"We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people," declares Greta Thunberg over orchestral flourishes in a call for civil disobedience on The 1975's 2020 self-titled track. It's no more chilling in the current context of COVID-19-induced mass societal restriction than it was when the song made its debut a little under a year ago. Although it might be easy now to take the teenage activist's monologue as a prophecy, a reading assuming foresight comes up reductive. Human suffering has never been a conversation based in futurism, and The 1975 have never been a band concerned with "What if?"— only "What now?"
The current answer to that question for the band's frontman Matty Healy isn't exactly succinct, but nothing ever is for the man known for his lengthy track listings and titles. Notes on a Conditional Form, out today, clocks in at a massive 22 tracks and spans the genres of electronica, pop-rock and punk.
"Did you enjoy it?" Healy asks once we've finished rifling through Notes' most perplexing and shining moments with The 1975 drummer George Daniel. The question is posed with surprising earnestness, given the slight friction he's developed with the press in recent years.
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This bookend was the only time during our conversation where I found myself hesitating to respond — not because my feelings towards the Notes are negative, but because of how much ground an honest answer would have to cover in a single breath. Each track derives its identity from a variety of influences, sampling techniques and precedents in The 1975's nearly decade-long discography; it's difficult to have a hot take. I did tell him it made me miss going out dancing in New York.
I found myself re-thinking this reaction post-interview. Notes on a Conditional Form might be a lot of things at once, but rarely, if at all, is it a dance record in any traditional or modern sense. It doesn't borrow from the same pop rulebooks as, say, Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia, or the techno backbones of a Gesaffelstein production. For every uptempo sway there are two songs to the contrary, with choirs and ambient sonics occupying a good bit of space. Nothing about Notes necessarily propels or repels movement, so why the sudden twinge?
The answer is production: house music's influence on this particular The 1975 record cannot be understated. From Cutty Ranks' booming "Shiny Collarbone" and the glitchy "I Think There's Something You Should Know," to the rich cache of UK garage-incited cuts, Healy and Daniel went to great lengths to at once bury and blare house's most beloved tropes. Drum patterns aside, the sampling techniques used to achieve such an effect also end up bleeding into songs.
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Sampling is king and distortion its queen on any The 1975 record, but both are comfortingly on-the-nose for Notes. "Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)" takes The Temptations' "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" and quite literally runs away with it, tucking it tenuously under a strain of pitch-shifting nodes; "Yeah I Know" splits up otherwise blasé spoken word clips, looping Healy's voice in on itself; "Having No Head" ends up being the lengthiest track, as well as the most self-referential, featuring melodic drones reminiscent of their 2013 Music for Cars EP.
Perhaps Notes also gets its physicality from the cascade of voices that mobilize it, from the choirs of "Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied," to the achingly familiar operatics of FKA twigs on "If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)." Healy's father, Tim Healy, leads the charge on "Don't Worry," practically shielding his son from the confinement of the melancholy keystrokes laid out in front of him. Even Healy's vocals themselves morph into instruments at Daniel's clever disposal, interspersed at-will to carry listeners from one scene to the next.
This squadron of compelling beats, neo-noir ambience, and earworm vocals backs listeners into a corner of nostalgia rather than allowing them to revel in the cinematic soundscape out in the streets or around friends and family. For every lonely studio apartment, there's a miserable chord to match. For every frustration at the prospect of facing the days ahead, there's an equally frustrating verse about some personal hell. For every whisper of hope, there's something in the background that you might not catch at first. While the effect obviously wasn't intentional, in a world bereft of movement as a result of COVID-19, Notes on a Conditional Form bargains with sanity.
PAPER sat down with Matty Healy and George Daniel to break down ten highlights from the new album. Read the full interview below.
