Artist spotlight: Matt and Kim hope to 'Stir it Up' as headliners at Dusk Music Festival

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matt miller and matt miller | The Daily Wildcat

(Courtesy Matt and Kim) Matt and Kim will headline Dusk Music Festival. In 2005, the dance-rock duo started making music in Brooklyn, New York and have released five studio albums since.

Indie-dance duo Matt and Kim don’t take themselves too seriously, and they really don’t think you should, either.

“If I do say so myself, I think we’re a good choice [for Dusk], but is that the presidential thing to say here?” asked Matt Johnson, the duo’s keyboardist/guitarist.

The Brooklyn, New York-based musicians will headline the Dusk Music Festival on Saturday and plans to bring a set full of energy and surprises.

As headliners, Matt and Kim will help close the show in an hour-long set starting at 9:00 p.m., right before the final closer RL Grime.

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“I think festivals are where we shine because we want to play shows that anyone can enjoy,” Matt said. “We put in so many bits and pieces of other people’s songs and covers and things that we can dance to.”

Matt and Kim are known for their dance-able live-sets, and although they have never played in the southern part of the state, Matt said he particularly remembers Arizona crowds having a history of being “extra wild.”

“We’ve never been through Tucson before, but we expect them to be the same wild bunch,” Matt said.

After meeting in college, the duo’s chemistry sparked a music career spanning a decade with five-studio albums along the way. Neither Matt nor his bandmate—and partner—Kim Schifino played an instrument until they met, but that didn’t prevent the two from growing as artists together.

“Sometimes you can find someone who is really great at an instrument and then you find out in the end that you maybe don’t get along with them when you try to make a band with them,” Matt said. “That’s why I feel sometimes it’s better to find someone you do get along with and work well with and then have them learn an instrument. That’s essentially what happened with me and Kim.”

Matt and Kim’s unique blend of pop-punk and hip-hop allows them to experiment and get rowdy in their live shows.

Matt said he feels like it’s the “playoffs” or “finals” when they play a festival set. The duo condenses their songs to be more impactful, and the show turns into something similar to a hyped-up DJ set.

Unlike the try-hard, look-cool bands that, according to Matt, just end up boring crowds, Matt and Kim don’t rely on each other’s musical talent to express themselves individually. Their electric chemistry and passion “stir it up,” intertwined with their larger-than-life stage presence.

“I think we were two people that worked well together before we ever played music together,” Matt said. “We’re a band [whose] attitude is similar in, like, a ‘we don’t give a fuck’ sense.”

Matt and Kim’s child-like excitement manifests itself in the duo’s loud and upbeat sounds—a fresh dose of positivity amid the dark clouds of musical pretension.

“Me and Kim will both try to shake our asses in time together, which me trying to shake anything just doesn’t work,” Matt said.

Before recording their most recent album, New Glow, the two decided to take two weeks off—the longest they’d ever been apart from making music.

Because Matt and Kim bounce off each other with ease, writing albums doesn’t serve as a tedious task for the couple.

After living a domestic lifestyle for a bit, Matt and Kim built up enough inspiration for a new LP.

“Sometimes the best inspirations come from getting away from it all and then just coming in real fresh,” Matt said.

Although glad to have escaped the sophomore slump, Matt said he and Kim don’t necessarily have a path of evolution—they just continue to have fun and create whatever comes to them.

“I feel like we’re not moving in one direction,” Matt said. “We kind of do something one way and we make it a little shinier and glossier, and then do it another way and make it a little sturdier and prettier.”

Matt and Kim have no signs of slowing, and even after five and a half albums, they continue to find new creative angles and approaches to add to their eclectic sound.

“A lot of bands mature as they get older, and I don’t want to do that—I want to immature,” Matt said. “I think that’s a better move.”

Luckily, UA students aren’t quite ready to grow up either, and this Saturday they’ll prove just how wild Tucson really is.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (12/8)
669 11 1.6%
Total (8/2)
66,070 1,065 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated December 8, 2021