Eye online exclusive: Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim

Brooklyn indie dance-pop duo Matt & Kim released their fourth album, "Lightning," on Oct. 2, and on Thursday night brought their tour through their home city with a sold-out performance at Terminal 5. The duo's Matt Johnson took some time off from partying on stage to talk to the Eye about their shows, high school, and Beyoncé.

Your show last night was one of the most unique concert experiences I’ve ever had, largely because of the sheer energy from you and the audience. Is that sort of the standard for you guys?
To an extent. We surely don’t bring a show where people stand around and look at their feet. We always try to instigate as much as possible, and when an audience gets more active it makes us get more active. Last night was definitely exceptional. It felt so hungry and excited.

At the concert I was standing right next to Kim’s friend from high school. What were you guys like at that age?
When I was in high school I was heavily into punk rock, both music and in style. I was very close-minded about music then, because me and my friends only listened to punk stuff. It wouldn’t be okay for me to be like “this Destiny’s Child song is kind of dope.” But from punk we take the ethics that you feel like you’re part of the show when you go to the shows, so that in the audience you feel like you’re one step away from picking up an instrument. Kim was into athletics, she did every sport. She went to Penn State initially on a track scholarship. I think a lot of her drive comes from that. 

What is your favorite song to perform?
It’s really fun playing new songs. We only did five songs off of Lightning on this tour, because I know when I see a band I want to hear the songs that I know, but the response from the audience was amazing.

Everyone knew all the lyrics already.
I know! Songs like “Overexposed” and “It’s Alright” were fun to play last night.

If you and Kim were any other celebrity duo, who would you be?
Without hesitation we’d be Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Do you think you’ll ever get sick of each other?
I think the fact that we’ve been together longer than we’ve done this band, for about ten years now, and haven’t killed each other yet proves that we’ll never get sick of each other.

You’ve been making some more silly music videos as of late, and in the past have made some famously crazy ones as well, like the one for Grand’s “Lessons Learned” where you both strip while walking through Times Square. Which has been your favorite to do?
I have fond memories of one of our very early videos for “Yea Yeah” when we had a bunch of food thrown at us. Kim would say her favorite was the “Cameras” video where we beat each other up.

You guys have a tour coming up with Passion Pit over the next few months. If you could perform with any other band or musician, who would you want to play with?
I’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of my favorite bands live. When it comes down to doing a tour together, you want a good band and people who are just good guys. There’s an hour or so playing in the show, but also 23 hours you’re spending together the rest of the day. I’ve only met Passion Pit in passing a few times, but it seems like it will be a fun time.

Do you have any parting advice for readers?
You don’t have to focus in one thing in school. Being smarter creatively applies to everything, so don’t feel like you need to stick to whatever it was that you paid a fortune for. At 18 you can’t always decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.


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