PAPER: I want to talk about the lead track, "The 1975." With Greta Thunberg's monologue and message, I wondered if you had any updated thoughts or a different perspective in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Matty Healy: The thing is, right, with this record, obviously there's an element of it feeling a bit like, you know it kind of prophesizes what is to come a little bit. But I think, to be honest, in order for the record to not make sense, and to feel unjustified or to feel a bit scared, it would've, something on a global level like coronavirus that was positive would have had to happen. You know what I mean? Like overnight, the world got worse because of this, but if overnight the world had gotten better somehow, then maybe the record would feel, or a track like Greta's, would feel weird. Well, not weird but —
George Daniel: It would feel weird to take any sort of credit, well not credit, but to be like, "Yeah it feels more powerful now." Or maybe it will to some people, but we can't really think about that right now.
Do you have any updated thoughts about having it stand alone, separate from the band's other title tracks? It feels kind of different listening to the record now that it's completed as a whole. Having that be so powerful right at the beginning.
Matty Healy: Yeah, but I think now it is a slightly different world and the only thing that I do care about or that I do put thought into is the fact that in 1000 years if we're not here anymore, or if it's now, if we all die out now. Like this record is an actual record of what's being, I suppose, worried about right now. Do you know what I mean? From an individual's perspective. But we have people like Greta on there, kind of laying it out as matter-of-fact as it is.
George Daniel: I mean, people are always going to miss having that vocal in that track, but in our minds we were always kind of ready to move away from that, but to keep the concept of keeping the title track.
Matty Healy: Exactly.
George Daniel: Well not the title track, but the soft title: "The 1975."
Matty Healy: Yeah, that's a thing that I got asked like quite specifically the other day, about that and where that came from. And I actually realized that I think we'll always do that though, because it's like, Microsoft or Sega or PlayStation. The worlds that I grew up living in.
The loading screen.
Matty Healy: Yeah, you have the loading screen and then you have a startup which was basically like every time, like a buffer, basically every time you hear it we're kind of starting up again. And then you're at a new time, and we're checking in. And I think that we'll always do that, but this time... Well, we were trying to figure out what the most modern version of that was. And then the conversation immediately became, "What is the most modern statement?"
George Daniel: Then came the song.
Matty Healy: Yeah then it became about Greta, and that was it.
The next track I want to move to is "People." Having that come out so many months ago, it started the album era with a bang. Something that people were describing as surprising, but it doesn't feel all that surprising looking at it in the record's context. Looking at the other songs, how has that song has stood up to you? Playing it live, what was that experience was like?
Matty Healy: I think that this record, like when we put out those first two statements — cause people like to project — people were like, "Oh this is gonna be their environmental record. This is gonna be their heavy record." It was always just an example of it being the same as every record, which is just a record about us and a record about me, and the kind of all-encompassing human experience. I think that "People" was about that kind of outward, fearful projection of what we saw. Young voices of progression being drowned out by regressive ideals. It comes from a place that's really deep in our early DNA. Heavy music bands like Refused and stuff like that. It was just an example of what this record was going to be like, which is everything that we are. And then when we started playing it along with "Love It If We Made It" and "I Like America and America Likes Me" and Greta, and it started to become quite a vessel for being. It just became a vessel for us to express where we were at any given point.
The sonics being quite harsh, it's not as easy listening as some of the tracks you named. Let's say easy listening is having the headphones on, volume all the way up, and being able to sustain that over a long period of time. Having it be a bit abrasive, was that intentional? Or was it still just the message that was carrying the sonics along?
George Daniel: We were always pretty conscious of it being like, slightly abrasive. I mean, there's a compromise when you're recording something and want it to sound really aggressive and angry, there's always a slight compromise. The example we always use is like, if you think about the Rage Against the Machine records in your mind, they sound really aggressive and really distorted. They obviously are, but if you go back and listen to the records, they evoke that way more than they are technically distorted and brutal. It's really interesting because it means you have to leave that to the listener's imagination. You will achieve it, you have to be confident about it. Hopefully we got it right without it being too unlistenable, basically is the point.
