Pop Quiz: The 1975


Aidin Vaziri | With angular haircuts and head-to-toe black uniforms, the 1975 may appear like any other band out of gloomy old Manchester, England – Joy Division, the Smiths, take your pick. But the music on this group’s self-titled debut reaches into a different corner of the ’80s for inspiration – the bouncy grooves and precision-crafted melodies of Top 40 radio. There are enough saxophone solos, slapped bass lines and swooshing synthesizers to fill the soundtrack of a lost John Hughes film. The band – which has supported Muse and the Rolling Stones this year – returns to San Francisco for a headlining show Wednesday at the Independent. We spoke with singer Matt Healy.

Q: I can’t stop listening to your new single, “Girls.” Why did you release the song of the summer three months too late?

A: We just had to wait. We don’t really work by seasons. Hopefully, it will stick around for many summers.

Q: Have you had one of those moments yet where you heard one of your songs in a fast-food restaurant?

A: I have had a few. I’ve been buying things in the shop and it’s been a nice point of conversation: “That’s me on the radio right now.” They don’t always believe you.

Q: You didn’t listen to any of the key Manchester bands growing up – Joy Division, the Smiths or Stone Roses. With this album, you said your goal was to try to make Michael Jackson’s “Bad” or Peter Gabriel’s “So”?

A: For sure. It wasn’t even paralleling the success of those albums. It was just hearing those artists at their peak. We thought there was no point in holding back. We were trying to make a record as big and ambitious as we can handle.

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