Feature: Music & Gaming: Matt Johnson, Matt & Kim
Written Monday, May 11, 2009 By James Parkin
Matt & Kim. Who are they? Well, they're a duo from Brooklyn, New York who're starting to appear in all sorts of things. From video games, to TV commercials. Lets take some time to hear a little more from the band.
First off, can you start by giving us a bit of history on Matt and Kim?
Well I mean, Kim and I have known each other for years… about three years before we played any music with each other. We were seeing each other for that amount of time, and then sort of by accident because Kim was trying to figure out how to use this drum set that she was given, and I was trying to figure out how to use this cool keyboard I had found and we just started doing that together. Then a friend of ours found out and made us play a show, we were like, “We don’t have any songs… We don’t even have a band name”. We were just two people screwing around in our bedroom; we just got listed as our names. Except for at the time “Kimberly and Matthew” they listed us as, but we kind of shortened it and switched it around. Then we started traveling really early on, and just never stopped.
Well we were trying to come up with a band name for a long time, it’s just so frickin hard. The one closest one we got to was “The Scream Team”
Well, funny enough, when Kim was a little kid maybe you know 6 or 8, I don’t know, pretty young. Her and her brother and a couple of her friends had a fake band where I believe Kim played the tennis racket, and her brother sang into the pool cue and they called themselves “The Scream Team”.
I think the inspiration to make, I don’t know, to be doing this is part of it I think is just a lot of people we know who are doing rad stuff. I think when people who are around you that are doing cool stuff no matter what. You know, what that’s involved in, like whether its music or I know a lot of people who do film stuff, that’s what I went to school for, or writing, photography, whatever. You know, when they do rad stuff, you’re just like, ‘Man, why am I sitting around? I need to do rad stuff too!” It keeps you working hard.
Well, I find it that bands that defines genre, or music that can appeal to all different kinds of genres I find really inspiring. Like when that song “Crazy” by Gnarles Barkley came out, kids loved it, parents loved it. You could hear it at the club or you could hear it at the grocery store. Kim and I have been lucky in that we haven’t been cornered into one specific type of show to play. We’ve toured with hip hop acts, punk rock bands, DJs. Basically whenever people go out to dance and have a good time. I think that’s more important than the musical genre, just that sort of vibe.
I can’t think of a best... we really liked being on tour with Against Me, that was really fun. But like, there’s a band called BEST FWENDS that we toured with that we brought along with us. They were just so fun and so phenomenal. I don’t know, we’ve been lucky to tour with a lot of people we really enjoy. We did shows with Cool Kids, who is a hip hop act we love. Girl Talk, who’s a DJ people just go buck wild for.
Most Rock n Roll Thing? On the road Kim and I tend to... Well, I guess we loosen up here and there. I don’t know, people tend to be like “Ah yeah, you gotta come to this after party it’s going to be sick” and Kim will be like, “Oh yeah, we’ll totally be there, just look for us we’ll be in the front dancing!” Then I’ll just and be like “Kim, I need to go to bed. I can’t handle this.”
I know I know. I’m really a big fan of sleep. I get a lot of sleep, well, I try to get a lot of sleep… unfortunately I don’t.
Well, I guess somehow through our manager and his longtime friend at Artwerk. There was someone he vouched for at their UK office and he was like “I would trust anything in my life to this fellow here.” That’s so important in this day and age because you talk to these different people and you don’t know what they want from you and what they want you to do. You get into these things early and you sign a contract and you know, how many times have things gone downhill so quick for bands. But there was someone running this office that our manger had known for years and felt so good about that it just felt like a good business relationship to start like that.
*laughs* Well, we haven’t been delivered that yet, so we’ll see. Lets see, what will be the first thing?
Okay, here’s one thing on top of the wish list. Health insurance.
I think we’ll put that, or drop that right. Kim and I have banked true success when we have health insurance. So I think that’ll be out first goal.
