NEW YORK — Matthew Healy, frontman of the English rock band The 1975, remembers how emotional and impactful his first major concert was when he was just 8 years old. The artist was Michael Jackson, and Healy recalls the night vividly.
"It kind of solidified he was a pantheon of culture, and that he was larger than life, and that he was bigger than reality," Healy said in an interview. "That moment of him being there was like one of the most powerful things for me as a young person. I'd never cared that much really about anything. ... I'd never wanted to see somebody or be in the presence of somebody like that. And I kind of never have since."
Healy, 28, is hoping his fans feel the same way when they see The 1975 on its latest U.S. arena tour, which launched this week.
The genre-bending band is riding high on the success of last year's "I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It" — its sophomore album that debuted at No. 1 in both the United States and the United Kingdom. It was named Rolling Stones' No. 1 pop album of 2016 and earned a Grammy nomination for Healy for his art direction. The band won Best British Group at this year's BRIT Awards.
Healy said the success comes from the strong brotherhood within the group, which is from in Manchester.
"We've just grown up but we kind of (grew) up in the same room," he said of the band, which includes guitarist Adam Hann, drummer George Daniel and bassist Ross MacDonald.
"I don't know anybody who's spent real time with their siblings as I've spent with the band," Healy said. "Since the age 13 we've seen each other practically every day."
The band has been lauded for its distinctive sound, a blend of rock, pop, R&B, electronic and other genres. Healy said that uniqueness hurt the group earlier in its career.
"The reason we couldn't get signed by a major label in 2010 was the same was reason we got big in 2013. They came to our rehearsal room and said, 'Well every song sounds different.' And I was like, 'Yeah, that's the point,'" he recalled.
"That's not even the point — we can't help that," he added. "I don't try to sound like anything, we can't help but be influenced by music we like. ... We're like cultural magpies, anything that's shiny, we'll collect it."
The tour includes more than 30 shows through June, with stops in Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; Salt Lake City; Detroit; and New York City, with a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden on June 1.
Healy, whose parents are actors Denise Welch and Tim Healy, said he always knew he'd have a career in music.
"My parents did art for a living; therefore, being creative and doing something that you wanted to do was just automatically endorsed," he said. "Music was my passion and my dad told me I could do what I wanted."
Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press