Synthpop bands come and go, but Matt and Kim decided to put their own upbeat spin on the electro genre. It’s paid off, as the duo’s having fun and selling lots of records.
These days, Matt and Kim shows are more like dance parties than concerts. The enthusiastic artists put their hearts and souls into every aspect of their projects, and the live show experience is just one part of the picture.
Who: Matt and Kim, with the So So Glos
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver
That’s why the musicians are hosting record listening parties for their new CD, Sidewalks, at every tour stop. Friday, Denver gets a taste of the Matt and Kim record at the Ogden Theatre show.
“Kim and I came from visual arts backgrounds. We realized that we worked very well together and could do other projects,” keyboardist/vocalist Matt Johnson said. “We were also big music fans.
“If one’s good at one thing like taking a photo, and having it be balanced and full, it helps you to completely figure out what makes a song feel complete and work. Learning about one thing helps the other.”
Johnson and Kim Schifino met at the artsy Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. It wasn’t long before the duo sparked their creativity by adding the Matt and Kim music project to the mix.
Schifino studied illustration, so she plays drums and handles the artwork for Matt and Kim CDs and merchandise. Johnson studied film at Pratt and he puts his talents to work with the band’s videos.
All that artistic energy just fuels Matt and Kim’s music. This band is genuinely excited to record its tunes and play live shows.
“We had a tough time at first settling into what kind of music we would play,” Johnson said. “In the past, we just settled on dance-punk. We’ve been listening to a lot of club music and now it’s more pop.
“We’re big fans of modern pop and hip-hop influences, but we still keep the songs pretty raucous. We still have that dance party vibe, but we can also pull it back. It’s all about finding the balance.”
Now everyone wants a piece of the Matt and Kim action. Popular TV shows and major ad campaigns have been clamoring to use the duo’s upbeat, dancey tunes.
Matt and Kim’s song “Daylight” was featured in an artsy Bacardi commercial, where the main character time travels to different eras and finds people drinking mojitos. The song was also used for a Mars’ candy bar ad, and the duo’s music has been heard on NBC’s “Community.”
“We’re certainly seeing how this spreads the word about bands,” Johnson said. “However, we’ll only let our music be used if it fits into a quality situation. We’ll only do this for things we approve of.
“We didn’t realize how many people seek out a band from what they see on TV. When the Bacardi commercial aired it was just 30 seconds, but it was tasteful. People searched the music out on Google and we saw a definite spike in our CD sales.”
Matt and Kim are hoping the momentum continues with the Nov. 2 release of Sidewalks. Though, this creative team plans to be one jump ahead of the game.
The duo is throwing a CD listening party at every tour stop. The clubs will open early, so ticket holders can hear the entire Sidewalks CD before the Matt and Kim concert starts.
“This record takes off where we left off on our last CD, Grand,“ Johnson said. “We built from there. We still have danceable beats, predominant melodies and sing-along choruses. It’s what we do and we’re very proud of this album.
“We loved the idea of having listening parties and we thought we could build the momentum for the new record off this tour. It will give everyone who’s come out and supported us a chance to hear the new music.”
Loyal fans will get to hear the new CD, but these music lovers will really be there for the Matt and Kim live experience.
“We give the concerts their own atmosphere and people come to the shows to have fun,” Johnson said. “Some bands just bob their heads and some stare at their shoes, but Kim and I love playing live shows.
“We always want to be honest with our audiences. We make it an atmosphere where we’re all here to have fun. We’re excited to play and we show it — as dorky as that can look.”