Energetic Upstarts

On-the-rise indie pop duo Matt & Kim take a crack at a Reader Q&A

Irreverence seems to be a guiding principle in how the duo Matt & Kim operate their growing indie pop enterprise. 

They play their danceable, keyboard-laden songs with at an enthusiastically hurtling pace. They stripped down on video for their 2009 clip for "Lessons Learned" and their latest video for "Let's Go", which features a cheeky collection of photos, premiered on comedy site, Funny or Die.

The band formed in Brooklyn in 2005, as drummer Kim Schifino began playing and singer/keyboardist Matt Johnson just started experimenting with a new keyboard.

The band has also honed its craft with self-recorded records, including their new album Lightning, which came out earlier this year. It's a follow-up to 2010's Sidewalks, which saw the duo working with producer Ben Allen.

On Lightning, they refocus on the keyboard-and-drums pop songs that first built the band up, drawing away from the layered, quasi hip-hop production of Sidewalks.

Kim Schifino says the band realizing while recording their second album, 2009's Grand, that recording their songs by themselves gave the band freedom to do whatever they wanted, while eliminating worry about any time constrictions.

"It also was a lot cheaper to buy what we needed to record and then hide away at Matt's parents house recording it," Schifino told the Reader in an email.

Still, Grand had a steep learning curve as the duo taught themselves how to record. This time all systems were go.

"Lightning we knew what we were doing and by we, I mean Matt.  So there wasn't so much time figuring out how to mic things this time.  We had more time to just focus on the writing," Schifino writes.

Home-recording has been aided by the band's taste for direct, hooky and immediate pop songs. Schifino writes that penning pop songs all boils down to melody and a good beat.

"Some people have a hard time writing simple songs.  They want to add so much to it and it becomes over congested," she writes.

Meanwhile, the band's relationship with the FADER Label has meant that the band has grown organically, but with the ability to still find success outside of the typical indie music circles.

"They allow us to do all the crazy things we want to do and our supportive of all our ideas," Schifino writes.

To cap off the Reader's email question-and-answer session with Matt & Kim, Schifino agreed to tackle some tongue-in-cheek questions broken down into two simple categories: "smart" and "dumb".

The Reader: What's the smartest thing you've ever said or done on stage? 

Schifino: Man, you are asking the wrong girl.  I mean I think they are smart but Matt will probably say differently.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever said or done on stage?

Ahh so Matt could also fill this up with the shit I say on stage.  I might of said something about balls to the face in San Diego the other night. I actually don't remember what I said but the crowd looked shocked!  I would definitely say that our stage banter isn't "kid friendly".

What's the smartest thing you've ever requested on a show rider? 

A dog!

What's the dumbest thing you've ever requested on a show rider? 

Hummus.  We get way too much of it!  I seriously can't eat hummus when tour is over.

What's the smartest decision you've made while walking the streets of New York City?

Matt would probably say taking our clothes off!

What's the dumbest decision you've made while walking the streets of New York City? 

Being shit faced drunk walking with one eye closed so you can see. You have to do this at least a few times when you live in NY.  If you make it home safe then you have passed the NY test.

What's the smartest pre-show meal you've consumed? 

Anything that doesn't make you shit three times.

What's the dumbest pre-show meal you've consumed? 

All you can eat Ethiopian.  While delicious it definitely started to expand in my stomach when playing!

Who's the smartest member of Matt & Kim and why? 

I would lean towards saying me but I truly believe Matt's a genius.

Who's the dumbest member of Matt & Kim and why?

Matt would say me cause sometimes I say some stupid shit. Sometimes! HA!

Matt & Kim w/ Oberhofer play the Slowdown, 729 North 14th St., Tuesday, November 6th at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 day-of-show. For more information, visit onepercentproductions.com.

posted at 11:48 pm
on Monday, October 29th, 2012

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