Q&A: Matt and Kim want to party with Lips fans

Matt and Kim take the stage for one of the final lineup spots tonight at Maha Music Festival.

Matt and Kim take the stage for one of the final lineup spots tonight at Maha Music Festival.

Matt and Kim will definitely bring the party atmosphere to Maha Music Festival.

The pop/dance/super-fun duo manage to get the crowds going with only their keyboard melodies and driving drum beats. If you’ve never seen them before, you’ll be happy to know they’re practically the perfect festival band.

I spoke to drummer Kim Schifino while she and partner/bandmate Matt Johnson were at home on an off-day after Lollapalooza, but before they headed to Omaha for Maha. Schifino was pretty excited to “bring the party to Omaha,” as she put it.

Q. You two have always done everything yourselves, which I admire. There’s never a backing band or anything like that. Has that been tough?

A. Once we played with this group called the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. It was us plus 20 people, but that’s the only time we’ve done anything like that.

I feel like we work so well together. Why f*** with it? We always joke around like, “What if it were like Matt and Kim and that other dude.” I don’t know.

Matt and I work really well together. Sometimes I feel like we’re difficult to work with. We see eye-to-eye on everything. We know exactly what we want. Throwing in another another person might be difficult.

Of course, we have an amazing team who helps with everything. Things are brought to us and we’ll talk about what we want to do and have people help us execute them and we give approvals and whatnot.

Coming from the background of doing everything ourselves, we want to be involved. Festival season for us this summer is a lot of flying  and playing different spots and time really starts to disappear. It gets a little overwhelming, so we have people to help. This entire summer, we’ve just been tired. But we love what we do and we want the best of what comes out of it. We kind of dig up that extra energy.

Q. Speaking of doing everything yourselves, you went back to making “Lightning” yourselves after using a producer on “Sidewalks.” Why did you do that?

A. Back to that “we see eye to eye on everything” thing. We recorded “Sidewalks” with a producer. It got a little difficult having a third opinion in it.

I don’t think we’ve given up completely on the idea of working with a producer or other people.

We did a thing for Converse with three artists and we wrote and produced a song with Andrew W.K. and Soulja Boy on it. We loved it. It’s all about finding the right people to work with.

We had learned so much from doing “Grand” ourselves and then learning so much working with a producer. So we recorded in the apartment we were living in.

Q. Did the neighbors complain?

A. They never complained. Our neighbors could also play a loud-ass domino game. We put some carpet up on the walls, but that was more for acoustics of the room than the neighbors. We were in that apartment for eight years. We had kind of a great relationship with the neighbors even though they didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Spanish. We were equally loud. (laughs)

Q. Last time I talked to Matt, he talked about that apartment. You lived there for a long, long time, but you’ve since moved. Did that apartment serve as a source of inspiration? Were you sad to leave?

A. Definitely. It was a great place for us to live. It was extremely tiny and a four-floor walk-up in Brooklyn that was falling apart. It was a great place to be, but I feel like after the last two years we were living there, we were ready to get out. There’s only so many times that you can deal with the heat being shut off and it’s not your fault. Our landlord, he was the sweetest dude. We’d go in there and be like, “Robert, it’s OK.”

I’m happy we had our time there, but i’m happy we have a bigger house now. It’s not like squeaking past each other every time we need to move past each other any more.

Q. You’re playing a festival here with The Flaming Lips and a bunch of other bands. Do you treat a festival show any different?

A. We kind of treat every show the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small club show or a gigantic festival. We’re going out there and giving it everything we have.

It’s just how we get crazy and the crowds get pretty crazy. We want to party with Flaming Lips fans.

Q. Matt and Kim have the perfect energy for a festival.

A. I feel like festivals, people are coming out to enjoy the day and enjoy all the bands. When you’re opening for another band at a club show, it’s much harder. You really have to win the people over. They’re waiting for the band that they came to see.

For us, we throw a lot of covers in our sets and people can grasp onto it. It’s a party feeling. You just can’t bring your own beer.

Q. Tell me a little bit about the remix album you have coming out. How did that come about?

A. It’s coming in the fall. And I didn’t even know it was August! We had remixes done from the album, “Lightning.” It’s nice. I feel like we have this dance side that we really like. So we’re finding remixes to keep that going and change up the songs. It’s nice to hear people’s interpretations of them.

Q. Have you heard any that make you go, “I wish I would have done that?”

A. (laughs) Not yet. I think “Lightning” is perfect.



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