Most bands booked for Coachella spend the week in between playing side shows, doing press or rehearsing. With a full week off in L.A. between their Sunday to Sunday appearances, though, Brooklyn duo Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino (aka Matt and Kim) hit the studio, recording a new four-song EP, We Were the Weirdos.
The EP, available now on Spotify and on all streaming services tomorrow (April 25), was recorded this past week at the studio of longtime friend Lars Stalfors, who’s worked with the duo on multiple albums, including their 2006 debut and 2012’s Lightning.
Following their memorable main stage performance on weekend one of Coachella, where they shared how morning sex the day of their set led to an orgasmic nose bleed — one Johnson blamed on desert air, but Schifino credited to Johnson’s sexual prowess that day — Billboard met them backstage to talk about how three months off led to the excitement to record new music.
You mentioned onstage how memorable Coachella 2010 was for you. What are the odds you’re going to remember this set in six years?
Johnson: I think what I will remember we took off three months at the beginning of this year. And it gave me some real perspective on what if I wasn’t playing shows anymore. This was our first festival of the year coming back with this perspective. I was doing an interview for Coachella VR, and they put the goggles on me so that I was onstage during A$AP Rocky at ACL. It was sort of experiential, “Oh, I’m on the stage, remember when I did this?”
How does it differ being onstage with A$AP Rocky than being on there with your own band?
Schifino: Wait, let’s restate that, with me!
Johnson: In reality there was more booty on my stage. I’m such a fan. There was one time I was introduced to him, and he mentioned one of our songs — that “Block Under Block” was the shit.
After the time away from both performing and Coachella, how did it feel to be back?
Johnson: It had been so long for Coachella I was like, “Will they ever ask us back?” It felt like we had that one-night stand and I was waiting for the call. Six years is a long time to wait.
Did you get any instant feedback from this one?
Schifino: We went from stage to a beer backstage and then right to catering, and a lot of people came up and said, “Really good set.” Sometimes when you’re up there you’re so into to you don’t know. When we did Firefly, I didn’t realize how massive that show was for us until someone showed us footage after and I was like, “That many f—ing people were there going nuts?” So I feel like you’re almost not in it until you see the video after.
Johnson: Always people tell Kim [it was a] great show. They just walk past me. That’s like true fact. I am a generic white guy, I am unrecognizable. I’m okay with it. I’m the background band, the drummer; she’s the front man.
I hear you have some news as well.
Johnson: Yeah, after that break, going back on tour, we went to the U.K., we did shows there. Like I said, it was the great removal that re-inspired me, and we were like, “We gotta make some goddamn music.” So we figured out songs, and we’re going to knock them out starting tomorrow.
Schifino: We start tomorrow.
Johnson: It’s our buddy, Lars, who did a number of the songs off our last album, and he’s L.A. guy. We have some good ideas. I love what has come to us. It feels rawer, coming from a live perspective where we got back onstage and what we put out is just a little bit, I want to make it less polished, I want to make it quick and not f—ing overthink it because I am the king of overthinking things.
That’s every artist, though.
Johnson: But the funny thing is I look at like a couple of my favorite punk bands — Against Me, for example. Reinventing Axl Rose was one of the last albums, that, as a teenager, I had to play it for everybody. They recorded that album in one day. NOFX, another punk band I grew up on, they had an album, Punk In Drublic, that when I was a teenager I listened on repeat. They made that album in I think about a week. And I read a thing where Fat Mike said he just didn’t overthink it, he just did what felt right. So I think when inspiration hits you just gotta do it and not overthink it.
Who would be the Coachella band you most want to party with?
Schifino: Rancid, I was so bummed they played right before us and I’m f—ing mental. I have to do these certain things before we go on stage. I have to do a warm-up dance. So we missed them, but we could hear them, and I wanted to be out there.
Johnson: I’m singing “Ruby Soho.”
Did the show prep you for the studio?
Schifino: Now I feel good, that was a good show to now go into the studio. If that was a shitty show, going in the studio tomorrow would f—ing suck.
Johnson: Doing a bad job playing a show really weighs heavy. We’ve done it before, and my whole self goes up and down with this band. We have a great show, I’m doing great, we’re feeling great.