@ZackTeibloom “I know we’re out of time, but I’ll answer this one. If we were to be any dynamic hip hop duo, I’d say we’d have to be Jay-Z and Beyonce” Matt says to whoever is interviewing him on the phone before me. Matt and Kim are on such tight schedules, I was only given 10 minutes with Matt between interviews and sound check for their show tonight in Madison. Thankfully, he has boundless energy and gave me more than enough with time to spare in the 10-minute chat. The duo has been unavoidable in the last couple years, with their VMA-winning naked romp of a video in times square and their music being featured in previews for “Community” and Bacardi ads just to name a few.
And we didn’t even mention the constant touring and bombastic live festival shows. How does Matt have the energy to come out balls-to-the-wall every night while battling Bronchitis and a brutal tour schedule? He credits it to a full night sleep and today’s mix of Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Life, which he says are two of his favorite cereals.
Matt acknowledged he manages to get more sleep on tour than at home and is recovering from Bronchitis slowly, but surely and sprinkling a few coughs into his set. Alright, that makes sense, but have you heard the new single, “Cameras“? Clearly they upped the production ten-fold on this album. Their last album, Grand, was recorded in his bedroom and they used two studios for new album Sidewalks. How are they managing to play it live? Well, they aren’t. And it’s not necessarily because they can’t. Matt said he’s so used to bands saying “Who wants to hear some new stuff?!” met with a chorus of “meh.” “People don’t want to hear new songs. They want songs they know and can sing along to.” Sidewalks comes out November 2nd, but Matt and Kim will only be adding “Cameras” to their tightly orchestrated set. Don’t worry. You’l still hear the album. They play it over the P.A. before every live show*.
I congratulated Matt on their recent VMA win for “Lessons Learned,” where they got naked and ran around Times Square and asked if he had any lessons to pass on. “One lesson is there’s no harm in getting naked in public. We played at Coachella and a dude got naked and he is now a registered sex offender.” Sounds like there is harm then, doesn’t it? He modified his answer and said “If the venue is 18+, then you can take it all off.**” Personally, I’d be a little more cautious. Getting tased while naked doesn’t seem too fun.
Festival Crashers have always had a deep respect for banter and few do it as consistently well as Matt and Kim***. I told Matt I saw a video of him preparing what banter he could use on a Japanese crowd who may not know much English. He thinks “Domo Arigoto is what every American band who ever came through Japan would say, so he thought long and hard about what to say and I asked what he ended up going with. “I remembered ‘Konichiwa, bitches!’ from The Chapelle Show, so I said that.”
Banter and nakedness aside,**** the show is really about the music. “It’s a longer set now than we’ve ever had. It used to just be five songs a show. It’s harder to keep the energy up. Ont thing that makes it happen is the crowd going bananas makes me want to get fucking crazy. I sweat out every bit of water I have in my body. Going just over an hour is the top length we can do cranked up to 12.” I told him i knew about Spinal Tap blasting it up to 11, but I’d never heard of going up to 12. “Last time I checked we were turned up to 25.” I’d have to agree. We’d just done the entire interview in nine minutes and I was satisfied.
*Suck on that, 24 hour rule!
**Festival Crashers have shockingly never gotten naked at a show. Not sure we can advise that move.
***Other best banter nominees: Ezra Furman, Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, Michael Stipe of REM and Les Savvy Fav. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.
****That was hard to write. Nakedness and banter are two pretty glorious things. Especially together.