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28 Dec

‘We’re the very best lyricists’: Matty Healy and Phoebe

Matty Healy and Phoebe

Matty Healy and Phoebe  The musicians come together for an exclusive conversation spanning Twitter shitposting, self-lacerating lyrics, early 00s emo and nerding out over songwriting

“It’s fucking easier contacting the dead than it’s contacting me and Phoebe more often than not.” Days ahead of the discharge of The 1975’s fifth album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language, Matty Healy has found an hour for some fun masquerading as promo: Zooming close pal and collaborator Phoebe Bridgers. “Us talking for work is the one way that we catch up,” laughs Bridgers in agreement, herself only just back home in LA, and pacing round her apartment, phone in hand.

In touch for a number of years now, Bridgers first worked with The 1975 on “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America”, from 2020’s Notes On A Conditional Form. Earlier this 12 months she appeared as a tragic clown within the video for “I’m In Love With You”, while Healy made a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo on the climax of “I Know The End” during Bridgers’ recent Brixton Academy residency. Suffice to say, they’re firm friends, sharing the same penchant for Twitter shitposting, self-lacerating lyrics, early 00s emo and nerding out over songwriting. These are a number of of the themes they discuss today.

When did you first develop into aware of one another?

Phoebe Bridgers: Well, I’ve been a fan endlessly. But I remember someone sent me a video of you wistfully looking the window and ‘Scott Street’ was playing within the background. And then you definately reached out about me singing [with The 1975] and I happened to be in London. It was very serendipitous.

Matty Healy: Yeah, I remember your first record [Stranger In The Alps] had come out, and before I’d heard it George [Daniel, drummer with The 1975] had been saying to me, ‘Have you ever heard this ‘Motion Sickness’ song? So I put that album on, and I heard ‘Funeral’ and was like, ‘What the fuck is that this?’ For me, you simply really love a chunk of art when it makes you a bit of bit jealous.

Phoebe Bridgers: Oh my God, completely, dude. Like, I can’t hearken to ‘A part of the Band’ and be like ‘I’m so glad he got here up with that.’ [Laughs] That’s not the way in which I feel once I hear that song.

Matty Healy: I feel it was the hit rate of the lyrics on that [first] album. After which when it got to Punisher, I realised you’re my favourite lyricist. You recognize, I’ll say it, because I’m allowed to say this shit because everyone thinks that I’m an insane person: I feel we’re the very best lyricists. Us and Kendrick, who’re coming from a unique place.

“I feel we’re the very best lyricists. Us and Kendrick, who’re coming from a unique place” – Matty Healy

Phoebe Bridgers: [Laughs] I feel just like the only thing that I actually care about is lyrics… It was crazy to witness you literally writing parts of ‘Roadkill’ in front of me, realising no one needed to trick you into writing those lyrics. I type of need to be tricked? Like, I feel like I’ll straight up not pick up an instrument for like eight months at a time. And it made me insanely jealous.

Matty Healy: That’s the identical way I feel about your last record. I feel certainly one of the primary reasons that [the roster of] Dirty Hit is like 90 per cent female is because I can have a look at Prince and Michael Jackson and be like, whoa, they’re amazing. But Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell? They’re like aliens… And that is gonna sound very wanky, nevertheless it’s this divine femininity that’s essentially the most potent thing. That’s the thing that I’m jealous of: it’s just a spot that I can’t go. But then I suppose it’s the identical with you: you don’t have a dick so you’ll be able to’t discuss having a dick as much as I do.

Phoebe Bridgers: Yeah, I don’t know what it’s like having an erection in order that’s, like, half your songs gone.

Matty Healy: [Laughs] Exactly. That’s the extent of my repertoire. OK, let me change the topic. Before your established working routine with Marshall [Vore, Phoebe’s musical collaborator], what was your experience as a girl within the studio? Quite a lot of women I do know have found that their ideas will not be taken as seriously as men’s.

Phoebe Bridgers: Yeah, I mean, I began fucking the primary one that seriously wanted to supply me, you understand? [Laughs] After which later I realised, like, oh, he actually took me zero per cent seriously. And what I assumed was an actual connection was actually a pattern of abuse. This was Ryan [Adams]. But additionally I’m happy with myself, because he wanted to supply my full-length and even at 20 I used to be like, hmm… After which that’s why I met Marshall –  he played drums with Ryan. He ditched Ryan and completely let his entire life revolve around me and the thing that we made, and for the primary time in my life, I used to be like, ‘Oh, I’m excited to make music.’

As lyricists, you’ve each recently begun to embrace sincerity. What prompted that change? And have you ever found it exposing?

Matty Healy: I feel that what I realised is that I needed to challenge myself. It’s all the time been a lot easier for me to be like, ‘I fucking shat my pants after which fucked someone’s girlfriend after which took drugs.’ Each time I got near being really sincere, I’d pull it back, or make a dick joke, or say ‘Not!’. And I used to be like, that’s not transgressive for me anymore – that’s predictable.

Whereas, among the shit I say on this record, like, ‘I’m in love with you,’ or, ‘Tell me you’re keen on me: that’s all that I want to listen to.’ And I feel the thing that I’m attempting to drive house is that every one of the postmodern nihilism that I used to be defined by in all of my previous records – you understand, drug addiction, individualism, infidelity, narcissism. All these items are possibly appropriate at the moment in your life, but then life happens to you. And a less transgressive set of circumstances starts to present itself, like responsibility, family, just being a great person… It’s a recent way of being yourself.

