Matt and Kim, (Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino), bring magical things for fans—namely, their brand new album, New Glow, (out 4/7) and a headlining tour stopping by the NorVa on April 15th.
Need a fix before then? The Brooklyn duo’s first half, Matt, stopped by to talk pre-show rituals, what inspires them, and how they write music.
This is how Matt started the conversation. “It’s funny, I was looking at your name, and this year I decided I was gonna sign things, ‘Keep Slayin’—Matt’, and I looked it up and then I realized on Urban Dictionary that there’s a sexual side of that, but I think I’m still gonna go back to signing things because it’s pretty killer.”
With the debut of New Glow, Matt led onto what inspires them to write new music.
“Of course, it’s funny because this seems like a question I’ve answered a million times, but I haven’t. I say that what inspires us to do cool shit… it doesn’t have to be anything — it can be art or photography — I just think if people around us are making cool shit then we gotta do the same. We have a lot of bits and pieces that we record on our phones. It’s a collaging process, so if Kim is playing a beat during soundcheck or I play a melody, we record it on our phones. Whenever it’s decided, hey we’re gonna make music, we just go through those bits and pieces and put something together.”
He continued on the duo’s creative process when filming music videos. “When we go to make new videos, for example on the new album, I have a notes section in my phone that I use to write down notes for whenever I have cool ideas. In a way, I feel like most videos are too obvious. When you’re looking at the lyrics and searching for an idea — I’m not a fan of that. Instead of listening to the song a bunch of times and looking for something, I think, ‘Hey lets keep our minds open through life, and let’s make something from that.’ Write it down when you think of it, because you can’t decide when you’re coming up with a good idea.”
A guru of the music industry helped Matt develop this process.
“Once we had met with Rick Rubin at Columbia records, and he told me to do this with music,” Matt continues. “Rubin said you should always have a voice recorder on you, and he’d said he would send me one, and I didn’t really expect it — I thought he was just saying that. But then a fucking package comes from Rick Ruben with a voice recorder in it. So yeah, I rocked that thing for a while until technology kind of caught up and — that’s my suggestion, write everything down or record it.”
As far as pre-show warm ups and stage rituals, Matt & Kim have a unique way to prepare for a show.
“We seek out coffee shops, that’s the favorite thing to do. Exploring for coffee is our excitement. As a pre-show ritual, I have a standard vocal warm-up that I have to do but Kim — her drum warmup has nothing to do with her playing drums. She has a certain playlist that she has to dance out for like 15 minutes before we go on stage. To get her psyched up, bizarrely, on Beyonce’s Get Me Bodied (Extended Mix), she needs to go through the whole dance of dancing along to that song. Sometimes I need to ask her something and I try to interrupt her and she won’t take it — she will not be interrupted at that moment. She needs to make it through the entire song.”
If you want to see Matt and Kim perform at the Norva on April 15th, you can get tickets and show information at norva.com. Kim’s dancing, and a bit of Matt’s, is on display in the video for “Hey Now,” from New Glow, which sees her tearing it up at a waterfront park in Brooklyn. As Matt says, “Keep Slayin’.