Fans of fun-loving indie pop-dance outfit Matt and Kim have had to wait a few years for a new headlining tour from the New York City duo. But patience is a virtue, and all the waiting will grind to a halt for Twin Cities concertgoers when a reinvigorated Matt Johnson and a healed Kim Schifino take the stage in First Avenue’s Mainroom on April 16, 2018.
Supported by indie rock group Tokyo Police Club, Matt and Kim will introduce a sold-out crowd to Almost Everyday, their latest LP from FADER Label, which drops in May. Now with six studio albums to pull from, the pair, known for their raw energy and beat-driven singalong dance tracks, will unload an arsenal of new music on Minneapolis. “Being that we haven’t done our own headlining tour in like three years now, I’m very excited to just be in a room full of people who know so many of the songs,” Johnson said.
With new singles like “Forever” and “Happy If You’re Happy” already released to the public, Johnson (vocals and keys) and Schifino (drums) expand from their previous catalogue, following up 2015’s New Glow. In Almost Everyday, they’re digesting recent events that have happened on both a personal and a global level while delving into mature topics and themes, such as mortality—though they manage to keep their sense of fun and optimism intact. Some of the new focus, and the reason for fans not getting another headlining tour sooner, stems from Schifino being injured during a show in Mexico. “Kim had torn her ACL and meniscus, and we had to cancel all of our shows for 2017,” Johnson said, reflecting on his partner’s injury and events on a larger scale influencing new songs. “It gave us a perspective on music and writing that we hadn’t really gotten, which is the therapeutics of writing about something to feel better about it.”
There may be a new slant to their forthcoming album, and they may have been on hiatus for a year, but make no mistake: they’re still the same Matt and Kim. Johnson’s vocals and keys remain dynamic and on point, and Schifino is still as bold and engaging as ever, willing to dance by the Tower Bridge in London and give Animal of the Muppets a run for his money on the drumsticks.
The duo met in college and has been playing together since the early 2000s, and there’s an intimacy and continuity that can’t be ignored in their performance. “We spend every hour of every day together, it seems like,” Johnson said. “She’s my best friend, and we constantly find things funny, and we constantly—because our life is so parallel—have all the inside jokes of having all the same experiences. And luckily, when things are good, we get to share that together, especially with the fans. Or if things are going difficult, we get to share that together. For us, it works out really well. I don’t know why it works, it just does.”
Johnson expanded on the beats and themes that come through on Almost Everyday. “Generally, we’ve been lucky enough to have this really great life, and we write songs that are inspired by more upbeat things. And this was different—it was helpful to make the album,” Johnson told me. “The inspiration comes in deep, and heavy, and fast. And you can work quicker because you’re not searching—it’s coming to you.” With the refined approach, the new album features several artists guesting, including Mark Hoppus from blink-182 and punk group SWMRS. Behind the inspiration for the guest spots, Johnson said he thought “it would be cool to hit up people that we’re friends with that play music and kind of give it the community aspect.” He stated, “Overall, what it does is just adds this extra layer of live feeling to it, but in the end, it was also really fun to have these musicians that I’m such a fan of sing on a song that we wrote.” Though attendees at First Avenue can’t expect to hear Hoppus or SWMRS live on Monday, they definitely can—and are encouraged to—sing and dance along with Matt and Kim.
After Monday’s Minneapolis show, the pair heads to Chicago and will be on the road headlining some iconic rooms (including back-to-back sold-out 9:30 Club shows in Washington, DC) through early May, when they’ll catch their breath before continuing on this summer. Johnson said of the live headlining experience, “You can live in the space a little more. You can play a couple more slightly slow songs.” He added, “There’s an energy difference to having a room that’s sort of—whether it’s 1,500 or a couple thousand people in these rooms—that seem to know all the songs and are singing along, and the energy that creates.”