Matt and Kim
WHEN: 3:45 p.m. Aug. 3
WHERE: Grant Park, Chicago
When you hear the name Matt and Kim, your first thoughts might be schlocky lounge act. But the high-energy pop music created by real-life couple Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino seems like it was made to get large festival crowds to work up a sweat.
The duo will play Lollapalooza 3:45 p.m. Aug. 3 at Grant Park in Chicago.
Johnson recently talked to Planit Pl@y about getting back out on the road after relaxing at the couple’s New York home.
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You don’t hate me for making you work while you’re on vacation from touring do you?
Not at all. We’ve been playing festivals most of the summer. These last couple weekends we’ve been in New York.
This isn’t your first time playing Lollapalooza. Can you talk about what it’s been like to play the festival in the past?
This is our third year playing, which is a lot. I think the most of just about any band. The first year we actually played twice because CSS canceled. Back in ’07, it was the first festival we’d ever done. We were both so nervous. I remember it was also the earliest I had ever drank in my life because I was so nervous. ... People always ask what are the moments that stuck out. That 2007 show, looking out at the skyline, it was just endless. And they knew all of the songs, too.
You’ve played a lot of festivals. What is it like to just be two people on stage and looking out at a sea of people?
I think you can catch moments, at times, when Kim and I are looking at each other (on stage). We’ve been doing this for nine years, closing in on 10. We’ve developed a language of speaking without talking, which is cool sharing with your significant other. ... Rolling Stone posted a short video of us (performing) in 2010. I remember watching that and looking at Kim and she was tearing up. It’s hard to grasp when you’re doing it.
Do you prefer playing a large, outdoor festival over a smaller, more intimate venue?
There’s a different energy about both, but I like both of them. At outdoor festivals, you have people who have just heard your name and a friend says they should check us out. We like that challenge. ... In a club show, the environment, you sometimes have a room where everyone knows all of the songs.
When you and Kim started this project, what were your expectations?
Initially, we weren’t even going to be a band. We were living together. She was a nanny, and I was in a punk band. She just wanted to learn how to play drums. I didn’t even play keyboard or sing. I played guitar and screamed in a band ... We started just kind of playing songs. We told a friend who played in a band, and he said “you’re going to open for us.” We struggled to come up with a name. ... We went, played three songs and were terrified. ... We were playing lofts and warehouses, and that’s where we thought it would go. Then that same friend said we should tour. ... We never had any expectations, which was great because there was no disappointment. We’ve just got to enjoy a lot of successes.
I’m sure you get asked this a lot. You two seem so happy on stage, don’t you guys get tired of being around each other 24 hours a day?
Any relationship I’ve been in for the amount of time Kim and I spend together, we would have killed each other. I wouldn’t recommend it, but for us it works.