I’ve been keeping this wicked Californian duo under wraps for a little while now. I first came across them while procrastinating late one night on Vimeo and I stumbled upon Logan’s personal channel. There were tons of amazing videos of intimate recording sessions with other artists, but when I started watching a live rooftop session with a duo called Midi Matilda, I was in absolute awe. I searched for more music from this virtually unknown group and came across four more amazing tracks. I could barely contain my excitement and felt the dire need to get in contact with them. I hadn’t been this ecstatic about a new group since I first heard Foster The People last winter, and we all know how quickly they rose to fame. I can whole heartedly state that I would be utterly shocked if these two don’t follow suit in their success.
The infectiously catchy and incredibly versatile duo is made up of Skyler Kilborn and Logan Grimé from the Bay Area of San Francisco, unfortunately far from here. Their music is definitely a hard one to pin down to just one genre. Instruments used in their tracks vary from the traditional such as pianos, drums, guitars and bass to more synthetic instruments like dreamy synthesizers and subtle electro grooves. Hell, they even have a trumpet tastefully present on Day Dreams. To think that all of this noise only comes from only two individuals is farfetched, but completely true. These two are the poster band for the new era of musicality, combining the virtual and physical sounds of music in seamless harmony. Both Logan and Skyler were kind enough to answer a few short questions I had about them and their music over the past month.
SSOM: So tell me, what’s the story on Midi Matilda?
Logan: In short, we both met while attending a sound arts college based in the Bay Area back in 2008. We have been writing music together and exploring a bunch of genres since then. Only recently have we decided to put ourselves out into the world.
SSOM: I’ve got this gut feeling you two are going to have an amazing year. Just judging from the quality of your work and the buzz you’ve been making lately on the blogosphere from only four tracks and an acoustic alternate. What’s in store for Midi Matilda for the last year the world will supposedly ever see?
Logan: (laughs) I appreciate your optimism and thank you for the positivity. We plan to keep pushing tracks and videos out to the web, crafting our live show, and spreading our art!
Skyler: Considering that we only have a little less than a year to accomplish our goals, cloning ourselves for maximum efficiency has been discussed.
SSOM: Have you had any shows yet, or plans to bewilder the public soon?
Logan: We have our first show booked in San Francisco on March 27th at Cafe Du Nord. Beyond that, we have a ton of stuff in the works this year. We are really excited to give everyone at our shows a memorable time.
SSOM: And on a recording/performing note, how does that work out? There’s clearly more sound than two individuals could make with two instruments sans layering or some serious multitasking.
Logan: What are you talking about? I play the bass, keys and drums all at once! We are working out our live set right now and have four other musicians playing with us. Everyone plays multiple instruments and we plan to utilize everyone’s talent!
SSOM: Can we expect another EP or debut full length album in the near future? I know I’m not the only one looking forwards to more.
Logan: Our debut EP is coming soon (now available). We can’t wait to show everybody the latest stuff we have been working on!
SSOM: So, as far as songwriting goes, how do you two come up with your music?
Logan: It completely varies from song to song. There is a lot of back and fourth with us both editing each other’s work and then a lot of “Hey you should do THIS!!” to one another. It’s super collaborative. We are each other’s editors. Personally, Garageband for iPad is my go to for writing these days. That program BLOWS MY MIND!
Skyler: Sometimes it happens all at once, like an idea that only takes a moment to conceptualize. Sometimes the process takes more time but I find that if a song is worth it it feels right from the beginning. Either way, Logan and I are always collaborative and open minded to each other’s ideas.
SSOM: Where do you guys find your inspiration for music?
Logan: I could give you a whole laundry list but I will give you this example instead. When I go to a big concert, I spend a lot of my time wanting SO BAD to be up on the stage playing. Especially a band that looks like they are having fun. I say to myself, “Alright then, I am doing THAT!!”
Skyler: I agree with Logan. Live performances and concerts have captivated me since childhood. When I see an amazing show it can put me in a great place for days to follow. I suppose the opposite is also true. Also, anything can be inspiration. Of course a fresh new sound or song can be very inspiring, but I mostly write music once I have a certain atmosphere in mind.
