A mushroom walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender says, “Sorry, I can’t serve people like you.” The mushroom says, “Aw c’mon man, I’m a fungi.”
Get it? Fungi? Fun guy? Get it?
Tiny Moving Parts, a band from Benson, Minnesota, by way of Fargo, North Dakota, are all fun guys. Their shows are full of the energy that perfect indie rock shows should have: sweaty fans, screamy lyrics, crowd surfing, beer shot-gunning. More importantly, Tiny Moving Parts play music that is firmly in the Midwestern indie rock tradition with mathy guitars and screamed harmonies that fans of Jawbreaker, Braid, and mewithoutYou, will dig.
Tiny Moving Parts is guitarist/singer Dylan Mattheisen, bassist/singer Matthew Chevalier, and drummer Billy Chevalier. Matthew and Billy are brothers; Dylan is their cousin. I had a chance to speak with Billy prior to their show in C-U.
Smile Politely: Give a history of the band as if it was a description of a Hollywood movie. Who would play each of you?
Billy Chevalier: Benson Junior High School is about to get a lot more punk! When brothers Matt (Nicolas Cage) and Billy (Rob Schneider) team up with their cousin, Dylan (Steve Buscemi), The D-Cups is born. It’s a punk rock band that the folks of small town Benson have never heard of. When the school makes them change their name to a more appropriate “The Dixie Cups,” all hell breaks loose! They decide to leave the small town life for Fargo, North Dakota. They felt so emo about leaving that they changed their name to Tiny Moving Parts, and the journey began! The movie is chock-full of rowdy shows, beer shot-gunning, dick measuring contests, and much more! Don’t miss this flick, Siskel and Ebert give it two emo thumbs up! Steve Buscemi gives the performance of his career, and Rob Schneider grows a mustache and pees the tour van seat.
Smile Politely: Was there a defining event/thing that happened that turned you into a small-town, local band into a Band That Tours and Has Popular Records out? What was it?
B. Chevalier: It all happened so gradually. Benson, where we grew up, has a population of around 3,000 people, so moving to Fargo, ND was a big step. We went on our first 20+ day tour in 2010, and that’s when we realized this is what we wanted to do with our lives. Slowly growing as a band over the years was so much fun. Every time we hit the road there’s more people we are excited to see again, and the shows keep getting better.
Smile Politely: There is a photo on your Facebook of you all living together in a one-bedroom apartment. Is that still the case? How has that helped (or hurt) you all as a band?
B. Chevalier: Dylan and I got evicted from our old house; the neighborhood couldn’t handle the amount of fun we wanted to have. We couldn’t get a new lease together, so Dylan signed the lease to the one-bedroom we live in, and I made myself comfortable in the corner of his living room. Matt moved in in May, and it’s rocked since! It’s nice saving money, but we didn’t have anywhere to practice all summer. Matt pre-gamed for tour by sleeping in the van most nights.
Smile Politely: You describe yourself as a family band; Bill and Matthew are brothers and Dylan is a cousin. What is the biggest fight any of you remember having?
B. Chevalier: We don’t get in big fights. Since I’m Matt’s older brother, I give him a lot of guff, but we get over our arguments pretty quickly. But seriously, Dylan never takes the garbage out, and it’s starting to piss me off.
Smile Politely: In an interview, Matthew talks about your mom giving him a Thursday shirt for Christmas. Did she know who Thursday was? How else have your incredibly hip parents influenced you as a band?
B. Chevalier: Matt isn’t around me right now, but I can assure you our mommy isn’t hip. She bought the shirt by sheer coincidence. I think I got a Dropkick Murphy’s shirt that Christmas. It said “SHAMROCK’N’ROLL” across the back, and my mom thought that was cute. Our parents have always been supportive of us, although I don’t think they thought it would grow beyond a hobby.
Smile Politely: How do you see yourselves in relation to some of the more seminal Midwestern indie bands (Braid, Cap’n Jazz/Promise Ring, Get Up Kids, etc.)?
B. Chevalier: Those are some really great bands. I would say our mind-sets are pretty similar: just dudes who love playing music for people. I can’t think of anything I would rather do. It is the best way to travel/vacation.
Smile Politely: What was the last song you listened to?
B. Chevalier: “Still into You” by Paramore. The catchiest song in the history of the world.
Smile Politely: Is Champaign the first stop on your tour? How will this tour be the same/different than the massive tour you guys did earlier this year (other than it being shorter, obviously)?
B. Chevalier: Our first show is Champaign, but to make the drive shorter, we are driving to Milwaukee to party with Brian Franklin the night before. He loves when we name-drop him. We aren’t playing as many house shows this tour. Playing some bigger venues with The Front Bottoms will be a new experience for us. We haven’t announced the second half of tour yet, but trust me, it will still be long and full of friendship. It’s going to end up being around 45 days, I reckon.
Smile Politely: What is something that your audiences do that you love?
B. Chevalier: Sing along and crowd surf us. Well, crowd surf Matt and Dyl, I mean. Shotgun beers with us. And grill with us and show us the coolest places to swim or explore!
Smile Politely: Who drives on tours? Who sleeps? Who smells the worst?
B. Chevalier: Matt and I split the driving. Our old tour van handled like a sailboat in a tsunami so Dylan just handled the navigation. We don’t sleep too often on drives. It’s nice to talk and that makes the drives go by faster. I smell so damn bad. I’ve had to throw away shirts, jorts, and even shoes because they smelt too bad to keep in the van. Although, we all smell and get used to it pretty quickly. We try to swim whenever we have enough free time to keep clean.
Tiny Moving Parts are performing tonight with Barrowe, Empty Isle, and Self-Proclaimed Narcissist at Error Records. Doors at 7:00, show starts at 7:30.