The 1975's sleek alt rock rooted in film 

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Members of The 1975 describe their music as cinematic.

Matty Healy's Cheshire upbringing as the son of renowned British TV stars Tim Healy and Denise Welch might sound exotic — but it became routine after a while.

"I grew up with my parents just being jobbing actors," says the singer-guitarist, who spent his teens in a powerchording punk band that eventually became The 1975, a sleeker alt-rock quartet that will follow its recent "IV" EP with a self-titled debut in September.

"But because my dad was a very credible stage thespian, a lot of his friends that I used to knock around with were rock stars, like Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits. So I suppose that's what bled into me."

While dad was appearing in "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" and mom was anchoring "Coronation Street," Junior was discovering that his calling was music.

Yet the sound he arrived at is as dramatic as his parents' work, like on highly literate 1975 singles such as "Sex," "Chocolate" and "The City" — all bristling with angular ax work, danceable rhythms and Healy's idiosyncratic, English-inflected yelping vocals. Fans can sample it in The City this week.

Even his mother winning the U.K.'s "Celebrity Big Brother" last year didn't faze him. "I'd see my parents on TV and go, 'meh,' and then carry on playing my guitar," he says.

Healy met screen stars like Michael York as a kid. Visiting his godfather in Los Angeles, he hobnobbed with his noteworthy neighbors, like Slash and ELO's Jeff Lynne.

"So that was my reality," says the 24-year-old, who never caught the acting bug. "I just thought, 'Well, that's my mum and dad, and I don't want to do what they do.' So I'm as different to my parents as any kid is to their parents, and they never pushed me in any direction — ever since I was 13, they just let me do my music and left me alone."

Oddly, Healy's unique, animated style is rooted in studiously watching films; his favorites are "Lost in Translation," "Pretty in Pink" and "12 Angry Men."

He thinks visually when composing (early single "Robbers" was directly inspired by the gritty noir "True Romance"), and he hopes to soon start scoring movies himself.

"We see everything in an antiquated, romanticized way, and that stems from our love of cinema and the use of music within it," he says. "So our songs are very soundtrack-esque, because we're trying to make the soundtrack to our own lives."

The frontman's folks catch The 1975 live whenever their work schedules permit. But they haven't offered him showbiz advice. He says, "We're from such different worlds. But my dad always wanted to be in a rock band, so he's learning more from me, to be honest!"


The 1975

Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.

When: 9:30 p.m. today

Tickets: $12 to $14 (sold out)

Contact: (415) 861-2011,

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Tom Lanham

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