Straight out of Brooklyn, duo Matt and Kim are heading to the Windy City. Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino grew out of the indie-music scene years ago but still are creating homemade tunes. Their fifth album, New Glow, was released this year with single "Get It."
They have supported tours for My Chemical Romance, Blink-182 and Passion Pit. They now head out to headline as well as opening for selected dates in Europe for the popular rock band Fall Out Boy.
Windy City called up Matt before the two arrive in Chicago.
Windy City Times: How are you, Matt?
Matt Johnson: Great. I am flying out to Vermont tonight for a couple of shows to try some new stuff out. These are some warm-up shows before the tour starts. How is Chicago?
WCT: The weather is all over the place but we are warming it up for your arrival.
Matt Johnson: We will bring the heat, don't worry!
WCT: How did the band come together in the beginning?
Matt Johnson: We first got together in a romantic sense. As the kids would say, "I hit it," in that sense. Kim wanted to learn how to play drums. I had played in bands before but I had never tried to sing in a band. It was all by accident. She was my girlfriend and learning the drums. I played the keyboards. My friend heard we could play and made us play a show with his band.
WCT: It must be easier to have only two people to manage, as opposed to a full band.
Matt Johnson: I think so. I have played in bands with five guys and it was impossible to get everyone together at the same time. When me and Kim started out we had no money. We had a cheap practice space time as long as we practiced from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. It was really hard to rock out in the morning: Let me tell you that. One of us would just nudge the other in bed to wake up and go practice. It is definitely easier to wrangle the troops.
WCT: Are you two compared to The Ting Tings?
Matt Johnson: I think two-member band comparisons will always happen. I think [we] and The White Stripes couldn't sound more different. They were something that made a two-person band make sense to a lot of people's parents.
WCT: How was playing with Cyndi Lauper at Home for the Holidays?
Matt Johnson: There was a connection through our managers, so we have known Cyndi Lauper for a little bit. Kim grew up on Cyndi Lauper and wanted to shave one side of her head, dye it and be her in those videos. Then we got in a position where she comes to our shows and hangs out. We were invited to play the Home for the Holidays show.
The cause I am very happy to support, but I was unaware of the amount of homeless LGBT youth out there. There are so many teenagers and I had no idea of that number of people it affected. It was a heavy subject. Susan Sarandon did the intro with a very striking introduction for us. We are a very upbeat band that jumps around a lot.
While the cause is dark this event was a celebration of people coming together and acknowledging that people want to do something to help and donate money. It was tough after Susan's intro that was very deep and heartfelt to come out and jump around. I thought maybe we should reel it back, but we were obviously very happy to be there and support.
WCT: You must have a bigger LGBT fan base after that.
Matt Johnson: I hadn't heard a lot back right after that, but I am glad that you noticed us there.
WCT: Let's talk new music. Do you own many hoodies that inspired the song "Hoodie On?"
Matt Johnson: In fact I do, but at the same time that song was written because Kim just has one hoodie. It is the same one she got at a cheap department store for five bucks years and years ago when we were playing basements and warehouses. She is still wearing that same hoodie when we play late-night television and festival main stages. That song stems from if someone finds a little success not changing who they are as a person. I can't believe it is the same damn sweatshirt that she has had for 10 years!
WCT: Is the single "Get It" attempting to capture the live performance?
Matt Johnson: I think so, just given the fact that at our live show there is so much that involves hip-hop and electronic music. It is basically whatever we can make energetic and fun. That was something we hadn't put on many records. While we hadn't released something like that it has been part of our band for years and years.
WCT: What was the inspiration behind "Not Alone?"
Matt Johnson: A lot of our songwriting is done by making 10-second parts of songs. I can do that all day where I just make a chord progression with a beat and a melody. The ones that strike me the most we continue on and make it into a song. I made that vocal sample which is what the choruses are. I just said to Kim, 'Wouldn't this be awesome if this were a Matt and Kim song?" Sometimes we write stuff and it is too far out to be a Matt and Kim song even though I like to think we can do whatever song we want to do. We try not to be in a box and sound a certain way. We just made that song one of our own.
WCT: How does it feel hearing your songs on TV like on Community and Entourage?
Matt Johnson: It is always confusing. Kim won't even notice it is our song. It is so weird out of context. We are so used to playing it in the studio or onstage that we don't expect it to be in a trailer in the movie theater!
Look for Matt and Kim in our neck of the woods May 21 at the Riviera Theatre. Visit www.mattandkimmusic.com to follow the dynamic duo today .