michael hann

The 1975's Matt Healy: how I survived two years on the road

“How can anyone manage to play 300 gigs a year? As the 1975’s Matt Healy explains, all you need is salad, tearful fans – and the potato waffle game

In December 2012, Matt Healy got in a van with his bandmates and started touring bars, clubs and dives – wherever the 1975 could play. Now, more than 18 months on, he’s still touring, capping the summer festival season with yet another UK tour, yet another European tour and yet another US tour, which will take the band through to the end of 2014 with two solid years on the road. The result has been a No 1 album in the UK, a worldwide fanbase and the sense that this band could actually be huge in the US, rather than just pictured on the cover of the NME in front of the Statue of Liberty waving a Union Jack with the claim they will "conquer America”. But how did Healy survive life on the road that long? And what did he learn along the way?

I can’t do planes

All our crew go: “You know what? I can’t wait for a nice seven-hour sitdown, watch a couple of films.” But I have to take as many legal drugs as I can to pass out, because when I get on a plane it’s like how an exam used to be at school. At no point did I think: “I’ve got two hours to do the best I can.” I just used to think: “I’ve got two hours until I’m allowed out of this fucking room.” So I sleep. Because if I’m watching a film, it’s like watching a clock count down.

… but I love tour buses

The tour bus lounge is a beautiful place. If you’ve got a good driver, what you have is a travelling hotel. I’d much rather be on the bus for a month than in a car and a new hotel every day. Glastonbury was incredible: I’d been on that bus for two weeks, sleeping in the same bunk every night. So I basically got to take my bed to Glastonbury. I absolutely loved that.

In the depths of boredom, you’ll do anything

There’s a game we have called Birds Eye Potato Waffles. You sit in a circle and take it in turns to say any kind of food that comes to mind. That’s when you know you’ve reached the depths of boredom – after six hours at Heathrow, say, when you’re meant to be in Florida. But the best way to deal with boredom on the road is to be creative: give us a night off and a laptop and we’ll record a song. .

I read a lot, too, though I can’t figure out if I’m reading all these books because I want to be clever enough to deal with everything, or whether I’m reading them for enjoyment. If I’m really bored, I’ll have a look at the internet, see what people are saying. When you’re in a room on your own in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and @monkfish125 calls you a knob, getting wound up about it can be entertaining.

I’m not as good at keeping in touch as I thought

Gigs in Britain are pretty much the only time I see or talk to my family. Sometimes, I feel guilty when I get a call from someone saying: “I haven’t heard from you in a month.” I think: “Wow, that’s not right.” You have to make an effort. That kind of thing keeps you grounded and sane. I feel that my family are more understanding than my friends, though. They get it.

There’s no such thing as time off

The most continuous time off I’ve had since December 2012 is five days. I consider a night off and a day off to be two days off. The other weekend we played a festival in Plymouth, then drove back through the night towards London for our day off. That starts when we get off the bus at six in the morning. I go back home, settle in, have a shower, cup of tea. Ah, back home! And then the silence is deafening. It’s not like being home where you can go and see your mum for a couple of days, or go and do something. You know you can’t really leave the flat because you need to be leaving the next morning. I can’t have a walk up to Primrose Hill or get the lads round. It doesn’t happen – it’s just a day in between gigs.

I really want to go home and have fuck all to do. I haven’t done that in ages. It’s not that I want to do fuck all; I just want to remember what that feels like. I spent 10 years thinking: “Fucking hell, I’ve got nothing to do.” But you miss that kind of thing. Maybe we don’t have to say yes to everything, but then we wouldn’t be reaching our full potential. So strike while the iron’s hot.

I’m terrified of my metabolism catching up with me

Because right now, I can eat whatever I want. I’ll never not have a burger – but I like good food and I eat quite healthily on tour. You find yourself having to eat fast food for days in America, though, so when we reach a wholefood store, we love green beans and sushi. Our tour manager says: “Eat this salad or you’re going to die.” I don’t have to worry about my weight – and that’s something that worries me in itself. The second I start getting fat, I’m going to be on the treadmill. I don’t go to the gym at the moment, but then I do play 300 shows in a year. I’m very flamboyant and it does take a lot out of you. And I do press-ups and sit-ups on the bus, maybe go for a jog, but I don’t have a fitness regime.