Well I mean, we’re just looking for someone that, you know it’s cool they’re different… you know they have these different… we like anything that’s outside of the box in a way. I mean, they have ties into actually our publishing, which is… wait. I mean… Artwerk, yeah, that is… they are our publishing company as well. Wait, I was thinking Netwerk for a second… I get confused, Netwerk is the label we’re not in much though, in Europe. Then Artwerk is our publishing. But we released out album here in the US on XXX. But Artwerk because they’re part of EA, a video game company, they have these new connections to these new media forums, you know. In this day and age you can’t expect everything to be how it was 10 or 5 years ago. And people who are their business plan is build on more forward thinking than trying to keep older things alive. Like the fact that to utilize or blood related stuff, like video game stuff now, I don’t know. I guess to think in new media terms.
Well, no, I think it’s cool to get involved in the video game stuff and the whole other world where it’s becoming I don’t know. A lot of people when they think of video games they think back to the 8-bit Super Mario Brothers and the Nintendo thing and how it’s such an outlet these days. So many bands… oh sorry I’m getting a little distracted here. Wait... um... but uh... But I mean again, that’s not the only thing, you know, now that were talking about Artwerk and early I thought you were talking about Netwerk but yeah there’s a lot of people at Artwerk again that our managers really have been connected with for a long time. And just again finding someone just finding that place that we feel comfortable and we trust and it’s exciting and it’s not tumbleweeds rolling around the offices and no one at the reception desk because we’ve seen that thing in the record industry at a couple companies now. And just places that’re still growing and building new waves. More or less it just seemed like a good partner all around.
We recently got a Wii, so only on the side of drinking and having fun with more amateurism games. You know there’s obviously way different levels of games but were a big nature gaming variety. I’ve been addicted to playing Touch Grind on my iPod Touch.
We spend like nine months out of the year on the road so we’re hardly home.
I mean, I think that’s like, just thinking about, you know, I’ve played things like Tony Hawk games where you hear the same songs SO many times, but if the song fits right and whatever it just keeps working. You just never have to turn the sound off. I like the idea; it’s one of the true tests of your music. Like, will this be too much for people hearing this so much, or will it be like something that just fits, just works. It’s amazing thinking of those numbers, it hadn’t even occurred to me.
We’ve discussed a thing of two, so there is plans, but I don’t know at what extent I’m allowed to discuss that.
Of what sort?
Well, I will peruse, my… I have a bunch of stuff I’ve just been dabbling with little pieces with this and that. Maybe I can find a little piece. I can’t guarantee, but I’ll definitely check.
It seems today that if you just make good material it gets respected. Before, ten years ago, if you wanted world wide distribution you had to have all these suits behind you, you had to be Brittney Spears, whatever. It wasn’t the people who decided what they wanted to hear, it was someone in an office who decided. These days, you just put it on the internet like a MySpace page and you have world wide distribution.
So like, as long as you do that. But I think the real deal clincher, just as much as being on the internet; you’re not real until you’re in person. Like travelling and doing shows. Kim and I, we started doing that early on. Playing in basements of houses for five people, then coming back and playing to fifteen, and then coming back and playing for one-hundred. Just have your goal to be always having fun. I think the second people decide they have this goal, like; this is where I need to be next year. You’re just setting yourself up for possible disappointment. But if you’re just enjoying every small success along the way, having more people at the show, hearing your first song on the radio, whatever. All of those are successes, just enjoy all that and keep moving.
Wait just a free form?
Yeah, just convince people why we should listen to your album.
Well... We’ve just... Okay, let me start again. Kim and I… I know I’ve never worked so hard on something in my life as I did on our album Grand. In so many ways, we did all the technical aspects ourselves just because we wanted this album to be completely us. From working in the winter cold in an attic that had no heat in it in Vermont in zero degree weather, to sweating in my bedroom in my New York in August mixing this thing since we had no air conditioning. It just, the things you worked hard on feel like they pay off the most in the end. I’m just really proud of it.
Well, they’re all my babies, I can’t have a favorite. But I think right now, one that deserves some appreciation is um... a song called uh... uh… oh my gosh... “I’ll Take Us Home.” *Kim’s voice in the background* I’m on a little muscle relaxers; Kim wanted me to mention that. I’m a little out of it due to that back injury I mentioned earlier. But yeah, there’s a song called “I’ll Take Us Home”, the tenth song on the album, that I think is just a really well put together song. But it’s not something we’ll push as a single or anything any time soon. I just think it should get some respect.
Thank you very much.