Phoebe Bridgers: Yeah, totally. Marshall wrote ‘Sidelines’ and I wrote, like, three lyrics, but I used to be identical to, I wish I’d written this. I’ve been super-sincere prior to now, but I needed to set those moments up with a bunch of jokes first. And so I’m type of difficult myself to [be sincere] without delay. And I’ve taken plenty of inspiration from you doing that, because I feel having crown jewels of truth inside the muck of self-hatred and humour have all the time been my favourite lyrics.

“Yeah, I don’t know what it’s like having an erection in order that’s, like, half your songs gone” – Phoebe Bridgers

Humour has all the time been at the forefront of each of your social media presences too. Phoebe, having seen Matty’s experiences with cancel culture, do you end up increasingly monitoring what you say online?

Phoebe Bridgers: I don’t think I’m monitoring myself, but I’ve definitely gotten more conscious of attempting to let better-informed people speak on certain issues. Like, if it’s an indigenous issue, I attempt to point people within the direction of people that know what they’re talking about. But I also think so long as I actually have empathy and I’m speaking from the guts, then if I got in trouble for anything I said I’d mean it, if that is sensible?

I’m not likely afraid of the web. I feel at its worst, it may well be like a cesspool of misinformation, but at its best it’s ensuring that the teenagers which might be on the front lines of some protests have the loudest voice.

Matty Healy: For me, my relationship with social media was very politicised and it was very much something that I’d use each day to reaffirm who I used to be to myself and to the world, as an artist and as an individual… I feel I got a bit jaded, because I grew up on bands like Refused, in rooms where people were saying we are able to change this environment and that may change the world. And I still genuinely imagine that music could have some profound impact on the world, but possibly there may be this silent resignation that I don’t know if that is feasible without delay… Like Phoebe said, what we’re continuously seeing is young voices of progression being drowned out by older, regressive ideas. And it’s difficult to fight that with art, because art comes from the left.

Phoebe Bridgers: Yeah, totally.

Matty Healy: I wrote about school shootings on this record [on ‘Looking For Somebody (To Love)’]. Would the proven fact that you’re American – and too near all that – make you not want to do this?

Phoebe Bridgers: No. The thing I’m essentially the most afraid of politically is sounding corny. Oh God, when Trump was elected, musicians I love put out songs that were making my vaginal fluid evaporate back into my body – you understand what I mean? [Laughs] Like, sometimes while you’re really hot with an emotion and upset, the things that you just say are fucking silly or there’s no nuance… So I feel that I’ve been reticent simply because I need to watch out. Or I need to say something which means lots to people and I need to alter people’s minds. But I’m so indignant.

It’s just so hard to observe these little insular conversations go down on Twitter about how we must be coping with stuff after which have it not seep into the mainstream media in any respect. Sometimes it looks like you’re screaming right into a vacuum… And it’s really hard to inform people to go vote when there’s this huge, powerful system ensuring that individuals don’t vote. Anyway, I can scream about America all day. I fucking hate it here.

Matty Healy: You’re feeling more politicised than I feel than I’m in the mean time. But nevertheless, you’re a girl in America in order that must provoke plenty of anger?

Phoebe Bridgers: I feel plenty of what makes me indignant is how easy my life is. To return to the start of this conversation, talking about meeting producers and never being taken seriously: like, I don’t have any of those problems anymore. People fucking kiss my ass. And once I had an abortion last 12 months, I fucking walked in, people were very nice to me, and I walked out. It was like an hour of my life.

Matty Healy: So you’re feeling guilty?

Phoebe Bridgers: It’s not guilt. I feel it’s just the proven fact that I came but I wasn’t all the time on this position. Having been treated like shit at first of my profession – as a girl with no industry connections – being taken seriously now just makes me pissed off for my younger self, you understand? And it also makes me pissed off for marginalised kids or kids who move to LA after they’re 18 to make a record with any person. I don’t know, I feel the difference in my life experience is what pisses me off and makes me political. But it surely could also just be the midterms coming up or whatever.

“I feel plenty of what makes me indignant is how easy my life is… People fucking kiss my ass. And once I had an abortion last 12 months, I fucking walked in, people were very nice to me, and I walked out. It was like an hour of my life” – Phoebe Bridgers

How will you stay in contact after this conversation?

Matty Healy: Me and Phoebe are bad at texting… Like, we appreciate that we’re each super busy and we’re not flaky – we’re just not good with our phones. So we communicate type of through memes after which we are going to call one another and have conversations about aspirations or stuff like that, because me and Phoebe we all the time need to work together… In my 30s, I’ve made like a handful of close friends and Phoebe is certainly one of them.

Phoebe Bridgers: It’s my favourite once we pop up in one another’s city. It’s the very best.

Matty Healy: What I don’t think plenty of people know is that while you’re an artist – and also you fucking live it like me and also you do – it’s not like we make records, they simply accumulate and we put them out, since it comes from this place. You may’t be friends with individuals who make art seriously that you just don’t like. Since it’s such a representation of the disconnect between your values and the way you see the world. Do you understand what I mean?

Phoebe Bridgers: Yeah, totally.

Matty Healy: So yeah, this has been very nice to catch up.

The 1975’s recent album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language, is out now

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