Tiny Moving Parts are energetic, fun-loving creatures, so we wanted to see what kind of trouble we could get into with them. After failed attempts to tour the Brooklyn Brewery and host a tiny moving Skeeball tournament (we all sucked), we settled on a simple chat over day drinks, because the trio—brothers Matthew and Billy Chevalier (bass/vocals and drums, respectively) and their cousin Dylan Mattheisen (guitar/vocals)—likes a drink or two. All three are super good-natured and full of boundless, infectious energy, so before getting to the serious business of talking about them and their sublime second album, Pleasant Living, we just drank a few beers and rolled a few balls and made friends. One of their stories involved an awkward recent interview where the first question they were asked was: Have you ever played a show where no one really cared that you were playing? So when we finally sat down to talk, that obviously seemed like the perfect jumping off point…
Noisey: Explain some of your history. You’re from a tiny town that’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
Dylan Mattheisen: Right. We’re from a town of like, 3000 people: Benson, Minnesota. Matt and Billy are brothers and I’m their third cousin.
So why decide to start a family band?
Billy Chevalier: We didn’t even think of it that way. In junior high, I had just gotten a drum set for my thirteenth birthday and these guys got starter guitar kits. Dylan got the Tom DeLonge Signature all black guitar for Christmas and we just started learning easy punk rock songs in our bedroom. In high school, we were called the D Cups.
That’s a great name! Why did you change it?
Billy: Oh God. It is great. I miss it! We had a different bassist, who was also one of our cousins, at the time.
So it’s just a town full of family?
Dylan: Everybody knows everybody, yeah, and half the town’s related somehow!
So where did your influences come from? I can’t imagine that noodle-core math-rock emo is very popular where you’re from.
Matthew Chevalier: No. We’re the only three people that listen to the music that we listen to in our town.
Billy: It was more or less like Warped Tour bands back when we grew up. We loved Thursday, and mewithoutYou, and that was already stuff that no one else knew in our town. And then it just went from there. I remember being really into Fall Of Troy and Tera Melos, and that’s really when we started writing crazier stuff, trying to write hard-to-play stuff after we’d done punk rock in the beginning years, in junior high and early high school.
Dylan: We’ve been playing together for ten years now, or just a little bit over, so it’s gone through super punk rock to completely math rock and heavy yelling. It’s just a blend of all the things we’ve really liked, I guess.
I was going to say, the transition from Blink-182 power-pop-punk to what you do now is huge. I love Blink-182, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a big difference.
Matthew: It is.
Billy: It kind of worked to do the crazier stuff, since back in high school we couldn’t sing, so we had to just yell and scream.
My good friend is the singer of This Town Needs Guns and when we lived together back in London, he was always working out these little fiddly guitar parts. Like, he was always playing guitar, but out of the context of the songs, it sounded so different, because he was just repeating the same riffs over and over again. I was always like, “Henry! Give it a break!” but then you’d hear the song as a whole and it was awesome. So how much practice does it take to nail doing what you do?
Dylan: It’s so funny, because people are like, “Hard work pays off” and we’re kind of getting a little bit of recognition now, but we’ve been touring and things for a few years now and we don’t think of it as work. At all. It’s all fun as hell. We’d be just playing together regardless. We want to cover new ground and do different things and it just naturally comes because we’re really happy about the idea of being a band.
Billy: When we write our songs, we want to make sure we’re going to have a lot of fun playing these for people. We don’t just want to sit onstage and do a rock beat and power chords. We want to have to put some effort into it.
Matthew: We want to be entertaining to watch and also fun to sing along to.
There’s definitely a buzz around this emo revival scene, where young bands like you seem to be bringing back that Kinsella-y sound. Why do you think that is?
Billy: I honestly wonder why. They say the emo revival but I just kind of think this whole time there’s been bands, it just seems like there’s more and they’re getting more recognition. We don’t listen to any Kinsella music or anything, but I’m sure we’re influenced by bands who were influenced by them. But when people say we’re Kinsella guitars, it’s like, we know "Never Meant" by American Football, but that’s the only song by anything they’ve done.
So what are your ultimate goals for Tiny Moving Parts? Where do you see yourselves? Do you want to do the American Football thing and break up for over ten years and then get back together for a reunion tour?
Dylan: Ha! No. We want to spend these years of our lives on the road. Once we’re in our mid-30s, we might not want to be doing this so we might as well do it now.
Matthew: I feel like even if we broke up for ten years, five years later we’d be probably be like, “We should do some reunion shows!” We were talking that it’ll be pretty depressing down the line when we do end, because this is kind of the life now. You just drive and hang out with all of your friends everywhere. So knowing that that’s going to end is really scary.
Why be so pessimistic?
Dylan: I mean, there’s definitely no sight for end at all.
Billy: I guess we just think of it as kind of inevitable. But I don’t think there’ll ever be a day that we’ll think we should break up. We probably will just do it ‘til…
Dylan: …’til we’re like, 50!
Tiny Moving Parts are on tour...
09/10 - Dearborn, MI @ Dearborn Music (FREE IN-STORE)
09/11 - Chicago, IL @ Reckless Records (FREE IN-STORE)
09/13 - Toledo, OH @ The Main Event Music Fest
09/14 - Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest
09/16 - Lincoln, NE @ Vega #
09/19 - Denver, CO @ Riot Fest
09/23 - Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar #
09/24 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop #
09/27 - Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW)
09/28 - Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW)
10/17 - Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar +
10/18 - Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck +
10/19 - Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room +
10/20 - New York, NY @ The Studio at Webster Hall +
10/22 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott +
10/23 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church +
10/24 - Washington, DC @ DC9 +
10/25 - Raleigh, NC @ Kings +
10/26 - Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern +
10/27 - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade +
10/29 - Tampa, FL @ Pre-Fest 2
10/31 - Gainesville, FL @ The Fest 13
11/03 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Downstairs +
11/04 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk +
11/05 - Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey +
11/07 - Tucson, AZ @ Gary’s Place +
11/08 - Scottsdale, AZ @ Pub Rock Live +
11/09 - Camarillo, CA @ Rock City Studios +
# w/ The Menzingers
+ w/ Dads