I drink quite a lot of wine now

I never used to really drink, but the bottle of wine on stage quickly became something to calm the nerves, and then part of the show. When you have a drink on stage, it changes things. I’m slightly guilty of becoming a bit of a parody of myself, but truly I don’t really put it on – Iam the shirtless moptop with a bottle of wine now. Put it this way: does anyone want a clean Libertines album? There’s a desire for those kind of cliches and there always will be. What people want to see from our band is the personality they connected with in the first place – the personality who’s slightly confused, who gets overwhelmed and overexcited.

I don’t look too far ahead

If I did, I’d drive myself crazy. Every day is somewhere different and there are moments of true jet-lagged confusion: you wake up in the Swiss hotel in Tokyo and you think you’re in Geneva because it says Swiss on the fittings. There are moments of falling asleep on your feet. You use things to punctuate your day: up at eight, do a radio show – then I know I can smoke a joint at 11. Six months ago I was always worrying about what was coming next, but now I realise worrying about things I don’t have control over is pointless.

I like to have people I know and trust around me

It’s a massive thing. I’m at the helm of this operation that now involves a lot of people and their jobs. I always wanted it to be like that programmeEntourage: I want to take all my mates with me, have us be a crew. And it feels like that sometimes. But I’m also proud that I haven’t compromised myself creatively or professionally – the reason the guys are on the crew is that they’re the best men for the job, and the reason they’re the best men for the job is they’ve been working as hard as I have for the whole time. We have a relationship where we can tell each other openly that we love each other and to fuck off in the same sentence. It needs to be like that. People aren’t going to relate to someone with an inflated ego. One of the reason our fans have invested in the band is that there’s a humility to it and a naivety to it that I haven’t lost. I know who I am. I’m not a cock. I don’t get any enjoyment from being remotely negative to anyone – the only thing you have is your connection with people. If I’m as nice as I am to everybody for the rest of my career, say it lasts 10 years, no one will be calling me a knobhead in 10 years.

The audience are what keeps every show exciting

Because we do a show with triggered lighting and sound, every set is pretty much the same. So if I do five shows on consecutive nights, the fifth night starts to feel like Groundhog Day. I find myself having to think of things to say. But there’s something Nils Lofgren said about playing with Bruce Springsteen. He was asked if he got bored by playing Born to Run 200 nights a year, every year. He said he looks into the audience, because they don’t get to hear Born to Run 200 nights a year, every year. He looks at the faces at the front, and how they’re reacting, and he feeds off that. I get lost in people’s faces, in the kids who are crying. It’s very seldom I don’t jump down after a song to hug a kid who’s crying, because it means so much to me – it’s not about your experience, it’s about their experience. And I understand the sense of connection fans get when I interact with them at a show.

I used to love this little band called the Maple State. I remember seeing them at the Academy 3 in Manchester. There couldn’t have been more than 10 people there, but in my head there were about 35,000. The guitarist did a move where he turned round and pointed at me – it meant so much to me that I’m still talking about it 10 years later. When you become part of the show, when the lead singer or the guitarist invites you in, you never forget it.

A space where you can get away from it all matters

The sea is a beacon for us. Perhaps because it’s the unknown and we could leave for ever. Every time it’s sunny and we’ve got some free time and we’re near the sea, we get a boat, whether it’s Australia, Florida, Newquay. And we go out there and have half an hour with no music. We sit there and smoke fags and we’re away from the world. But I always worry about capsizing.“

By Michael Hann

// T h e 1 9 7 5 N e w s // 

Clips of Michael Hann’s interview with Matt Healy of the 1975 that I found particularly interesting. Read the full story here.

Until late last year he was still living at home. Then, as he puts it, “my band took off, my family fell apart. My parents got divorced. It’s kinda good – no good marriage ever ended in divorce. If two people had a really good thing going on and they had to get divorced, that would be really sad. But that’s never happened once. That’s fine. That was a long time coming. December of last year I went on tour and they sold that house. I went home for two days to move out of my house, and I wrote and recorded Is There Somebody Who Can Watch Me?, the last song on the album, about that moment. So I left and I’ve not really been home since. But I’ve fucking embraced it, man. Because you take the good with the bad. I don’t have a home, but I have a thousand people come and see me, whatever city I’m in. If you can’t feel at home there, where can you feel at home?


