Flinging himself down on the sofa like he’s going for a nap and defiantly resting his worn-out Dr Marten clad feet up on the coffee table, Matt Healy pulls his hood down over his closing eyes. ‘I’m absolutely fucked man, I’ve had like, no sleep’.
Not-so-fresh from their huge weekend entertaining thousands at Radio 1’s Big Weekend festival in Londonderry and then supporting Muse at the Emirates stadium, The 1975 frontman comments that although he is knackered, he is still looking forward to the night ahead.
‘The Glasgow crowd are a bit more lively than most – a bit more boistrous, a bit more alcohol fuelled,’ Matt drawls. ‘They’re loud and lairy, there’s a lot of movement in the crowd. We sold out King Tuts not that long ago and it was a really big deal for us. We love this place. We love coming here on tour.’
And touring is what The 1975 are doing a lot of right now, ensuring crowds are incredibly well acquainted with their four EP’s before the release of their first full-length album in September.
‘Being on the tour bus involves a lot of virtual tennis,’ Matt informs me seriously. ‘A lot of drinking coffee and debating stuff. There’s a lot of conversation, from politics to religion to art to love…we’re best mates, we just like to hang out and eat food and get drunk.’
That sounded more ‘university toff’ than ‘touring cool-guy’ to me, so I ask Matt what the most rock ‘n’ roll thing that The 1975 have ever done is.
‘Oh I can’t tell you that,’ he shakes his head at me. After some gentle pressing he pondered, ‘What is rock and roll though? Yesterday afternoon we played a stadium with one of the worlds’ biggest bands in the afternoon, then went straight to dot-to-dot festival in Nottingham and headlined that. Then we went out all night and got pretty mashed and now we’re here…I suppose that’s pretty rock ‘n’ roll.’
Whilst researching the band, I had read their name inspiration came from a book given to them by an artist, which contained dark and depressing suicidal scribblings by the previous owner from the year 1975 (which, again, sounded a more posh-boy reason than a rock star one, despite the bands bedraggled appearance). I was going to ask why they chose to immortalise their bands’ music in a name taken from something quite morbid, but Matt’s vague recollection of what happened to the book interrupted me.
‘I think I gave it to a girl. I was trying to get off with her, I was trying to impress her and she knew the history of the band and asked me about the book…I think I gave it to her as a present and nothing ever happened between us. I can’t remember who it was’.
I laugh at the fact that he gave away an item containing such clear sentimental value for the purpose of trying to score; his deadpan response of ‘I suppose that defines who I am a lot more than hanging onto it’ is permeated by the aggressive ringtones of incoming calls and messages. Matt attempts to talk over it then awakens from his daze; ‘is that your phone or mine?’.
After much fumbling in his jeans, he finds his mobile and a ‘fuck’ filled conversation with the rest of the band ensues as he instructs them to ‘just wait a minute, don’t be dicks, I’m doing an interview.’
It is clear that Matt’s grown bored of me. Luckily, I only have one more, controversial, question. The 1975’s fast rocket to fame has raised some questions due to who Matt’s parents are; former actors Denise Welch and Tim Healy. Did their industry contacts help with such a quick ascend to limelight?
‘I don’t really talk about this stuff if I’m honest with you. It’s just that my private life is separate from my personal life, you know?’ Finally, something has grabbed his attention – his eyes are open and animated, he’s sitting up looking at me for the first time, his tone irritable.
‘I’ve been in a punk band since I was 13. I’m like any middle class white kid trying to express themselves. Say you put your mum in a room full of people. Would you think it was fair that after your mum had spent 10 minutes in that room that everybody there has made an assessment of what you were like as a person? I mean, what do your parents do?’
When I smile and respond ‘my mum’s a sex therapist’, Matt doesn’t miss a beat and asks ‘and do you think you’d make a good sex therapist?’.
My confident reply of ‘I think I’d make a very good sex therapist’ results in me being treated to a lip-curled smile – the only smile of the interview – as he murmurs, ‘that’s different then.
‘I don’t really care if people judge me by who my mum is. If they’re doing that they’re clearly very narrow minded. I think I’m defined by our music and everything else is totally irrelevant. It was actually more of a hindrance than a help. Try being in an alternative rock band when your mum’s on the telly. I made sure no-one ever knew who my mum was so I was taken seriously. It’s silly to think I used my parents to get here. I mean, what can you use your parents for? If you want to be a successful musician, you have to write good music and be good at what you do.’
And it’s clear as the gig begins that The 1975 are very good at what they do. With all the lazy elegance displayed in our interview, Matt meanders about the stage, insolently sipping a bottle of red wine nestled between the rest of the bands water bottles.
The crowd are mad for them; screaming, jumping, dancing to all the songs that would be idyllic with a cold pint at a festival in the sunshine, surrounded by your mates. But despite their polished performance, the music cynic in me creeps out.
The band are relying heavily upon backing tracks, their vocal harmonies are simply too tight to be live; I would be intrigued to see them play entirely stripped back with no overproduction.
They are undeniably creating a fantastic sound, but for fans expecting to see true quality musicians akin to the bands of ’75, you will be brought back with a rough jolt to the chart-moulded music of 2013.