An Interview with Tiny Moving Parts
Written by Adrian Leuthaser on February 7, 2018
Minnesota family band Tiny Moving Parts came barreling through the new year with not only a new album, Swell, but also a 32-stop headline tour across the country.
TMP is joined on tour by Long Beach, NY natives Oso Oso and Berkely, California’s Mom Jeans. For the first eight shows, Jetty Bones also joined the trek, with Fever Blush and Covet to join later dates.
Jetty Bones, Kelc Galluzzo’s solo project opened things up Friday evening at Mahall’s, performing to yet another sold out show. They are also a reason why you shouldn’t skip opening bands. Though not officially a “band” Galluzzo and her friends performance was mesmerizing to watch. The gut-punching riffs were complemented with melodic yet hammering drums. The intense instrumentals itches you to mosh but the heart-mending lyrics forces you to stop and listen as Galluzzo sings about love, relationships, life and just about everything else but in a refreshing and honest way. Her voice is soft, floating across the room like a butterfly. But perhaps it’s the lyrics themselves that make Jetty Bones beautiful and different. Lines like “I wasn’t always the person that I am now. But I worked so hard to get here,” from their upbeat and dark song ‘Innocent Party,’ had fans immediately connecting with not just her but with everyone else. Midway through the set, Galluzzo took the time to speak about mental illness and asked the crowd if they’ve struggled with making “silly mistakes” as she phrased it, and hands slowly went up. Going further, she asked if they’ve had to help friends from making silly mistakes and more hands went up. Looking around, almost everyone’s hands were up. Doses of pained and shy laughs riddled throughout as people looked throughout the crowd. Galluzzo emphasized that this is a community and that we have to be here for one another. Jetty Bones is that community. Keep an eye out, because this band is ready to breakout.
Oso Oso took to the stage after Jetty Bones and kept things going. The progressive style mixed with hints of atmospheric rock had the crowd singing along the entirety of the set, even to new songs off their record The Yunahon Mixtape released the day before Tiny Moving Parts. Upbeat at times, the crowd shoved and pushed, but not quite enough to move the fans in front. That didn’t occur until Mom Jeans made their appearance.
As soon as Mom Jeans finished their sound check, the crowd immediately pushed forward and those in front practically fell on the stage (it’s a low, small stage.) It didn’t take long for crowd surfers to make their way up front as Mom Jeans belted out sorrow filled and honest lyrics while intense guitars, bass and drums, along with actually getting hit in the face from crowd surfers. But then again, would it even be a punk show without some surfers?
Without taking themselves too seriously, in between songs they would have a couple dad jokes. Some, admittedly were pretty solid such as this one:
“What did the one fish say to the other fish in the tank?”
“You man the gunner, I’ll drive.”
Body’s falling and headbanging with Mom Jeans had everyone excited and eager for more. As they packed their guitars and bass, the crowd starting singing, desperate for one more but Mom Jeans. got everyone excited and ready for the boys of Minnesota, Tiny Moving Parts.
Brother’s Matt and Bill Chevalier hit the stage with their cousin and main vocalist, Dylan Mattheisen. Guitars droned silently at first as they crescendoed into Mattheisen’s hard, finger-picking progressive, math rock style as Bill met him on cue, thrusting the drums into a wall, only to be met with the crowd’s lung-ripping singing.
And that’s where we begin our interview with Tiny Moving Parts:
BSR: How’s tour been? This is the eighth stop so you’re still in the early segment.
Dylan Mattheisen: It’s been insane, it’s been really really fun. Like, over half the tour has been sold out.
Matt Chevalier: So far every show’s been sold out.
Bill Chevalier: Yeah, that’s been crazy.
How has the crowd been reacting, especially when you play songs off of ‘Swell’? Which has only been released for a week now, have fans been singing along when you do and how does that feel?
BC: Oh, it’s been great.
DM: Yeah, like you can tell as each show goes on, more and more people know the songs since they’re familiar but yeah, it’s cool. Everyone’s singing along and yeah, it’s just been great.
Tonight is Jetty Bone’s last night, how has it been touring with them?
DM: It’s been great, they’re all really nice people. They only did like… a week total with us and we’re sad to see them leave but we had a blast.
How’s it been touring with Mom Jeans and Oso Oso?
MC: It’s been great, we didn’t know any of them starting off but everyone’s chill, everyone’s cool and everyone’s on the same page, we’re all just hanging out and having a good time.
So, moving on to the new record, Swell, how was it recording this record? What was different this time around and what separates this record from Celebrate? Do you think there are a lot of similarities?
DM: We kind of did the exact same thing as we’ve done with Celebrate. We went with our friend Greg Lindholm. I guess maybe we took a little bit more time on this, to record it and stuff, just to make sure every song is almost perfect — the best songs we could possibly make. We were there for 40 days I think; I mean, we didn’t do anything too different.
MC: But it feels like we spent a little more time on very little things, like very background synth parts and stuff like that. We did a little bit more of that on this record. I noticed that while we were recording it was like, oh, I feel like we’re doing a lot more experimenting with background stuff on this record.
Do you think that’s something you’ll do in the future?
MC: Yeah, it was fun.
DM: Yeah, it was fun as heck ‘cuz we already know the guitars, bass, drums and vocals but then like, background synth, adding in a trumpet in one of the songs, stuff like that. It’s just little things that make a big difference and that’s the fun thing about making music; it’s cool.
What was the writing process like for this one? Were a lot of the songs based off experiences?
DM: I mean, it took us like a solid year, year and a half to write everything ‘cuz once we got done with Celebrate we kept on writing. Every time we are back home or even on tour we’re constantly writing, so we never get to the point of like. “oh shit we record next month, let’s force write a bunch of things,’ you know? So yeah, it took us about a little over a year.
