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TALK: Matt & Kim

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The one-two punch known as, Matt & Kim (a couple on and off stage), may just be the happiest band on the planet. In concert or out, I’ve never seen them without their seemingly permanent smiles plastered across their cheek-pinchable mugs.

Despite crafting an infectiously fun debut album and creating a significant buzz in indie rock’s underworld, Matt & Kim find themselves without a record label to release their sophomore effort–an ambitious, beat-heavy, hip-hop meets pop-punk album recorded in Matt’s childhood bedroom in Vermont:

(above: See? I told you, Matt & Kim are always smiling.)

Jim Shearer: Before I turned on my tape recorder, Matt, you were telling me about a kid in Australia who said that you and Kim didn’t take good pictures?

Matt: In person, he said, “You two are actually pretty good looking.”

I was like, “Huh?”

Then he said, “In all of your press photos, you don’t look very good.” After thinking about it, we’re always stuffing food in our face or jumping up and down.

Kim: I kind of feel like that’s what happens when there’s a camera in front of me. We were given these video cameras to record for our friend, who’s doing a DIY-type documentary about bands touring. As soon as we got the camera, Matt pulled it out and I did some stupid shit where I was like dancing and making a fool of myself. Matt said, “You know they’re going to use that.” Basically, whenever a camera comes out, we do stupid shit.

Matt: Kim does stupid shit.

Kim: (laughs) We’re learning.

Jim: Is it in the budget to get a good photographer who has a studio down in SoHo with some good lighting and make-up people?

Matt: No, we just did some new photos, and we did them ourselves. I got a camera with a timer–

Kim: But we really tried in them.

Matt: Even though we were eating food.


Kim: Basically it was this pancake meal that we were doing with beers, and as the photos progressed we had more beers and ended up with photos of me spitting the food out.

Matt: But we were just like, “We probably need a photo-shoot where we’re eating pancakes.” That seemed about right. How many photos are there of bands at bars, or in the stair well? I can’t really think of a band photo where they’re eating pancakes.

(right: Pancakes and beer? Say what?)

Jim: I guess the final question is, “Would the kid in Australia be happy with these photos?”

Kim: The earlier ones, yes, as the night progressed, no.

Jim: When are we going to have some new material from Matt and Kim?

Kim: It’s coming.

Matt: We’ve been recording all winter.

Kim: Up in Vermont in the bedroom that Matt grew up in, and it really looks like a 16-year old still lives there. There’s still snowboard and skateboard posters on the wall–they’re all yellow and falling off now, but it really hasn’t changed.

Matt: My brother and I shared this room for 17 years. There was another room in my parents’ house, but for some reason we never thought to not be in the same room for our entire lives. Kim also pointed out that I had flowered wallpaper. She was like, “That didn’t bug you as a teenage boy?”

I was like, “I never really thought about it.”

We recorded for about a month, and I’m just super stoked on this new stuff, because it’s just what I wanted to do since the beginning of Matt and Kim, but we never had the time or means. Our last album was recorded in nine days.

Jim: So you needed more time to record?

Matt: That and flexibility. The songs [on our last album] are very similar, cause we didn’t have a lot of money to go into the recording studio. We were like, “We just got to do this, and do it quick.”

A lot of things were like, “Okay, good enough,” but now we don’t have to settle with “good enough” and we can try different things. This day in age, you don’t need to go to some fancy studio that costs a ton of money.

Kim: It’s kind of good cause we went in their thinking maybe Matt could do it, and then we left there thinking, “Fuck yeah!”

Jim: So Matt’s the producer?

Matt: Yeah, I did a lot of research on recording and stuff like that. This album’s going to be a little bit different.

Jim: How so?

Kim: Going into the last album we just wanted fast pop-punk type songs. This album’s a little more…hip-hop.

Jim: Whoa.

Matt: Well basically most of what we listen to is hip-hop.

Kim: It’s like pop-punk and hip-hop.

Matt: It’s not like there’s rapping on it. I still consider it dance-punk, but it’s not just straight-up fast, it’s got more of a beat.

Here’s another theory, all of my favorite recorded bands and albums are usually not bands I like to see live. When I listen to albums, I listen to mostly hip-hop, but I don’t like live hip-hop. I grew up listening to and playing in punk bands, but these days it’s not exactly what I want to listen to when I’m at home. I feel like for our last album was getting the training course for coming to our live show.

Kim: Basically a good album–if the band kind of performs it the same way live–it may not come across. You have to adjust your recorded stuff for a live show. We have our recorded songs, but we are adjusting them so they will work at a live show.

Jim: So you would like a fan to enjoy both listening to your album and watching the Matt and Kim live experience?

Kim: Yes.

Jim: When will you release it?

Kim: We don’t have a label yet?

Matt: We’ve talked to a lot of labels. It’s a weird time for music. We’ve talked from the majors to our friends’ really small labels. It’s just tough to figure out the right place to go, cause with the larger labels you tie yourself in to a six album contract and there probably won’t be record labels in six years–or six albums–which could probably be the rest of our careers. I don’t know? It’s a confusing time and we’re just figuring out the best way to go about it.

Jim: Is the album done?

Kim: We have vocals left.

Matt: Which is so hard. I’m in no way a natural singer, so what’s acceptable in a recording is so different than what’s acceptable live–especially these days, when you listen to the radio and everything’s through the auto-tune, making every pitch perfect. That’s what people are used to and that’s not really my style. It’s like finding this level of keeping my bizarre singing, but making it acceptable and attainable by everyone. That just means a fuck-load of takes.

Jim: Would you ever consider adding anyone into the ranks of Matt and Kim? It seems that many two-people bands are very strict about keeping themselves a duo?

Matt: We have more strings and horns on the new stuff we’re recording, so if I could play with an orchestra behind us that would be awesome. But I think to add one person into your two-person band might throw off the dynamic.

Kim: I think a lot of people would mad about that.

Jim: So it’s not just you two, you also have to consider the fan base?

Matt: People get mad at change anyway. Kim also hates change–change of all sorts–she can’t handle it.

Kim: Matt’s also been trying to get me to sing, but I’ve been fighting it.

Matt: She’s the Penn to my Teller, or whoever the quiet one is.

Jim: Before we end this, I just want you to know that I’ve adopted your song “5K” as my official race day theme when running 5K’s.

Kim: (laughs) My high school track coach found out that we were doing the band, he’s the one the song’s about. So now that’s the song the team listens to on the bus before they go run.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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