A Conversation With Tiny Moving Parts
Talking Tour Dates, Songwriting and Their Favorite Records of the Year
[Title Photo Courtesy of Artist]
Tiny Moving Parts have had quite the year. The Midwest punk rock band - made up of Dylan, Billy and Matt - have been writing and touring extensively. "We just write and play music because we have a lot of fun doing it," says Dylan Mattheisen, lead singer and vocalist of the band. "Everything is kind of inspirational, but when you're from a really small town and there is not much to do at all, we write." And it's working. The band, made up of family and best friends, released their third LP, "Celebrate," earlier this year on Triple Crown Records to much acclaim from fans and press alike. Leading up to their biggest international tour to date, we stole a few minutes of their time and chatted outside a sold-out Brooklyn venue before their headlining show with Microwave + A Will Away.
How would you describe your music in a couple sentences?
Dylan: Technical and chaotic but surprisingly catchy. We like to just say "punk rock" but we know that can mean a lot of things. It's kind of hard to describe because we just do a lot of weird stuff. But we try to make sure it's really catchy on top of it all.
Billy: We try to write songs that will be fun for us to play live because that's what we're going to be doing, so we might as well make sure they're fun.
You were all relatively young when Tiny Moving Parts started. How did you guys come together?
Billy: Tiny Moving Parts' first show was April 2008. I was a senior in high school and Matt and Dylan were juniors. All before that, we played in a high school band together and basically we started playing music together in Junior High. We started getting into bands like Thursday and mewithoutYou and The Fall of Troy and that's how we grew into Tiny Moving Parts.
Dylan: Yeah, I was 16 or 17. We had a cover band and crappy punk bands, but once we realized we were going to be going off to college soon, we knew we wanted to step up and do this for real - and start going on tour. So we started Tiny Moving Parts and things just came together.
When was that moment when you realized that Tiny Moving Parts would become something more than just another high school project?
Dylan: Well, we always talked about touring – how cool it would be, and how we should just do it. It seemed like it was really all talk until we actually bought this old 15 passenger van off Craigslist for $500. Once we bought that, we had no excuse, we had to go on tour. Eventually we released 'This Couch Is Long and Full of Friendship' and we booked a 54 day full U.S. tour – very DIY, basement shows and coffee shops. We came home just breaking even. We thought "Woah, We just got to go on vacation for two months for free," and that was kind of it.
[Photo Courtesy of Artist]
Through all the touring you've been doing this year on the new record, are there any memories or shows that stand out to you?
Dylan: When we finally did our first headliner tour that wasn't DIY – that stands out. The venues were actually legit small clubs, and our friends Free Throw and Prawn came out. We sold out 7 or 8 shows and one of them was the studio at Webster Hall, and that was huge. That was a goal and it got accomplished – that was around 400 people and it was really special
You recently released a music video for 'Common Cold' which features your label mate, Connor from Foxing. How did that come together?
Dylan: It was mainly the director [Kyle Thrash]'s idea. He really wanted to capture the song. The song is about anxiety and dealing with problems that live in your head, and trying to get over them and get over the bumps in the road. He just really wanted to capture that. That's what a lot of our songs are about in general, and I know Kyle knows that for sure. He came up with the whole plot and we thought it sounded great. Connor got to be in the video too and that was an awesome addition.
What does the song writing process look like for you guys?
Dylan: It's a lot of reconstruction. We rewrite a lot to make sure everything fits nicely. Sometimes songs can take an hour to make and sometimes it can be weeks until we're finally happy with it. That's the beauty with songwriting. It seems like a perfect formula but if it was the same every time, you would get bored with it.
We wrote and recorded 'Celebrate' over the span of a year. It took a year for those 10 songs. We went into the studio for about a month with our good friend Greg Lindholm. He lives on the outskirts of Minneapolis and he hosted us. It was great because he's been a friend of ours for so long. He has two awesome dogs that we got to play with all of the time. His studio is in his garage, so we would just sleep in his house, wake up in the morning and go to the garage to record. It was great.
You worked with Lindholm on some earlier recordings as well. Was it cool to return and be in the studio with him?
Dylan: Absolutely. He's just super honest and you need someone who can be straight up with you. I mean, there'd be times when he said he didn't like a certain lyric. I would feel bad that he didn't like the lyrics – it can be very personal. But he's not doing that to be mean, he's doing that for the sake of the record and for our band and for everything.
Billy: It's really comfortable. We think of him as a friend, not our recording engineer. We'd kick back and drink beers. It's more like hanging out and recording rather than just working to get the album done. If something got a little annoying, stressful, or felt like it wasn't working, we'd just go into the backyard and play this game where you have to knock a beer can off a pole with a Frisbee. It was a great way to make a record.
With 2016 winding down, what are you most excited for next year?
Billy: At the end of January we're doing a UK/Europe tour with The Wonder Years and Pup [on the UK dates]. Then we go to Mexico for some dates. It'll be our longest time out of the United States for one tour. I think that will be really fun. It'll be a really good way to start our year.
What were your favorite records from 2016?
TOUCHE AMORE - STAGE FOUR
Dylan: My favorite record from the year was Touche Amore's 'Stage Four.' I feel like the instrumentation is awesome and the lyrics are very deep. It's about his mother passing and it's very personal. I think it's a very well rounded record. It's very true and that's not easy to come across these days. I like that record a lot. We toured with them and I got to watch the songs off of that record every night and it never got old, it was just sick.
JOYCE MANOR - CODY
Matt: Mine was 'Cody' by Joyce Manor. It's just a fun punk record. Every record they put out is good and I feel like they just keep one upping everything they do.
JEFF ROSENSTOCK - WORRY
Billy: 'Worry' by Jeff Rosenstock was my favorite. There are just so many catchy, sing-a-long punk songs.