Do you consider "Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America" to be one of the more collaborative tracks in The 1975's discography? You have Phoebe Bridgers lend a verse, you have a conversation going on within the song. I wanted to talk about where that collaborative perspective came from and how it connects to the message.
Matty Healy: It came from sharing memes, honestly. Like fucking Phoebe's record, Stranger in the Alps, is one of my favorite female vocals that I'd heard in so long. I kind of expressed that to her. Just following each other online and stuff like that, we were chatting and talking about each other's music and we're fans of each other. Then her and Marshall, who is her drummer and a songwriter, they came and we all hung out one time and we all got on so well. By the time somebody had almost like, breached the studio you know, they were almost already inherently part of the record. We were just very into making that record.
George Daniel: We did have that song, sort of.
Matty Healy: We had that song just thinking, "It would be great to have like, a harmony." Almost like a duet-style harmony, but that wouldn't work if it was me. And then once Phoebe did that, every time we wanted like, a vocal tone that wasn't mine on the record, we just got Phoebe to do it. So she ended up on like four different songs.
George Daniel: It was a little better experimenting with different tracks because we had to find the right one that was like, perfect range for her. Also, the content of that song is obviously perfect. Luckily that was one of the ones that was like, a brilliant match and it sounded amazing. We actually have a whole version that was her singing the entire song.
Matty Healy: We made it a nice version, so that we've got a Phoebe-only version for ourselves to sit and have a little teenage dream to.
The old school duet really doesn't really exist in contemporary pop music. It's sort of interesting to see that applied in your pop music universe. Especially The 1975, which feels very solitary sometimes as a project.
Matty Healy: Yeah, absolutely. I think that the whole record is a reaction to the deconstruction of culture at large, do you know what I mean? Like the idea of 2016, we're making records like I Like It When You Sleep and social media and communication was a certain way. Everything was filtered and very curated. I think you fast forward to a couple years later and you've got like Cardi B talking to people on fucking Instagram Live and everything's been deconstructed. It became about this real-time expression. I think that all of the ideas, all of the rules, that they even extended to personal comfort, kind of went out the window by the time we made this record so we were very open to anything like a collaboration. It became quite experimental. The idea of the duet... I've thought about the protest song, the transcendent ambient piece before. I've never really thought about the duet as a standard idea in pop music. I know a lot of them. It's interesting to put it that way.
George Daniel: I guess now most of the time it's features.
Matty Healy: That's what I was gonna say.
George Daniel: Features aren't like a three-dimensional space that you bring someone to where there's conversation that feels like a dialogue. It's not a linear verse and then somebody else's verse.
Matty Healy: The idea of the feature used to be the idea of the duet. Like George was just saying, and you were saying, it used to be about this creation of a three dimensional space where it had a purpose to it. It inherently feels like the purpose to a lot of features now is, because of the nature of cross-pollination, is streams. Like, "You get this many streams, I get this many streams, let's fucking do it bro." Whereas I think there's an authenticity to the collaboration on this record because it came from nothing but friendship and excitement of music.
Even when you're thinking about where a feature is placed in a song, a lot of the time towards the three-quarters' mark, you're thinking about it being a build-up to someone new, having that space be their own, and then going back to the chorus or whatever to complete the song. Whereas a duet, especially "Jesus Christ 2005," there's a conversational tone. There isn't that build-up, build-up, build-up.
Matty Healy: Yes, exactly. I think that the solitary element of The 1975 comes from a place of like, self-protection, to be honest with you. We've been a band since we were 13, we're not like, pop songwriters who go into a room with loads of people and are like "Try this, do that, fucking, hey how are you doing? That didn't work, let's move into the next one." We're not like that. But we don't have any ego in our band so if the opportunity to collaborate does arise, which it very seldom does just due to life, but if it does, then we're very open to those ideas. 'Cause we'll never shut the door on a good idea because we're scared or something. It's just unfortunately the cultivation of those ideas sometimes doesn't happen because of the way our life is set up.
