“ ‘Live life to its fullest everyday’ is cliche, obviously, but it’s also impossible. The rest of life is things you need to do to get by. So, I think, shoot for almost everyday,” Matt Johnson, singer of rock duo Matt and Kim, said in an interview with The Daily Californian.
This perpetual optimism is the only part of Matt and Kim that is cliche. Their concerts, sound and release schedule — they’re releasing a new album immediately after going on tour, rather than before — all make them stand out from other traditional indie or electronic groups.
“I remember people were a little freaked out, like, this is different,” Johnson recalled when the duo first started releasing music. “For a couple reasons, we weren’t a rock band or pop band or electronic band. We were tough to place.”
Nowadays, Matt and Kim listeners freak out in excitement over the band’s unusual tracks, most recently at their Warfield performance last Tuesday. Confetti cannons, eccentric graphics and sex-doll balloons rampaged throughout the ground floor. Matt and Kim’s Warfield concert was more than a place to dance and listen to great music: It was a hub of mad fervor and controlled chaos.
“The vibe is the same as Matt and Kim shows have been, which is a celebration. A celebration of life, a celebration of coming together, and we always see the show as not just two people on stage but everybody in the room,” Johnson explained.
Tuesday’s celebration wasn’t without reason. The duo had a rough year with drummer Kim Schifino’s torn ACL and their resulting forced hiatus. “Kim had to hold the tears back at a couple of these shows from being back on stage. She loves playing drums so much. And I think when that got taken away from her, it really brought her down,” Johnson said.
Schifino’s excitement over returning to the stage certainly outweighed the sadness she’d experienced — she jumped on top of her drums, danced around for the audience and spread the message of remaining positive despite setbacks.
She yelled at the audience: “If you had a shitty day, shitty week, shitty month or even a shitty year, it’s time to let it out and have a good time,” echoing to the audience that, despite her “shitty year,” she knows that her music and fans will always be there to make the pain go away.
The band’s upcoming album Almost Everyday was heavily influenced by their break from performing. The bad news they received “almost everyday” pushed them to work harder and motivated them to live life to the fullest. While normally Matt and Kim writes its songs together, their newest released single “Happy If You’re Happy” was written by Johnson alone, as a reminder that he and Schifino are codependent and that Schifino’s happiness is just as much hers as it is his.
Despite their new separate songwriting, the band showed no sign of separation during their performance. Whether it was discussing their intimate relationship with the audience or competing to match each other’s levels of excitement, the duo’s chemistry was contagious, so much so that at one point the duo started stripping and members of the audience started stripping with them.
Their bare bodies onstage could also be seen as a metaphor for the openness conveyed in their music, especially their new tracks. This sort of unreserve can most clearly be seen in the new music video for “Happy If You’re Happy.” The video featured various clips from vlogs the couple had taken together of the couple laughing and going on adventures.
“We had this idea of just finding intimate moments where Kim’s cracking up and editing them together. … A lot of people say … they’re tearing up. I guess it’s in a positive way,” Johnson commented about the video.
With comments like “I love you so goddamn much” and “This is the only fucking life I wanna live” during the concert, it’s no surprise that fans have such a connection to artists that are so grateful for the opportunity to perform. This sort of gratitude only comes from artists who truly know what it’s like to have to halt their career.
The ambiance of a Matt and Kim concert is similar to the message behind their music: Stay positive and have fun. With promises that Matt and Kim’s upcoming album will be even more personal and intimate than others, it’s clear that fans will live their lives to the fullest by returning to more exhilarating Matt and Kim shows.