Matt and Kim maintain personal touch

Indie pop duo Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino of Matt and Kim open for Passion Pit this Saturday at The Complex. Photo Courtesy Matt and Kim
Indie pop duo Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino of Matt and Kim open for Passion Pit this Saturday at The Complex.
Photo Courtesy Matt and Kim

Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino maintain a first-name basis with their fans. Kicking out tracks since their 2006 album debut, this indie pop duo’s fan base has grown to the thousands.
Though their listeners have moved from filling intimate venues to larger complexes, Matt and Kim make it a goal to create personal connections with each audience they encounter.
“People connecting to people, those are the deepest connections … It’s not really a coincidence that we’re named Matt and Kim, after our first names,” Johnson said in an interview.
Now that the two-member band is heading to Salt Lake City to open for Passion Pit on Saturday at The Complex, Johnson is drawing connections between himself and a Utah-based audience.
Many people might call Salt Lake City the city with a small-town vibe, a lifestyle to which Johnson is accustomed. Growing up in Whitingham, V.T. — the population only reaching 1,298 people — Johnson recalls a somewhat humorous and unexpected correlation between his hometown and Salt Lake City.
Aside from being a quaint town in Vermont, Whitingham is the birthplace of Utah’s well-known historical figure Brigham Young.
Traveling from Vermont to the depths of the unknown West, Brigham Young claimed Salt Lake City the home of the Mormon religion by spouting the famous declaration, “This is the place.”
Like Young, Matt and Kim will also claim Salt Lake City, “the place,” even if it is just for one night. However, rather than naming Salt Lake City a location for religious sanctity, Matt and Kim hope their Utah fans will dub it the place for a rip-roaring dance-party of a time.
Matt and Kim’s upcoming concert will not be the duo’s first visit to Utah’s small-town city. In fact, Johnson remembers his first experience in Salt Lake City.
“I remember being so confused about the grid system,” he said.
Trying to find Kilby Court, one of Salt Lake City’s smaller venues, Matt and Kim found the coordinate system somewhat perplexing.
Johnson shared fond memories of Matt and Kim’s past performances at Kilby Court and other Salt Lake venues.
“We’ve had incredible shows in Salt Lake,” Johnson said. “We didn’t know if it was going to be conservative, or whatever, but people always seem to want to get wild and have a great time.”
Drawing deeper links between Matt and Kim’s music and Utah, Johnson highlights that many of the band’s followers are college students, which means that Matt and Kim’s Salt Lake City concert will most likely have many audience members from the U.
“[College students] are people who are looking to discover new bands, willing to take a chance on something that’s different,” Johnson said. “Really, the trendsetters are these people who are in, sort of, the college age.”
Johnson commends college students for helping to start Matt and Kim’s success. To him, the younger age group was willing to listen to the band’s different style and new sound before anyone else.