BY JEFF CLEGG
First Up: Tiny Moving Parts
(Pictured above, L-R: Billy Chevalier, Dylan Matteisen, Matt Chevalier)
Tiny Moving Parts are a group from “middle of nowhere” Benson, Minnesota who like to call themselves a “family band.” In fact, bass player Matthew Chevalier and drummer Billy Chevalier are brothers, while Dylan Mattheisen, who sings and plays the guitar is their cousin.
They have been playing together since they were kids, and their latest record, Swell, is yet another great album from one of the scene’s most consistent bands. They are the perfect blend of math-influenced guitar, neurotic drums, and Blink-182-esque pop-punk hooks.
We got to have a chat with them on before their set a couple of weeks ago at the Marquis Theater in Denver, Colorado while on tour with Birdhouse View, Oso Oso, and Mom Jeans, who we also spoke to before the show.
BLURT: Tell us about where you’re from. How was the band formed?
Dylan Mattheisen: We’re from Benson, Minnesota. A really small town of only 3000 people. Matt and Billy, they’re brothers, and I’m their cousin. We’re just a good ole family band, playing forever together.
BLURT: I’ve seen that your original band name was the D-Cups. What made you start with that as a name, and why the change to Tiny Moving Parts?
Dylan: Oh, yeah! We were just a cover band. We were writing a couple songs here and there, but we were like, 14.
Matt Chevalier: It was a joke high school band. Then we’re like, “Oh, let’s try to do real stuff,” so we became Tiny Moving Parts and started writing real music.
BLURT: What was one of your earliest favorite artists that inspired you to start the band?
Dylan: Blink 182 was a big one for sure. I mean, Dude Ranch and Enema of the State. Those are great records! Early Blink is what kind of got us going.
BLURT: Taking a step back further, what inspired you guys to be musicians? Being from a family band, is your family musical?
Billy Chevalier: Not really! It was literally the Blink 182 thing. We were obsessed with Blink when we were kids. The D-Cups started off more as a Blink 182 cover band.
BLURT: I just visited Minneapolis for the first time to go to a show at First Avenue and loved it. What’s your favorite thing about Minnesota?
Matt: The nice weather…
Dylan: Honestly though, the winters are brutal and cold, but we get all four seasons nicely. The summers are warm. The fall’s beautiful and it’s great golfing weather. We love to go golfing back home. Golfing’s probably one of our favorite things to do when not on tour.
Billy: It’s awesome having lakes everywhere, too.
Matt: It’s cool going to the lake. Lakes and golfing. We love golfing.
BLURT: I’m absolutely terrible at golf, but I love it, too! How often do you guys have the chance to play?
Billy: Last summer we had a good amount of time off. We were going, probably three to five times a week. It was the only thing we had to do. It was like, “Hey, yeah. Let’s go golf again. Let’s go golf again.” And don’t worry, we’re not very good either.
BLURT: You guys have a fantastic new album out called Swell. I’m continuously impressed by how consistent you all have been ever since you started Tiny Moving Parts. What inspired the album and what was recording it like?
Dylan: We recorded it with our friend Greg Lindholm. He’s done basically all of our stuff except for Pleasant Living. He’s just been a good friend of ours for so long. We really trust him, and it was really comforting going to his place. We were at his place for like, 40 days. In the middle of it we had to do a week run with Circa Survive for a little tour. Which was sick, we love that band.
BLURT: I missed that! I love Circa Survive as well and bet that was a blast! I’ve recently gotten into the band Jetty Bones and came across the song where Dylan provides guest vocals. What’s the best collaboration that any of you have done?
Dylan: Honestly, we haven’t done too many collaborations with anybody. I have done some guest vocals for some friends’ bands and stuff. The Jetty Bones song was the most fun because I wrote all the instrumentation, and then she did all the lyrics. Except I did my verse, but it was really cool. I’ve never done that before, and we kind of did it in a day or a day and a half. It was just a cool experience. It turned out great!
BLURT: If you guys had the chance to collaborate with anyone else, who would be your ideal band or artist to work with?
Dylan: Paramore would be awesome.
Matt: Paramore’s just one of those bands that’s consistently put out good records. It would be fun to tour with them or just do anything in a studio with them.
