Brothers Matt and Mark Hill of the electro-funk duo The Floozies are making their way to Philly this week and will play Disctric N9ne Thursday night for what will be their first headlining show in the City of Brotherly Love. They have a few shows to play before that though, including stops in Richmond and New York, but Matt was still kind enough to take a few minutes out of his day to talk life on the road, musical and personal influences, and even staph infections. Yeah, we hit a lot of topics.
TSI: You’re in the middle of a pretty hefty tour schedule, do you even know what state you’re in right now?
Matt: Well, we’re on our way to Richmond right now for a show tomorrow night… *yawns*
TSI: The road is takin a lot out of you, huh?
Matt: Yeah man. We have a day off today. We’re using it to get as much stuff done as we can. We have like a nine hour drive.
TSI: What kind of support do you have with you when you tour? What’s your crew like?
Matt: Well we actually have a fancy Sprinter van for this one we have us, our tour manager and two lighting guys, actually.
TSI: Every time I talk to a fan of the Floozies, people who go to your shows and check out your sets at festivals and stuff, the one thing they talk about his how cool your mom is.
Matt: (Laughs) Oh yeah?
TSI: Yeah, tell me about your mom and her influence on you and Mark.
Matt: Well, she’s just a really nice person. A really good person. But on top of that, she’s also a really talented baton twirler. She twirls fire and stuff. I mean she’s pretty much better than anyone we’ve ever seen. I mean, she was a baton twirler for her college marching band and she was the one who originally turned us on to Funk when we were little. We used to listen to all that stuff, you know, Aretha Franklin, Earth, Wind & Fire, and all of that.
TSI: So did she encourage you guys to take up your instruments?
Matt: No actually I started playing guitar because I saw Back to the Future and Michael J. Fox doin’ Johnny B. Goode at the end I thought was really cool.
TSI: That might be the best reason I’ve ever heard anyone give for picking up the guitar.
Matt: Yeah and it’s true. I spent like a year trying to learn how to play it on like a plastic guitar with one string before they finally broke down and bought me a real one.
TSI: And what brought Mark to play drums?
Matt: He just wants to be like me but he picked a different instrument.
TSI: Once you guys started playing music together, did you think it would ever get this far? Was it always your dream to be professional musicians?
Matt: Yeah, we always did. We never really had a back up plan. When I went to college I experimented with different majors but I always ended up coming back to music. Then we got a couple of Colorado gig offers and Mark dropped out of college to go on tour.
TSI: Yeah you guys had a little bit of fear about staying in Lawrence so you moved to Colorado, right?
Matt: Yeah, we moved to Colorado for a year. We lived in Denver, actually. You know, it was cool. It’s a really cool place. It’s just, to be honest, we missed our family too much. It’s like you move out there and you meet new people but it’s just not the same as your life long friends and mom and dad and stuff.
TSI: So what does it take to grow up and live in a city like Lawrence, not necessarily known for its major performing artists and try to make it there? What’s it take for someone like you guys to do what you’ve done?
Matt: I don’t really know how to answer that because I don’t really have anything to compare it to. That’s just been our life, you know? That’s where we’re from. I guess it took a while. Like, sometimes people think that we’re a country band and they make jokes about the Wizard of Oz, which is just the stupidest thing ever. But Kansas City and Lawrence have been really good to us. I don’t know what it’s like to start a band in new York, but the one good thing about it is we kind of run shit out there, ya know?
Like one of our management companies is also one of the biggest promoters out there so we’re on really good terms with them, obviously. We get to do all kinds of fun shows. We got to do Funk Street this past summer. That was the biggest show we’ve ever thrown at an outdoor venue. We get to do that once a year now, so that’s really cool. We get to do a lot of things that would be harder if you were from a bigger city with more competition. But Lawrence is great. It’s a really fertile, musical town. And Kansas City has a great musical history so it’s not like they sucked before we started. There’s a lot of really great different sized venues and they’re all pretty nice, you know? I don’t know that every town has that.
TSI: I once took a friend to see you guys live. He isn’t into electronic at all. He’s a classically trained jazz musician. He plays the saxophone. Yet, when I took him to see you guys he was completely blown away. Loved the show. What do you think it is about your music that can attract those kinds of musicians and fans who have absolutely no previous interest in electronic music?
Matt: Well, you know, I’m also one of those guys. You know, I’ve played Jazz. I’ve done all kinds of crazy arrangements like that. And I learned… and I guess I should get back into it, but I used to just learnp eople’s solos from start to finish. Like Pat Martino, and George Benson and other Kansas City guys. I think a lot of that stuff comes through when I’m playing. Actually, I quote Pat Martino a lot. He plays a lot of licks I really like. I don’t know if that registers with people on a conscious level or not. Maybe just some of the tonalities are familiar, I guess.
TSI: So obviously your musical interests and stylings have changed a lot in your life. Where do you see the Floozies in the next five years?
Matt: I don’t know, that’s a good question. Hopefully selling out Red Rocks as a headliner. And hopefully not getting fat from life on the road.
TSI: No time to exercise out there?
Matt: Yeah and you know, gas station food. We’re at a gas station right now. I think I’m gonna get Subway because at least that has some vegetables.
TSI: What’s the hardest part about being on the road all the time?
Matt: The health thing, for sure. You never got good sleep, you inevitably have one too many hard party nights and it catches up with you. Booze, the food, you know, trying to get something that’s real food, something with nutritional content ya know? It’s so hard.
TSI: Favorite festival?
Matt: I don’t know, I kinda like ’em all. It’s hard to compare them because every place is different and cool in its own way.
TSI: Any one particular performance that you’ve had that’s stood out though?
Matt: Yeah our set at Hudson Project, I was really proud of that one. And Summer Set. I had been in the hospital and just gotten out that morning and I got to unleash the dragon on stage.
TSI: What were you in the hospital for?
Matt: I got a staph infection in my blood. I got like an infected spider bite and it got into my vain and got me really sick.
TSI: Yeah staph is no joke.
Matt: Yeah, apparently it can kill you.
TSI: I had a coach who lost his leg from it.
Matt: Man if I would’ve lost my arm I really would’ve been screwed.
TSI: Well I think I can speak for all of us that we’re all glad you didn’t. Thanks for taking the time for us Matt and enjoy the last part of your tour!
You can catch the Floozies still on tour with more added dates!
Sep. 17 – New York, NY
Sep. 18 – Philadelphia, PA
Sep. 19 – Cambridge, MA
Sep. 20 – Baltimore, MD
Sep. 26 – Red Rocks, CO
Oct. 11 – Kansas City, MO
Oct. 30 – St. Paul, MN
Oct. 31 – Tulsa, OK
Nov. 1 – Little Rock, AR
Nov. 6 – Tuscaloosa, AL
Nov. 7 – Knoxville, TN
Nov. 8 – Nashville, TN
Nov. 9 – Carbondale, IL
Nov. 13 – Oxford, MS
Nov. 14 – Live Oak, FL
Nov. 15 – Pensacola, FL
Nov. 18 – Baton Rouge, LA
Nov. 21 – Austin, TX
Nov. 22 – Dallas, TX
And check out the Floozies all over the interwebs: