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Matt & Kim Make the Best NSFW Videos Ever

Matt & Kim
Matt & Kim
Caleb Kuhl

Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino do whatever they want. They play with whatever kind of bands they want, they get naked in videos, they do the "Harlem Shake," and they picked a band name, Matt & Kim, that immediately establishes their singular style of indie/pop.

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-Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim Talks SB 1070, Fighting Kim, and Getting Naked in Times Square

Up on the Sun: I almost went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where you and Kim both went to school and met. I was always interested in an arts school on the collegiate level. Around 2007 or 2008, I found you guys.

Matt Johnson: That's awesome you were there basically during that time. I think it so much defines everything -- what this band is all about. I mean, how do you grow from playing at parties and still continue the party as you play at bigger and bigger places?

Did you really record your first record for Fader, Grand , in your childhood bedroom?

Oh, yeah! [Laughs] Oh, yeah! My parents never took down all my skateboarding posters that were all over the walls. My bed still had a Thunder Cats pillowcase on it, right there. Now we have a gold record on the wall from that. I did not expect that. I mean, we did that in Vermont in January, freezing as well, because there's no heat in the bedroom.

You guys have really evolved. I can't deny how fucking hilarious and awesome your "Harlem Shake" video is. Whose idea was it to come up with this YouTube hit?

I've been a fan of Baauer and that song for a while, before [the viral craze]. I was just looking at some website and a thing came up and I remember seeing, "Head hog does the Harlem Shake." I was like, "What the hell is this?" That video was just stupid. [Laughs]. But then I saw a whole bunch of other fun ones. Kim was like, "We should do this on stage, tonight." And we did. Within an hour after we did it, it went online.

It's hysterical. Probably my favorite one. Now, I don't know why a box is on your head and Kim starts off texting and then just loses it later. No, but seriously why a box?

Well, the box, I mean when I was watching it, everyone was wearing a helmet to begin with in the videos. I had no helmet on tour. I checked in my closet on the bus and that bin had all my socks and underwear in it, so I just emptied it out. "This will work!"

The box almost fell off in the video but you caught it.

[Laughs] Yeah!

 

You guys are great at music videos. "Lessons Learned" is a great one. Why -- in such cold weather -- did y'all decide to strip in Time Square?

Oh, no . . . Temporary insanity, I guess. Actually, it was an idea I came up with. It took me forever to try and get Kim to do it. I had wanted to do it for like three months, but she finally okayed it. It was February in New York. I say, a man is not to the extent of his manhood while in the freezing cold in public.

That's hilarious that Kim had to okay it and she managed to strip well before you did. She seemed pretty thrilled.

She probably just wanted to get it over with, more or less.

Who came up with this choreography in "It's Alright?" You guys are drumming on each other's asses, doing the dougie in bed, and sex positions are displayed.

Well there was a choreographer, Myisha Dunn. She has worked with people like Sean Paul and Beyoncé and all this stuff we love. Real kind of booty-shaking stuff. We weren't looking for a modern dance kind of thing, but she was really open to the aspect of what would make this really [fit with] Matt & Kim. So we were encouraging funny things like riding the pillows.

You guys are playing Ultra Festival. I think it's awesome, but the festival typically features EDM music. Do you see those worlds growing closer together?

It is interesting yes, considering because it's more electronic-based. In the end we take a lot of cues from DJs and we have varied elements of electronic music within our band, even though we're a live band. Where we make most sense is where people want to jump around and go crazy. Where we make least sense is where people just want to stand around and look at their shoes. So sometimes bands that people would think, "That makes sense in an indie world that they would play together," but it's very laid back and that's not where we make sense. We make sense wherever it's just like, people want to get wild. We've toured with punk bands back earlier on even. People are always wondering how that's going to work and we're like, "No, we just need to be with bands that people want to get wild with."

Matt & Kim are scheduled to perform Saturday, March 9 at the Marquee Theatre.


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Marquee Theatre

730 N. Mill Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-829-0707

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