UTG INTERVIEW: Tiny Moving Parts

Anybody who knows somebody in an independent touring band can attest that life on the road is tough to begin with, and once you realize the harsh reality that material objects diminish, things become more difficult. UTG originally had intentions of interviewing the truly unique and genre-transcending Tiny Moving Parts (one of our 5 Artists To Watch In 2013) at one of the group’s Florida stops among the many of their insanely extensive 50-stop “This Tour Is Long & Full Of Friends” tour, but the Minnesotan trio was stranded until further notice in South Carolina after the group ran into van trouble. Luckily as of the time of publishing this interview, the group is currently sprinting cross-country to Texas with a rebuilt transmission and refueled spirits.

In lieu of a face-to-face interview, we settled on an email interview where guitarist/vocalist Dylan Mattheisen talked about such things as NFL Legend Brett Favre, the story of the self-proclaimed “family band”, the group’s recent full length, The Couch Is Long And Full Of Friends, their eclectic list of influences, and all of the other many things that make Tiny Moving Parts, well… Tiny Moving Parts.

To start, tell us the story of how Tiny Moving Parts came together.

We kind of just started out together. Matt and Billy are brothers, and Dylan is our first cousin. We’ve been best friends our whole lives and started playing music together when we first got musical instruments back in junior high. Throughout high school, we played under the name, “The D-Cups.” Matt and Dylan played guitars, and we went through a few different bassists.  Dylan was always over at the Chevalier’s farm, jamming with the Chevy bros. We were always writing/learning new songs, and it was hard for our bassists to keep up. Eventually, Matt moved to bass, and we carried on as Tiny Moving Parts.

While the man is a legend, why Brett Favre samples?

Because John Elway cried a little too much during his retirement speech. For real though, it was originally just for kicks, but when the album was coming together, we thought the Brett Favre samples were great filler tracks.

How long have you guys worked on writing This Couch is Long & Full of Friendship?

Pieces of it were written as long as two years ago, but we decided to write the full length early last fall. We wrote it in chucks throughout the fall whenever all of us could get time off from our jobs. It all finally came together in the days before we started recording in October.

Let’s be honest, simultaneously singing and playing the music that you play, while moving the way that you move in your live shows must be tough. Which of your songs would you say are the hardest to perform?

As long as we are brushed up on the songs, they usually go smooth. When someone at a show really wants to hear a song that we haven’t played in a long while, that can be a bit challenging.

What’s the story behind the album title?

Mostly because it is such an ironic title for an album full of sadness. One of our friends tweeted it with a #tinymovingparts a morning after one of our house shows. He told us that was what Dylan said to get everybody to join him on couch.  It was a late night of blurry memories and without Twitter, who knows what the album would’ve been called. Probably something depressing?

What are your influences?

Whatever the influence, we are under it. We kid, we kid. Here is a rough timeline: Blink 182 > Brand New > Thursday > The Fall of Troy > Tera Melos > then a bunch of sad stuff.

What are your favorite things to do to kill time while on tour?

Our old tour motto was: Brown signs are stop signs. We come from the farmlands of Minnesota, where you are surrounded by cornfields for miles. So, we love exploring mountains, waterfalls, and all that good nature stuff. Taking ridiculous pictures in front of known landmarks is always fun. If we have time when we get to the next city, we go to Goodwills and thrift shops or hang out with the good people that let us play and stay at their houses.

You guys used to be a four-piece with a keyboardist, but now it’s just the three of you. To me, it doesn’t seem that your sound is lacking in any way whatsoever. How has the transition been?

Davis, our old keyboardist, was added to the band more or less because he is a rad dude that we love hanging out with.  We decided to go back to the power trio for the same reasons Matt moved to bass back in the day. Davis spends lots of time in Samoa doing archeology digs and just doesn’t have as much time to put into this band as we do.

This tour is gigantic! As an up and coming artist, how do you guys approach booking, especially on a larger scale such as this?

We’ve been to both coasts a couple times already and have been slowly building contacts the last 3 years.  We wanted to take it to the next step and felt that we were ready to do something big.  Posting the dates and places we want to play helps us a lot.  People will then get back to us about playing their houses or whatever, and we build audiences off that.

Now that they’re beginning to get a bit of popularity behind them, do they feel it’s important to “Stick to their roots” so to say? IE: Playing basement shows, and keep cool with the underground.

Oh heck yeah!  No stage will ever be big enough to make us feel the way we do in an unfurnished basement full of kids our age dripping in sweat and yelling with us in unison.  I don’t know if the people that come to our shows would want to spend 10 dollars to see us at a bar or venue anyways. Playing donation based house shows where the kids can pay what they can or just watch us for free is exponentially better.  Especially, when it is enough to keep us making it to the next city.

How did you develop your sound? It’s unique, yet rooted in a lot of currently popular alternative subgenres.

We listen to such a great variety of music that everything just makes it’s way into our mix.  We pay attention to what we love about all the music we listen to and build off that.  Us three have been playing together for more than 10 years now (no, This Couch… isn’t our first stuff ever written together :p ), and it just comes naturally by now.

If you had to describe your sound using an emotion, what would it be?

That’s tough, since we have some really sad parts and happy moments, also.  How about: Pensiveness. It is a lot of mixed feelings about growing up and growing.

Do you have anything else to say?

Sorry we didn’t make it to Florida to do the interview in person and thanks a lot for doing this.

Welp, back to rockin’ across America, I guess.


Interview written and conducted by Adrian Garza

Support independent touring bands, purchase This Couch Is Long & Full Of Friendship on Bandcamp.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.