Mojostock Preview: An Interview with The Floozies

Mojostock is less than a month away and one of the bands that will be gracing the stage is The Floozies. The Floozies are Matt and Mark Hill, a funk duo from Lawrence, Kansas. Mojostock will be the band’s first big gig in Indiana. I recently had a chance to chat with Matt Hill, the guitarist and producer for The Floozies about growing up on funk, dealing with naked girls on stage, and picking the perfect cover song. Take a look at our interview below.

KS: I saw that the Floozies is just you and your brother, what is it like to play in a band with your brother?

MH: It’s great. We can be more honest with each other without worrying about hurting each others feelings. That is one of the biggest bonuses. When you’re playing in bands with friends, you always have to tip toe. If something doesn’t sound that good, you have to be like, ‘well maybe we should try it different.’ We can be more honest with each other and we don’t take that stuff personally.

KS: How long have you guys been playing together?

MH: 4 years or so, in this band. We started playing together in our basement when we were growing up when I was 13 or so and Mark is four years younger than me, I think that is when he first got a drum set. I guess that is like 15 years.

KS: When did you decide that playing live music is what you wanted to do full-time?

MH: We always have. It’s just that not until recently have we been able to do it. That has always been the goal though; we never really had much of a backup plan.

KS: I read that you guys make, “funk for aliens,” what does that entail?

MH: Well, we just make funk really. Funk for aliens? What is that from?

KS: I think it is from lastfm.

MH: I don’t know much about that website, so I don’t totally know where they got that. It’s modernized. We have all these new wonderful tools that the EDM community is taking advantage of more so than the rest of music.  Yet, more and more genres are adopting that stuff. We’re just doing it with funk. It’s kind of like alternative. Even hipster bands are using more synth and drum machines and what not. We are just injecting all of that into what we already know about funk.

KS: Did you listen to funk music growing up? What are some of your influences?

MH: My mom was big into it when she was in college so we just heard all that stuff growing up. It was like all we had. You know, Aretha Franklin and Earth Wind and Fire and everybody. It was kind of inevitable that we would like it.

KS: How did you guys go from playing house parties to being on tour?

MH: There wasn’t any one big break; it’s like a snowball effect type thing. We started out playing house parties and then we played on the street in front of a Bassnectar show at the Grenada in Lawrence and we set up in front of a Papachino’s and then we scored a weekday show at this small venue in Lawrence called the Jazz House which was kind of like our home venue for a while. It kind of kept building from there. Once we were ready, we moved up to bigger venues and started recording music and just hitting people up. Booking can kind of suck when you are doing it for yourself. It was just doing cold calls to venues we wanted to play. We would hit up Cervantes in Denver and B-side in Boulder, which isn’t there anymore. We did a little Colorado run pretty early on. I’d say Wakarusa was pretty important in our development, crowd wise. That was our first major festival- Wakarusa a few years ago. It kind of tipped off from there I guess.

KS: What do you love about playing live music?

MH: Everything man, it is what I’m in it for. I don’t want to do anything else. I like it when we are playing and we obviously give out a lot of energy when we are playing. If the crowd is giving it back, it just pushes us to get better.  There is nothing about it I don’t like, except for naked chicks getting on stage and trying to knock over the drum set.

KS: Is that a common occurrence?

MH: It happened at Wakarusa this year. I don’t really get it but security was kind of baffled. I don’t think they knew what to do with a naked girl because they didn’t want to pick her up and grab the wrong thing, you know.

KS: Who is your favorite band to see live?

MH: Amon Tobin, Grammatik. I loved Sound Garden when I was little and everything Chris Cornell has done, I love all that. Pretty Lights was pretty rad. There are not that many I don’t like.  It doesn’t even have to be electronic. Lettuce at Wakarusa was really cool. I don’t know if I have any one specific favorite, but Amon Tobin was pretty amazing.

KS: I saw that you guys do quite a few remixes, what is the selection process? What makes you decide you want to do a new song?

MH: I’ll hear it on the radio and it sounds like fun, you know. That is what it was with, “Africa,” I heard it on the radio and just decided to mess with it. One time, I went out drinking with all my high school friends and we were at this sports bar and the DJ played, “What Da Hook Gon Be.” It’s kind of random to be honest.

KS: What is a song that you would never cover?

MH: When we first started out, we had a looping pedal and guitar, and I eventually got a keyboard, and we would play, “Thriller,” by Michael Jackson. A lot of his songs are too good and I don’t want to mess with them. Bob Marley- I mean there is some stuff that is just untouchable, you can’t really enhance it. I thought about doing some Prince stuff. Once again, a lot of the songs I like that would be fun to remix, at the same time would be really hard to do just because they were so good the first time around. If you can’t really fucking nail it, it would just be a waste of time.

KS: I just have one more question for you. It takes a long time to drive through Kansas. How do you keep yourself entertained on the road?

MH: (laughs) Spotify. It is crazy man. It’s like about three to four hours into a drive we get into this auto pilot mode where you can’t even tell you’re in a car. It is kind of hard to explain, but it is almost like you just tune out and the monotony of the road just kind of numbs you. Recently, we drove to Colorado, and that is a real bad drive. It is straight on I-70 for nine and a half hours. After a while, you couldn’t even tell how fast time was going. It is bizarre. We have driven so long that we have gotten used to it. Being in a car for nine hours at a time doesn’t really bother us. One time we drove 14 hours in one day, driving back from Atlanta. We are warriors when it comes to that stuff, you know.

Warriors they are. After their set at Mojostock, the band is headed to Tulsa to play a festival. “We will be hanging out all night, but we have to bounce in the morning” Hill said.

General admission tickets to Mojostock are available here for $65. Check your favorite Mojostock artists’ Facebook page for a promo code to save $5 and put some money in their pocket.

You can listen to, “Stuntin’,” by The Floozies below.