Matt and Kim

Matt and Kim

Matt and Kim are tough. Actually, they’re not. They’re kind of skinny and look really Art School Confidential – actually, no. They just look cool and they’re Pratt graduates who became musicians after spending a lot of money to become artists.

They’re in a relationship, too.

Most couples who are as happy as Matt and Kim have a pleasant aura that disgusts people who do not have their own Matt or Kim. Well, a hater may think so. (Kim has a love, hate thing for haters, “the haters that eat away at me are the harsh comments like ‘Kim looks like a boy.’ Those kill me,” says Kim, who does not read blog comments anymore.)

Together, the couple look to their GPS to navigate their Chevy Astro, eat Subway –“it costs $5 for Matt and I to eat” – and make fantastic pop music that makes indie kids dance, again.

“We consider GPS a marriage counselor. I think any troubled couples should get GPS and it could solve their problems.”

Format: Most bands face humble beginnings. What are some odd situations you’ve encountered with lodging or food while working with a meager budget?
Kim: Well, last night we slept in the van and we’re eating at Subway, right now, because it costs $5 for Matt and I to eat. This tour that we’re on now, we’ve stayed in more hotels, because we brought someone along to help out. Usually, it’s just been me and Matt and it gets tough

Format: Matt and Kim tour in a Chevrolet Astro, a mini van that is classified as structurally unsafe by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Have Matt and Kim experienced mechanical failures with their Astro?
Kim: Wait, I have to tell Matt this. Man, well this van has done well for us in the last two years. I think we put 90,000 miles on it on it in the last two years. We had break problems two tours ago. The one thing that isn’t doing well is the air conditioning and it gets really rough when we’re down south. And now we’re driving, now I’m nervous!

Format: Matt and Kim are from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, an area that has several perceived conceptions by outsiders: only Jewish people live there and hipsters run the streets. What are the truths and what are the misconceptions of Williamsburg?
Kim: I feel that we’ve dealt with both. We used to live around Bed Stuy and it was mainly Hasidic Jews there, but now we live in Williamsburg and there is nothing but hipsters there. It’s funny, if friends come from out of town I’ll be like, ‘Is there nothing but 20-somethings around there?’ and they’re like yeah and I say you’re in the right area.

Format: Why is IHEARTCOMIX is a good record label fit for Matt and Kim?
Kim: We’re taking a break a break from touring and we’re going to write and record and we’re now looking for a new label.

“The haters that say ‘Kim can’t play drums and Matt can’t sing’; I love that hate…”

Format: A lot of bands face boarder problems when they tour. Have Matt and Kim experienced any disgruntled boarder patrol workers?
Kim: Matt and I were doing so much touring, but we would never go to Canada, because we were scared of crossing the boarder. We’re really bad at lying, well, not even lying. Before we were a band, we did a cross-country trip to work on a film he was doing. We were making our way up to the Grand Canyon. Down in New Mexico they have check points and we pull up to a check point with a guard asking us where we were. Both of us were blank and he’s like ‘Were you at the White Sands Desert?’ and we’re like yes, yes! Then he’s like ‘Where are you going? Are you going to the Grand Canyon?’ and we’re like yes, yes! After we freaked out about not lying or doing anything wrong we were really scared to go to Canada and put that off for a while. We just went there a few months ago and everyone was extremely nice to us.

Format: What are the challenges of being in a relationship with your band member?
Kim: We’ve been dating for five years. I think our only problem is when we get lost, but we solved that, because we have GPS, now. Before, we would argue when we were lost and late for a show. We consider GPS a marriage counselor. I think any troubled couples should get GPS and it could solve their problems.

Format: Your live shows are known for their high energy. Is it difficult to draw positive reactions from a crowd when both of you sit in front of your instruments?
Kim: Even though he’s sitting, he’s all over the place. Most of the time he falls off his stool – I think the crowd feels that. When we started playing we played mostly art spaces and we were always on the ground with the crowd. When the shows started to get bigger and we started to play venues, we moved to playing stages, but we play right up at the front to be as close as possible to the crowd.

