INTERVIEW >> The 1975 (Pt 2)

So, THE 1975. You might have heard of them. Certainly the thousand-or-so people desperate to get in the already-at-capacity Cockpit, at Live At Leeds have.

Their insanely catchy tunes have been taking over our airwaves for the last few months, and they’re about to release their fourth EP – aptly-titled IV – on Monday, which features lead song The City (currently A-listed on Radio 1) wrapped in beautiful, ambient slow-burners (see below). Buy it.

The 1975

We caught up with singer Matt Healy at the Cockpit – the scene of their first-ever headline show – after their Live At Leeds show for a quick catch-up.

Dude, you’ve come along way since the first time you played here. You’ve gone from 70 people in December to 200 in January to this – full capacity main room with a thousand people trying to get in outside…

Yeah, I mean you were there when we played up here. What am I meant to say? I’m still the same as I was when we talked before all this happened. I’m just trying to get used to it. I suppose we’ve got a bit more into ourselves, really. We’ve just kind of found solace in our personal relationships as we take it to the next level. I mean, people are really getting into this thing, aren’t they?

What did it feel like doing the tour in January, then disappearing to America for a while and getting the same kind of reaction over there?

It was really intense, especially as soon as we arrived. We landed at SXSW and we did 11 shows in five days so that was mental introduction. It’s the power of the internet. People knew who our band were before we got there. Our first show in Milwaukee – we’d never even been near that part of the world before – and about 300 people turned up. There were hundreds of people coming out each night to see us.

It was like we were doing two January tours, coz we did the tour here when Sex was the song that everybody knew and we felt that that was breaking it, and it felt exactly the same in America, but we knew what was going on with Chocolate over here and we felt we were a step behind. We were kind of bouncing back to give the UK Chocolate and then give America Chocolate. It’s just exciting, innit?

And people came and the place nearly fucking fell down… It was awesome

So what was it like coming back from America to this huge success?

It’s strange coz America had nothing to do with our reality, you know? And then we came back home to what is our reality and it had completely changed fundamentally – the way people know us, the way people talk about us. In our hometown now, they’re about ready to erect a fucking statue of us, do you know what I mean? Everybody knows us and people really, really care about this band, so that’s amazing. But it is weird. I’m not used to the whole genuinely getting a bit famous thing. Last time we spoke I said I didn’t like being judged, remember? But everyone’s been so nice about us, so it’s okay.

You still Google yourself at three in the morning, though, right?

[Laughs] Yeah.

So you’re off to Europe for a bit, then back to the UK for another sold-out tour.

Yeah, we’re picking up our new tour bus tomorrow. A proper tour bus. It’s amazing! 14 beds, three lounges, a kitchen. It’s so cool, isn’t it! Fucking hell.  From a crappy little van to a full-on tour bus. When we started this at the beginning of the year, we said: “18 months and we’ll be in a tour bus.” It’s been four months. Four.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind…

Well, we’ve gone ten times bigger, if you think about it. We played Borderline in London, which is 400 in January and now we’ve sold nearly a thousand tickets already for our Brixton Academy show next January, which is 5,000 capacity. It’s mental.

So what did you make of your Live At Leeds experience?

It was awesome. I loved tonight coz I went crowd-surfing for the first time.


First time ever?

Well, I’ve been in the crowd before, but haven’t actually laid on top of the crowd, you know?

Last time you played here, you landed on some poor girl.

Yeah, I jumped right on her head, didn’t I? She’s alright now, though.

So what’s next for you after Live At Leeds?

We’re heading back to Manchester and going to bed. I really wanted to see my girlfriend, but I can’t, so I’m going to bed. Tomorrow, we’re playing at Ku Bar in Stockton, then we’re off to Europe with Swim Deep for a while, which will be wicked, they’re such nice guys. And then we have our own show in Amsterdam. Fuck, that’ll be amazing.

Have you had chance to see anyone today?

No, we’ve done an NCS thing in Manchester for Channel 4 with Rudimental today, so we’ve come straight here, and we’re kind of heading straight off. I’ve just done a gig, man, so I’m not wanting to go and watch one, you know. I don’t really like gigs. It’s only bands that I really love that I want to go see live…..

You know what? The only time that I really listen and like bands live now is when I get immediately jealou

So, the album’s finished, then?

Yep. Album’s done. It’s out on September 9. It’s pretty mega. Well, people have heard a lot of the songs off it live, though Robbers got cut tonight, and we cut She Way Out, Heart Out, we cut Girls, we cut loads of stuff.

You love Robbers, right? You’ll love the album version – it’s so romantic. It’s like our With Or Without You, it’s that fucking good. It’s the best song on the album, I reckon. I don’t know, coz there’s so many different songs on there.

Have you left the album release until after the festival season on purpose, then?

No, not really, it’s just the way the cycle of things went, and there’s been no rush to put the record out. We don’t want to be one of those bands who gets really, really hyped and then puts out an album two months later and it does alright. If we’re going to do an album, we’re doing it for us. We don’t do things by half-measures.

It’s a personal endeavour and the fact that people are getting into this band now, we have no choice but to make the album as overly-ambitious as possible. We weren’t thinking about festivals, we were just thinking we don’t need to drop our record yet. People need to be patient. I mean, you know us, we’ve released like 17 songs before this album and they’re all like proper songs, so yeah, people can wait.

There’s a song on the new EP which is lovely. I think it’s the best song I’ve ever written. It’s called fallingforyou – the last track – and it’s our John Hughes love thing, you know? That’s the most John Hughes thing we’ve done. That’s the slow dance at the prom thing. You’ll love it. Have you not got it yet?

No. You’ve just finished recording it last week!

Yeah, you’re right. We literally did. And wrote it in that week as well.

The 1975

You were on the Radio 1 breakfast show the other morning doing a show at a school. I loved that slow version of The City. That’s got to have been the weirdest gig for you, though, in a school assembly?

That was weird. We were up sound-checking at like six in the morning. It was heavy, but it was cool. The kids were really attentive and I think working with Radio 1 is just such a breeze. But we’ve done weirder gigs, when were in our other bands, like going to Stornoway and playing to three fishermen. It was up there with the weird ones, but it was great, man.

Before we go, you’ve got a couple of tasty gigs lined up over the summer. The small matters of playing with Muse at the Emirates and The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park..?

Yeah they’ll be great, but you wouldn’t believe the shit we’ve turned down already. We’ve turned down main support for Rihanna, Arctic Monkeys on their arena tour in October; we’ve turned down main support for Fall Out Boy and support for Paramore’s tour over here in September. We turned all that down coz we’ve got our own things going on.

You must be mental!

Yeah, I know, but we can’t do everything and we’ve already got stuff booked, and we don’t want to disappoint people who’ve bought tickets for our shows already. But the Stones will be mega, and Muse at the Emirates -fuck. We get on the bus straight after we’ve done that show and head up to Nottingham coz we’re playing Dot To Dot that night.

So between now and, say, Christmas, how many days off are you likely to get?

Days off? Not many. I know we’ve got 175 shows booked already and there’s more getting sorted. Yeah, busy. Wow.

>> THE 1975 are playing at the Queens Social Club, Sheffield next Thursday (sold out) and Leeds Uni Stylus on Monday, September 23. Tickets for that gig can be snapped up HERE, HERE or HERE.

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