The degenerates into a bloody brawl involving a large scale maracas, a tambourine, guitar, and Chinese take-out. Before the duo stopped in the House of Culture on Sunday, we asked about Johnson's violent side of the group.
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Matt & Kim are not just "swing sets and lollipops." That phrase uttered by vocalist/keyboardist Matt Johnson speaks to an aura of cutesiness that's bound itself to the Brooklyn indie-pop duo. In the video for "Cameras" from last November's Sidewalks, Johnson and real-life girlfriend Kim Schifino have a misunderstanding that escalates into a full-scale bloody brawl involving a maraca, a tambourine, a guitar, and Chinese takeout. Before the duo stops by Culture Room on Sunday, we asked Johnson about the band's violent side.
New Times: Who came up with the idea for the "Cameras" video?
Matt Johnson: I was trying to think of something where we could have a bunch of energy like there is at a live show but not just be playing music. I don't know, I think I was watching Kill Bill.
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What was the experience like?
We had this studio called 87eleven that does big Hollywood films with people hired to do the choreography. Kim and I had two days of rehearsal, and then we shot for two more days, and that was that. I wasn't even aware I had hamstrings until after the first day of shooting, because they hurt so much. When you're selling a punch on camera, it's like moving your weight from this toe to that toe. [With] all of these different moves, I have a new respect for when people do that in film.
There was a post on your website that you were in pain for a week after the shoot.
It was probably me. Kim was "claiming" — I put that in finger quotes — that she was feeling fine. We actually were pretty beat up afterward. We had done stuff with a mic stand — I don't know if it made the cut — and my forearms were just completely black and blue. Even though the punch is supposed to be a foot away from a person — it's all about the camera angle and the reaction — Kim drove a punch full force right into my nose first thing onscreen, [giving me a] bloody nose, black eye, all that. The makeup person was like, "Oh, this is great! I can just highlight the black eye you're already getting."