Matt & Kim take on Higher Ground
Brooklyn duo bring rambunctious, upbeat style to Burlington
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 23:09
Matt and Kim burst onto the music scene in 2006 with their self-titled album. The duo from Brooklyn brought a rambunctious and upbeat style that quickly caught the ear of many indie listeners.
By 2009, their sophomore album “Grand” had produced many smash hits – most notably the incessantly cheery anthem “Daylight” – and brought the duo into the national spotlight. The couple’s third album brought them success in the charts, peaking at 30 on the U.S. Billboard 200, according to their website
In anticipation of their show at Higher Ground next Wednesday, Oct. 3, the Cynic sat down with front man Matt Johnson to talk about their upcoming album “Lightning,” out a day before the big show, and much more.
The Vermont Cynic (VC): Your self-titled debut album is one of my favorite LPs of all time. Since then you’ve blown up to nationwide recognition with your subsequent releases. Between recording and touring, have you had time to sit back and enjoy the ride?
Matt Johnson (MJ): When I was growing up playing in bands, I never thought I would be playing in any sort of famous band, so it’s all still surreal.
There is obviously lots of stress but when you look out at an audience in, say, a music festival in Japan, where they may not even understand the lyrics that we are singing, and yet there’s still this great energy there, it’s all well worth it.
VC: You were raised right here in Vermont. How do you think that has shaped the way you have approached music?
MJ: I think it’s shaped my entire perspective on everything. And I think where I was, in southern Vermont, you had to discover things for yourself because you were so isolated. And that isolation influenced me and my brother as we sought out new types of music and new styles.
VC: There are only a few songs where Kim’s vocals are used. Is it hard to convince her to sing?
MJ: She doesn’t mind singing, but she doesn’t like to sing and play drums live; she would rather just beat the hell out of the drums and not let a microphone get in her way.
VC: The single that’s been released from the new album is “Let’s Go.” Do you anticipate that being the breakout song on this album?
MJ: Don’t get me wrong – I really like “Let’s Go,” and we did put that out there to give people a taste of the new album, but as of now, “It’s Alright” is our favorite song.
VC: I’ve read that you have an unorthodox way of writing lyrics. Could you explain that to our readers a little further?
MJ: The bottom line is that it’s unorthodox because it is completely collaborative. A lot of times there is one person who is the mastermind behind the lyrics, but with us we write every song together almost line for line.
VC: How does playing a show in Burlington compare to playing big time venues?
MJ: I feel that there is something really special in playing in towns that don’t get to have every tour come through there. There was such an incredible energy in the crowd here; I remember we got so excited the first time we were playing Higher Ground that we actually physically moved the entire stage, we were jumping around so much.
VC: On that note, your shows are some of the highest energy and just all-around fun concerts I’ve been to. I don’t think I saw Kim stop smiling for a second either time I saw you two play. Do you ever think you’ll stop having that pure love for playing live music?
MJ: Feeling the energy of the audience is the remedy for whatever funk you may be in. If it ever stops being fun then we would stop doing it, but for now we are going to continue doing what we love.