogue to say. It’s even bolder when that artist is in the midst of making their next album.

“It is scary, man. I’m not doing a double album, so that’s one thing.”

“‘A Brief Inquiry’ is the truth of where we are. Musically, philosophically, that’s where we’re at. And the next record will be where we’re at then. I don’t know what it’ll be like. Maybe it’ll be more exhausted. It’ll be different, but they’re all so different.

“Is this record better than the first record?” Matty asks himself, thinking out loud. “It depends. It depends what your gauge is. My intention was always to soundtrack the lives of young people, or myself and by proxy the lives of young people. So, if your barometer of success or quality is how much it’s done that, then the first album is better. The first album is more nostalgic and wrapped up in peoples adolescence and journey, so it is kinda silly of me to sit here and boringly say ‘this is our best record’ because it’s a bit of a cop-out. It’s just an easy answer to sound confident.” 

The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?

The young people who first got into The 1975 with ‘The 1975’ are older now. Matty is older, and their known world is bigger than Manchester. Things are very different. ‘A Brief Inquiry’ embraces that.

“If you start making decisions based on fear, you’re going to fail,” he continues. “Of course it’s scary, but being bold is scary. Sincerity is scary. Everything is scary. All those things around being a grown up are scary,” so ‘A Brief Inquiry’ tries to make sense of them. “It feels like the records are becoming more organic. They’re getting a bit more deconstructed,” he starts, before asking, “what would you say?”

Well, ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ feels like The 1975 if they started to fall apart. It’s jagged, all exposed edges and frayed ends. “But in a good way?” he asks. Of course. “All of the sounds and sonics had to be sincere and believable. That’s the same with ‘Notes…’, but I don’t know that much about ‘Notes…’ yet. But that’s fun,” he promises. “I’ve got a while to make that record. I’m just going to make a record I want to listen to.” Right now, it’s still taking shape.

“’Notes…’ is very raw. There are a lot of demos. It’s not like there was stuff that didn’t make ‘A Brief Inquiry…’. ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ just became what it was, and other songs just weren’t for that record. So there are loads of different ideas. Lyrics come very late anyway, so I try and not stress myself that much about it.

“There are a few lyrics. There are ideas,” he promises, “but there’s a bunch of music. It’s deconstructed. It’s quite English. We’re always going back to a time in our life and referencing certain bits of music from there, and I think this is referencing a lot of UK garage and the feeling of driving on the M25 at night.” Music for cars, right?

“Of course some people are going to regard it as not as good, and some people are going to regard it as our masterpiece. It’s like, is ‘Amnesiac’ worse than ‘OK Computer’? Yes and no. That’s not a question. It’s a different time, and it’s a different thing.” All The 1975 can do is capture the moment and have fun with it.  

“Culturally, six months down the line now is like 18 months down the line ten years ago. That’s why we’re doing two records. The consumer’s desire for the pace of the consumption has changed. Mine has as well. I want music faster. You can watch a whole series on Netflix; you can watch someone’s masterpiece and as soon as you’re finished, next. Who is going to tour an album for two years?”

The idea of living in one moment for so long doesn’t make sense.

“I want to make a difference in live pop shows, and I want to tour for two years. You can’t do that with one album. Luckily, I live for making music. I don’t live for being in a band, or being cool or popular, I live for making music. If you can’t make an album in six months and you’re in one of the biggest bands in the world, what are you fucking playing at?”

The bravado quickly shifts into sincerity, as it always does.

“It is difficult,” he admits, “and it requires you not to have a life. It’s just about being bold, isn’t it? The number of times I just sigh at my own decisions or sit there and go ‘for fuck’s sake’.”

That was his first reaction when he and the band’s manager, Jamie Oborne first started talking about two albums. Matty was walking to drummer George Daniel’s, talking to Jamie on the phone about culture, the times and how things work within that.

“We were joking about how people get six months into a record and then take the first single and put Stormzy on it, and redirect you back to the album.”

They were talking business, but this is The 1975. They never really talk business.

“We talk about what we want to do culturally. Everything that we do is to super serve the fans. It’s putting art first, putting truth first. Don’t make commercially-minded decisions; that ethos is ingrained in us. You can analyse the world of streaming, or you can think about what people love. Music is their release.” 

So every decision is led by the heart. Two albums was also their way of course correction.

“For a while, I’d been thinking that this would be our last album. The reason I did that is that when you’re a writer, you want a good ending. It would have been at the end of the decade, and it would have been this whole decade-long thing, and stylistically I love that.”

