Heidi interviews: Matt & Kim

Things don’t always go to plan. This morning, resident interviewer, Heidi Greenwood and I were trying to run on schedule juggling two interviews. In between a mass of emails, drafts and daily errands we somehow managed to pull it off … well, at least one. In this interview, Heidi chats with Matt from the Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim, where you’ll learn about their film clips, Kim’s smile and that amazing show at McCarren Pool in New York City.

Matt & Kim

Photo: Tod Seelie

Heidi: So you will be gracing our shores again in May. What do you have in store for your Australian fans and what are you most looking forward to upon your return?

Matt: What we’d have in store (I’d hope) would be our dance party. Last time we were there in January 2008, every city we were going to we wanted to do all ages shows and it was difficult to find spaces that was willing to have all ages shows. In Brisbane, we ended up doing a show at this pool but it was raining and we moved the show to the women’s locker room – it was pretty memorable.

H: I noticed the inner sleave of Grand was full of amazing photos. It seems you both capture that essence of fun in everything you do, as if it’s contagious. What was the last spontaneous thing either of you have done?

M: I’m not quite sure. It’s funny that rock ‘n’ roll has scheduled my life more than it’s ever been.

H: That’s pretty ironic.

M: Yeah definitely. I know where I’m gonna be and where I’m gonna be touring and never in my life did I ever know what I was going to be doing six months from then.

H: I know what you mean. You’ve avoided the 9-to-5 but still you’re on a schedule that’s probably tighter and more substantial.

M: The only other job I had before this was working in the film industry – a freelance job – so sometimes I’d get work and sometimes I wont but it was actually stressful. So this is probably the most successful job.

H: It’s probably better that way.

M: I have no complaints about that.

H: I just saw one of your interviews at SXSW and you mentioned that you didn’t intend the “Daylight” video to be, as it is apparently come across to be, pretty adorable. Did you work with Micah Perta on the concept for the video?

M: We didn’t realise at all that it was gonna be cute or adorable.

H: It seems that its really influenced by Jan Von Holleben’s photographs – have you seen those?

M: Oh the back-end part?

H: Yeah. I guess that’s why it makes it so cute.

M: When the director showed me (vaguely) the ideas for it, he showed me some of those photographs and the whole sideways plane kinda thing. But we didn’t want to the whole video like that. We just thought it’d be a better part to the end. We thought the rest of the video would be like uncomfortable.

You know the way Kim and I are, is that we’re gonna be honest and be ourselves and you know we could just have fun with it.

H: It did look pretty uncomfortable in that freezer there.

M: Yeah it was. You see, I know the difference in Kim’s smiles, which are, she smiles when she’s happy, she smiles when she’s terrified and she smiles when she’s uncomfortable. Like when we were in that dumpster, we got told it was a clean dumpster but it wasn’t even with large pieces of garbage thrown out of it but there was still a thick layer of who knows what.

H: So that smile would’ve been a this-is-really-disgusting smile in an awkward kinda way?

M: Yeah that was the disgusted smile. When the director called cut, she literally just took flight out of there.

H: You could do like a psychological chart to the levels of Kim’s smiles and what they actually mean.

M: It’s funny though because when she’s really terrified, she starts to do this really squeaky seal kinda laugh like “he-he-he-he-he-he”. I took her to see this film once, like a horror movie one time, and she was so scared (she hates scary movies) that she started laughing. Like people were getting cut up and like, “who’s that fucked up girl laughing up the back?!”

H: At least it’s better than frowning all the time.

M: Definitely!

H: So I know you are both part of an incredible and pretty energetic creative network in Brooklyn. With all that talent around, do you find it inspiring; does it keep you driven or do you find it daunting sometimes?

M: It sort of is this art school competitiveness but in a healthy kinda way. Like when your friends are doing rad stuff, like we gotta be doing rad stuff or better, even if its in music, writing, photography or art. Just making cool things happen…especially in New York.

H: I read about your show at McCarren pool and I only wished I was there. It seemed like that was a pivotal show for the both of you. Tell us about that experience being backed by dancers, a big band and that “Crazy in Love” dance.

M: Oh man. We played with a college band from upstate New York and they usually do just political rallies but we let them do their own thing, so they did “Crazy in Love” and Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Push It”. It was really fun. And Kim’s been obsessed with marching bands and drum lines. We’ve watched that movie “Drumlines” like a million times. This gig we were doing at McCarren Pool held 5000 people and we thought we should do something special with it, so she called them up. It’s crazy to go from just the two of us to twenty-seven. That experience was just something else. The two little girls Kim used to nanny for before we did the band full-time, were on-stage dancing and the sun was out and this pool I used to go swimming in for the past 10 years, it was just weird turning into modern ruins. And later that night we played another show with Dillinger Four and Circle Jerk – punk bands that I liked when I was a kid.

Matt & Kim at McCarren Park

Photo: Tod Seelie

H: It was like the perfect day.

M: Yeah pretty much.

H: Brooklyn always churns out amazing new musicians. Is there a band or musician you would recommend to look out for in the near future?

M: That’s a good question.

H: There’s just so many.

M: One of my favourite bands who’ve been around for quite some time (and they’ve toured Australia) is this band called Japanther. They’re a band that gave Kim her first drum kit and they’re a band I’ve seen more than any other band – I really enjoy watching them play. But a lot bands from Brooklyn are making it out there you know, like High Places.

H: And I’m pretty sure I’m speaking for all of your Australian fans that we’re really excited that you guys are coming back and I’m sure you’ll have some huge shows down here.

M: I can’t wait. We’ve had very good Australian ambassadors lately as we’ve been on tour with Cut Copy.

H: Yeah I was just about to ask about that. That probably means you’ve probably picking up some Australian slang and colloquialisms.

M: We’re trying. We know that flips flops are thongs and what are those surf jocks are called? Is it bogan?

H: Oh no, no. They’re like rednecks.

Make sure you catch them on their upcoming tour. There will definitely be some serious fun had.


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