Let's move forward with "I Think There's Something You Should Know." I want to discuss the influence on this record versus your other records of house music and UK garage as a whole. You have it on "Frail State of Mind." You have drum kits on "Yeah I Know." I wondered where it all came from, because it was a really intense experience to listen to the record for the first time and hear that genre blended into The 1975 sound.
George Daniel: It's something that has always been part of what we loved and listened to. To be honest, it wasn't really dramatic or anything for us because we've been making that music since I was like 15 and we had just never put any of it out. I think we just maybe felt like it, based on the concept of the record, and how much space we were going to have to fill in terms of vast sonic variety. It just felt like a good time to do it. We then obviously had to experiment with turning them into songs and "Is it cheesy? Can we get it right?" It was a bit of that, but it was really, really nice and like a really fun part of the record to make to be honest.
Matty Healy: Obviously a lot of this record has been a reaction to A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships and how big of a moment it was for us. When all that happens, it makes you feel quite small. I think that we were a bit like, let's just run with that. Let's go back to being teenagers and making music that we want to make and really look at what our DNA is musically. Growing up in Cheshire, South Manchester, at that time after 7 o'clock every night every radio station is just dance music. Me and George, and the rest of the guys, we were just really into the culture of house music. Then, when we made our first EP, we were like, "Right, well let's just take everything we learned from that and apply it to a band setting." That's why you've got something like "The City" which is just a series of loops. It's been part of what we do for a while now.
It makes sense when you apply it to "The City," but the acoustics or lack thereof within house music are very electronically based. How do you see the house tracks existing and being played in a live, full band setting? Do you see them sort of changing or existing still as very directly inspired by that genre?
George Daniel: Usually when we try and apply and take these songs to a live situation we get a bit scared about it. With "I Like America," it took us a minute to get it right, but we were scared about doing too much. Initially we were like, "Oh, it needs to be really different and live and aggressive." Hopefully what will really tie it all together is the aesthetic. Kind of talking about a combination of sorts.
Matty Healy: I don't fucking know anymore, mate. You've gotta remember like, our shows are like, really weird.
George Daniel: It's very conceptual and odd.
Matty Healy: Well, this is the thing that I've been thinking about. I've been thinking about doing a new show, obviously, because we're not going to do that old show ever again. There's this idea that we make loads of different types of music. Which we do, we go all over the place. But we kind of go to like, what, three places? We make ambient, left-leaning electronic music, we have a tendency to make that. We have a tendency to make '80s inspired pop music. We make shoegaze, quite deconstructed alternative guitar music. Those are the three things. The reason I know that they're quite defined is because if you go on Spotify, so many fans have made so many playlists that are all identical in their three sections, where all of these sounds equate to each other but they exist at different times on different records. It would make sense for me eventually to do a live show that is one of those, to compartmentalize who we are, because it is getting a bit fucking mental.
Trying to apply it all, yeah to the same stage.
George Daniel: It becomes actually stressful trying to make a show. It becomes good because you have a vast wealth of material to draw upon. But you're also like, "Oh my god, how do we do a show that everyone's going to like?"
The next track I have is "Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)." I was actually really excited to talk about this one because of The Temptations sample.
George Daniel: I mean we've always really loved sampling anything wherever we can. To be honest, the way that song came about was: I had that sample for whatever reason. I come across a vocal and I end up in rabbit holes trying to find stuff to sample. Anyway, I had that and I did the intro, I did the piano arrangement from scratch, that's not from the sample. That was its own thing and it existed as something that we loved and we weren't really too sure what to do. Then we had the track that we'd been working on with No Rome, and that also had a separate sample. They were just kind of evocative of each other. That was some magic that happened, and they really just worked together.
Matty Healy: And it was like, yeah we don't own like, any of that song because of The Temptations. It was very funny. The Temptations is like, 90% of it. The other bit is like, the other sample is Hiroshi Satoh, who is a Japanese city pop artist.
George Daniel: It's an amazing song.
