Q&A: The 1975’s Matty Healy On Imagine Dragons, Issues, Rehab, And More!

Learn the truth behind some b.s. music headlines as The 1975’s singer explains what creativity means to him and how artists should use their platform for good.

Music writers trolling for pageviews love to create controversy. For example, I’ve come across a few headlines implying that The 1975 frontman Matty Healy is trashing Imagine Dragons when that’s not the case.

One of our sister stations recently hosted Healy for an in-depth interview in front of a studio audience. We learned about Matty’s football club preferences. We learned about how he hopes the physical product for his long-in-the-works Music For Cars project will be biodegradable – like a USB that becomes a seed? Matty smokes a lot of weed. And we learned how creating music helps him express himself as opposed to the current music industry standard of pumping out singles just to stay top of mind.

But when asked if artists should use their stature to speak out on important issues, that’s where Matty addressed the mostly nonexistent Imagine Dragons rift. The exchange starts at the 7:00 mark.

In Dan Reynolds’ defense, he might be feeling self-conscious in the wake of all the “Is Imagine Dragons The New Nickelback?” posts earlier this year. Maybe Dan misattributed someone else’s criticism to Matty? Then again, Matty is a guy who says exactly what’s on his mind. It’s one of many reasons we love him!

The larger point Matty makes is the age old debate of escapism vs substance. A question about an artist’s responsibility to speak out on important issues got him going:

If you’re the biggest alternative band in America… and you are saying nothing in your music. You’re just saying words like, ‘Radioactive, whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa’ [audience laughter]… What’s the point? If you can tell me what the point is apart from escapism?

Conversely…

We’re rubbish with protest music, nowadays, as a society… we have to deal with reality now. So I seen that guy from Imagine Dragons get up onstage the other week at Billboard Music Awards. Started talking about conversion therapy and saying it was bullshit and we need to stop it. And I thought “There you go! Good! Use your platform!”

Whatever substance Imagine Dragons’ music might lack, Dan Reynolds has been a very outspoken advocate on LGBT issues. Watch the great documentary BelieverLoveloud Festival about his efforts to get the (fresh off its third year) going in his native Utah.

So there you go. The whole Matty Healy vs Dan Reynolds story? Not really a story. Just the latest chapter in an age old debate about style versus substance.

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