Who did most of the writing?
DM: We all kind of do it equally. I’ve been doing some poem demoing at home now and getting better at [music production software] Logic and all that stuff so I’ll write a little melody, do some digital drums and then the next day bring it to practice, and we just kind of continue from there. That’s kind of how we go about that.
What’s your favorite track off Swell?
DM: Favorite track? Uh, we all love the songs (laughs) but if we had to pick, “Warm Hand Splash” is really awesome, that’s just… with the trumpets at the end I think it’s a pretty neat sound. Kind of a standout track I’d say.
MC: I’d go with “Smooth It Out.” It’s fun to play live too, we don’t have that slow but groovy rock element part in any of our songs yet, so playing it live is a lot different than playing anything else live, to me it feels that way.
BC: Yeah, I think “Feel Alive” for me is… we’ve been playing it on this tour too and it’s kind of a faster one.
Are you guys playing much of your older stuff from Pleasant Living or This Couch Is Long and Full of Friendship?
MC: We try to mix it up as much as possible. It’s tough when you have four LPs and you’re touring on a new record. You gotta throw in the new songs, you gotta try and please everyone. And you don’t want to play too long ‘cuz then you’re just playing too long. It’s a long show, four bands… the night drags on if you play too long, you know?
DM: Yeah, we don’t want to bore anyone. (laughs)
So this is a 32 show headliner for you guys, probably one of your bigger tours you’ve done in a while. You’ve already sold out about half the shows. The first time I saw you guys was at The Outpost in Kent and this was in 2015…
DM: Oh yeah. (laughs)
You guys released Pleasant Living the year before that and the crowd was… it was a much smaller crowd. And before then you guys were doing your own DIY kind of tours too. How does it feel to be selling out these shows every single night and playing to these much bigger crowds and having a 32 stop tour?
DM: I mean (laughs) it’s absolutely awesome.
BC: Yeah, it’s kind of… insane. We never really expected it, especially when we began. It was all about just doing house shows in the beginning. It’s kind of cool to see where we’ve come.
MC: It’s been very slow growing too. It’s like, “oh yeah, this shows bigger than last night, a little more people showed up,’”it just keeps getting a little bigger so it’s not like… it doesn’t feel like an overnight. “Oh yeah, now you’re doing this,’ it’s been very gradual.
So if you were to go back four years ago, what advice would you give to yourself?
DM: I mean honestly we’re doing what we want… I don’t have any regrets. (laughs)
MC: Yeah. I mean, I feel like we lived it up all we could back then and we’re still living it up now.
After this tour, you guys have a month off and then you’re headed to Iceland/UK for another headlining tour. Are you guys excited for that?
DM: Oh yeah, we love going overseas and this will actually be our first time headlining over there and every single time we’ve been out there a lot of people literally every single show will come up to the merch table and tell us “you guys gotta come back and headline, headliner show, play longer,’”and we’re like, “yeah, yeah eventually,” and now the time’s finally come so we can. We’re just really stoked, we can’t wait.
So what’s the next move then after that tour?
DM: We just want to tour as much as possible, we’d love to go to Australia, Japan… places we’ve never been to. That’s a goal of ours, and to just stay busy.
MC: Yeah, we’ve taken off the last couple months and it’s been pretty long.
DM: Yeah, really long, and we’ve been itching to get back on the road. We’re like a week and a half in now and we just want to be on the road constantly, as much as possible. We truly love it.
Will you guys be doing a tour video?
DM: Oh yeah, maybe. We should probably document more stuff. (laughs) We’ve just been so busy so we haven’t been taking too many photos or videos but I’m sure something will pop up.
Would you say then that 2018 is Tiny Moving Parts’ year? You guys came right through the gates with a new record right away, a huge headliner followed by another huge headliner overseas, is this your year?
DM: Ah… I don’t know…
MC: It looks like it’s going to be a fun year. (laughs)
DM: Yeah. That’s the extent we usually think of things, as long as we’re all having fun, people keep coming out to shows and they’re all having fun then it’s a win-win.
MC: Yeah, we’re just gonna try and play as many shows as possible this year I’d say.
When you guys do play shows, what do you look forward to the most?
BC: Just having a good time with the crowd.
DM: Yeah, when everyone’s singing along, you look out and you find that connection with the people, and it kind of makes you forget how tired you are, the long drive you did to get here you know, lack of sleep… it all erases and you’re like “oh this is great, I love this moment.” We’ve been touring for, like, six years or so and it’s still just as much fun, if not more.
The first time we talked you said that your families were supportive about what you guys were doing and taking a van and going across the country now, instead of just staying in Minnesota?
DM: They’re our biggest fans, they love it. They’re super supportive. Like, when we first started doing basement shows and things like that and when we bought our first van, it was a really crappy van. It was breaking down and stuff a lot, our parents were a little more skeptical because they’re from a small town born and raised so they think if we go to the Twin Cities bad things are going to happen and they were scared. But now they got over it and now they’re just like “TMP team for life.” They want us to do everything.
And you guys are keeping it in the family ‘cuz you two (Matt and Bill) are brothers and you’re (Dylan) the cousin of the group, which is awesome to see and you guys have been playing together since you were kids.
DM: Yeah, for 14 years.
What’s that like, to be just jamming as kids to be sharing a stage now?
DM: It’s… it’s crazy (laughs) I guess I don’t really think much about that… that’s 14 years.
MC: Yeah it just kind of feels natural, (laughs)
DM: Yeah, I mean it’s all we’ve really known so we just do it and we have fun.