Brooklyn based, Indie-rock duo Matt and Kim have been under the radar since forming six years ago. But after their recent VMA win, they have been the musical talk-of-the-town. With their (third) new album being released in the UK this month, we had a chat with Kim, who talks about the band's journey up to now.
CM: Hey Kim, how you doing?
K: I'm good, we've had a very early morning, but so far, I haven't crashed yet - it's been all that Red Bull I've been drinking [laughs]. There has been a ridiculous amount of jetlag on this trip because we spent last month in Australia and then went from there to New York for two days and now we are in Europe. So every day at 5am, we are up and can't sleep; but we're dealing with it.
CM: Let's start from the start. How was Matt and Kim formed?
K: Matt and Kim was formed by an accident. It wasn't like we were trying to start a band; Matt had played guitar and bass in other bands but he'd never played the keyboard and I'd never played drums. I wanted to learn how to play the drums so a friend gave me a hands-me-down set so we started doing it together. A friend forced us to do our first show so then we had to come up with three songs because we didn't have any. We didn't have a name either so they put us on the flyer as 'Matt and Kim'. From there, we kept getting asked to do more shows, but all the time, we were like 'we're not a band'. Many years down the line, here we are.
CM: Matt plays the keys whilst you drum. Do you guys ever swap?
K: No, Matt has no rhythm so I would be terrified if he got behind the drums. I can play this one little tune on the keyboard but Matt finds it annoying and doesn't allow it [laughs].
CM: You formed back in 2004. Have you found it a frustrating six years to be getting recognised?
K: One weird thing is that we get more recognised in the US as we have done more ground work. But it's always funny because as it is our names 'Matt and Kim', you will hear someone down the street yelling our names. You're thinking 'do I know them?' or 'do they know the band?'. Outside the US, it's nice to have people come up to talk to you. Because the band is so much about us and our first names, people feel comfortable to come up and start a conversation.
CM: You both have graduate arts degrees. Have you felt that you have used them any way in your music?
K: We try to use them, just to justify spending all that money [laughs]. I do the album artwork and a lot of t-shirt designs because I did illustration. Matt graduated in film so he's involved with all of our videos - he's very hand on with that. It has been very helpful. Especially, when we started out and didn't have support from a label, we got a lot accomplished because we had the art school background.
CM: I heard you had a bit of a run-in with the law on the shoot of your MTV VMA-winning video Lessons learned?
K: Yes, let me just tell you, I didn't want to do this video. For months Matt was like 'we have to do this, this is a good idea' and I was thinking 'hell no'. He's very good at convincing me. But he did promise me that we would never get arrested, but I should've known that he was lying [laughs]. We did get a permit to shoot but we weren't completely truthful. We said it was a web viral video because you can't shoot a music video in Times Square. We said it was about two tourists who had dressed inappropriately for the weather. Throughout the day, there were a lot of cops that walked there, and every cop stopped us, but we showed them the permit, so it was fine.
CM: It also must've been awkward stripping off all your clothes in Times Square, New York
K: It was awful and I don't ever want to do it again [laughs]. I'll speak dirty on stage but stripping in the middle of the winter is not my cup of tea. But after we won the VMA, I had to tell Matt that he was a genius.
CM: For those new to the name Matt & Kim, how would you describe your music?
K: I would say we're like a fun party because I feel that we can't pinpoint what genre we're in. We've been able to tour with rock bands, hip-hop stars, DJs; all with one thing in common which is their fans who want to go out, have a fun time and party. That's what we're all about. There was no decision of what we want to sound like; just writing music that we wanted to hear. That has helped us a lot because we're making exactly what we want and people have loved listening to it. We have friends who are in bands and sometimes I feel that they're writing music that they think other people are going to like. I can't see how you can be excited about doing that.
CM: Your third album, Sidewalks, is out in the UK March 28th. How did the production of this album go?
K: This production was very different. Our last album, Grand, was recorded in Matt's old bedroom in his parent's house. That was great because we could spend as much time as we wanted on it and not be worried on studio costs, and to experiment. This time round, we went in with a producer, Ben Allen, in a studio and we had more money. We had time to focus on how to write a song, rather than how you would record a kick-drum. It also gave us a bigger and more refined sound. Matt's the technological one; I just hit stuff [laughs].
CM: You're currently touring Europe and the UK. How's that been going for you?
K: Right now we're just doing press, which is nice because we don't have to lug gear around the airport. DJs have it easy; they have their bag, laptop and hop on planes. We just came from Australia checking in 14 pieces of equipment. We'll come back in a month and start touring. I'm definitely excited. We've been here about five times but under the radar so now being under a label, we have been able to spread the world.
CM: Which places are you most looking forward to visiting around the world?
K: We played at Fuji Rockfest in Japan but that is four hours outside of Tokyo. So I want to go back and experience the city. It felt like we were in the mountains. Also, there have been only three states in the US that we haven't played. I want to hit them this year so I can say we've done every state.
CM: What can we expect from you this year?
K: We do what we do and tour non-stop. We've been working with some collaborations that will be released. It never stops, but it's amazing. Right now, we're finishing up Matt and Kim vs Big Boy. That will be coming out soon.
CM: Thanks for your time Kim
K: Thank you. I do have to admit something. I never really do [phone] interviews. It's always Matt so you just broke my cherry [laughs].