BLURT: Speaking of touring, how often do you guys play Denver? Do you have any stories or experiences to share about playing out here in Colorado?
Billy: Sadly, every time we play Denver, it’s always between Kansas City and Salt Lake or something like that. This time it’s Salt Lake, then Denver, then Lawrence. We get here, play the show, and then we have to start the night drive. Riot Fest was probably our best time here because we got to be here the whole weekend. That was a lot of fun.
Dylan: We played Friday that year, so on Saturday and Sunday we had no responsibilities. There was free booze and food and we just partied. It was so much fun.
BLURT: How’s the current tour going? How is it with Oso Oso, Birdhouse View, and Mom Jeans?
Dylan: It’s been amazing.
Matt: Yeah. This is the last day so everyone’s kind of like, “Oh, it’s wrapping up.”
Dylan: There’s been a lot of sold out shows, I think, including tonight. There’s only two that haven’t sold out of the 32 shows. It’s just been insane. It’s been nothing but great vibes.
BLURT: You have another tour coming up with Tigers Jaw and Wonder Years. How excited are you guys about that?
Dylan: That will be awesome! We’ll be the second of four bands to play so we’re only playing for half an hour. It’s less stress than doing the headliner tour like this one, where we’re playing for an hour and saying to ourselves, “All the people are here to watch this set. Let’s not screw it up.” It’ll be less pressure but just as much fun!
Now Enter: Mom Jeans
(Pictured above, L-R: Gabe Paganin, Eric Butler, Austin Carango)
If you haven’t heard of the California-based band Mom Jeans. (yes, that period is supposed to be there), they might just be your next favorite emo/pop-punk band. They released their first full-length album, Best Buds, in 2016 through independent label Counter Intuitive Records, but despite the silly band name and song titles, their music is not a comedic effort. Some of these songs are so painfully honest and dreadful that you’ll probably cry instead of laugh.
Before their set, which included songs about smoking weed in your car and how disappointing Grey’s Anatomy season 9 was, BLURT sat down with them to talk grow Colorado grow houses, strange concert experiences, and anime.
BLURT: For the readers not familiar with Mom Jeans, tell us a little about yourselves, where you’re from, and how the band was formed.
Eric Butler: Cool. My name’s Eric, I play guitar in the band. I’m from Northern California, live in Livermore like 45 minutes outside of San Francisco in the East Bay.
Austin Carango: I’m Austin, I play drums in the band. I grew up in Agoura Hills, California which is in the LA area, sort of by Malibu Calabasas, in that zone.
Eric: We met in college. We were floor mates in the dorms. Austin and I both skateboarded, and that’s how we started hanging out. We started listening to each other’s music on iTunes and stuff. We were just really good friends and we were like, “We should start a band, ’cause no one else likes this kind of music out of all my friends.” We sort of bonded over that. It was easy since then.
BLURT: What were some of the bands you guys were listening to during college that inspired you to start a band?
Eric: Oh man, Joyce Manor, Modern Baseball, a lot of the big guys…
Austin: I know one of my favorites is definitely Transit. I like that band. Algernon Cadwallader and Glocca Morra are really good, too. I fuck with all those guys.
Eric: I liked Marietta a lot. I was really into them at the time.
BLURT: So, what’s the story behind the name? Why Mom Jeans?
Eric: We just thought it was funny. We were hanging out, getting drunk and stoned, and I was like, “Yo, Austin, you know what would be a funny name for a band? Mom Jeans.” Austin was like, “yeah,” and then we just did it and I guess never got any wiser. Now here we are with a shitty, stupid-ass band name.
BLURT: Your album Best Buds has been back in my rotation again recently. I love that album, so good job!
Eric: Thank you, we tried.
BLURT: What’s the story behind the album?
