Matt & Kim Talk Basel and Cuteness: "Our Music Isn't About Swing Sets and Lollipops"
What band suffers an illness, cancels a show, promises a make-up date, but never follows through? Most all of them. But not Matt & Kim.
After having to nix a Fillmore Miami Beach gig a few months ago because singer-keyboardist Matt lost his voice while on tour, this perky Brooklyn-based pop-punk duo actually rescheduled. And the husband-and-wife team are planning to make the most of the Miami return date. In fact, according to Matt, it's gonna be a massive party and he promises "to bring enough balloons and confetti to make a big mess."
Crossfade: Can you believe it? You're coming to Miami.
Matt:I know. [Laughs] We're actually going [to be in town for] almost two weeks. We just happened to be coming down for Art Basel and the show got scheduled for the next weekend.
I was gonna ask if you were going to be here for Basel.
Yeah, a couple of years ago. We missed last year. We have a great time. We usually go down and DJ or something and just hang out, see art, and go to parties. It's fun.
We might DJ, but we're not going to be playing any music.
No, no. Nothing's even confirmed yet. We're kinda just going and sort of winging it. We have a couple of friends who are doing stuff. So let's just see what happens.
That's fitting. Especially since you both went to art school. How do you and Kim incorporate your art degrees into what you are doing with music?
We both went to art school, me and Kim. But I graduated in film, and I've had a big hand in most all the music videos we've made. Most of the ideas were ideas that I had come up with, and then Kim, she's done most of our album covers. She's done a lot of shirts and design for numerous things. She was [in school] for illustration.
But I think, in the end, just being smarter creatively applies to all things. Like, you can tell if a photo feels good and balanced. It helps you know if a song feels good and balanced. It all applies. I would never regret having spent a fortune to go to a private art school. If I was lucky enough to do music all my life, I would be happy about that.
There's a real balance to your new album, Lightning, as well. It's still fun, but it's not cloying. There's a fine line.
Yeah, yeah. When making music like ours, which tends to have an upbeat feeling to it and whatnot, if you listen lyrically, it's a bit darker. It's not about swing sets and lollipops. It's about a lot of things that have a darker vibe, about figuring your life out. It's a balance, in the same way with our music videos. We tend to try to make things a little bit edgier. It's not every time, but there are scenes of us beating each other bloody or stripping in Times Square. We want to create a balance with what some people find cute, and we never would want to play up cute. If some people find it that way, we're gonna accept who we are. We're not gonna change what we are. But again, we're not gonna portray that with, like, puppy dogs and kittens. We've used a lot of fake blood in music videos, and that's for a reason.
OK, you brought up the stripping-in-Times-Square video, "Lessons Learned." Were those real cops restraining you there?
Dude, it was. [Laughs] We actually had a number of real cops come up. We took six takes of that video. We took three with our clothes on as we practiced it and three without. There's so many police patrolling Times Square, even with just a big-ass camera, even when we had our clothes on, we got stopped a bunch of times. But luckily, we had permits. A permit. It wasn't totally legit, because we couldn't get a permit to shoot a music video. We did get a permit to shoot a promotional web video, and the description of what we were gonna do was "Two tourists walk through Times Square dressed inappropriately for the weather." And so we were able to keep out of any trouble.
Your music videos are amazing. So don't think you're film studies went to waste there.
I think, again, it comes to ideas. That was something after studying film. You get so hung up on the aesthetic and stuff like that and how things look and whatnot. But you've got to recognize --and something I learned and was willing to come to -- is that it's just about the idea. You got to stop worrying about the execution so much and just have a good idea to start, and I feel like so many music videos have no idea to start. It's like, "All right, we're just going to have the band play in a kinda cool-looking room, and we're gonna cut to this girl like doing what? I don't know." And there's just like no idea. We always just have a kind of idea to start.
So then I'll probably see you out there in Art Basel.
Look for me dancing on a bar top somewhere.
Matt and Kim. With Oberhofer. Friday, December 14. Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $20.50 to $25 plus fees vialivenation.com. All ages. Call 305-673-7300 or visit fillmoremb.com.
Follow Hans Morgenstern on Twitter @indieethos.
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