"I feel like there’s a genuine hole in me. The little death, almost. I need stimulation. I used to need physical stimulation constantly, whether that be from listening to the sound of my own voice, or flirting with guys or girls. I’m not bisexual, but that moment when you realise someone likes you – it’s the best feeling in the world. If you could bottle it …”

He drifts off for a moment. And then he asks that question. “Do you like me?”

Michael Aniser
Founder at Noisekölln, and Noisekölln Tapes, Radio Host, Journalist, DJ, Professional Partier, Berlin

Rejections - “One Machine”

Michael Hann’s new release as Rejections is a fantastically eerie and constricting drone, perfect for a saturday night in the gutter in some old coal mining town. Shapes shift and haunt the interlaced pathways throughout the release. There is no hope, there is nothing to hold on to. Occasionally some high-pitched screeches sound from far away to remind us, that we are probably not all alone in this mouldering factory building, that there is something hidden in the shadows, but we just can’t figure out if it’s there to help or destroy us.

Fun Friday: Britpop: Why Michael Hann from The Guardian doesn't quite understand it.

Fun Friday: Britpop: Why Michael Hann from The Guardian doesn’t quite understand it.

Fay Kesby:

My friends rather eloquent rebuttle to a guardian article trashing Britpop…

Originally posted on Me in Stitches:

Alternative Title: Come and ‘ave a go if u think ur ‘ard enuff.

Fay Kesby, wordpresser, poet and all round amazing person linked me this article: Britpop: A cultural abomination that set music back.

Wow. Now that is a statement.

One that I’m going to argue against…

View On WordPress

Bieber was signed to a major label when he was 14. You may very well say that he did so of his own free will, and of course he did. But how many 14-year-olds, offered a major label deal, courted by an artist they admired (Usher, in this case) would be likely to say no? When you’re promised the world, settling for a Saturday job in the local supermarket can’t seem all that attractive an option. We all know about the exemplary record the music industry has in looking after the best interests of those it chooses to make stars while they are still children – and I bet the courting of Justin Bieber did not encompass offering him case studies of those who have been taken up, burned out and discarded.

Michael Hann, writing in The Guardian in defence of Justin Bieber. 

Don’t know a huge amount about him, other than he lost his childhood to the spotlight. So much vitriol though…


‘Default’ - Django Django

Django Django, their eponymous debut album came out in January of this year, the psychedelic quartet’s single 'Default’ is incredibly catchy; I haven’t got it out of my head since my girlfriend introduced it to me.  The album is brilliant, they are the first new British guitar band I’ve enjoyed in a long time, and perhaps that’s because it’s not more of the same. Django Django are “refreshingly minimal” (Hann, 2012).

[Hann, M. 2012, 'Django Django: Django Django – review’, The Guardian

East Nashville's Music Scene

East Nashville was recently featured in The Observer, UK magazine’s The Guardian’s Sunday publication, by music writer and critic Michael Hann. The article, “Why the garages of East Nashville are now American rock’s hottest property,” and features bands that have thrive on the other side of the river. Bands featured include: Pujol, Natural Child, Heavy Cream, D Watusi, the Paperhead, Jeff the Brotherhood, Be Your Own Pet, Turbo Fruits, Quichenight, Bad Cop, Hands Down Eugene, and Diarrhea Planet; a mention also goes to Infinity Cat, the local label that put out a lot of these bands records, Battle Tapes Studio, where a lot of the records were recorded, and Third Man Records, Jack White’s Nashville institution.

East Nashville is also the subject of a documentary-in-the-making that is currently seeking Kickstarter funding. “East Side of the River” profiles the neighborhood that is one of the country’s hottest spots for music.

Can you guys please follow my fan editing account on Instagram it’s username is kelissa12 if you didn’t get that so thanks



Dries Van Noten filmed by Albert Moya