‘She has a foul mouth’: Indie duo Matt and Kim to ‘reclaim virginity’ at Manchester gig

Matt Johnson talks to MM about relationships, Kim’s foul-mouth and boring bands, ahead of the duo’s Manchester Arena show this Friday.

From recording tracks in their bedrooms to touring with Blink-182, musical partners and long-term couple Matt and Kim have come a long way since they ‘accidentally’ became a band in 2004.

Renowned for their high-energy performances and a sound that’s been inspired by 90’s R&B as much as it has noughties pop punk, Matt and Kim are hitting the road with Chicago giants, Fall Out Boy.

When enquiring about the Mancunian weather, Matt told MM that he’d be sure to pack ‘water resistant clothing’.

“We came through [to Manchester] years ago,” he said. “We were opening for a band called The Sound. It’s been a while, so I’ll reclaim my Manchester virginity.”

This time round, the DIY duo will be playing the 21,000 capacity Manchester Arena, and Matt is certain that they’ll be able to win over the larger crowd.

“It’s funny, people ask if there’s any difference between what we’d do in a smaller show or a larger show,” he said.

“And the thing is – this will sound like I’m exaggerating – but I only know how to give it every ounce of energy I have.

“It doesn’t matter; I could be playing a corporate show and will still go until I literally break a bone. So luckily it does seem to translate in a bigger way.

“We do understand that it’s early on in the night, and people are still finding their seats but I think the one thing we do is that we demand people pay attention.

The band’s near unstoppable energy and desire to entertain comes, in part, from Matt’s own background as a punk rock musician.

He said: “I come from a punk rock background; I played as a musician before Matt and Kim in only punk and hardcore bands.

“That attitude towards music and the energy towards music, that’s what’s always been really important to me.

“I remember starting up the band at the height of that indie cool thing, which just meant that bands looked bored on stage.

“You know like they would be pretending to be bored on stage, which would be boring to watch.

“We’ve always had a great time doing this, we’ve always done it because we love it and we show it. And people seem to really connect to that honesty.”

The band commit to giving every show their all, and combine that with infectious pop chord progressions and a penchant for the ludicrous when it comes to music videos.

This has seen their song Daylight cross from the indie scene into the mainstream world of adverts, Gossip Girl soundtracks and even Sims video games.

“I think it sold a million copies even though we don’t even sell music anymore,” he said. “And I never expected to ever make a living off music. I had no expectations.

“I love that that’s the song that did it. I think that sometimes bands have a biggish song that doesn’t really sound like them, or it was made to sound commercial.

“That’s just a song we recorded in a bedroom by ourselves, in my parents house, in the bedroom I grew up in.

“It just sounded very us and people seemed to keep discovering it – so I guess what I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t this big commercial hit song that happened all at once.

“We kept doing what we did but exposed to a bunch of new people, which was so cool.”

It’s this commitment to the Matt and Kim sound and the drive to be honest, which finally made the pair address the elephant in the room – their relationship.

He said: “We never talked about our relationship in a song because I just felt like there were plenty of people taking care of that kind of thing.

“And also being a couple we try to stay away from things that are too cute because it’s really easy for us to fall into that category.

“The worst case scenario is ‘yeah they’re great, they’re so cute’ – I’m like ‘noooo!’ Say ‘they’re so badass’ or something!

“But I did feel like not talking about it was starting to feel untruthful, as we’re two people who write a lot about our lives.

“It was more exciting than anything to finally have this new subject matter and to be able to talk about it in a Matt and Kim way.

“The song Hey Now – the memorable line, or one of them I think, is: ‘Sometimes you just make me lose my mind, but if you died I’d die right by your side’.

“It sounds like it should be a Morrissey song but we project it in a very major chord progression and I think it comes off in the way I want it to.”

For those familiar with Matt and Kim, the expectations for their arena performance will be high.

But for those who aren’t necessarily heading to the show for the support act, Matt told MM what they could look forward to.

He said: “Kim has a foul mouth so they can certainly expect that, there’s no reeling her in. We’ve been stocking up on balloons, I’ll tell you that. Heavy amount of balloons.

“Kim spends as much time on top of her drum set and screaming as she does playing behind it. Soon enough we’ll just get her a ladder – it’ll work.”

Having released an album this year and now attending to a transatlantic tour, it seems like Matt and Kim might be well overdue a break.

“Kim doesn’t know how to relax; she can’t relax unless she’s doing something.

“I can lie on the coach and stare at the ceiling and I’m very relaxed! But in the sense of ‘work a job you love and you don’t work a day in your life’, that’s luckily what we get to do.

“We work together because we’re a couple and we travel around the world together – so maybe all of life is a vacation.”

Matt and Kim are performing at the Manchester Arena on October 9.

Tickets are available here.

Image courtesy of Sarah Pearman, with thanks.

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