If you're aware of The 1975 -- the Manchester band, not the "real" year punk broke -- then you've likely formed an impression of them. "Mildly edgy Euro-pop troupe" or "unoriginal New Wave retreads," the opinions vary greatly. Matthew Healy, the quartet's singer/guitarist, is acutely aware of the division, especially when it occurs at the corporate-magazine level. "NME online really seemed to champion us and then NME in print voted us the worst band of the year, and it's all a bit weird, isn't it?" he says.
Not for debate is The 1975 seem to -- in music-industry speak -- be gaining traction. Even though they formed 12 years ago, the group only released its first full-length album last year, following a string of EPs dating back to 2012. The reason it took so long? "We've been together for so long that there's an identity there," Healy explains, "and trying to get a fanbase based on 16 songs wasn't really good enough for us. We really wanted to express ourselves through those EPs before putting out a debut album."
Prior to The 1975's headlining show June 3 at the Music Farm in Charleston, Lowcountry Current talked to Healy about sharing songwriting credits, the World Cup and what he loves and hates most about the States.
Question. The 1975 share all songwriting credits. Is it truly a collaborative effort or is that just a way to avoid fights?
Healy. A way to avoid fights is one way of looking at it. I suppose bands are democratic to a certain extent but it's more of an autocratic situation -- a democracy of which the preponderance of authority is slightly toward whoever's best suited. I think that me and (drummer) George (Daniel) are known for being predominantly the main songwriters, but the other guys' input is unprecedented because we write for them. It's a symbiotic relationship, it really is.
Q. Being from Manchester, I assume, you're a big soccer-slash-football fan and will be watching the World Cup. We call it soccer.
Healy. Well, we definitely call it football. We're all big football fans. It's going to be interesting, the World Cup. It's so culturally rooted (in Manchester), and we've got the Premiere League and you can say we're the heart of football, but when it comes to international play we never really stand a chance. You've got teams like Spain, Italy, Argentina and Brazil, and they're just kind of in the top class.
Q. Do you have to arrange your touring schedule around the Cup?
Healy. We will be trying to orchestrate our lives around watching but, unfortunately, I don't think we dictate any shows around the game. But we should be back in Europe, which makes things easier.
Q. What do you like most and least about the United States?
Healy. I have to be honest, my life is pretty ridiculous. Look at the Stones when they first went out to America and came back, they were so obviously seduced by the place. And I think it's because my experience of America, mate, is I land there and it's two months I'm touring around on a shiny bus where hordes of people chase it and wait outside every second to try to get a glimpse of me. Then I throw a party for 2,000 people every night and drink two bottles of wine. My impression of America is pretty warped. I don't have any negative aspects of America because I don't really see that deep into it. I just see loads of people who love my band.
Q. Rolling Stone gave the new album a two-star review, saying the "LP mostly forces unconvincing emo lyrics into a bloopy 1980s package." Did you read it?
Healy. I think someone showed me the review. I mean, it's a person, isn't it? I think it's the same publication that championed us as being one of the best at Coachella. The problem with all media now that's slightly based online and slightly based in print is it's becoming such an obsolete format that their opinions are starting to become slightly more obsolete because there's less and less editorial continuity writing into what are apparently all these institutions. The people that love us, love us and the people that hate us, hate us, and I'm equally excited by both now.
OTHER INTERVIEWS BY BLAIR R. FISCHER