The only thing is, Matty loves being in The 1975 more.

“It doesn’t stop being what you get up for in the morning, regardless of whether you made a cool decision or not. That’s what ‘I Couldn’t Be More In Love’ is about. I also thought we’re not good enough to quit yet. Have we actually done anything?”

So, of course, their first thought was “Let’s do two albums.” On the phone, Jamie went silent before he started to laugh, and that’s when Matty knew it was the only way.

The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?
“If you can’t make an album in six months and you’re in one of the biggest bands in the world, what are you fucking playing at?”
Matty Healy, The 1975

Music For Cars is their most ambitious creation yet. ‘Brief Inquiry…’ was announced before it was finished. The result is breathtaking. ‘Notes…’ was given a pencilled release date before they’d really started.

“[We have] no regrets; you’ve just got to do it,” Matty smiles. “You’ve got to set yourself some standards, or you won’t achieve the things you think you could be capable of, and you’ll always wonder.”

That determined dreamer who refused to give up on his band despite being turned down again and again by labels way back in The 1975’s early history, is still looking up at the sky and wishing.

“Anyway, what’s the worst that could happen? I make a shit record?” Matty asks. “This is the thing,” he continues, before admitting: “It’s not actually relevant, [but talking about regrets] made me think about the safety of art. People will make an assumption, and they’re fair, astute assumptions, about someone like Pete Doherty who lives the way his music is, but the majority of artists don’t.

“The reason for that is because when you have a creative outlet, that’s this huge environment and a vast part of your life where you can take immeasurable risks. You do things that are so bold; you could never bring yourself to do them in your real life.

“Exercising that is good because you’re taking risks, but you’re not going to fucking hurt anyone. I might as well go balls to the wall because philosophically, it doesn’t actually matter. I’ve always got that,” he smiles, either as a reminder or a way to clear himself some space. “That belief doesn’t stop me from making a good record though. It just means, just do it.”

Make two albums. Promise them to people.

“And not just because I said I was going to do it, but because it’s the right thing to do. Lots of things add up to why it’s the right thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do.”

“It sounds lame when you write it down,” he continues, “but you know what it’s like when you’ve got mates, and you all work at a company? Of course you believe in what you do, and of course, you hype yourselves up.”

Hype, belief and excitement, it’s what The 1975 live for. Whenever they’re faced with a decision, they ask themselves ‘What would The 1975 do?’

“When we’ve been at our proudest, it’s when we’ve been at our boldest. It’s when we stand by ourselves and think of ourselves as The 1975. What would that band do? What would the band that scares us a little bit do?

“It doesn’t matter that we get played next to Rita Ora on the radio, we’re still an alternative band that comes from a small town. We make pop music. We make all types of music, but our ethos is from punk. We’re snot-nosed little fuckers from up north. That’ll never change.”

On their first two albums, The 1975 wore their hearts on their sleeves and hoped other people would relate. ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ sees the band just as bare and open, but this time around, they know they’re not the only ones feeling this way.

“As you grow older and grow as an artist, you become more of a global citizen through touring, meeting more people and just learning about the world. It just becomes a more natural thing to do.”

The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?

There’s a slant to this record, it’s political, and of-the-time but the band never tell you what to think. It’s about conversations and connections, not party politics or us against them.

“I’m not in the business of being like a pope. I’m the opposite of an evangelist. I’m not selling anything. I’m not selling a moral ideology or a leftist perspective or anything like that. I don’t have a moral high ground on anything, this record was so sincere and personal and led from the felt.”

When he felt something in his chest, he reached for the guitar.

“It was a very experiential thing. ‘Love It If We Made It’ feels like several big political statements; it’s shouted, and it’s delivered with passion, belief and sentiment – but there’s no opinion. I’m not really saying anything apart from quoting things or referencing things that have happened. Just like a newspaper, it’s a list of things.” 

But within that, the frustrated idea that “we’re just left to decay, modernity has failed us’ gives it a purpose. They’re not sitting on the fence; they want to be involved. They’re asking questions of everyone.

“When I’m talking about The Internet” – which is going to happen when you call your record ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ – “people ask do you like it, or are you scared of it? The fact you haven’t been able to draw that conclusion is the whole point. I’m posing questions. I’m asking, is this weird? Are we all fucking doomed? It’s not we are doomed! This is weird! I’m part of the conversation.

 “The fact that the subject matter is more outwards is one thing, it’s more inclusive in that way, but it’s still very ‘am I getting this right? Are these theories correct?’ I’m always questioning myself.” The thing that is special to me about ‘Love It If We Made It’, is that I speak about things, but I don’t judge anybody. Is that true? I was thinking ‘oh, you judge Donald Trump’, but I didn’t. I just said what he said; I didn’t judge anybody.” 

