Posted On 18 May 2015
Last month, the Brooklyn-based duo, Matt and Kim, released their latest full-length album entitled “New Glow”.
On “New Glow”, Matt and Kim, aka Matt Johnson (vocals & keyboards) and Kim Schifino (drums) put together undeniably catchy beat-driven anthems with hooks that just don’t stop and just won’t leave your head.
“The best era of music is right now and I believe we’re doing our best work yet.” says Matt.
Learn more about this talented duo in the following interview:
Thanks so much for answering a few questions for All Access Music! Where does this interview find you today?
We are in Brooklyn at home! -k
Can you remember the moment that you decided to form this band? Was there ever a time that you wanted to do something else?
This band happened by accident. I went to go see The Dickies play and I don’t know why it was that show but as I was watching them perform I leaned over to my friend Jordin and I said “I am going to learn how to play drums.” I think he laughed at me. My friend Ian gave me a hand-me-down drum set that I set up in our bedroom. He didn’t have everything so I used a floor tom as a kick drum and a high hat stand to hold the crash. As I started messing around with the drums, Matt had a keyboard he wanted to figure out. (He played guitar and bass in different bands) So we started playing together.
Ian’s band Japanther was playing a show and Ian said “you guys are playing this show” We tried to tell Ian we weren’t a band. I didn’t even know what I was doing. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. We didn’t have a band name so someone (I think it was Todd P) put us down as Matthew and Kimberly. Shit I am only called Kimberly if i am in a ton of trouble. So afterwards we changed it to Matt and Kim. So like I said it all happened kind of as an accident. At the time Matt was working on film jobs and I was nannying and making art at night. I feel like for the first few years we still didn’t consider ourselves a band. -Kim
You two live together and you’re basically around each other every minute. Do you guys ever get sick of each other?
Ha! This is going to sound nauseating but we get along really well. We spend basically all our time together and I don’t know why but we don’t get sick of each other. We can be on tour for 6 weeks and when we come home it’s not like we do different things or go different places. We just keep hanging out. Back when we toured in a van we would get snippy with each other whenever we got lost… but then we got GPS and that solved that. Man I thought putting the van part in would make it less nauseating but i don’t think it helped. -Kim
Let’s talk about your brand new album, New Glow. How is this collection of music different then anything else you’ve released? In the past three years since your last album release, how do you think your sound has changed?
When we went into this album, we weren’t trying to make an album. We decided we were only going to make songs, and release them one at a time. (but of course that changed) This was cool cause it took the pressure off of making a whole album and we could just think about one song at a time. Really focus on it and try to make it great. So I think music on “New Glow” became quite diverse in its style from song to song… and because of that I think we were able to make a body of work that best represented what our live show is like. Cause we touch on anything that can makes your ass shake! -Matt
What was the inspiration behind the album’s lead single, “Get It”?
We had made a 10 second loop which is the main drum and sampler part of the song. I remember saying “this sounds so cool, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could make it a Matt and Kim song?” Because sometimes we work on stuff and it ends up being a little too out there to put structure to it, but in the end, the song became very us. -Matt
What do you hope the overall message of this album is to listeners?
Hmm that’s tough. As always we want it to be something that is fun to listen to. While there is a lot of great darker music out there, tackling that isn’t our path. We feel like if we can get the people around us excited, just excited in general… it might give them more energy to tackle whatever it is they need/want to do. -Matt
What do you think has been your biggest career accomplishment to date?
This is hard to answer because luckily for us we have had a gradual grow from the beginning and we have never set goals for ourselves. We take things as they come. In the beginning it was just playing shows. Like I said before, we were never trying to be a band so the fact that we started playing shows was an accomplishment. Then a friend said you should tour…. We thought we aren’t really a band but we tried it and it was awesome. We toured a lot and every time we came back to a town more and more people would come out. That was an accomplishment. But I hope I will never take for granted the accomplishment that I get to make music for a living. It really is a dream come true.
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a couple of your live shows and there were insanely energetic. How do you guys keep up the energy for your shows? Oh and whose idea was it to release all those balloons?!
The energy we have happens based on two thing.
We love playing shows.
The crowd goes nuts and we feed off that energy. It’s not about just the energy of two people on stage, it’s about the energy of 3,002 people in a venue or 40,002 people at a festival!
As for the balloons… I don’t remember why we started bringing balloons. We did use to blow them up ourselves and it would take hours. Then one day Matt’s parents came to see us play and Matt’s mom said why don’t you ask the crowd to blow them up. We have been doing that ever since. -Kim
Living or dead, who would you two love to work with and why?
Mine is easy… T.I. He is one of my favorite artists. I also think he is hot! -Kim
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
I feel like when you always remember the stuff that is awful and maybe it isn’t awful but when it is happening you are thinking “what the fuck!” Back many years ago when Matt and I used to tour just to two of us in a van we were once driving through… I think it was Indiana. I was driving and Matt was sleeping on the back bench. We got pulled over. The cop asked if he could search our van and I said sure. One smart thing we’ve done while touring is never have anything in the van that could fuck you! I guess this goes for everyday life. So I knew I had nothing to worry about and if the cop searched the van he was only going to find a bunch of pee bottles. (Matt pees a lot) I was actually excited cause he was bringing out the sniffer dog and we love dogs. I didn’t realize you aren’t allowed to touch these dogs till after the dog came out. So the guy keeps pushing the dog into our van and the dog keeps coming out ….cause there is nothing in our van. Then he puts the dog away and walks over to us with his hand cupped. Now this is the crazy part… he shows us what looks like dirt and leaves mixed with cheerios and he says “I found this weed in your van. I will forget about it if you show me what is in all those boxes” Ok first… Indiana what are you guys smoking… seriously does dirt, leaves and cheerios gets you high? I was so confused. We told the cop, it’s our band’s t-shirts. Now we have everything on the side of a highway like it’s a massive yard sale. We open all the boxes and the cops sees that it is just Matt and Kim shirts. Then he says “Alright you are good to go and let me just tell you that you two are the nicest people I ever pulled over.” Then he left with Matt and I standing amongst all of our gear and merch on the side of the highway. We just stood there a minute so confused. Then we packed the van back up and got the fuck out of Indiana before another cop tried to bust us for dirt, leaves and cheerios.
Something weird? Oh like the time I drank Matt’s pee on tour… twice… by accident. The time we out ran a tornado. We once drove 4 hours to San Diego with broken breaks (that was really stupid but hey we made it in time to play!) The list goes on… Man, one day we should write out all of these stories. I would call it “The dumb shit Matt and Kim get themselves into!” or something like that. -Kim
Where have been some of your all-time favorite venues to play at? And what about a favorite crowd so far?
That is hard to say because it all changes. The past few years we have been doing more festivals than venue shows and they all vary in a way. Festivals are amazing for us. You can play to tons of people that know you and also to people that have never heard you before and we take great pride in the fact that you can have an awesome time at a M&K set even if you’ve never heard one of our songs. But then playing theaters and venues is more intimate and sometimes you can play to a room where it feels like everyone in there knows every world to each of your songs. Favorite crowd is whoever goes fucking nuts and it usually happens at every show! Like I said before… we are ridiculously lucky. -Kim
When you guys aren’t writing new material, recording or touring, what do you like to do for fun?
Hmm I can’t remember. We really haven’t stopped from doing the above in a really long time. We are taking a break this week for Matt’s birthday and will head snowboarding with friends. Well I say snowboarding… Matt will be snowboarding and I will be falling down a mountain. -Kim