Matty Healy: “I’m not a lawyer – not everyone thinks I’m incredible” | The music


WWhen the 1975 released the song Frail State of Mind last October, the first line, “Go outside? It seems unlikely, “sounded like a typical Matty Healy saying: strong emotions, light touch. Now, he says, this is one of the many moments from the band’s fourth album, Notes on a Conditional Form, which have acquired a strange resonance. “This album asks the same question as the last album,” he says. “Can the center hold up?” Is it weird? It’s a little scary. It will come out at a time when it seems entirely justified. “

Well yes. In a milder timeline, the 1975 would headline American arenas and take advantage of the entire pre-release while you read this. So much for that. When the lockout looms, Healy wonders where he most wants to be. Whenever he doesn’t make music, he has an “intrinsic lack of purpose,” so he headed straight for the group’s Northamptonshire home studio with drummer and co-producer George Daniel. After completing some production work, the pair started playing with new equipment from 1975.

The current situation has seeped into the lyrics – for a songwriter as attentive to the background noise of society as Healy, how could it be otherwise? – but he walks carefully. “Yannis de Foals said the other day that there was no price for the first person to make the final corona album,” said Healy, laughing, when we meet on FaceTime. He is in bunker mode: shaggy hair, baggy shirt, a dusting of thatch, a pack of cigarettes to take away. “I am not interested in reactive statements. I want to live in an environment, then think about what it means. I want to see what the conversations are and what people are getting. “

It is amazing that the 1975s have something in the tank after Notes on a conditional form. Announced two years ago as an accompanying piece for the award-winning British film A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, his 22 songs took 19 months in 15 studios in four countries. Longer than Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk and a few minutes from the Beatles’ white album, it presents, among others, Greta Thunberg, FKA twigs, a duet with Phoebe Bridgers on repressed homosexuality in Central America, a country tour diary- rock, a love song by shoegazer, a banger house directed by Cutty Ranks and a song written by Healy’s father 30 years ago. The guiding themes, says Healy, are “anxiety, violence and unattainable beauty.”

He thinks it’s the best album of 1975; it is certainly the more 1975 album. Far from your typical radio-friendly unit-shifter, this doubles the group’s reputation for sounding like anything and keeping nothing: an inevitable consequence of their leader’s whirling brain. Thoughts fly away like sparks from a wheel. If this compulsion to say everything in his mind makes him a figure of division – for some, the mood board of a generation, for others a pretentious motormouth – then so be it. “I’m not a lawyer,” he says precisely. “Not everyone thinks I’m incredible. “

Was it something I said? 1975

Was it something I said? … The 1975. Photograph: Universal

There was no master plan to make such a vast record; they just didn’t want to stop. “I was talking to Brian Eno about this the other day,” said Healy, half apologizing for leroprop (he interviewed Eno for a new podcast series). “I have been part of the same group for 17 years. We make records and we live together. So it’s not daring; it’s to avoid getting bored. “

The last song, Guys, is a sweet love song dedicated to the group he formed at Wilmslow High School in Cheshire: “The best thing that ever happened. This is the first album where he has allowed himself to look back. “There’s a lot of talk about life in your thirties on this record,” says Healy, who turned 31 in April. “Like all my friends by LCD Soundsystem: look at my scene by looking back on itself. It means reflecting on his life and the choices he made. “My twenties was a bit of a mess and I didn’t live a domestic life so there are a lot of things I just haven’t learned. I am not very mature emotionally. There have been times when it damages my relationships [he split up with the model Gabriella Brooks last summer] and I wonder, “Why do I enjoy my career so much? “I’m trying to give up on that idea. I want to have a period in my life when I am not in conflict with that. “

Healy says he’s trying to avoid any activity that isn’t actively serving the music of 1975. In March, he tweeted a thorny joke on social media (“Stop telling people to support you, we don’t want to your EP and zine bundle right now Laura, we’re going to die ”) who aroused odious accusations of privilege and made her want to keep quiet. “It may have been my last Twitter adventure,” he says. “It’s not that it burned me – I don’t care, I’m canceled every week – it’s that I’m more interested in my long statement. I’m comfortable breaking a record but not comfortable promoting myself. The idea of ​​superficial self-promotion is really poking people’s eyes right now because it’s frivolous. “

