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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Nowadays, it seems too many bands have fights and power struggles, too many albums are seen as status symbols and too many shows are treated as recitals.

Enter Matt and Kim.

The energetic power couple from Brooklyn breathes some fresh air into the pop-punk indie genre with their uninhibited, unselfconscious brand of music.

Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino met at art school and, after dating a couple of years, decided to start messing around with the idea of forming a band. Creatively, they decided on the band name Matt & Kim.

"We were just sort of jamming, really," Matt said. "Kim naturally liked drumming, and I found this keyboard I thought would be cool to learn to play."

And that's pretty much where they are now. Matt plays fuzzy notes on his keyboard and shouts lyrics exuberantly, while Kim bashes simple, toe-tapping time signatures on her drum kit and adds a background yell now and again.

Rather than limiting the band, the fact that they utilize only two instruments (other than their voices) has just made them think more creatively, Matt said.

"We have to make songs work, which can make cool things happen that you wouldn't expect to happen," he said. "It just makes you do things differently, which can be good. It gives you good surprises."

Considering the couple is adorable and the band has no other members, it was inevitable that fans would draw comparisons between Matt & Kim and Mates of State.

"We actually didn't hear about them until after our first couple of shows, after people told us, 'Hey, you're like this band, we think you'd like them,'" Matt confessed. "So we checked them out, and we like them, but I think Kim and I just come from a different place. We come from a more punk rock sort of background, and they…" Matt hesitated, giving Kim a window in which to yell into the phone, "It's slow!" causing them both to laugh.

"Slow" is definitely not a word to describe Matt or Kim, and definitely not the two of them together. Their live show sees them rolling out the infectious beats nonstop, grinning all the while.

"I'd like to try to think of it like a party," Matt said of their concerts. "We like to have fun - what we don't want to do is have a recital. We want people to come and let loose."

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Consequently, they play more basements and lofts than clubs, and everyone just laughs when a crowd surfer almost knocks the set over or someone rushes onstage to shove pizza in Kim's mouth.

Matt and Kim have been criss-crossing the country the past couple of years in their minivan, Martin VANBuren. Their travels are bringing them back to Gainesville this weekend for The Fest, their last show of the year in the U.S.

"Our first tour, we did five, maybe six shows in Florida, and there was no one at any of them," Matt lamented. "Not long after that we came back (to Florida) and did some more shows, and they were all really awesome. The one in Gainesville was super fun, so we got revived on Florida."

As for expectations for their show here Sunday, the first thing Matt thought of to say was, "Well, Kim is trying to collect every Rhode Island quarter ever made, so if people at the show want to bring her some, that would be very cool."

She's got about 600 so far, and "she thinks she's going to have all of them," Matt said, before Kim interrupted from the background again, "I will have all of them!"

Being showered with quarters is a perk that didn't occur to Matt & Kim when they started their band.

"Bands should never go into it with any intention other than to have fun," Matt said. "Anything else that comes with it is the bonus."

Catch them Sunday at 2nd Street Bakery at 6:05 p.m.

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