For nearly six years, Matt and Kim, a dance-punk duo from Brooklyn, NY, has been gaining much praise and attention from the indie scene. Fans and music critics alike have embraced their “Do-It-Yourself” approach to music. The band started when Matt, who sings vocals and plays the keyboard, met Kim, who also sings vocals and plays drum, at Pratt Institute, despite apparently having no idea how to play their instruments.

When Matt and Kim released their self-titled debut album in 2006, it resulted in modest sales, despite gaining popularity from their outgoing tours. Finally, after signing with Fader Label, the duo released their second album, Grand, which went on to receive praise and support from Rolling Stone and Billboard. Their video for the single “Daylight” was an instant hit as it received 9 million views on YouTube. The single was featured in videogames such as NBA Live 2010, FIFA 10, The Sims 3: World Adventures and was even performed on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Matt and Kim's video for the song “Lesson Learned” won for the award for Best Breakthrough Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. In 2010, they released their third album “Sidewalks,” which made use of a more hip-hop sound as opposed to the previous two

In our exclusive interview with Matt Johnson, he discusses several topics such as the idea behind the “Lessons Learned” video, working with Rivers Cuomo, what motivates their live performances to be so energetic, how they’re preparing for the road with Bink-182 and My Chemical Romance, and much more!


  • antonioberryman
    antonioberryman on

    I actually saw the video posted to the interview of them running around and stripping naked in Times Square. I thought it was crazy! lol

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Q: Where did the idea come from for the “Lessons Learned” video, and were you scared that you might actually get arrested? - Chris Copeland

When I came up with that idea, it wasn’t necessarily taking place in Times Square. While Matt and Kim songs are pretty upbeat, sometimes the lyrics have a darker edge. I feel like to a certain extent that song is about the freedom of hitting rock bottom. I wondered what real freedom would be like and taking your clothes off in public seems pretty free to me. Then I kind of expanded it. You could do it on a desolate road, but it would be way cooler if you did it in Times Square. Then it took me like three months to convince Kim that it was a good idea. She was terrified. She hates doing things that break the law. She just hates the idea of getting into trouble. Finally, I convinced her into it and she was still pissed about it. Until we won a VMA, then she had to admit it was a good idea.

Q: In the three months it took to convince her, did you work out at all? - Chris Copeland

[Chuckles] It was one of those things. I kept telling myself, “Johnson you know you’re going to be taking your clothes off in public, you should probably start working out.” Then, I think, three days before I did ten push-ups and I was like, that’s enough of that.

Q: I’ve been to a few of your shows and I’ve noticed the beers you guys usually have on stage. What would you say is your favorite beer when you’re playing? - tychar

Probably without a doubt, Budweiser. It’s funny, we’ll go to these countries that are known for their beers, like Belgium, but we still always drink Budweiser. Our crew gets so bummed out that that’s always what’s there, but for some reason that’s one of those things Kim and I can agree on: cheap, American beer.

Q: I saw a post that said you guys worked with Rivers Cuomo late last year. Can you give some details about what you guys did together? - DanSakala

Basically, [Rivers] was coming to town. Weezer was doing two shows: a Blue Album show and a Pinkerton show. We got an e-mail that said Rivers is coming to town and he would like to work on a song with you guys, and I was like, I don’t know what this means but I am into it. So we got together in the studio just once and we worked on a song all day. Weezer was one of my favorite, well, was my favorite band when I was in seventh and eighth grade. I continued to like them all the way until now. Which is very rare that any band you like at that age, you still really like as you get older. They’re one of them. And then to do this song, Rivers and me singing on the same track, it was, wow, so bizarre in a great way. But we didn’t end up having time to finish it. Ever since then we’ve been trying to make a plan to get together again but we’re both quite busy. It’s too bad. The song was coming out rad.

Q: Having witnessed the insanity that is seeing you guys perform live on the Sidewalks 2011 Tour, what would you say is your motivation for bringing such energy to your live performance? Best show of my life! - Michelle

Thanks Michelle! I feel like so much of the energy that’s brought is the audience that brings the energy. You know, we kind of set the whole theme for a situation for everyone to just get as nuts as they want and I feel like the more wild an audience gets the more wild it makes Kim and I get and the more wild we get the more wild the audience gets, so it starts this chain reaction… there’s only so much two people can do in the room, but if there’s three thousand and two getting wild, or like you know one of these, like, festivals forty thousand and two people getting wild, it can just add so much energy.

Q: Speaking of the energy between you and the audience, how does it feel to play and create music with your significant other? - DavidBentley

It’s sort of the best case scenario that I could ask for. It’s one of those things. I feel like any other relationship I’ve been in, it would not have panned out this way. Kim and I spend every waking minute together, and somehow we just don’t get sick of each other. I know that’s almost, like, vomit-worthy, like “Oh my gosh, that makes me want to throw up.” I don’t know why it works out that way. The thing is we got together because we were compatible on a lot of levels. We like the same stuff and have the same opinions things and whatnot, and the thing about being in a band is you are with that person all the time, so it kind of makes sense that this works, that your significant other works for both of these things. And then, when you tour for nine months out of the year you don’t leave someone behind.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about your tour with Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance? - Chris Copeland

Two things: A, Just having people who’ve never seen our band get to see us, and also getting to play for them and B, just getting to see Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance every night. Sounds pretty good to me!

Q: I guess you’ll have pretty good seats to that as well! - Chris Copeland

Yeah, we went to — 'cause we’re doing just a set after the tour — and we went when they came to a beach in New York and the Blink show was, you know, just really incredible. I was actually hanging out at the beach and didn’t get to see My Chemical Romance, but I’m sure I will see it plenty coming up. But it was so great and they shouted out their final song to Kim and I and it was pretty epic.

Q: Can you tell us about your interactions with Blink-182? - Chris Copeland

We’ve had a little bit of interaction. Our first person to person meeting, just with Mark and Tom, was we hung out with them at that show a couple of weeks ago. And they’re just super-rad guys and we were totally able to chill with them, and [they’re] supporters of our band and really like our band a lot. But before that, Kim had an email interaction with Tom that kind of went back and forth awhile escalating in, I think, who could be more offensive. And Kim is pretty offensive, but Tom held his own… he’s known for… you know just, I think at one point… yeah, I don’t know, they were sending some sorts of weird pictures back and forth of themselves. I don’t know where it went to; it seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun.