when I discovered Matt and Kim, the tantalizing twosome known for their crazy concerts and festival feels, cool was the first thing that came to mind.
However, when it comes to the Brooklyn duo’s shows, cool is quite the understatement. Try awesome. But after Kim tore her ACL during a performance in Mexico (ouch), both Matt and Kim were forced to take a year-long hiatus from the stage. Not awesome. One year, one well-again Kim, and one album later, they have come out of “retirement” to tour across the U.S. with a new, personal touch.
The Woodie-winning band fully releases its sixth album, Almost Everyday, in May with three of its songs already available. Houstonia talked with Matt about the duo's new tour ahead of their concert next week on April 13 at White Oak Music Hall.
Y'all have been around since way back in 2004. How your sound changed over those 14 years?
Damn! I haven’t really thought about it being 14 years. When we started out, we really didn’t know what we were doing. Kim had never played drums. I didn’t play keyboard. I had never really sang in a band. We were just listening to our early EP recently; I was singing in such a high-pitched voice; I don’t know how I didn’t lose my voice every time I opened my mouth. It was insane. It was cool, though! It had a cool sound, but I didn’t understand what my range was. Then we understood better what we were doing by trial and error. I was losing my voice a lot, so I stopped singing so high up. Kim would play more and more drums, and she got more comfortable at that.
But I always said I was annoyed by bands that mature over time. I always said I want to get more immature. Five years ago, that was my outlook: Don’t mature too much as a band. My brother says you can always tell a Matt and Kim song because, Matt, you have just not gotten any better at the piano! But not in a bad way. I’ve always kept it very simple.
For a band that is known for touring, how was that year-and-a-half hiatus?
It was really weird. My entire adult life I’ve been on the road doing shows. It felt like I was retired. I've never taken more than a couple months when we were making an album to get on the road. It felt that was another life of mine, “Hey, do you remember when we used to travel around and live in New York?” It just felt like another life, but it also felt like in that movie It’s a Wonderful Life where you get a perception of what your life would be like if things were different. You get an even better respect for what you have.
You and Kim are both a musical duo and a couple. What influence does being in a relationship have on your music?
For a long time, we never wrote a song that could be considered a love song. We didn’t want to be a couple singing to each other on stage. We didn’t want to be Sonny and Cher, not that I don’t like Sonny and Cher! Only in the last album and a couple of new songs coming up did we ever write what we could considered a love song, or at least the Matt and Kim version of it. We just released a song, Happy If You’re Happy, that I wrote about Kim after a tough year she had. It felt real, true and honest, and I’m bummed for it to take that long to touch on it. I just thought everyone would be like, “Ugh! They’re too cute this couple who’s smiling and singing songs about each other.”
Why do you consider this your most personal album?
We’ve been really lucky in those 14 years. We’ve wrote from a more positive place. Last year, Kim got injured on stage, and it was a long recovery year for her. I felt like we just wrote from more of a therapeutic place. It feels good to get things off your chest. When you think about therapy, that’s as personal as you can get. When you’re really just talking about those feelings. That’s why think is more personal than other stuff.
A lot of people were probably introduced to your music through Community, the sitcom featuring people like Joel McHale, Alison Brie, and Donald Glover. What was going through your head in terms of where you were going as a band?
At that time, we were very concerned with what selling out was. We had those couple of songs in Community, and we got asked if we wanted to submit for the theme song. Now knowing how cool [Community creator] Dan Harmon’s stuff is, I can’t believe him I gave him such garbage. But at the time we were just a young Brooklyn band getting respect from Pitchfork and BrooklynVegan. My whole outlook on it changed. I’m so thankful for all these shows and movies to have taken a chance on us and how much it’s helped us incredibly. But at the time, we were just young and dumb. I’m sorry Dan for the garbage I gave you.
Speaking of where you see yourselves, one of your news songs is titled Where Do We Go From Here. Where do you see you and Kim going from here?
I can’t believe this is our sixth album, and that it’s been 14 years. This time it felt really honest. It felt so honest that it came out a lot easier. I think that was a learning experience this far in. Don’t try to make songs that you think could maybe work on radio or something like that. Just make songs that feel really honest to you. That’ll be the most satisfying thing. We’re out here playing shows, and after taking a forced year-and-a-half off of shows, we really missed it.
Tickets $30. White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N Main St. 713-237-0370. More info and tickets at stubwire.com.