The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?
“I don’t have a moral high ground on anything”
Matty Healy, The 1975

The lines “’I moved on her like a bitch’. Excited to be indicted. Unrequited house with seven pools.”Thank you Kanye, very cool”. The war has been incited and guess what? You’re all invited,” speak for themselves. Their inclusion is deliberate. It’s never explicit, but The 1975 know what the enemy is. Rather than ‘Vote for this’ or ‘Fuck that’, ‘A Brief Inquiry’ paints with broader strokes. 

“The things that I am standing up for are things like the idea of being sincere, being true, being soppy in front of being sarcastic.

 “I’ll stand by those, but I’m not going to start telling people which way they should be leaning politically. Well, I suppose I do that a little bit, but not in my songs so much. The fact that ‘Love It If We Made It’ comes from me tells you, regardless of whether or not I’m saying I believe in social democracy, it’s obvious that’s what I’m doing.

“It’s just about being outward instead of being introspective, speaking more broadly and including people in the same narrative that I’ve been talking about for the whole time. And the rest of the record is just about how I see the world, and I’m not judging anyone.”

“You shouldn’t listen to artists that much. Artists get asked about so much stuff, but artists should be utopians. They should be idealists. They should become part of the cog that turns to move a progressive movement into reality. You shouldn’t get the most self-obsessed subset of humanity and ask them ‘how should we run the world?’ Artists shouldn’t be answering this kind of question, but they should be talking about the subject cleverly, wittily and idealistically. Newspapers and stuff can get boring, but music is never boring.”

With a title like ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’, the fact the world around them is all rubble and brimstone and because it stretches so far, it would be easy for The 1975 to be cynical on this record. They never are, not even for a second.

“You can present brilliant ideas but sometimes these ideas can be challenging so you can’t be cynical, because who wants cynical art? There are enough mediums to be cynical in.”

Instead, ‘A Brief Inquiry’ manages to find an optimism in everything. They’d love it if we made it. Go on, give yourself a try. It’s encouraging people to believe and be bold, but it’s what The 1975 do best.

“The idea of making music for 16-year-old me, in a bedroom with headphones on, has always been such a vivid image for me. It’s probably so innate now; it’s not what I’m drawing from consciously. I’m not thinking about the John Hughesy thing, but I’m still doing it because it’s who I am. When I was 16, the idea of music was so experienced and so carnally felt, and it was so personal. Of course, there are people who experience music for parties and as part of the world, but for me, it was the world.”  

The 1975 want connection. It means they’re not alone in this.

“It’s special to me to think that people could have a relationship with my music in the way that I did. The fact it will soundtrack lives just humbles me. I don’t necessarily mean profound moments either. It could be on in a car when someone is having an argument or in the background of Coronation Street. I love that. I love when it’s in the background of Coronation Street because Morrissey would have loved that I reckon, bleeding into culture in that way.”

The 1975 still make music for themselves though and ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ is them making sense of their world. ‘How To Draw/Petrichor’ starts like raindrops in a meadow before glitching into a black mirrored rave, “love yourself, don’t take any of my advice,” it sings through distortion and technical difficulties. ‘I Like America and America Likes Me’ is just hyper-charged. “I’m scared of dying,” it starts, crystal clear and open before thoughts build up and overlap. “Being young in the city, belief and say something,” it repeats. “Would you please listen. Say something,” it implores. There are questions about gun violence, the refugee crisis, racism, oppression, hope, protest, addiction, mortality and survival. 

Elsewhere, there’s the spoken word peace of ‘The Man Who Married A Robot/Love Theme’, which is somehow over the top, funny, sad and poignant with every spin. The slow burn beauty of ‘I Couldn’t Be More In Love’ which dances with a surrender to emotions. The end of the world endurance of ‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’, which is perhaps the most vulnerable and powerful The 1975 have ever sounded. 

“My music is the best place for me to think about those things, talk about those things and try to get answers but I think about loads of things. I have mental health issues and all sorts of things, but I’m not a misery guts. There’s some good stuff out there in the ol’ world.”

“I wanted to be constantly excited and challenged by what I was doing. I wanted to denounce the majority of the stylistic things we’ve done before. Even though we were making a record, we treated each moment so delicately and wanted it to be perfect in its essence.