Format: Matt’s singing voice is extremely unique. When and how did he discover the power in his voice?
Kim: When we started, like before we were Matt and Kim – when we were in our bedrooms recording – we recorded a practice and after listening to it Matt said, ‘We need to find a singer, I can’t do this!’ I think he thought the uniqueness of his voice may hurt the band, but we just went with it. Seems like people like it.

Format: In Election 2008, will an African-American, a female or a Republican become president elect?
Kim: I wish I knew the answer. I’m going to say African-American, well, we’re saying we hope so.

Format: This summer, Matt and Kim played Lollapalooza, for a crowd that was in the thousands. Do find it is harder to entertain a crowd that large?
Kim: We didn’t really expect anyone there to watch us. We were excited when – we played at 11:45 a.m. and there were a lot of people there! I think we played through shock at that show. I was a little worried about the larger festivals, but I really don’t feel there is a difference, because you can still see everyone.

Matt and Kim

Format: In a previous interview, Kim mentions that blogs had a great response, however, negative comments by what Matt calls “haters” used to get Matt and Kim down. How do Matt and Kim turn negative energy into positive?
Kim: There are a couple types of haters. Do you ever watch the comedian Cat Williams?

Format: No.
Kim: Cat Williams has this skit about how you need haters and if you don’t have haters you’re not doing a good job. Seeing that skit really helped me. The haters that say ‘Kim can’t play drums and Matt can’t sing’; I love that hate, because it fires me up and practice longer. Matt and I learned our instruments to start this band and we’re still learning. But the haters that eat away at me are the harsh comments like ‘Kim looks like a boy.’ Those kill me. I actually had to stop looking at them so much, because those bum me out. I love those, because they’re always anonymous ones. But it keeps you on your toes!

Format: There are always more people that like your work than haters who hate.
Kim: The funny thing, though, with all those great comments you get, it’s the haters you remember. I say keep them coming, because it means we’re doing something right.

Format: The Flosstradamus remix of “Yea Yeah” is great and the video for it may be greater. How did this collaboration come together?
Kim: For the remix, we’re good friends with them and that’s kind of how it came about. We love what they do and they love what we do, so it was a perfect match. The video was by a friend of ours. The stuff we shot was from a cable access show and it was just us on the show – we did a it a long time ago – and it kind of disappeared so we didn’t think anything of it, but we got an e-mail of a link to it and we used it.

Format: Did the little puppet have a name?
Kim: Hey Matt, did the puppet guy have a name? I don’t even know. It was really scary. That day of shooting I was completely uncomfortable. The fact of doing something on camera, like I feel we’re doing better with it, but, sometimes, when a camera is pointing at me I get a little uncomfortable.

Format: MTV must have really freaked you out then.
Kim: That was our first time in front of a camera and Matt was so nervous that he blacked out and didn’t remember any of it! That was really uncomfortable.

Format: With recent successes in Spin and MTV, has the Matt and Kim perspective on how they present themselves in public changed?
Kim: I don’t think so. We’re Matt and Kim on stage and out and about we’re Matt and Kim. You can talk to us at a show or if you see us on the street you can come and talk to us. I hope that never changes.

“Matt was so nervous that he blacked out…”

Format: Why not Kim and Matt?
Kim: I wanted it Matt and Kim. Graphically, it looks better. And, also, on stage, I don’t like to talk and Matt becomes chatty. In a social situation, I’m the talkative one and Matt is quiet. I think Matt and Kim rolls off your tongue.

Format: You do art, too. What’s going on with that?
Kim: For the past year, I haven’t had time, unfortunately. We’ve been touring so much that we’re usually home for only two weeks at a time. It sucks, because when things start going well and other things start going well, but you can’t manage both – it seems suddenly, I was asked to be in a lot of art shows, but I only have old work. When we take this break to write and record I hope to have time to go back in the studio.

Format: You’re both Pratt graduates. A lot of Format interviewees are from School of Visual Arts. What’s better, Pratt or SVA?
Kim: Oh it’s definitely Pratt, hands down! Actually when I transferred to Pratt, I was looking at other schools and Pratt has a campus and I feel it has more of a community. SVA is like going into a building and not interacting with the other majors. I feel that you can learn a lot from interaction. And Pratt’s campus is beautiful.

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Matt and Kim

Kemp Illups

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