Matty Healy of the 1975 on making bold decisions

The 1975
The 1975 at The Current (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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Interview: Matty Healy of the 1975
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On the heels of releasing their sophomore LP, Matty Healy of the 1975 sat down to chat with New Hot host David Safar to talk about I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, forthcoming demo releases and making bold decisions in the name of the album.

Before their gig in December, the 1975 stopped by The Current to to take over our airwaves and play songs by some of their favorite artists with a Theft of the Dial. The 1975 return to Minnesota on May 25 for a performance at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in the thick of a worldwide tour.

Read the full transcript of Healy's conversation below.

David Safar: Tell us about the making of I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.

Matty Healy: It was probably as cliche as you could imagine in regard to the kind of trials and tribulations of what goes into [making an album]. It was everything in part. It was disturbing and it was very, very rewarding and initially I was quite scared of the prospect of [the album] because I didn't know why I was doing it. I've always known why I was doing it but I think after two or three years of touring and being slightly disconnected from the creative process I started to question what I was doing, and that's why I have this ridiculous album title. I thought, "That's the name of the album." I wanted it to be about making bold decisions. I wanted it to be about conviction. And that's why it's called that.

Is it the fear of a follow-up to an album that so many people fell in love with, or is it going back into the studio and restarting the process?

It's the fear of going in [to the studio] and not being able to do it. It's not once you start doing it. Once we started it was amazing. It's kind of stupid because we had written a lot of the record before [going into the studio], we just got in this kind of trough creatively and emotionally and struggled to get out but once we did get out, it was this amazing, kind of titivating process; a kind of joy. We were truly introverted. We really reverted back to that reason why we started a band at thirteen years old, for that kind of cardinal desire to make music. It was a culturally based thing.

So how did you start? What was that first step?

With the new record? It's really weird. I'd say when we came off tour and made the realization that that was now it: our destiny was to make this record. We had been writing comfortably and not with any kind of pressure and then when [tour] landed in January [2015], we knew that by the end of the year we needed a new record. It simply didn't exist at that time. We started to freak. And then eventually time, being as it is, things start to fall into place.

"Love Me," the first song we heard from the album, is wildly different from your debut album sonically. What was in your mind when you went into the studio? Did you already have a vision for it, or did it come together through experimentation?

Massively so. To be honest with you, we're not a live band in that regard, in that we don't write music live and then translate it. It's all done on a laptop. We record a lot into a laptop, we record live instruments, but as soon as a song is an idea for me it has to be actualized in a stylistic context. "Love Me" didn't exist as a riff on an acoustic guitar. It was the riff with the intention of that sound. I knew that I wanted it to sound like Scritti Politti. All those kinds of things like solid state guitar and amp and active pickup guitar. Oingo Boingo, for example. I knew exactly, stylistically, what I wanted to achieve as soon as I had written that riff. The fans will hear stuff like that because we're going to put as B-sides on vinyl a couple of demos. I think you'll see how fully formed the record was when it existed in London on our laptops and just after we went to L.A. to make it. All the songs are very much there from the beginning.

Why did you select "The Ballad of Me and My Brain" to share?

It's probably quite apt because we were talking about the hard times of making the record. I think that this song doesn't – I mean, none of the songs sound like each other on the record. That's the kind of beauty in it. This song in particular, I think I was going for the Replacements doing Dr. Zeus. That was kind of my vibe. [laughs] I think at this point I kind of thought that I had done mad. I thought I had lost the plot. It's weird because I'll talk about stuff in records that I won't or wouldn't talk about, y'know? I'm British. You don't spend a lot of time feeling sorry for yourself. So when I say, "Oh, y'know, I came off tour and was ..." trying to find salvation in everything — substance, that kind of thing — it came from a time where I was just a bit on edge and making some bad decisions and I felt like I had just lost the plot. And this song kind of sounds like that.

Stream last night's New Hot to hear the 1975's "The Ballad of Me and My Brain."

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  • Theft of the Dial: The 1975 Ahead of the 1975's Minnesota gig we asked the band to stop by The Current's studio to take over our airwaves and play songs by some of their favorite artists.