Matty Healy: It's a fucking dope song. It's kind of based around that song as well. Pretty much just that song is the chord progression, so that was like, a proper sample. But the thing is, we've always been weird with sampling because we sample in a different way. Like for us, we were always a band so we will even steal an idea and then pay someone... well, not pay someone for it. But for example, "Give Yourself a Try." Are you familiar with that song?
Matty Healy: So when that came out, everyone was like, "Oh, that's fucking Joy Divison! You stole that from Joy Division!" Joy Division owned 15% of that song. We were channeling Macclesfield, where we're from, and those ideas. That riff is the riff of that town. I think that by the time it was so obviously a reference, it was like, I mean we wanted to turn that guitar riff up more and more as the mix went on. It became this obvious reference. I think that the way we think about sampling is that we reference so many different parts of culture, that sometimes it's this weird hybrid reference.
George Daniel: You have to be prepared to not own it, because you actually don't own it. And it's fair enough. You love something so much you want to put it out sometimes.
The next song, "Shiny Collarbone," relates to sampling as well. What an amazing vocal sample, especially with the drop at the end where the whole track changes.
Matty Healy: I'll tell you where it came from. That song was a different song and I'd sung on that. I'd sung on the bit before the drop. It had this kind of repetitive, Chemical Brothers star guitar-y vibe. I tried to sing on it and I couldn't get it to work. There were so many references to garage as well. I don't think we wanted like, an insider, like a proper garage reference on a vocal, but we wanted something that felt like something from MC culture. So George found these Cutty Ranks samples.
George Daniel: Not to name drop, but we were listening to this Jamie xx record at the time, and it was like, "What sample would make you feel like that?"
Matty Healy: Right, OK.
George Daniel: And then we just ended up finding it. Those samples, a lot of reggae dancehall artists' vocals are just amazing to sample because of what they actually just consist of and the tone of the vocal. They're just really easy to manipulate and they still sound amazing. It was really that combination. Then we had to actualize it and make sure we could use it. We reached out, and it was cool — he was happy to rerecord what we wanted, which was totally great.
The drop at the end is also just glorious.
George Daniel: Yeah, all the vocals throughout are him. But then obviously it's just different drums and weird percussions.
Matty Healy: That's quite tribal, that moment. I really like it.
"If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)" was one of the last singles to come out, and people are loving it. Not to lean into the obvious, but do you have any thoughts on it being the big stadium pop song of the record?
Matty Healy: That song, we played it live and I think there's an inherent quality in our music that's really chimed in with people. In regards to this, it's kind of like, uplifting and self-reflective. I think that, when we do "The 1975 thing," people kind of seem to react quite well to it. I honestly don't know man. It's fucking —
George Daniel: Matty's been relieved since it came out, I'll tell you that.
Matty Healy: Yeah 'cause they wouldn't shut the fuck up about... No! I'm not gonna talk shit on the amazing people that are fucking excited about our music, I'm joking. I'm just saying that you can never predict what people are gonna be like, man. We played that fucking song and then after two nights we had like 20,000 people singing it live. People knew that shit before it was out and it was this huge thing people were obsessing about.
George Daniel: I think you would have already got shit for it if you were going to.
Matty Healy: Well, I was worried about it.
George Daniel: No, no I get it.
Was the worry stemming from a thought, "Once fans get it, will they really have wanted it?"
Matty Healy: No, no it was because since the time we finished this record, me and George have not started a new record. We're very much reflective of the place where we're in and in-the-moment, we're kind of looking forward to this next statement. To be honest with you, I keep saying, "The things that I see in the world are the things that I want my creative statement to be in." And it's kind of like, unattainable beauty, violence, and anxiety. I think that this song was kind of written in a moment where I relinquished that fear.
George Daniel: I think we were just worried if people would still find us doing that really exciting. And they have, so that's great.
Matty Healy: Yeah that's it, that's pretty much it. I think that we're always really actively pushing forward who we are, so sometimes if we kind of reinstate that, it almost makes us nervous. Whereas bands do that for a whole fucking career.
