Music Interviews
12:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

The 1975, Influenced By The '80s

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 3:13 pm

The 1975 has been on a meteoric rise in 2013. The pop-rock quartet's self-titled debut album landed at No. 1 in the U.K. Earlier this summer, the band opened for The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, London.

While the band is rooted in the present with its current success, its throwback influence goes beyond its name. Lead singer Matthew Healy says The 1975 was inspired by the 1980s — specifically, '80s teen movies.

"Those movies, they discuss everything that I discuss: love, fear, sex and a longing for something beyond. A longing for something bigger," Healy says. "Everybody knows the feeling of a moment being particularly cinematic. I don't know what the world was like before cinema and music and art existed. All I know is that my brain is based around the things that I've seen. And I think the idea of romance, that kind of lustful desire, that's what I am obsessed with."

John Hughes, the filmmaker behind cult classics like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Sixteen Candles, put teen angst front and center in his productions; Healy says those movies have stayed with him and influenced the lyrical imagery of songs like "Heart Out."

"It's an obvious fist-in-the-air moment. You can imagine doing an amazing freeze-frame shot to this song," Healy says. "There's such a visual element to it when I'm writing. I have quite a clear-cut narrative — a tiny John Hughes movie, if you will — in my head when I'm writing."

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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, for some music. The British band The 1975 have been on a meteoric rise in 2013. Their self-titled, debut album landed at No. 1 in the U.K. and earlier this summer, they opened for The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park.

The band's name is a bit misleading. Lead singer Matthew Healy says The 1975 are actually inspired by the 1980s; specifically, '80s teen movies like "Sixteen Candles."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SIXTEEN CANDLES")

MOLLY RINGWALD: (As Samantha Baker) Oh, my God. What should I do? Should I go up to him, or should I say: Hi, Jake. I'm Samantha. Or no, maybe I should let him come to me.

CORNISH: Filmmaker John Hughes put teen angst front and center, and those movies have stayed with Healy.

MATTHEW HEALY: Those movies, they discuss everything that I discuss: love, fear, sex and a longing for something beyond, a longing for something bigger.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEART OUT")

HEALY: Everybody knows the feeling of a moment being particularly cinematic. I don't know what the world was like before cinema and music and art existed. All I know is that my brain is based around the things that I've seen. And I think the idea of romance, that kind of lustful desire, that's what I am obsessed with.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEART OUT")

THE 1975: (Singing) ...I like you no matter what I found. She said, it's nice to have your friends 'round, we're watching the television with no sound. It's just you and I tonight. Why don't you figure out ...

This song, "Heart Out," it's an obvious fist-in-the-air moment. Like, you can imagine doing an amazing freeze-frame shot to this song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEART OUT")

HEALY: There's such visual element to it when I'm writing. I have quite a clear-cut narrative; a tiny John Hughes movie, if you will, in my head when I'm writing. But the music and the lyrics are treated totally different.

The record is a love letter to our adolescence and R&B music. American black music is what our foundation is, whether it goes back as far as Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett; and then Michael Jackson and Boyz II Men, and D'Angelo. The groove and the feel of those records are massive for our band.

And "Menswear" is a song - the majority is my voice. We wanted to make it a song out of vocal samples. There's one that goes (Singing) wo-wo-wo-wo... What I was doing was pretty much doing that down a filter.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MENSWEAR")

HEALY: I wanted to create a really pretty, really interesting piece of contemporary R&B music. The reason that R&B is so good is because it's so rich melodically. And you can hear that in the finger click, you know? And then there's always this beautiful kind of pop melody that never goes too far.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MENSWEAR")

HEALY: The idea of groove is where it all comes from for us because we're not interested in indie music. If music doesn't make us want to dance or make us want to cry or make us feel really, really, I suppose, in love, at the risk of sounding cliche, then we don't really bother with it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MENSWEAR")

THE 1975: (Singing) Well, I only brought three. What you lookin' at me for? A menswear. She's dressed in white and putting off crying. A menswear.

CORNISH: Singer Matthew Healy fronts the British foursome, The 1975.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MENSWEAR")

THE 1975: (Singing) I said, I only brought three like I told you before...

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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