The charisma and energy of this Brooklyn, New York, indie pop duo is not only evident in their hugely entertaining and stimulating shows, but just a simple conversation with them is bound to be full of laughter. One of the headlining acts at 2013’s Keloha Music & Arts Festival in Kelowna, British Columbia, Matt and Kim showed the crowd why they are a headliner as they delivered an amazing show and won the hearts of many. I was able to chat with the couple for a few minutes under the hot Okanagan sun.
Vancouver Weekly: You have been around for the better part of a decade and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
Matt: Long story short, we were two people who met at college in Brooklyn; Kim laid the moves on me, gave me her number, and we got together. We were together for years. Kim would do my homework.
Kim: We went to art school.
M: We never played any music together. Kim never played drums, I wasn’t a singer or keyboardist, but I played in punk bands in high school. We just sort of… Kim wanted to learn how to play drums, and we fell backwards into playing music. We were booked at our first show and we couldn’t think of a name and they just called us Matt and Kim. We were like… “That works. That’s cool.” And now it’s been like you said the better part of a decade. Most people have only known us since 2009 with the “Daylight” song because in the States it was in a bunch of commercials. But years before we were just trucking along playing to crowds of 10-15 people and I always thought that that was the cap, thinking this is fun. And then it just kept on growing.
Vancouver Weekly: Did you have any musical projects prior to starting Matt and Kim?
K: Not at all. I just wanted to learn how to play drums. In 8th grade I was playing the clarinet in band, but in the 10th grade I was like, “Fuck that”.
Vancouver Weekly: What did you find were your musical influences when you started?
M: When we started we were into the DIY scene that was happening in Brooklyn, which was sort of like the dancey-punky kind of stuff. We were also into hip hop. We were into stuff that would be at a party.
K: That was like the first three years of us playing. I remember when we started to transition, we were still doing house shows and someone was like, “Where do I buy tickets?” I was like, “You just buy your own beer and you show up, and there’s a hat that goes around and if you want to donate, then you donate.”
Vancouver Weekly: You are doing a lot of festivals this summer. What is your favourite festival that you have done?
M: Keloha. It is very confusing to me that the town is Kelowna, and the festival is Keloha. I kept on searching on what the weather was like in Keloha, and there was no such town! We love festivals, there are many different types. We’re doing Lollapolooza and Bonnaroo this year and there’ll be 30,000 people in front of you, and then there’s something like this, and it’s more intimate which is great too, because everyone is a little more close and it’s a very personal thing. Everything has its own ups.
K: I judge it all on catering. We’ve done Lollapolooza three years, this is our third year. Our first year at Lollapolooza the catering was awesome! We actually had plates and silverware and it was great. Then we went back and catering went down the tube.
M: But on the other hand, when we first went we were that DIY band and we were just like “Free food, this is awesome!” It was a lot easier to be impressed.
K: And now we’re like, “What! You don’t have salmon!?”
M: Yeah, “Where’s the caviar? What are we, animals?!”
K: No, but I do think that you judge a festival on how the crowd reacts to your show.
M: I always say that there are 23 hours a day when I’m not playing a show. And that’s most of what, in reality, the job is. And so the hour can be great but if the other 23 hours are hell then it’s tough.
Vancouver Weekly: We saw your Lightning Tour Documentary and caught a glimpse of your pre-show ritual. Kim, you were kind of doing a booty shake. Matt, you were doing a vocal warm-up. Is that your usual ritual?
K: Oh yeah.
M: It’s pretty standard. Standard booty shaking.
Vancouver Weekly: What were you listening to?
K: I have a lot. Mainly it’s top 40 hip hop, Meat Mills, Big Shaun, Beyoncé’s in there. I’m very superstitious. There is one Beyoncé song that I always have to listen to before I go on stage. If I don’t, I know I’m going to fuck the show up. So we can blame Beyoncé if I fuck up.
M: Yeah, most things that go wrong in my life I would say are Beyoncé’s fault. Also just because I’m thinking about it now, I’m just picturing the blow-up in the article to be like, “What!? No caviar? What are we animals?!” Don’t take that out of context [laughs].
Vancouver Weekly: Don’t worry, we won’t. When you are on stage, what do you find influences you – the crowd or your own music?
K: Oh the crowd.
M: The audience.
K: Everyone’s like, “How are you so energetic and giving your all?” We’re just feeding off what the crowd is giving us. If the crowd is sitting on blankets and not getting crazy, I think it would be a totally different show that we would put on out there.
M: But I think it’s because of our type of music. There are bands out there, like Radiohead, that write great songs, but the extent that someone is into it is head-bobbing. I couldn’t be a performer that looks out at that. What gives me all the energy is looking out and seeing people crowd-surfing and jumping around and dancing and all that is like, “Oh, I can see that you’re into it.”
Vancouver Weekly: One last question: If both of you had three wishes, anything, what would they be?
M: Well of course the first one is for a million more wishes.
K: That we can keep doing this forever. Until our bones don’t let us do it anymore. Wishing for bones that never fail! Bam.
M: I would wish that I was able to sleep less.
K: I actually wish that for you too.
M: I just get so tired. I need to sleep so much.
K: We would take a nap and I was just going to take a 20-minute cat nap, and Matt was out! I was just like, “We gotta wake up, we gotta eat before the show!” He is the hardest person to wake up.
M: Third wish. If I couldn’t get the sleep wish, I would want the snooze button power. When I can stop the alarm for 10 minutes, and it as well stops time for 10 minutes. So every time I want to snooze, I can just pause the whole world.