INTERVIEW: Tiny Moving Parts | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Nick Karp

For a band from a small, middle of nowhere town in Minnesota, USA called Benson, Tiny Moving Parts have done pretty well for themselves. The family band, consisting of brothers William and Matthew Chevalier on drums and bass, and their cousin Dylan Mattheisen on guitar and vocals, are probably one of the biggest emo bands in the world right now. Listening to their highly-accomplished recent record, Swell, their fourth full-length in a whirlwind six years, it’s hard to believe Tiny Moving Parts started their life as a band called The D Cups, jamming Blink 182 covers as teenagers. But such is the Tiny Moving Parts ethos, to constantly keep pushing forward, always in a state of perpetual motion.

“We like to stay as busy as possible all the time and we love to be on the road, so we’re constantly touring,” explains Mattheisen, speaking from the band’s van on the way to play a show in Salt Lake City, Utah. “Honestly, we love touring just as much, if not more than when we first started. When we’re not touring we go back to Benson where we still live with our parents – if we’re gone more than half of the year there’s no point in paying rent – and there’s not much to do there! It may seem like we’re quite relentless, but if we weren’t having fun we wouldn’t be doing it. The connection we make with people, when someone says, ‘your band has changed my life’ or has helped them through a rough time, that never gets old.”

The whole theme of the record is about staying positive when you hit that bump in the road, about taking optimism from a bad situation

Hailed as part of the ‘emo revival’, there’s more to Tiny Moving Parts than emotive lyrics. Their math rock tinged sound blends playful riffs and complicated song structures with the more stereotypical ‘emo’ tropes; the heart-swelling, sing-along choruses and throat-shredding vocals. “We try to write songs that you can listen to from start to finish and not get bored of them, finding a balance between the catchy sing-alongs and interesting instrumentation,” says Mattheisen. “People are always comparing us to 90s emo bands like Cap’n Jazz or Braid, but we never really got into that stuff until after we were compared to it. When we started we were listening to bands like The Fall of Troy. The technicality was really interesting to us, the finger tapping and fast drums. And then of course there’s the likes of Blink 182 and Paramore, we all love that stuff too!”

Despite the triumphant, life-affirming quality of their sound, Tiny Moving Parts’ lyrics are often quite introspective and dark. “I’m an empty shell and I’ve been trying to help all the ones that I love, but I’m just a body, I am nothing,” Mattheisen muses on It’s Too Cold Tonight from their latest record Swell. It seems at odds with their positive outlook and outward persona – they’re renowned for being one of the happiest, most fun-loving bands around. “It’s an outlet to get those feelings out, to feel more positive. The whole theme of the record is about staying positive when you hit that bump in the road, about taking optimism from a bad situation. Instead of being bummed about missing someone, be happy that you got to have that connection in the first place.”

Tiny Moving Parts play Think Tank?, Newcastle on Monday 9th April


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