George Daniel: Well, we don't want to feel like we're being contradictory. 'Cause I also think that that song is a better version of those previous songs that you could reference against it. Hopefully people agree with that. That's kind of what we aim for when we do those songs.
Matty Healy: Yeah cause there's no point in doing it again, but if you can do it better, then do it.
Yeah make it bigger, make it more maximalist.
George Daniel: Ridiculous.
Matty Healy: There's always one of those on the record as well, because I've always said our records are a distillation of the records that came before them. They basically take everything that was good about them, and they kind of refine it and distill it. And I think that there's a different way of looking at the record, but if you look at it like that, then I think that that moment on the record has gotten more clearer and more on-the-nose, you know. The poppy moments have gotten poppier, the heavy moments are now heavier. The introspective moments are more introspective, you know?
For "Playing On My Mind," I wanted to start the conversation off with a sort of motif that I noticed throughout a couple of songs. It's also on "The Birthday Party." Whispered lyrics, so quiet that you would almost miss it if you were playing off of a speaker — where do those moments come from?
Matty Healy: Emo. It comes from Drive Like I Do. We used to do that shit all the time. If I just couldn't decide if I wanted a melody there as well, I would just go off the mic and be like, "Ah no." That comes from... that comes from…
George Daniel: Fucking Bright Eyes.
Matty Healy: Yeah, I was speaking to Conor yesterday. Me and Conor Oberst were talking yesterday for like hours and then I was talking about all Bright Eyes kind of things. What was amazing about Bright Eyes was that he was kind of in an emo band, kind of pre-cursor band, then he was also part of a folk singer-songwriter kind of scene. He was kind of like, in between. I think that those artists, Elliott Smith—
George Daniel: It always lasts.
Matty Healy: I think that's where it comes from. I don't know though, man. To be honest with you, we just try and trust our instinct now.
George Daniel: It's a similar situation with what you were talking about with "Jesus Christ." Where it's like, a duet was approached more like that. I know it's sort of less present in that track, but it was really thought out and then, as a song, as a whole thing.
I wondered if you had any thoughts about for this album, differences in where it's played and how it's played. So I'm talking headphones vs. earbuds vs. speakers. In a concert hall or stadium. Are some of the songs experienced differently, and do you feel at all like there's a synergy between that and the meaning of each song?
George Daniel: Especially with "The Birthday Party," I think it's a pretty intimate record. I know it's fast, but I think, again one of the things that Matty might agree with, is that where it's personal, it's more personal. In terms of the lyrical content and then therefore the listening environment perhaps.
That makes sense.
Matty Healy: To be honest, for me it's just like, music for cars. Like that's where I can see a lot of my music. Audio quality-wise, it's different.
George Daniel: Depends if you have your headphones on.
Matty Healy: Yeah I don't know really about that. Well, let's think about it like this. If you're in a different frame of mind or if you're not listening properly because of what you're like looking at, for example, then you'll miss some of what I say. Right? That will happen. If you're in the best audio environment in the world, but you're looking at something else and you're concentrating on something else, then you'll miss some of the lyrics. So if you're not in the best audio environment, you'll miss some of what George is doing. If you're not in the best social or visual environment, you'll miss some of what I'm doing. It's like what George said to me at one point, how basically, the guys don't really do interviews for the simple reason that they don't really want to. I think George said this to me once, that, I have the facility, not necessarily the ability, but the facility to express myself through words all the time in interviews and in my lyrics. He felt a real responsibility to himself as an artist to kind of be as expressive sonically, you know what I mean? I think that the record is, not to make it lofty, but, a work of art from both of us. I'm not saying that it's this definitive work of art, I'm just saying that it is essentially two creative statements rubbing up against each other.
For, "What Should I Say," I wanted to talk about the process of warping vocals. There's something really pleasing and pleasurable about it on this track.
