Matty Healy (vocals, guitar) / Ross MacDonald (bass) / Adam Hann (guitar, keyboard) / George Daniel (drums)
Before Matty Healy could go forth and do battle with the world again, he had to get the small matter of doing battle with himself out of the way first. The 17 songs on The 1975’s new album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it give some hints as to what that battle involves. But really, who knows what goes on in Matty’s head? Confidence, anguished self-doubt, morbid introspection, and ceaseless self-laceration surely play a part; as do arrogance, urgency, passion, panic. Add to that ambition, exhaustion, elation, and dejection.
School friends Matty, Adam Hann, George Daniel, and Ross MacDonald formed The 1975 in the English town of Wilmslow, south of Manchester, in 2002. Upon emerging ten years later with the Facedown EP, it was instantly clear that this was a band that was going to be controversial, even problematic, for some. Their sound was unashamedly glamorous (one of Matty’s favorite words), the lyrics heart-on-sleeve, spill-your-guts confessional, and the music brazenly diverse. In their frontman, they had a singer who saw live performance as a precipice just asking to be jumped from. Matty’s head might be a mix of impenetrable fog and startling lucidity, but he has always been totally clear about the primacy of unabashed charisma and fierce commitment in the makeup of a lead singer. Never apologize has long been the band’s mantra.
Ten years of raised hopes, broken promises, and false starts had hardened the four friends, and now, with the prize suddenly within their grasp, they weren’t about to change tack. That old “they sound too different from one song to the next” response had been thrown back at their detractors after all; and, as the saying goes, he who laughs last laughs longest. As Matty says with real fire, such attitudes strike the band’s generation as prehistoric. “The historic adherence to one type of anything is so pointless,” he adds. “My generation consumes music in a completely non-linear way, and we reflect that because that’s how we create. Fifteen-year-olds are listening to A$AP Rocky but also to something way over on the other side from that. Why create one type of music when nobody consumes one type of music?”