“I tend not to write a song about the same thing twice, just because it’s such a personal pursuit and I do it to make myself feel better and have a purpose, so I need to do other things. The main ethos of the record is profound to me, and not profound at all, at exactly the same time. The idea that all of our communication outside of face to face is mediated through The Internet is not even an interesting thing to make an analysis of.

“The iMessage you sent to find the house, the Deliveroo I’m going to get later, the Uber to the photo shoot, all communication is done on the internet. So what, right? Tell someone that 15 years ago and it’s very weird. It’s the softening of these realities.

“If you look at ‘The Man Who Married A Robot’, all I’m doing is telling a very banal story, but the fact it’s read by somebody that isn’t human feels weird and eerie. Why does it feel weird and eerie?” It’s not just because it’s a story of disconnect and loneliness, or that it reminds you that after you die, your Facebook account will still be there. “The difference between ‘Fitter Happier’ on ‘OK Computer’ when the computer talks and ‘The Man Who Married A Robot’ is that ‘The Man Who Married A Robot’ is a more realistic voice. That voice on ‘OK Computer’ was dead weird, but when you hear Siri, you don’t react anymore. They put those voices in the fucking kitchen and get them to get eggs now. If Siri had appeared on that Radiohead album, it would have been even more sinister and weird, but we’re just used to it. We’re used to all this shit.

“’A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ is all relationships. I’m talking about all relationships that are mediated online. What does reality mean in 15 years, if this is our base reality?”

The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?

Matty is delicate about being objective because “I’m the same as everyone,” he explains. “As soon as somebody starts going on about people being addicted to their phones, everyone’s first reaction is that it’s boring. ‘I don’t want to hear that, granddad’. 

“It’s annoying to break discourse and say ‘yeah, but look you’re on your phone now’ only to be met with a fuck off. Being defensive when someone brings it up, or if someone makes a joke about it and you don’t find it funny, and it annoys you because it hits you deeply. I get it because that’s the behaviour of a heroin addict.”

“I’m never preachy. I’m never judging. I’m never going to tell people to get off their phones at my show. I remind them that if they put them down, the memory of that moment will be far more potent than a video on an iPhone, but that’s different than getting pissed off about it. I’m not pissed off at the modern world.

“There’s anger in ‘A Brief Inquiry…’, but there’s everything in there. It needs to be hopeful; it needs to be fearful, it needs to be everything I am. Insecure, cocky, fragile. I’m a modernist. I’m not about retrogressive ideas. I love moving things forward; I love technology. I love robots. I’m all about the future, if we get one.”

He’s hopeful though. And that’s because of you.

“I spend so much time living in my own world and doing my own thing; I don’t think about hope that much. I think about what I’m doing and what I can provide in an artistic context, but when I speak to young people, and especially our fans, I think if there is any hope, it’s the progressive, empowering mentality of a lot of young people that I meet.

“That’s why I feel at one with our fans. If they were 15 when that first record came out, they’re 21 now. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of these young people’s’ adolescence and apprenticeship into adulthood, and now I get to learn from them. And their attention is on me because they love me, because I was there when they were a kid. I love it. It becomes this dialogue, this exchange of ideas rather than this zero-sum thing. That’s when I feel hopeful.”

And like everything Matty feels, it’s poured into ‘A Brief Inquiry’.

“It’s all we’ve got, isn’t it? You’re into denialism or cynicism otherwise. I came out of quite a dark place and time as well writing this record, so there’s an element of hope within that, in songs like ‘It’s Not Living If It’s Not With You’. I do have hope for the resilience of humankind. I’m just not sure where we’ll end up.

“People always want to go back to things, but we need to go forward into something different, and there’s hope there because, with the unknown, there’s the unknown. We could create some utopian society if everyone got their act together. It’s not on the onus of the individual though; it’s on the onus of the powerful. If the powerful reassess what it means to be powerful, then we have a chance. If that doesn’t happen, it’s very difficult because things are set up in the interest of the powerful. Social movements are great if they don’t interrupt that. Things like climate change and looking at green emissions, that’s all great unless it hurts the powerful.”

The 1975 ask questions through stories. ‘Give Yourself A Try’ starts by sharing some of the answers they’ve found: “Friends don’t lie. The only apparatus required for happiness is your pain and fucking going outside. Getting STDs at 27 really isn’t the vibe. Growing a beard is quite hard. Whiskey never starts to taste nice. You’ll make a lot of money, and it’s funny ‘Cause you’ll move somewhere sunny and get addicted to drugs.” 

The most important lesson is to give yourself a try. Across ‘A Brief Inquiry’, the band encourages openness and connection. They don’t want divides.

