Interview: Tiny Moving Parts
Tiny Moving Parts, an emo/math rock band from the tiny town of Benson, Minnesota, are on top of the world. After self-releasing the acclaimed This Couch is Long and Full of Friendship last year, they were signed to Triple Crown Records and just put out their follow-up, Pleasant Living. On top of that, the group landed spots at the Chicago and Denver installments of Riot Fest. While they were in Denver, KCSU caught up with them, talking Chipotle, Minnesota, and getting signed to a record label.
So you’re normally used to playing house shows and really tiny venues. What is it like playing the Chicago and Denver Riot Fests?
D (Dylan Mattheisen: vocals, guitar): I mean, it’s pretty different but it has the same feel. Everybody is actually caring about it and giving a shit. It’s been a blast! It doesn’t make us any more nervous or anything, it’s just as fun.
M (Matt Chevalier: bass, vocals): It’s really weird playing outside in the heat with a bunch of people, but it’s also really, really awesome. The difference is really cool.
Is this the biggest festival you’ve ever played?
M: Yeah, the crowd last weekend in Chicago was the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to, for sure.
Since you have so much off time, have you caught any cool sets by other bands?
D: We just caught Pianos Become the Teeth, that’s one of our favorite bands. We kind of just check out most bands for a couple songs and then keep walking around. And we spend a lot of time in the Artist Tent, just getting free booze and food! It’s a lot of fun here, a lot of cool acts. Last night, we saw the Flaming Lips and that was incredible. Just the best light show ever. We’re having a lot of fun, seeing a lot of different acts.
So you’re from a really tiny town in Minnesota. Is there any scene there whatsoever?
B (Billy Chevalier, drums): [pauses] Uhh, no. [laughs] It’s like a population of 3,000. We were the Benson High School band. A town an hour away had another band, and our two bands would go and play in each other’s towns, and that was the extent of it.
In Minnesota in general, is there some cool stuff?
D: Oh yeah, definitely! Minneapolis is great!
So keeping with the Minnesota theme, are you guys Wild fans?
D: Uhhh. We honestly don’t watch too many sports. I drove a zamboni, that was my previous job. That was the most hockey-ness of Tiny Moving Parts, ever.
So I met you guys for a second last time you came through Denver, and you all seem like the happiest guys ever. But your music doesn’t really reflect that. Is it difficult to play sad or angry stuff when you’re the smiliest guys in the world?
D: I mean, we just like to write music that’s meaningful. A lot of our songs kind of come off sad, but it’s actually really optimistic music. We write songs that you can take any way you want to, even if some of the melodies sound a little sad.
M: It’s also just really fun to play live, so of course it’s going to make us happy.
Give me the story of the Pleasant Living album art.
M: Basically, we decided to call it Pleasant Living then I worked on the album art. It was written in our parents’ basement, and we’re still living with our parents because we’re touring so much. It’s kind of like we were living in paradise except we weren’t, because it’s our parents’ basement. But no rent, home-cooked meals, nice showers. So when I was doing the album art, the guy’s kind of in paradise but he’s also lazy about it. It’s not crazy, he’s just kind of there.
He’s living pleasantly, per se.
M: [laughs] Yeah. He’s living the dream, but not in a crazy way.
What’s the difference between self-releasing your first album, then getting signed to Triple Crown and releasing your second album through them?
M: It’s a lot more professional. When we released This Couch is Long and Full of Friendship, it was a Sunday and we were kind of hungover and we just said, “You wanna just put the album up right now?” We just had no worries about it. Now, we have a release date and everything. It’s a whole lot better. We didn’t really have CD or vinyl copies of the last album until about seven months after we released it, but for the release of this album, vinyl was already shipped to people’s houses. Fred from Triple Crown has been awesome, and we’re really happy and content with everything.
While out on the road, what is the best food joint you’ve ever eaten at?
M: Oooh! I’m gonna say Cookout.
D: Awh, I was gonna say Cookout! We all love Cookout.
Where is Cookout?
D: Virginia, North Carolina, kind of out east. There’s only like three states it’s in.
M: The combo meal’s, like, a double cheeseburger and a bunch of crazy shit. You get two sides, which are like quesadillas, chicken nuggets. It’s a crazy amount of food for 5 dollars.
D: It’s five dollars! We have to go every time we see one. Every time we see a sign, we all scream, “COOKOUT!” We get really excited.
M: Main place we eat is Chipotle, though. Because they’re everywhere. We eat there like every two days.
[laughs] You haven’t gotten sick of it, yet?
M: Nope! It’s incredible, every single time.
B: I don’t feel like shit after eating it. I’m just full.
What’s one place you’d love to play a show but you haven’t had a chance to yet?
D: Really, anywhere overseas. Australia or Europe would be kick-ass. We just want to do more international touring.
Have you ever toured outside the U.S.?
D: No… I mean, we went to Canada [laughs]. Which is right next to Minnesota. Next year, we plan on doing more of that.
Anything in the mix yet?
D: [sarcastically] Oh, no, nothing yet! [laughs] I mean, nothing’s set in stone yet, but…
So if you weren’t doing the whole music thing right now, where do you think you would be at this moment in time?
D: I would still be working at a Best Buy, probably. Just not enjoying my life, honestly. I graduated in web development, so maybe I’d do something in that field. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about that, because the band’s a lot of fun and that’s what we love to do.
M: Probably just working at a grocery store, cutting produce or something.
B: I’d probably be in Minnesota, doing graphic design stuff.
Any last words for the fans?
D: Thank you for caring! And thanks for the interview, this was a good time!