Eric: It wasn’t so much a story as it was just, we really wanted to be a band and we really wanted to play shows. We had done some previous recordings, like demos and stuff, that we put out which are pretty much straight rip offs of Modern Baseball and Front Bottoms songs. Obviously, no one took us seriously with those because it was basically like stealing music. So, we said, “Okay, we really need to write our own songs and find our own sound.” I guess the driving force behind that album was trying to make something that felt like it was ours. It was original, and you can tell we really tried our best to just do something ourselves without any outside influence. I like to think that we achieved that. We were really happy with how it came out. As long as we’re stoked about it and we think it’s sick, then we can do no wrong. So, if everyone else hates it, we can be like, “Fuck you, I think it sounds cool.” Because we’re the ones that play the songs and have to tour them.
BLURT: Is there any new material in the works?
Eric: Oh yeah, we’re working on a new record right now. I have it written already. We’ve actually been playing a new song on this tour from the new record!
BLURT: That’s awesome! Has it been announced yet? Do you have an anticipated release date that you’re aiming for?
Eric: It hasn’t been announced yet. We’re still figuring out what we’re going to do.
Austin: Well, there was a little teaser about it. We announced the SideOneDummy thing and mentioned we were writing it and that it would be out in 2018.
Eric: Yeah, but other than that, people don’t really know when to expect it. We’re still figuring out who’s going to put it out and how we’re going to do vinyl and stuff like that. We’re aiming for mid-Summer, so early July is when I want to put it out, but it all just comes down to how long the recording process takes and if everything goes according to plan. It should be no problem to do it by then. Speed bumps happen frequently, though, and often push back times, so I’m trying to remain both optimistic and realistic at the same time.
BLURT: I noticed you were involved in a compilation called Now That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 420 and I saw the album artwork for your split with Graduating Life… I take it you’re pumped that you’re in Colorado tonight?
Eric: Oh yeah! We took a tour of a grow house today before this. It was fucking sick.
Austin: That was crazy. It was my first time seeing a bunch of fuckin’ weed plants in a massive, industrial facility.
Eric: Yeah, it’s a fuckin’ warehouse full of weed.
Austin: The smell was crazy! It was like nothing I would have imagined.
BLURT: That sounds dope. What was this place called?
Eric: It was called The Dab by Next Harvest.
BLURT: That sounds amazing. I’m here for one more week, so I need to go do that myself.
Eric: Yeah, our new friend Mason just hit us up on Twitter and said, “Yo we’re gonna grow, do you wanna come take a tour?” And we were like, “Yes, absolutely!” I mean, we always go to the dispensary, like pretty much anytime we’re in a state where there are dispensaries. Just ‘cause it’s fun. It’s neat. California also just legalized it, but it’s still super expensive out there. So, when you come to Colorado, the weed you can get for the price is just so insane, comparatively. It’s really awesome. We always tend to get a little bit too fucked up when we’re in Denver because of the altitude, so we always have to pace ourselves and take it easy. I think you come to Denver, especially if you’re on the tail end of a US tour and you’re coming home from the Midwest and just played Iowa and Nebraska and all these places that are death zones for weed. By the time you finally get to Denver after that, you just wanna smoke your brains out. Then you just end up on the toilet passed out cause you’re too fuckin’ zonked.
Austin: True story.
Eric: No, yeah, true story. They first time we were ever in Denver I passed out on the toilet because I was just so fucked up from the altitude. I was just drinking all this beer and smoking all this weed and eating all this rich food. All of the things that you’re supposed to pace yourself when you’re at high altitudes, which I was just like, not doing. Just playing a set and loading gear and all this shit. I thought my heart was probably gonna explode.
BLURT: That’s half the reason I’m dead today. I definitely didn’t pace myself at the Municipal Waste and Exodus show last night at Summit Music Hall. I went just as hard as I do over on the East Coast and realized too late, “I shouldn’t have done that.”
Eric: And you wake up and you’re like, “Oh my god … I’m on hangover island, right now.”
BLURT: What’s the best Denver show you’ve played?
Eric: I think tonight’s show is going to be one of the best ever shows I’ve done here, but I mean, anytime we’ve played Denver has been great. We have friends in a band called Old Sport that usually book all the shows whenever we’re in town. Honestly, anytime that we have played Denver it’s been awesome. We’ve played Seventh Circle, The Yellow, Lost Lake… I don’t even remember them all. Every single show that we’ve played in Denver has been booked and run super well and we always get to play with our friends. It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite. I think this is going to be by far the most people that we’ve played for in Denver. We’re actually coming back in two days and playing on a Monday because, why not?
BLURT: What’s the strangest show you’ve ever played?
Austin: The Maryland one!
Eric: So, we needed a show the day after Christmas because we were doing a full US tour over winter break. It was the only time we had off from school that we could do a tour. We eventually booked a show for the day after Christmas and, unbeknownst to us, it was basically just kids whose parents were away for the weekend and they had a party. Like a high school party, in their garage, and Mom Jeans was the headlining band for it. We kind of realized it the second we got there, but we were like, “Okay, we haven’t played a show in two days and the show we played two days ago was not that good. We need to try and sell some merch. We can’t just dip on this show because we’re going to be running out of money otherwise.” The vibes were super weird. It was just 100 kids packed into a garage and one 30-pack going around. You know what I mean? And like, one bottle of shitty vodka. Everyone’s wasted and it’s just a placebo effect all the way around. I think the kids passed a hat around and we made like, $9 in change. They basically refused to pay us. It was not sick. It was rough. Then, what pushed me over the edge, after all of this, while we’re loading up our stuff and all these kids are still partying, one kid that looks like he’s only 16-years old comes up to me with a half-empty bottle of Captain Morgan and says, “Hey man, gonna do a shot for Harambe?” I was just like, “get me out of this fucking state.”
Austin: Tied for the #1 spot for weirdest show has to be that Acid Boys show in…
Eric: Oh, in Iowa! Some dude that lived at the house and had nothing to do with the show, who was also on acid, basically tried to get 60 bucks out of us so that he could buy blow. And he was really bad at hiding it. He was basically trying to say that because we were staying at the house we were playing in, he needed seven bucks from each of the people that were staying there to cover the cost of us staying there. He just said, “Okay, it’s seven times eight people, okay, so that’s just like, 60 bucks.”
Austin: Well, the funny part of the story is…
Eric: He’s talking about trying to buy drugs when our friend was walking by and was like, “Yeah, is that going to be an issue?” And our friend Shawn was like, “Yeah, no. We’re not doing that.” It was just so stupid.
BLURT: Imagine you’re watching a concert and one of the band members spontaneously combusts. You get called up to the stage to replace that band member. What is the band?
Eric: Oh, what is that band? Oh man… that’s a good question … shit. I would be the dancer from Mighty Mighty Bosstones. He doesn’t play any instruments or do any vocals or anything, he just dresses up like all them and dances on stage, so I would be perfect at it. All you have to do is skank across stage.
Austin: I’d be fuckin’ Travis Barker. Crossing my fingers.
Eric: Travis Barker from Blink-182 or Aquabats Travis Barker?
Austin: Both. I mean, if I have to pick between the two I’d go Blink 182 because you can do the drum solo on the crane that goes over the crowd and turns upside down.
Eric: What about you, Gabe?
Gabe Paganin: Oh, I don’t know. I think I’m going to pass on this one.
Austin: He wants to be in the Gorillaz.
Gabe: I want to be the gorilla that does the stomping and Clint Eastwood comes out of the ground all dressed up and I’m fuckin’ doin’ my monkey walk. Just hanging low.
BLURT: I didn’t expect the answers to be that good! What’s your favorite non-musical thing to do on tour?
Eric: I guess eat.
Eric: Eat and sleep. I mean, we sleep a lot. Bart, our touring guitar player, gets really mad at us because he’s an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of person and we’ll sleep in as late as humanly possible. Like, if we can find a hotel room that will let us check out at like, 4 pm, and sleep until 3:30, we’d fuckin’ do that. Totally. Just sleep all day. At least for me, I don’t sleep well in a van, so if we’re not driving, I’m sleepin’. We all get pretty cranky when we’re not well-rested, so coffee, sleep, and food are the three main priorities.
Austin: And we watch anime, too, when we get a chance.
BLURT: I’m actually kind of bummed because back in Durham, NC, there’s a classic anime event going on at a local theater all weekend. My roommate saw Akira there last night.
Austin: Oh, that’s sick!
Go check out both bands, and also be sure to catch Tiny Moving Parts when they go on tour with The Wonder Years, Tigers Jaw, and Worriers!