Summer of '75
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Above (l-r): Adam Hann (guitarist), Ross MacDonald (bassist), Matty Healy (lead singer), George Daniel (drummer)

"We look like an overnight success to everyone else, but it's been a slow evolution." Matt Healy, lead singer of the 1975, is talking to us over the phone from the band's tour bus, currently parked in Jacksonville, Florida. Over the past year, the Manchester four-piece has gone from playing pubs to amphitheaters. Drawing inspiration for their bouncy '80s-leaning guitar-pop sound from Motown, Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads, the band formed 10 years ago, when the members were in their early teens. But their success -- banking a number-one album (their self-titled debut, released last year) in the UK; opening for the Rolling Stones -- is hitting them especially hard overseas. Before their American tour winds down, Healy took some time to talk about life on the road.

1975_c.jpgHave you gotten used to all of the traveling by now?

This is my life now. It was very surreal in the beginning but then, like anything, it slowly becomes your reality and you find comfort in new things.

What are some differences in the shows you play now versus the shows you played before the album?

We were always ambitious in the way that we perceived our band. We played an amphitheater in Columbus, Ohio, for 4,500 people -- it was insane. As humbling and amazing as that is, those venues suit our band. We used to watch Nine Inch Nails and M83 and be like, "That's the kind of band that we are." In my head, we were never a pub band. There was a lot of charm to our early shows, but now our show is a proper show.

1975_e.jpgSo your career to date has been planning for this exact moment and you don't feel thrown into it?

Yeah, we're finally able to be the type of band we wanted to be. This isn't something we fell into doing at 17 and got picked up by a label because we were sexy and cool and resented it by the time we were 20. We started this band when we were 13, genuinely wanting to connect with other people. All of our social groups, jobs and relationships with girls have orientated around the band. It dictates our life and it's also a way of cathartically expressing ourselves, using it like a diary.

1975_a.jpgGrowing up, did you go to a lot of shows?

Yes, it was really a social thing for me. In Manchester, I'd go to three or four shows a week, whether I liked the bands or not, because it'd be a place to meet girls, hang out and smoke weed. I used to be a scene kid and throw our demos at bands.

Now are a lot of other musicians coming to see you play?

There's been amazing people who have turned up at our shows, from the Killers to Liam Gallagher and Radiohead's Colin Greenwood.

1975_D.jpgWhat are some of the weirder run-ins you've had on the road?

I met David Byrne, and we're massive fans of his, but our meeting was so awkward and weird. We had nothing to talk about. But the last time I was with Wiz Khalifa we got on like a house on fire. We went on a tour with Arcade Fire and Mac Miller and everyone was friendly because they're all there to make music.

Have you been documenting your tours?

We've heavily documented everything. I'm talking to you from our tour bus and looking at our wall of Polaroids -- we take photos of everything. Our friend James Booth, who grew up with us, is our tour photographer and has also been filming everything we've done since we were 17. [Booth took the photos seen in this feature.] We've filmed the whole story, from early backstage moments to having a number-one album.
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