With little-to-no radio airplay over the years, the hard-to-define indie-rock duo Matt and Kim have managed to get their music out to the masses in just about every way imaginable.
Their songs have been played on TV shows (The Mindy Project, Community, etc.), in commercials (Bacardi, Buick, Mars) and video games (NBA Live, The Sims). But the band in perhaps best known for their phenomenal live shows, playing everywhere from dingy basement clubs to Bonnaroo.
A decade into their career, singer/keyboardist Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino are about to release their fifth record, New Glow, which is crammed with 10 impossibly infectious dance-pop songs that are certain to appease fans of the group. Schifino was kind enough to talk with Culturated a bit about the new record, playing together for a decade and what’s next for Matt and Kim.
You just hit your decade milestone, celebrating being together for 10 years. What has changed the most for you two over that time?
We no longer live in an 8-foot wide apartment! HA! I will say that, in the past 10 years, our shows have grown, we’ve played amazing festivals and overall done some crazy shit. The nice thing is that everything has grown at a steady rate, which makes every new experience exciting. We have never felt like we were going backwards.
Has the way you record and release albums and tour changed much since your first record?
We have recorded in studios and we have recorded ourselves. It seems like it switches with every album. Our self-titled album was recorded in a studio. We did Grand ourselves in Matt’s childhood bedroom in Vermont. That was followed up by Sidewalks being done in a studio with a producer. We then went back to recording ourselves for Lightning. That was done in our old Grand Street apartment. right before we moved out. I am still shocked that the neighbors didn’t kill us. With New Glow we did a lot of writing at our home studio, and then went in with a few different producers. We really enjoyed recording New Glow, so maybe the next album will be like that. Who knows: Maybe we won’t focus on albums anymore and just do singles.
You have a sound that’s difficult to pigeonhole: Indie-pop, dance… has that led to difficulties in setting up shows? As a result, have you had any odd moments when you were opening for an audience that just didn’t quite fit your music?
We have not come across any odd moments. Sometimes it might take a few songs for a crowd to warm up but we have been lucky and it seems like we always win them over. We like a lot of different music and it definitely comes across in our live show. We treat our live show like a DJ set… there is usually something for everyone.
Lightning was a great album, and very well received. Were you nervous at all working on the follow up to that record, in particular?
We weren’t nervous to follow up Lightning because we are never hoping for a certain amount of success. We like to just focus on what we are working on and try making it the best it can be.
Can you talk a little bit about New Glow? Did you set out to do anything new with your sound?
For New Glow we wanted to write songs that represented our live show. We were also working with producers again on this album. Some of the songs have been in the works for years ‘cause they weren’t finished for previous albums. We wanted to continue to keep it simple which we strive for on every album. We have a saying “what would Matt and Kim do” basically that comes into play when things start to get to complicated.
Your live shows have a reputation for being pretty stellar and very active. You’re about to start touring again. Do you do anything different to prepare for being out on the road for so long?
We started out playing live shows before we ever had anything recorded. Being on stage is the most comfortable place for us. As far as preparation, we have done some warm-up shows to test out the new songs and some songs that we haven’t played in a while. We do have some surprises planned for the tour, but mainly we go out there hoping to do what we always do… throw a giant party where you can let loose and, at least for the night, forget anything that weighs you down and just have a good time.
Do you bring along additional musicians for the tours?
No, it’s always just Matt and I.
What’s next for you guys?
Lots and lots of touring. We love playing live, so once the album comes out we will probably tour non-stop until we take a break to write again… probably a year and a half from now. –John B. Moore
Matt and Kim Spring 2015 Tour Dates:
4/11 Portland, ME State Theatre
4/12 Boston, MA House of Blues4/15 Norfolk, VA
4/15 Norfolk, VA NorV
4/15 Norfolk, VA NorV
4/16 Columbus, OH LC Pavilion
4/17 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
4/20 Asheville, NC Orange Peel
4/21 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theater
4/23 Austin, TX Stubbs
4/24 Dallas, TX House of Blues
4/25 Houston, TX House of Blues
4/27 Phoenix, AZ Marquee
4/28 Los Angeles, CA Fonda Theatre
4/29 Los Angeles, CA Fonda Theatre
4/30 Santa Ana, CA Observatory
5/01 San Diego, CA North Park Theater
5/02 San Francisco, CA Warfield
5/04 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
5/05 Denver, CO The Ogden
5/08 St Louis, MO The Pageant
5/09 Nashville, TN Marathon Sun
5/11 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
5/12 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
5/14 New York, NY Terminal 5
5/15 New York, NY Terminal 5
5/18 Toronto, ON Danforth Music Hall
5/19 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
5/20 Detroit, MI Royal Oak Music Hall
5/21 Chicago, IL Riviera
5/22 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights