The 1975’s Matty Healy dissects story behind ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’

"I wouldn’t have written about heroin unless I had gotten clean"

The 1975 frontman Matt Healy has spoken candidly about the meaning and message behind one of the band’s latest singles ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’, admitting that he never would have written about his heroin addiction if he hadn’t “gotten clean”.

The Manchester band’s third studio album ‘A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships’ is now just three days away from release (November 30), and Healy has previewed the release with a track-by-track dissection of the record in a new interview.

Speaking to Pitchfork, Healy spoke about ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’ as he was asked about the character ‘Danny’ who features in the track.


“I think I’m trying to consciously hide it behind being somebody else, writing about their struggle and their strife,” he admitted. “Like, ‘So I’ve got this friend, right? And he’s got this really weird rash on his gooch?’ [laughs] That kind of vibe.

“So it’s like, ‘Well tell your friend that he should…’ But it’s quite obvious it’s about me, because there’s been a real reluctance for me to talk about it. I didn’t want to talk about being a heroin addict for five years – having actual nightmares of the idea of it being uncovered. So there was a humorous reluctance to disclose it in this song.”

Asked about what he was trying to “express” about addiction in the song, Healy admitted: “I wouldn’t have written about heroin unless I had gotten clean.

“‘I do it’ was never a good enough reason for me to talk about it. I don’t think Kurt Cobain tried to romanticise drug addiction; because he was so publicly the coolest person in the world, and grunge was so dark, he was telling his truth. Whereas Pete Doherty was a different character. That was the thing that I was always scared of: being an obnoxious celebration of that kind of sickness. I just felt so lucky. I hadn’t lost anything really.

“And that’s normally why people go to rehab, because they lost so much they can’t bear to lose anything else. But I was lucky.”


Yesterday, The 1975 were confirmed as the third headliners of Glasgow Summer Sessions 2019.