2016 No. 1s: The 1975 on Living for Music & Challenging 'the Status Quo'

Jeff Forney
The 1975 photographed on Oct. 14, 2016 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It -- Billboard 200 (1 week)


When The 1975 needed a studio in Los ­Angeles in which to hole up and record for six months, the strip-mall-lined Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills seemed a rather unlikely choice. But for London-born singer-songwriter Matty Healy, 27, the remote locale allowed his band and producer Mike Crossey to dig deep and create 17 tracks that seamlessly blended ’80s synth pop, boot-knocking R&B and Brian Eno-worthy electronic elements. The band’s ambitious alt-pop album resonated with the shuffle generation, spawning four top 20 hits on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart before its mid-March debut atop the Billboard 200.

HEALY:
It’s an ambitious record because we had nothing to be scared of. We’re not part of a clique or cool scene where everybody’s in an indie band and afraid to do anything that would f— with the status quo.

JAMIE OBORNE (manager, All on Red ­Management​):
This is a cornerstone of what I see as the future of alternative pop music. It’s a really bold record, and it always felt that way. There was a visceral kind of reality in what Matt was doing that really lent itself toward great art -- scarily so, at times.

JOHN JANICK (chairman/CEO, Interscope​):
Interscope is always working with great creative people and taking their lead. If you look at Dr. Dre, Nine Inch Nails, Eminem and even what we do now with Lady Gaga, Tame Impala, Lana Del Rey -- these are all artists who have very strong visions of what they want to do musically and who they are as artists.

HEALY:
We live for music. As much as I live for My Bloody Valentine, I live for D’Angelo, and there are no rules. That’s where our music comes from.

This article originally appeared in the Dec . 17 issue of Billboard.

Billboard Year in Music 2016