Breaking and Entering: Matt & Kim
The story behind electro-pop duo Matt & Kim is a classic love tale -- with a twist.
Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl start a band despite a lack of musical ability. Four years later, the couple is still together, they've learned how to play their instruments and they're gaining momentum musically.
Today, Matt & Kim's latest release titled "Grand" maintains a 16-week run on the Top Heatseekers chart, according to Nielsen Soundscan, peaking at No. 6 earlier this month. As if the love tale couldn't get any more frazzled, the Brooklyn-based two-piece credits none other than an alcohol company for its recent success.
"We hadn't really taken into account how people really responded to that thirty seconds of our song in an ad and sought us out since," vocalist/keyboardist Matt Johnson says about a 2009 national TV Bacardi commercial which featured Matt & Kim's song "Daylight." "I don't know how many thousands of things have come through from fans saying, 'I heard your song in this commercial, searched it out on Google and have spent the last three hours on YouTube watching Matt & Kim videos.' I really didn't expect that."
That wasn't the first time Matt & Kim licensed their tracks; the song "Yea Yeah," appeared both in a Canadian Virgin Mobile commercial and national ads for the 2007 film "Juno."
But TV commercials is secondary for Matt & Kim, next to what the band is most known for among fans - its live show. A typical Matt & Kim performance starts with Top 40 hip-hop blaring before and between sets. Matt & Kim compile these playlists themselves in order to "loosen people up" for the band's energy-filled performances.
"People are always so concerned about getting that live energy on the recording, but you just can't do it everytime," Johnson says. "You can't make a recording hotter or sweatier or drunker or make it come out any louder. But you can compensate for that downgrade in energy."
Energy, however, is still prominent throughout Matt & Kim's two albums -- they are practically the musical manifestation of confetti. The synth-and-drum songs are practically made for a party of people who want to dance like they're kids again, with city-centric lyrics completing the sound. According to Johnson, the best part about his band's music is that it's not easily pegged genre-wise, citing innovative songs like Andre 3000's "Hey Ya!" and Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" as inspiration.
"We've toured with rock bands, we just finished a tour with Cut Copy (a dance band), we've done shows with the Cool Kids (a hip-hop group) and Girl Talk," Johnson said. "Basically it just seems like if people are going out to something to have fun and dance -- that's the only unifying factor in genre that we meet."
Matt & Kim kick off a national tour of their own August 29, with electro-rapper Amanda Blank opening. While plans to record the follow-up to "Grand" are currently in the works, Johnson says he's enjoying the "Grand" run for now. "If we want an album out next year then we have to start doing it now, but it's tough, because 'Grand' took us nine months to make," he says. "I'm not ready to get back into pregnancy yet."