Two years on from Tiny Moving Parts’ acclaimed second record, Pleasant Living, Benson, Minnesota’s premier—and only—math-rock/emo outfit has returned with Celebrate, the band’s third LP. As the two that came before it, it’s a record that’s brimming with a very wide range of emotions, and one which manages to occupy both ends of the spectrum at the same time. But that’s precisely what the trio—brothers Matthew and Billy Chevalier (bass/vocals and drums, respectively), and their cousin Dylan Mattheisen (guitar/vocals)—has been doing since forming a little over five years ago. Yet while Celebrate is similar in nature to what’s come before, it also represents a more assured and confident step forward for the band. Don’t worry, though—there’s still plenty of anxiety and sadness to lose yourself in, something you can do right here, right now, with this exclusive album stream.
We recently talked to Mattheisen about Celebrate, which is out May 20 via Triple Crown Records.
Noisey: Let’s start with the title, Celebrate. It’s a joyous, happy word, but the subject matter of the album doesn’t really coincide with that. What I really love about you guys is that you always look so fucking happy but the stuff you sing about is riddled with nostalgia and sadness and wistfulness. And that seems to be the case here again.
Dylan Mattheisen: Yeah. So the overall theme is about trying to be optimistic. Like, shit goes wrong and you can either be bummed out about it or you can accept it, try to look on the bright side of things and move on. So Celebrate is really just, “Fuck it, let’s just have a good time in the short amount of hours we have on this planet.”
That seems to be a bit of a modus operandi for you guys.
I mean, we like to write about the same things! But it’s kind of fun to sing about life and be relatable to people. It’s an outlet for a lot of the feelings and stuff that I go through on a day-to-day basis. There’s always a smile on my face and I’m always stoked and stuff, but I’m only human as well and some things do bum me out, and some things do suck. Writing music and talking about it is obviously a good way of expressing it, and it helps out everything, and people can connect to it as well. So it helps everyone out, if that makes sense.
So Tiny Moving Parts is the music equivalent of a self-help book! Subject-wise, are these songs about or for anyone specific?
It’s stuff from my point of view of things that have happened—or things I can relate to in my head. I mean, there’s a song I wrote about being a snowman trying to outlast the summer. Which is impossible, but I can relate to it in certain ways in terms of things that have happened in my past. But yeah, it’s all super-personal to me. Some are about specific people, but sometimes I blend a couple of things together. It could be anything from personal friends or my grandmother who passed or people at shows in different states—just whoever I connected with throughout my life.
Were you in any way feeling pressure on this record? Pleasant Living did really well, and there was quite a bit of hype, so did you feel the need to live up that expectation?
We always want to one-up ourselves on every record. I hope that’s what every band likes to do, too. We’re so happy with the success that This Couch Is Long And Full Of Friendship and Pleasant Living have done for us and we just wanted to make sure we wrote better songs for this one. The hype was always in the back of my mind, but it’s not like we were too scared to release anything, and we’re very satisfied with how everything’s turned out. We can’t wait for people to hear it.
There’s definitely a progression, I think, from This Couch… to Pleasant Living to Celebrate. You can hear that you’re getting better at writing and you’re more confident. Are you aware of that?
Yeah. I mean, it sounds kind of clichéd, but over the years we have matured writing songs together and figuring out what we really want to do in terms of our overall sounds, and we’ve gotten a lot better from the beginning. With this record, we tried a bunch of different things – there’s some of the lowest tunings I’ve ever done and there’s also some pretty heavy stuff, but there’s also some very positive-sounding songs. It’s just a nice blend of everything we’ve always wanted to do.
What are your main hopes for this record?
We just want to be able to tour the world as much as we can, so as long as there’s enough recognition to be able to maybe fly to Japan or Australia some day and play some shows. That’s all we can really ask for. We just hope people like it and that we’ll be able to tour as long as we can with it, because that’s what we truly love to do.
Has your dynamic with Matt and Billy changed? Touring has been known to put a stress on friendships, and when being in a band becomes a job it gets even more intense.
We’re still having a great time! We still don’t even think of this band as a job, even though we quit all our jobs to do this full-time. It’s still just as fun as day one of doing our first DIY tour. We’re not just playing in basements and small DIY coffee shops anymore, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to. We still love that stuff. It’s a different environment, but it’s just as cool in its own way. We’re playing in front of a lot more people than we used to and that’s always cool, and just having conversations with people before and after the shows is always great, especially when they tell you how a record helped them get through something. That stuff never gets old and it still means the world to me to hear that. We really couldn’t be happier.
Tiny Moving Parts are on tour soon with Prawn and Free Throw.
5/19 – Fargo, ND – The Aquarium
5/20 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry (18+)
5/21 – Dekalb, IL – House Cafe
5/22 – Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
5/24 – Indianapolis, IN – Hoosier Dome
5/25 – Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose
5/26 – Cleveland, OH – Mahall’s
5/27 – Toronto, ON – Sneaky Dee’s
5/28 – Howell, MI – Bled Fest
5/29 – Columbus, OH – Double Happiness
5/31 – Buffalo, NY – The Waiting Room
6/1 – Boston, MA – Middle East Upstairs
6/2 – New York, NY – Studio at Webster Hall
6/3 – Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry
6/4 – Washington, DC – DC9
6/5 – Richmond, VA – The Camel
6/7 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
6/8 – Jacksonville, FL – 1904 Music Hall
6/9 – Tampa, FL – Epic Problem
6/10 – Orlando, FL – Backbooth
6/11 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade (Purgatory)
6/13 – Dallas, TX – The RBC
6/14 – Austin, TX – Mohawk
6/16 – Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge
6/17 – San Diego, CA – Che Cafe
6/18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
6/19 – Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
6/20 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
6/22 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
6/23 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive
6/25 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen
6/26 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird