A Conversation with Tiny Moving Parts
If you don’t know Tiny Moving Parts already, where have you been? This Midwestern emo/math rock band is set to release their third full-length, Celebrate, on May 20 through Triple Crown Records. Vocalist Dylan Mattheisen took the chance to chat with 36vultures and just oozed positivity about the album and the position the band is in as a whole. With Celebrate on so many “most anticipated” lists this is surely a feeling that fans will be mirroring upon its release.
With the album coming out in just over a month and tour coming up soon, what’s the band consensus of the album? How do you feel listening back on the album?
We’re super excited. We can’t wait to finally have this record out for people to listen to. We’re going out with Prawn and Free Throw – those guys are our boys and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Earlier this month you guys wrapped up the tour with The Wonder Years, which was sort of a mixed back for both of you. How was the audience reception compared to other tours you’ve done?
It was great. It was all like B-market cities so some of the places we’ve never played before, like Jackson, Mississippi. It was a great run. The crowd was very nice to us every night and we met a lot of new fans – it really helped us out. It was kind of cool because before that tour we knew of letlive., Microwave, and The Wonder Years, but we never knew them personally. So we just kind of went in like, “Oh, I hope these guys are cool.” And thankfully enough everyone was awesome and that just made the whole tour experience a lot better too – such a great group of dudes.
Celebrate is the second full length you guys are going with Triple Crown. How has it been working with them and what’s different this time around?
It’s been amazing. Fred Feldman basically runs this whole thing, runs Triple Crown. He’s just all on board with whatever we want to do as a band. He’s never told us “Oh, sound like this” or been like the way some evil labels might treat a band. He just lets us do our thing and just goes with the flow and helps us out when we need help. We couldn’t be happier working with him. He’s a great dude, nice guy, and he’s funny too – funny people are cool.
The stuff that he let Evan and Into It. Over It. with that packaging [for Standards] is crazy.
Oh yeah, that whole thing is awesome.
I was listening to a podcast with Evan where it was just like “Yeah, he was like do whatever you want and we’ll make it work,” which is pretty cool giving that level of creative control to the band.
Yeah, exactly. For example for Pleasant Living for this one song [“Entrances & Exits”] for a music video we had our bobble heads sent up to space. We thought of that idea, we ran it by Fred and, you know, I could see a lot of people being like “Hell no, that’s not gonna happen, no way!” But instead, he was just like “This is great! Yeah, let’s do it, let’s do it! Let’s launch it as soon as possible!” Super supportive and he’s great, he’s awesome.
I wanted to ask about the video for “Headache”, too, which was sort of the concept of what you would do with your final 24 hours of life. How was it going through that chaos and knowing you would have to continue living on after that 24 hours?
It was a blast! Skydiving was unbelievable; we’d never done that before. It was just a good experience. We’d done a video already with Kyle Thrash and his crew, so we’d become friends ever since that and it was really comfortable doing these things. And we trust him right off the bat, whatever his ideas are. It was an overall great experience.
But eating the world’s hottest pepper was pretty brutal. It was burning my mouth, all of our mouths, for like 15 to 20 minutes. It was unbelievably painful. But it was hilarious and it was a lot of fun.
It made for a great video for sure.
Yeah, yeah [laughs]. Because it was a video they show like five seconds of us “eating the world’s hottest pepper” and then go up on our faces. Kind of a cool, quick five to ten seconds. What they didn’t show was like 15 minutes of us like in tears, dry heaving. But it was really funny.
You gotta add the extended directors cut a couple years down the road with a reissue.
Yeah, yeah, hopefully that – that’ll drop some time, maybe like in a few years.
So from what’s been released so far, it seems like you guys have sort of been able to bring in a little bit of an extra melodic angle to your sort of classic twinkly, math-rock-y sound. Was that something you guys had in mind going in or something that sort of came out while you were writing?
I mean I guess it kind of just came out while we were writing. It sounds cliché but over the years of songwriting and being with each other all the time it’s just learning from past mistakes and learning how to create song. We were really focused on making sure we made every song the best that we possibly could. So we really wanted to have it be like this because, you know, it’s always fun to sing along and having people sing along live. But we also wanted to make sure it’s like math-y and has very interesting instrumentation because that’s always fun to play live, too, and it’s always what we’ve liked to do as a band. It just makes songwriting a lot more creative and fun for us. It never really gets old to write music… at least for now.
Something that a lot of bands have expressed in the past as something they struggle with is when they start to grow and get more fans, more eyes on them. Especially with this kind of music where people get so emotionally connected to it — it’s sort of a tough position for band members. I was wondering how you guys have handled that, knowing that so many people care so much about you. How does that affect you and how you view your music?
If we’re writing a song and things aren’t connecting or we’re thinking too much about certain parts and it’s just not working out, we always just think about the bottom line and why we’re doing this in the first place. Right from the get-go was about us three hammering it out, best friends just writing music and making sure we could tour as much as we can and just play fun shows every night as much as we can. We just kind of always revert back to that if things ever get dark or we’re having writer’s block or something like that.
We always think in the back of our heads that we have grown a fanbase throughout the years, which we’re very thankful for – we love it, it’s amazing. We always keep them in our heads too when we’re writing so we’re satisfied with the outcome of the next record and they’re satisfied as well. Celebrate took like a year to write and it’s only ten songs. We put a lot of time and effort and thought of every single way the songs could have been better, enhancing it without overdoing it. We just spent a lot of quality time making sure the music satisfies us and satisfies everybody who cares about the band because that means the world to us.
I know you guys did that tour a couple years ago that was you, The Hotelier, Modern Baseball, and Sorority Noise that was sort of at the time that all of you guys were really coming into your own. Could you just reflect a little bit on growing from there to where you are now?
Honestly, we just kept doing what we were doing I guess… Oh gosh, that was a really fun tour, I forgot about that, holy crap! The fact is that writing music and playing shows and recording – the whole aspects of being in a band – we all love. It’s truly what we want to do for as long as we can; it’s the one thing that satisfies us all. So it just kind of goes hand in hand with growing. We just want to expand our fanbase while keeping true with what we believe in. We just kept doing what we’re doing because we loved doing it back then.
That was a really fun tour, and every tour we’ve done with Modern Baseball has just been a blast. We’ve done like four tours with them and they’re just great people. Like all music aside they’re just really good people and we’re all good friends and that’s just bonus points – it’s just an amazing thing about playing music and touring and meeting new people and it’s great.