The 1975's recently released their second album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, marked the second time the band had reached No. 1 on the album chart in the band's home country of the United Kingdom. It also became the group's first chart-topping album in the United States upon its late-February release.
But singer and guitarist Matt Healy said his feelings about the achievement were very different from what he felt when the group's self-titled debut reached number one in the United Kingdom upon its release in September 2013.
"The first record retrospectively I've realized, when we were building up to the chance that it was going to be number one, I was so anxious about it and I cared so much about it, I've realized, because it was very wrapped up in me becoming known as well," he said in a recent phone interview. "At the time, I didn't realize it, but now I realize the desire for that album to do so well, the first one, was definitely imbued with my desire to be known and have people know who I am.
"On this record, I had to get myself to a place where I really didn't care," Healy said. "I know that sounds maybe like a cliché or maybe not even true, but I had to get to a place where I was doing it because I just loved doing it, and I wasn't scared of what people were going to say and I wasn't scared of what people were going to think ... It was a different experience because it was about the album. It wasn't my ego. It wasn't about me. It was about this thing that I'd made doing so well."
That sort of sense of satisfaction is something Healy said he always felt he would one day get to experience.
That sense of self-belief, he said, was a big factor in The 1975 persevering through the long slog to stardom — a path that started in 2002 at an uncommonly young age and continued for the better part of a decade without yielding much in the way of results.
The group began when Healy, drummer George Daniel, guitarist Adam Hann and bassist Ross MacDonald — all students at Wimslow High School in Wimslow, a town in Cheshire, England — got together to play as part of a series of shows organized for local teenagers. The band starting out playing punk covers but soon moved on to writing originals, determined to make a name for themselves.
"I think it feels like a bit of story to me now because I wasn't particularly naïve or like big in the room or arrogant or walking around like I was Jim Morrison when I was 16, but I suppose in my head I kind of was because I wasn't really in doubt that it was going to happen," Healy said.
"We were 13 when we started this band," he said. "We grew up together, and we fucked up together and all of our social groups were based around the band. We were a band, like a band of people, like bound together. And that stands for something. I think when you have that and you put so much love into it, it's not something that you just let go. It's something that kinds of defines who you are. So no matter how many times we were being told no, we just knew in our hearts that this was it. This was what we were going to do. I think that it's about belief, isn't it? And we just started convincing people. People just started believing us. And now we're here."
What might have held The 1975 back, of course, was simply that the group needed a few years to find their sound. Healy admits that the music that preceded the group's first EP, 2012's Facedown, was more obvious in its influences and hadn't developed into something unique to the band.
"We didn't have the conviction that we have now because that's what defines our music," he said. Healy said the band has featured a number of songs from I Like It... in its shows to promote the album, and that could well be the case when The 1975 plays in Indianapolis. He said the songs from the group's four EPs may also figure prominently in the show.
"My heart lies a lot in the EPs, and it's not to take anything away from the first album," Healy said. "I think after two years of touring that [first] album, and the EPs never really, I supposed, we never really toured them the way we did the first album. Now, our shows are about engaging and it being real and it being live, and I suppose that I really believe in this set. So even if you come to the show and you don't know as many songs as you would do if it was just the first album, it's still a more believable show."