George Daniel: I don't want to talk about warping [laughs]. Just making a joke. Is that the oldest song on the record?
Matty Healy: Yeah, yeah it is.
George Daniel: Yeah I think it's the oldest idea on the record and that's why Matty—
Matty Healy: Oh yeah, this is it...
George Daniel: —periodically fell out of love with it. I had to make him finish it. The high vocal thing, that's not Matty. That's an instrument which is just sick. It is sampled vocals, but it is an instrument and we just always had it in the bag of things we wanted to use. To be honest, we just had that beat and it just resonated. Everyone spoke about it. We had it and didn't use it for A Brief Inquiry for some reason. We didn't have "What Should I Say," like it wasn't anything near what it ended up being, but we had the beat, then it just stuck for reasons that are hopefully obvious.
I feel like attitudes towards vocal modulation, at least in pop culture when you're talking about autotune or having that high-pass instrument accompany it, have changed. Especially when you look at other artists, like the proliferation of PC Music and autotune-heavy labels and artist projects. I wondered if you felt any differently about using vocal modulation and warping and distortion on this record than you did in the previous ones?
Matty Healy: We've never been worried about it. I think that like an obvious example of it on the last record is "I Like America." But I think that obviously with what Alex [A. G. Cook] is doing with PC Music and Charli, Rina Sawayama — all of these artists are really embracing it as a style.
George Daniel: To be honest we took a step towards that on the last record more than this one, 'cause we never used completely wet autotune on a vocal until A Brief Inquiry. Whereas, if you listen to I Like It When You Sleep, there's nowhere near that going on at all.
Matty Healy: No.
George Daniel: Maybe on an effect, but not on a lead vocal. So that was the big step, really.
Matty Healy: I think if you go back and listen to the first thing we ever put out, Facedown, you'll see that our early stuff was essentially just really heavily manipulated vocals.
George Daniel: Weird, because you couldn't record a good vocal. We didn't have the budget to record a good vocal back in the day.
Matty Healy: So we made it our style!
George Daniel: Yeah, we just had to fuck it up.
Matty Healy: So that's why we have all those harmonies and layered vocals.
George Daniel: That's also why we have the ability to do it. Because we learned to cover up our shit vocals. [Laughs]
The last song I have is "Don't Worry." Ending on a tender note, I don't really have a question about it. I just wanted to hear your thoughts on where that song started and how you ended up completing it. It's incredibly delicate.
George Daniel: That's totally a Matty question.
Matty Healy: Oh yeah, we didn't do anything. Like, my dad wrote that song in 1990 or something. It was kind of the first song that I remember being really familiar with. This record became an investigation into our history, like musically and personally. I kind of remembered that song and thought, "I wonder if I'm imagining it being better than it was." So then we got my dad to get it out and play it for us and it was fucking beautiful. I was like, "Oh shit, that's like my songs." Our songs are part of our story and it felt like that one was it. We just recorded it a couple of times, got him to do the vocal a couple of times. We sang it together and that was it.
George Daniel: He wasn't up for doing it very many times.
Matty Healy: Yeah, he wasn't up for doing it very many times. My dad's not like a ten-take kind of guy, he's more like a one-take kind of guy. So after he was more into that and just chilling. It's a really beautiful song and it's the only song on a The 1975 record that me and George didn't write.
George Daniel: It's also Jamie, our best best friend, Matty's friend from like birth, he's playing on the keys with Tim in the room and they grew up together, and he's, you know... you can tell the story.
Matty Healy: My dad is like Jamie's uncle. You know, me and Jamie, we were kind of symbiotic. My dad and his dad were best of friends.
George Daniel: And also Johnny plays for us there across the record as well.
Matty Healy: Yeah, both of our friends who kind of grew up with us who are in the band as other musicians are on the record quite a lot.
It really is like a return to like musical roots and a sort of family environment.
Matty Healy: It's sort of like band practice at school and then going home.
Stream Notes on a Conditional Form below.