Matthew Healy’s Mission Is to Flirt with the World: An Interview with David Nolan

Lesser Gods is pleased to announce our brand-new book The 1975: Love, Sex & Chocolate. Award-winning music journalist David Nolan wrote the definitive biography of the funk-pop-rock band, with previously untold stories and never-before-seen pictures.

We interviewed Nolan about what attracted him to The 1975, how front man Matthew Healy is a big flirt and a journalist’s dream, and what it means for The 1975 to be a Manchester band.

Matt Crossick/PA Wire

The 1975 at the Mercury Music Prize in September 2016 (Matt Crossick/PA Wire)

What inspired you to write a biography of The 1975?

When I first heard “The City” on the radio, I thought, That’s my new favorite band. I started telling everyone they were going to be massive. It took a while, but I was right! I’ve written a lot about Manchester music, and it’s been a while since there has been a “Manchester” band big enough to warrant a book.

What will The 1975 fans learn from this book?

The fans are very obsessive, but there’s a lot of incorrect information out there, particularly about the early days. The band members all went to the same school in Wilmslow, which is a few miles from where I live in the UK. I tracked down people who were involved in their early breakthrough gigs. The big scoop was convincing their original guitarist Owen Davies to speak. He was there every step of the way. He said, “I’ve got these old pictures. Do you want to see them?” How could I say no?

How would you explain front man Matthew Healy’s relationship with the press?

He’s a journalist’s dream. He speaks in headlines and quotes. It sometimes gets him into to trouble, but he’s a proper pop star. He looks great, sounds great and says ridiculous things. Ideal! He was like this from day one. It’s not a recent affectation.

Matthey Healy and Taylor Swift. Did they, or didn’t they?

Just a big old flirtation. It’s Healy’s mission to flirt with the world. That’s part of his job description. And he’s very good at his job.

The Manchester Arena was the site of a terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert this past May. Especially now, what does it mean for The 1975 to be thought of as a Manchester band?

A major part of the book is about whether The 1975 fit into the Manchester scene. They definitely do. They paid their dues, more so than a lot of so-called Manchester bands. The story arc is about how they worked their way from the tiniest gigs in Manchester to playing at the Arena. Playing there this past December was hugely symbolic for them. It was the last gig I saw at the Arena before the attack.

My wife was at the Arena the night before the bombing, and a lot of my daughter’s friends were there to see Ariana Grande. A terrible event. Healy in particular felt it personally, as he’d spent a lot of time as a kid hanging out around the Arena. The area around the venue was a big part of the skater/mosher/emo scene. To try to attack Manchester through its love of music is futile. It made more people go to gigs, not less. That’s what Manchester is all about. The 1975 are now a huge part of that.


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