In The Middle with Matt and Kim

With several million views on YouTube, over 34 thousand subscribers, and many huge festival shows under their belt, Brooklyn based indie-pop duo Matt and Kim plan to take over the UK as they embark on their UK tour supporting Fall Out Boy. We talk to Matt Johnson about festivals, their upcoming tour and their fans.

When you imagine the support band for Fall Out Boy, indie synth pop isn’t necessarily the first thing that might come to mind. Matt understands this from the outset “we might have a differing sound to Fall Out Boy however we’re here to bring a big show and have a lot of fun.” Big shows and lots of fun seems to be what Matt and Kim do best. Their lyric video for their single “Get It” gives audiences a teaser of what to expect from a Matt and Kim show. To put it lightly they’re not a band who necessarily like to stay behind the safety of the microphone stand. Cut from videos of festival sets and shows from around the globe it really expresses the reach their music has. In Matt’s own words they are keen to “show love to every territory”. The electricity of their shows, filled with energy and enthusiasm, shines through in the “Get It” video as audiences clamour to be a part of the show. And both Matt and Kim are more than willing to get involved with the crowd. Matt reminisces his most memorable festival moment at Bonaroo Festival, with 3 songs left to go in their set, in a tent packed with about 15,000 people and another 10,000 people around the outside, Kim insisted that everyone that was outside the tent crowd-surfed their way to the front to get involved. “[The fans] are willing to give Kim anything… they’re willing to risk life and limb,” and that they did as fans did as fans surfed to the stage. “Security might not have been impressed but it was worth it for the experience.”

In today’s world artists and fans are connected in ways that were unimaginable a decade ago, Matt and Kim really embrace the possibilities of engaging with fans and what that means for them as a band. In a way to connect to the fans they came up with a way for their admirers to be part of their latest music video. Fans were asked to use their tablets, mobiles, or any filming device and record themselves using the templates they provided then upload their creations to YouTube where the band will choose their favourites to be edited together for the official video for “Can You Blame Me.” Matt tells me that they’ve had thousands of entries and they’ve been overwhelmed by the response. Connections like this are invaluable as it makes fans feel appreciated. For Kim it doesn’t end there.

Recently they’ve been designing their new merchandise with the theme around them being a couple and the importance of relationships. They asked people to write to them with the stories of their relationships, how they met their best friend or the story of their first kiss, and Matt and Kim have then picked their favourites and invited the authors to model the new merchandise. Matt tells me as fans are risking life and limb for Kim, she gives it in return. Even thousands of responses, Kim has been personally replying to every entry. “It is important for us to get to know people and we want people to get to know us.”

Matt and Kim are a band that, as Matt says, “will be demanding attention”. They have no interest in blending in with the crowd (unless that is quite literally in the mosh pit at one of their shows). As  the first support for Fall Out Boy on the upcoming tour Matt admits they’re a aware that there might not be a huge crowd there for them but they hope to be able to pull in the masses with their energetic live performances. With 2 huge shows at Wembley it really is a way to kick off their career in the UK. Matt laughs about talking to a friend of his about coming to the UK who is in London at same time, “I mentioned that we are playing a few shows in London and when they asked me where I think they expected some little dive above a bar in London not Wembley arena!” It’ll be interesting for the band who praise themselves on connecting with their audience to compare the different arenas around the UK, especially to the ones back home. With Leeds having one of the newest arenas where no audience member is over 68 meters away from the stage, it suits the style that Matt and Kim have perfected.

With high praise from Rolling Stone and Stereogum, Matt and Kim are surely going to excite crowds across the UK this October.


Nicole Stewart Rushworth

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