a, Arts & Entertainment

Matt & Kim ride the lightning

When we get on the topic of Montreal, Matt winces.

“Do people just not get us there?”

We’re discussing Matt & Kim’s last Montreal appearance, a show that Matt remembers had a painfully low turnout. Immediately, however, he regains his characteristic ebullience.

“We were looking for a chance to get back there and do it again. I’m expecting, or hoping, that this show will be awesome, that [Montreal]’s back on our map. We’re not scared!” he laughs.

Prior to forming the keyboard/drum powerhouse that is Matt & Kim, Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino met while studying at New York’s Pratt Institute. Immediately, they got along. (Kim initially had a crush on Matt; the Tribune infers that this crush has been reciprocated, since the musical duo are now a couple.)

“We’re one and the same in a lot of ways. I’ve played with bands with five guys in the past, and everyone’s got a different idea of what a song should sound like. You compromise so much that it’s watered down and loses focus. I have a very difficult time compromising, and so does Kim—luckily we’re on the same page and [we] make a lot of the same decisions.”

The two got on so well, in fact, that the band came out of their relationship, rather than vice versa.

“She didn’t play drums, I didn’t play keyboard, but we did other stuff; we had similar interests in art, and we worked well together,” Matt reminisces. “It almost seems [that] before you find a bunch of musicians who are good at their techniques and put them together, you should find people you’re good with.”

Seven years later, Matt & Kim have made a name for themselves through both their exuberant live shows, and indie-pop singles like “Cameras,” “Daylight,” and most recently, “Let’s Go.” While their fourth album, Lightning, contains their trademark catchy hooks and effusive, thumping tracks, the sound is less slick than their past two releases.

“I consider Lightning to be both the most mature, and the most immature album we’ve ever made. We made the [second] album in my parents’ house, in the bedroom I grew up in, my old skateboarding posters still on the wall. It was just unfiltered Matt & Kim because we didn’t have any producers, or engineers…. Then with the [third] album, we went in with a producer, and different studios—I think three or four different studios—and in the end, we [loved] that album. But some of the humanity was taken out, because of people who knew what they were doing, as opposed to me and Kim, who have no fucking clue what we were doing,” Matt laughs.

“We decided that we should go back to having no clue what we’re doing, so we went back and made the Lightning album.”

With Lightning garnering an enthusiastic response from critics and fans, Matt & Kim are about to embark on another whirlwind tour. Whatever Montreal’s reception—and if their recent shows are any indication, it will be overwhelmingly positive—the two are happy to be on the road together.

“Any relationship I’ve [had] in the past, it’d be a bloodbath right now,” Matt jokes. “No one should be able to work together and be in a relationship together. I feel really lucky that we are.”

Matt & Kim perform with Passion Pit on Feb. 15 at The Metropolis (1909, Ave. des Montreal). Admission $40.15.

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