SSOM: Any particular artists that have influenced your sound?
Logan: For me it’s everything from Ratatat to Fleetwood Mac. There are so many artists that find their way into my song writing and I love that. I get to pick and choose inspirations as well as discover what naturally flows out of me when I am writing…which can trip me out sometimes!
Skyler: Cliche I know, but I do listen to pretty much any type of music that speaks to me. It’s hard to narrow it down to a handful of artists. I tend to reach back to older musical movements to find elements that can freshen and energize our sound, and I listen to the most current music I can find to be a part of what’s going on now. I enjoy well-crafted sounds and songs that are liberated yet tasteful.
SSOM: Skyler, what do you do when you’re not making music?
Skyler: Professionally I’m a live sound engineer. I work with bands at shows all over the bay area to maximize the listening experience for both the band and the crowd. When I’m not doing that or making music I like to hang out and read at coffee shops in my area, go to the city and visit friends, and see shows. I enjoy movies, NPR, and surfing youtube for novelty.
SSOM: Hailing from San Fran, please tell me you two are coffee geeks.
Skyler: I’ve learned to enjoy the taste of coffee over time, mostly out of necessity. I really didn’t have much time to sleep in college. I’m a double skim latte kind of guy.
Logan: I can only speak for myself in that straight coffee make me feel as though my heart is going to pop out of my chest. I take things easy and enjoy my tea.
SSOM: Logan, tell me about your filmography career. You’ve definitely got mad skills with a camera, so if Midi Matilda gets the recognition it deserves, will you choose to put music first?
Logan: Thanks again for the kind words. I have been shooting freelance for the past few years. Music and video have always been a symbiotic creative outlet for me and I plan to keep it that way! Midi Matilda is a way for me to utilize both passions for one experience. I love it.
SSOM: So how did you pull off the video effects in ‘Day Dreams?’ You’ve been getting some serious exposure for it, even Acer took notice I believe.
Logan: Yeah it’s pretty amazing that we have been able to reach so many people with the video. FIRST we spent two years developing the dance routine in the video. (laughs) Just kidding. The video was first shot on a green screen, and then the green was replaced with a black background. After that, every other frame of the video was projected on a surface around the Bay Area and a picture was taken of it. Its like watching an animator draw every frame of a classic Disney movie BUT instead of drawing, we are just using a projector as the pen/skills/illustrator and something like a dumpster as the pad of paper!
SSOM: So I’ve gotta know, why did you two choose the name Midi Matilda aside from the fact that it sounds wicked?
Logan: The name is actually based off of my great great grandmother’s name, Mini Matilda de calca jour who owned one of the first Gold Mines in Virginia City. My dad then created a fictional character around 20 years ago and that was based off of her name. It was named Midi Mitilda who is a music making robot. The only thing that exists still is this awesome drawing that my dads friend drew for him as concept art.
SSOM: Last thing, I’m always curious to know what other artists listen to. What are your top five tracks at the moment?
Steve Winwood – The Finer Things
Steve Winwood – Valerie
Tycho – Hours
Gotye – Someone I Used to Know
Penguin Prison – Desert Cold
Capital Cities – Safe And Sound
Tom Waits – Clap Hands
The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio
The Drums – Money
Francis And The Lights – Darling, It’s Alright
Be sure to keep a very close eye on these two over the next year. They’ve already been tearing up the blogosphere and gaining some serious hype without even having played a live show, so it will be interesting to see how far their talent takes them. You can head over to their Bandcamp and snag their Debut EP for the price of your choice or, if the widget below works, you can get it right here. If you’re reading this and by chance live in the Bay Area or anywhere in SF you should not by any means miss their debut show. Imagine, you could have the right to say “I was front and center for their first show ever” when the world starts to take notice of the incredible music created by just a humble filmographer and an engineer.
You know you want to be a music hipster,
Midi Matilda – Red Light District (Live Acoustic Version) [ListenOnly]