The current crisis of intent among celebrities fascinates him. Son of two haunted tabloid actors, Tim Healy and Denise Welch, he says he never found celebrity exotic. If anything, it seemed to be a drag. “I don’t feel the need to be present in the culture unless I have released a song. Many artists have discovered that this huge void has been created and think, “What can I do to occupy the space I used to do? I’ll cover Elton John on Instagram. “It created this new content culture. I’m lucky to have an album coming out and it’s an album about that time and that kind of idea. “

Twigs by Matty Healy and FKA.

Twigs by Matty Healy and FKA. Photography: Instagram

Recently, Healy has drawn closer scrutiny by becoming more overtly political. Since the 1975 release of the first two songs from the new album last summer – People-Rocket-Rocket and a Greta Thunberg monologue set to music – it should take a stand on everything. When you’re famous for smashing opinions like a fire hose, your omissions are suspicious. He thinks the funniest line in the album comes from Roadkill: “I took shit for being silent during the election and that may be right, but I’m a busy guy. “

“To be honest with you, I was so disillusioned,” he says. “I don’t like Jeremy Corbyn, I don’t like Boris Johnson, I didn’t trust any of them. I mean, yes, I know, but I’m doing my part. Start with someone else. “Choose your battles, he advises other artists, but choose something. “If you want to get involved in creating things, be prepared to say something because people feel a real sense of worthlessness. I think after that there will be a post-war feeling. I can’t imagine anything superficial changing the world. “

It’s the kind of big statement that aggravates skeptics, but Healy is often his own keenest critic. He uses dialogue in his songs – half real, half invented – to question himself. An integral part of his commitment to honesty and self-awareness (“If you’re making art, the pieces you want to leave out are probably the pieces you should put away”) is the knowledge that honesty and self-awareness can turn into another shtick if you are not careful. “People who over-share because they think it’s engaging can be quite exhausting. Self-depreciation is okay if it’s real, but anything that works is boring. If people feel like you organize their point of view on you, they think, fuck you, just tell me the truth. “

These days, a large part of personality conservation takes place online. Healy is one of the few songwriters who can examine Internet culture without making you embarrassed by embarrassment because her music sounds like the modern world: overstimulated, hovering between excitement and anxiety. “The main theme of my recordings is communication and conversation,” he says. “God, heaven, hell, reincarnation … these are all incredible ideas but the only thing that is really going to happen is this: me and you, talking and thinking. How I do it and why we do it is all that really interests me. “

Now we are forced to live online like never before – a development that Healy finds surprisingly benign. “It almost approaches the utopian and original idea of ​​the Internet, which is the extension of preexisting relationships. The internet is a massive social experience that gives us the freedom to do anything, and it seems that what we want is an environment for our anger and anxiety, but that is not why it was invented. . “

Healy is also thinking about the evolution of music. Before the crisis, many artists spoke of reimagining live music in a more environmentally friendly way. Healy, who strewn the current stage show in 1975, believes that the industry’s hard restart will force their hand. “The concert is in place. It’s done, “he said, waving his cigarette. “We have to fucking change the world. In live music, doors are not going to be beaten from the outside. They’re going to be hit from the inside by people like me, Alex Turner and Dua Lipa. It’s about sacrificing the way things worked, because they don’t work anymore. “

They are certainly not working right now. For the 1975, the difficult sale which witnessed a major exit stopped. No more concerts, television appearances, poster campaigns. Notes on a conditional form will simply appear online and stay or fall on their own merits. Healy made her peace with this.

“It is important to me that this disc gives the impression of being released at another time. What turns people on now is the basic shit, like going for a walk, like being able to see their mom. So it overshadows all of the superficial dancing you usually do around a disc. In a way, it seems appropriate. “I’m obsessed with the idea of ​​ending an era and entering a new decade. This whore wants it. We are in a new world. “

Notes on a conditional form will be published on Friday, May 22


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