“All that I know is that the only thing that’s ever going to happen is your engagement with other human beings. Everything else is just idea-based stuff. Your communication with physical beings in the real world is the only thing that’s ever going to happen. To not make that as positive, beautiful, romantic, artistic, interesting as possible, is a proper waste.

“That’s a lofty thing to say from someone who watches a lot of Netflix and loves doing fuck all and is smoking a joint during this conversation, I’m not trying to make it like a scene from ‘Gone With The Wind’, but do you know what I mean? This is everything we’ve got, so we should celebrate that. That’s where the optimism comes from. We don’t have anything else apart from this exchange, and I’m fine with that. But we shouldn’t waste it, and we shouldn’t limit it with fear or the idea of exposing yourself.”

The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?
“Fuck yeah we’re important. Of course we fucking are, we’re The 1975”
Matty Healy, The 1975

From the outside, The 1975 look like they’ve got it all figured out. There’s precision, there are bold statements, and there’s unwavering belief in themselves. A band with such style must have some sort of master plan, but in reality, they’re making it up as they go along. They’re doing what feels right. They’re constantly asking questions of themselves, and they trust the answers.

“You don’t realise things work until you try them. It’s a lot of happy accidents and as soon as there’s a happy accident, you fucking run with it. The first thing that you need to learn if you want to be an artist is to get rid of any fear of getting it wrong. You have to get it wrong to get it right. You have to get it wrong so much. Getting it wrong is most of it.”

Fearless, flawed and proud, The 1975 want others to be just as open. Just as vulnerable. Just as ok with making mistakes.

“The way we’ve got to work is that inspiration won’t come looking for you. Ideas are three hours into playing the same thing on a keyboard. One thing goes wrong, or one thing slightly different happens, and that becomes your route to everything. You’ve got to look for it yourself. You’ve got to be working. Some days, you’ve just got to turn up. If you don’t turn up, it’s not going to happen.

“It’s about being there and being ready when it happens. Intellectualising and thinking will only take you so far. It’s not about making it happen, it’s about being prepared and perceptive enough to know where the magic is, and then run with that because that’ll take you all the way through the night.” 

The 1975 tell stories of the magical everyday. They’ve become one of the biggest bands in the world by being honest and unafraid. ‘A Brief Inquiry’ is the next step. Every magpied piece of inspiration is fully embraced, every bold decision is celebrated, and every song explores something real. It’s a masterpiece with a lot to say. It’s why The 1975 are such an important band.

 “That’s not an opinion. You can objectively quantify something like importance. It’s not like being relevant or cool. The question is if you go on the internet and you look at the amount that is said, and how emotionally led it is, if you look at the proportion of tattoos and you look through the history of the past couple of years visually with music, we’re there.

“You don’t have to like a band to admit that they’re important. We’ve made an impact. We’ve made an impact on young people. I see it. It’s important to me, it’s a massive part of my life, and if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t act accordingly. Music and bands, they were important to me so when I see that replicated in a young person, it’s immediately validated.

“If you want a more ego-based quote, fuck yeah we’re important. Of course we fucking are, we’re The 1975. We’re very important. But that’s how you have to be, right? Behind closed doors or not, you have to believe because that’s what it requires. There’s that indie mentality of acting like you don’t care so you don’t get judged for being shit, but I’ll tell you what: judge me, but I’m not going to pretend that I don’t fucking care or that I don’t love what I do.

 “Of course we’re fucking important and ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ is an important pop record for now. It’s going to be an amazing moment for the label.  It’s an important record for us all.” 

Few bands capture the today like The 1975 do. Forward thinking but with one eye on why and who they do this for, the band aren’t just important. They’re relevant. They’re cool. They mean something real. And they’re not done yet.

“Because of Dirty Hit, and what we’ve set up, that’s what my future is,” Matty states. “Not just making records, but working them and producing them, doing what I do now really, that’s my future. The 1975 happens when The 1975 happens.” 

But their story is far from finished.  

“By the time a lot of bands get to their third or fourth record, you’ve got four people trying to make four solo records. The best thing about The 1975 is that our roles are so defined, and are about facilitation and love, that I can make a solo record and it can be The 1975. With The 1975, I can do whatever the fuck I want, and we can always do it as The 1975. I don’t have any creative limitations, and I have an amazing label. The 1975 aren’t going anywhere.” 

Taken from the December 2018 / January 2019 edition of Dork. Order a copy below. The 1975’s album ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ is out 30th November.

Words: Ali Shutler

The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?

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