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Matt and Kim bring indie sound to Tampa


Known by fans for their distinct music videos in which they tumble around in bed, get hit with food or run around Times Square naked, the electronic, indie-pop group Matt and Kim will be one of 10 bands to perform Saturday at the Coastline Festival.

The Brooklyn-based couple will be wrapping up their year-long tour during the festival and lead singer Matt Johnson spoke to The Oracle about their eclectic visual style, future album plans and thoughts on kicking off a brand new music festival.

The Oracle: You have a very unique sound that doesn’t really fit in any genre. How do you describe it?

Matt Johnson: We have struggled with a genre for a while. What we ended up landing on is an indie band. I think that is a genre, in a way. It’s got an indie flavor, but it’s music to not stand still to. We have never been like, “We want to sound like this band.” Kim and I are big fans of hip-hop and pop-punk and other indie stuff and dance music, and it’s just whatever happens when we try to make music together, is the sound that we are. 

O: You are known for your extremely unique videos, especially “Lessons Learned.” Where do you come up with such unique ideas? 

MJ: Most of the ideas involve Kim and me. We’re both connected in the idea of visuals. Kim went to school for illustration and was involved in fine arts stuff. I was in school for film and worked in film after college. So we always think very visually.  I think we had the benefit of when we started making music videos that we had no money to make them. 

The video for a song called “Yea Yeah” is just food being thrown at us for three and a half minutes. It ended up being really fun. We were able to make it for like no money, and there is a little more to it than that, but that is the basis of it. 

It led us on this path were we just think of the million-dollar ideas that we can make for like $1,000 rather than having the $1,000 ideas you make for a million bucks. 

So that sort of set up a way for us to come up with a way to come up with ideas that consist of one sentence, like “Matt and Kim beat up each other” or “Matt and Kim take their clothes off in Times Square” or “Matt and Kim do a choreographed dance in bed.” I can’t really explain where most of the ideas come from. 

O: You just released “Lightning” in 2012. Do you have any plans for an upcoming album?

MJ: Basically, we only have a handful more shows this year. The two shows in the Coastline Festival are our last two shows of the year. It’s the finale of a great year of touring. Then we take off the whole winter to write new music. I think we have a whole bunch of ideas, little bits and pieces we have recorded, sketched of songs. When we made our album “Lightning,” it was sort of the completion of “Grand” and “Sidewalks.” They are a little threesome. Now we want to do something a little different. 

O: What can fans expect from the next album?

MJ: One thing I am very intrigued by is less. I love the concept less is more. Songs that I love are always less. We have done a lot of albums purely by ourselves – self-produced, self-recorded. Now we want to work with different producers and DJs and people with different flavors and stir it up. We just want to experiment, but in the end still have it be Matt and Kim. 

O: How do you feel about being a part of the music festival’s opening year?

MJ: It always sets up precedence to start off a new festival, and I am happy to kick off that precedence. I think that what we bring to festivals. We’re lucky enough we get to play our share. We love the energy it creates – a lot of people coming out and wanting to hear new things, having their mind open to new stuff that maybe they hadn’t gone to the festival for. We long to bring a fun show. We hope to make this festival as fun as it can possibly be.

O: You guys play a lot of shows. How do you think this one will differ?

MJ: Being in Florida is its own thing in itself. We love doing shows there. We usually do five or six shows in Florida alone while we’re on tour. I have a certain hunger for good music coming through. Just like an attitude I like which is we love having a good time where the sun is out. We like to be physical and we like to get wild and that’s what we ask from our audience.

O: What should fans expect to see live?

MJ: A lot of fist pumping on my behalf and Kim spending half the time on her drums as much as she possibly can. We have a lot of little different bits and pieces we form together. We take pride in trying to make it a show that the audience doesn’t have to know a single song, and they still have a good time at.