Romance—along with sex and drugs—has driven The 1975 and its music. At 19, lead singer Matthew Healy gave a girl a book as a romantic gesture and was intrigued by the way "1975" was handwritten inside, with a "The" next to it. The Manchester-based band, comprised of Healy, Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann, and George Daniel, had found its moniker.
Although all this transpired when the band members were in their late teens, their musical influences came much earlier. The 1975 found inspiration in '80s pop music and R&B, which can be heard in their songs—which call to mind artists as diverse as Roberta Flack, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, TLC, and Boyz II Men.
The song we're pleased to premiere here, "fallingforyou," comes from The 1975's upcoming EP, IV, and is the band's take on a modern slow jam. The band will release IV on May 20, before starting a US tour with The Neighbourhood (a band that complements them quite nicely) in June.
We spoke with Matthew Healy about "Sex," drugs, and how his addictive personality has driven his songwriting.
ILANA KAPLAN: Where are you guys at now?
MATTHEW HEALY: We're in Leeds. About an hour away from where we live in Manchester. We've got a show here. It's going to be a good one. We've got a queue of people just trying to get in. It should be awesome.
KAPLAN: You guys have put out a few EPs so far. I know you have another one coming out. Are you guys going to have a full-length come out later this year?
HEALY: In September our full-length album will come out. We just finished recording it. We've been working over the past six months, really. It'll be ready in September. We're very excited about it. It's actually going to be self-titled, because we couldn't really sum up the album with a name, so it's simply going to be called The 1975.
KAPLAN: Are you currently on tour with The Neighbourhood, or is that still coming up?
HEALY: We go on tour in the US with The Neighbourhood in the beginning of June, and we're in the whole of the States for the remainder of June. We're really excited. We toured America back in March, and it was great fun. We can't wait to get back out there.
KAPLAN: I heard the Santos Party House show was a good one.
HEALY: Yeah! It was crazy! New York is a crazy town. We love it.
KAPLAN: Do you guys already know The Neighbourhood?
HEALY: No, we don't know them at all. We just know that we're fans of each other. I think that we see a lot of ourselves in one another. I think it's the black and white. We're looking forward to it. It should be a good tour!
KAPLAN: Your next EP is titled IV; is it supposed to represent the number "4" or "intravenous?"
HEALY: It is. It's "IV," but we wanted to have the two words represent "intravenous." It seemed like an apt title. I don't know. I think I have an obsession with love, drugs, and the balance between the two: the consequential dynamic of trying to have a relationship because of it. It definitely alludes to that.
KAPLAN: I can see that in songs like "Sex" and "Chocolate." Does that drive meanings behind those songs?
HEALY: Very much so. We spent our teenage years in Manchester, at the risk of sounding crude, doing drugs and having sex.
KAPLAN: [laughs] How long have you guys been a band?
HEALY: About 10 years. We started when we were 14. We started off in another band. We got to our late teens. We had a very strong social group, and we used to make music for ourselves and for our friends. We just put a record out that year, and things just started to snowball. It's been amazing.
KAPLAN: You guys have been The 1975 since you were 14?
HEALY: No, we've had loads of different names, but the same lineup. Lots of different names and lots of different music. We never really wanted to release any music; we didn't feel the need to. We intentionally didn't want to release anything when we were very young, I suppose, because we had a lot of foresight. Stuff can come back to bite you in the ass. Know what I mean?
KAPLAN: Definitely. What was your big break?
HEALY: I don't know. It's been a gradual build since we first put our EP out. Some people knew of our band beforehand, so there was a slight amount of anticipation before our first EP came out. We've got quite a lot of mainstream radio playing off the singles "The City" and "Sex." "Chocolate" has been in the Top 40 in the UK for about 13 weeks now. It's come out of the Top 20, but at that time we were in America and Europe. We kind of left as an unestablished band and came back quite well established. It's a very strange time for us. Very exciting.
KAPLAN: I had heard your music once or twice, but I swear all of a sudden, in a matter of maybe two weeks, I was hearing "Chocolate" all over the place. At least on Sirius XM Alt-Nation.
HEALY: Oh cool! That's awesome.
KAPLAN: What's the most scandalous thing you've written about in your songs?
HEALY: Most scandalous? That's an interesting question. I suppose I view my behavior in such a unique way. I frame it as an artist and maybe kind of make excuses for it. I suppose I romanticize my own life when I write. I always try to think whether it actually is quite romantic. It's not really scandalous, but I can't really talk about smoking... I don't even want to put it down in pen. Some of the stuff I'm already talking about, otherwise I wouldn't have left it in a metaphor. I would have said it blatantly as is. There are some quite deep truths on the album.
KAPLAN: The things that you write about, were they subject matters from your past or the present?
HEALY: I think I'm a very addictive person; whether I point that out through sex, drugs or something of a higher value. I'm not really sure. That's all I'm really seeking. Maybe you had an experience when you're really young. You feel like you want something, but you don't actually know what that is. I remember waking up the other night and really craving something, but not knowing what it is. That feeling has been prominent throughout my whole life. I think I try and fill that thing with lots of different things. I can't really stay still. I can't really not be stimulated. It's kind of a search of constant stimulation through other people, substances and stuff. I think that's what our lyrical content is about.
"FALLINGFORYOU" IS FEATURED ON THE 1975'S FOURTH EP, IV, WHICH COMES OUT ON MAY 20 AND IS AVAILABLE TO PREORDER HERE. THE 1975 WILL TOUR THE US WITH THE NEIGHBOURHOOD IN JUNE.