This weekend the Houston Press welcomes New York indie duo Matt & Kim to town to headline this year's edition of the Houston Press Music Awards, along with Trae tha Truth and Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights. Rocks Off will be giving away a bunch of HPMA wristbands today and tomorrow, so keep track of our Twitter and Facebook pages for more details.
Brooklyn kids Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino just got back from Japan, where they played a line of summer festivals. Right before they hit Houston Saturday night, they will be part of the Lollapalooza festivities in Chicago Friday afternoon.
Rocks Off talked to Johnson, who handles vocals and keys for the duo, about the band's history with Houston, upcoming new material and the naked video for "Lessons Learned," from 2009's Grand. Erykah Badu lifted the "Lessons" concept for her own controversial "Window Seat" clip, which featured her stripping on a Dallas street just as Johnson and Schifino had done a year before - only they went bare in Times Square.
Rocks Off: We're glad you guys got the chance to come down here this time. It's a little bit out of the way from Lollapalooza in Chicago.
MJ: I'm just glad it worked out. We weren't able to fit in Houston on this new fall tour. There are some restrictions with Austin City Limits about playing nearby cities or something. I don't know why it didn't work out, but now we got it to work.
RO: You guys probably played the Mink here in Houston last...
MJ: I can remember the spot and inside the spot, but not what it was called. It was a smaller place. It was a couple of years ago. We did play Walter's on Washington a while back.
RO: Is there anybody on Lollapalooza you want to see while you are there for that one day?
MJ: I kinda wanna see the Gaga. I have heard good things about that stage show. But I haven't really looked at the line-up for the show. We were running into bands who will also be heading out to Lollapalooza while we were in Japan at a festival, like the Dirty Projectors and MGMT. I hope to catch their sets if it's while I'm there.
RO: The Gaga show was here just a few weeks ago and it blew us away...
MJ: Our manager was sort of a hater and then he took his daughters to go see her and it changed him around. He was like, "Matt will love her!"
RO: What's up with recording a new album?
MJ: We have been recording this year, and we actually started in February spending a couple of months in Atlanta recording and now we're working on doing mixes. But we have been on the road so much and that makes it hard to carve out enough time to get it finished.
But we are now kind of in the home stretch and we want it done so everyone can hear the thing, because we are definitely proud of it. We'll probably put out a taste of it before we go out on the fall tour. Maybe a single and a video. There's so much to do in such little time, but that's not the worst problem to have, I guess.
RO: Any ideas on the single or the video?
MJ: We know what song we will lead off with, and we do have an idea for the video. We feel a lot of pressure coming from the last videos and others before that. I think we may be able to top it, but I don't want to let the cat out of the bag yet. It has been a big point to top what we have already done.
RO: We don't know how you can get more naked...
MJ: No, we can't get more naked. But I did tell my mom the idea and it made her pretty mad. As long you piss off your parents it's still pretty rock and roll.
RO: When the Erykah Badu video came out everyone was so shocked, but we were like "But Matt and Kim did it first..."
MJ: We had gotten a text from Erykah Badu the day she shot the video just saying, "Hey Kim, its Badu, give me a call."
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We had never met her before or anything. We were like "Badu? Who's Badu?" We ended up figuring it out and I gave her a call. She was kinda trying to see if she could get us to fly to Dallas that day to be in the video. But we were recording at the time, so we couldn't.
I had a different range of feelings about her video. At first as the guy came up with the idea, I was sort of flattered that this artist I liked and respected was doing it again. But then the more I thought about it she was just kinda ripping us off.
The video was obviously effective and the second she did it she was guaranteed millions of YouTube hits. But she explained that it's more of the shock value of it and it had a deeper reasoning to it. She did give us credit at the beginning of the video.
She could have done without doing that, and in the end it gave us more attention from people who may have not known about us. Except for one person who said "You guys did that video like Erykah Badu!"