Look up “floozie” online at urban dictionary and you will find a few rather unique explanations, if you will, of the word.
What your Grandma calls a hoochie. “That Paris Hilton just looks like a floozie to me,” Grandma said, though of course we couldn’t understand her without her teeth.
So in case you somehow never knew, there it is. Thanks to Grandma, we have a working, rather loose definition to go off of here. The hoochies under consideration are Matt and Mark Hill, who are brothers from Lawrence, Kansas of all places. However, these two are not your usual promiscuous/ daddy issues/ wait at the end of the bar when the lights go on/ subconsciously need a self-esteem boost/ standard hoochie fare. Let’s make no bones about that. These brothers are instead the kind who know how to lay down the electro-synth-hop-funk-love up in your soul hole. Yeah, that’s right – soul hole. Who knew? All history lessons aside, The Floozies have been making a strong name for themselves on the “EDM scene” while cruising a steady trajectory upward since their early 2008 inception. Although they share quite a multi-layered, nuanced pulse within their production style, the dynamic between these two does not lend itself to some over-worked, micro-minutiae-managed feel. For when one goes to a Floozies show, you soon discover it is very real, alive and flowing in the moment. The kind of magical moments that produce a monumental group high-five at 7 o’clock in the morning during a packed house sunrise set at Wakarusa. So chances are, when catching one of their shows you just might find yourself embracing a total stranger. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little group love. This Saturday night, The Floozies will be getting everyone all worked up in love sweat at the Boomtown Arts & Music Showcase at the Riverparks Amphitheater. I recently spoke with Matt Hill about the intuitive relationship he has with his brother, the stigma of being from Kansas and the duo’s upcoming new album due out this fall.
MC: What is your musical upbringing? How did you and Mark get started in all this together?
Matt Hill: We’re brothers and we have been playing with each other since we were little. And we just both like the same kind of stuff. Since our mom was big into funk music in college, we heard a lot of that growing up. Really, we just kind of naturally gravitated toward that kind of stuff anyway. I played a lot of jazz guitar stuff in college. And I played in a bunch of different groups like cover bands and original rock bands when I was in high school. We just arrived at this stuff because it’s just the kind of music that we’ve always listened to and always wanted to play, but didn’t really have an outlet to do so until this electronic explosion came about. I remember seeing EOTO and VibesquaD in ’08 and being like, “Oh, so you can play that kind of stuff live now!” It was like a revelation.
MC: As far as the “scene” goes, when it comes to other producers that you have either played festivals with or maybe even opened for, do you see those guys as competition in some way or purely as inspiration?
Matt Hill: Yeah, inspiration for sure. The competition thing is kind of silly because it’s not like sports. For one, you can’t win at music. It doesn’t really make sense. There’s no scoreboards or stuff like that. Another thing is that just because there is someone that sounds similar to us or just because they do well doesn’t mean that we can’t. It’s not mutually exclusive. It would be silly to get caught up in being competitive about that kind of stuff. However, if somebody does something really cool – say I check out a new track by Gramatik (and I really, really like all his stuff). I heard this new single off of an album that he hasn’t released yet. I just thought it was a rad track! But at the same time I’m like, “God damn it, I’m not going to do his thing!”(Laughs) I guess I can get competitive when I hear somebody do something really cool that I don’t know how to do. Then again, I just want to figure it out. Ultimately though, I’m not necessarily trying to be anybody else.
MC: What’s an average day like for you? Would you consider yourself musically prolific in terms of your work ethic? Do you wake up in the morning with ideas and beats just dying to get out of your head? Do you maybe even dream about beats?
Matt Hill: Sometimes, yeah. Sometimes it takes me a really long time to finish a track. It’s like the more you learn the pickier you get about your own stuff. The other day, I woke up real hung over, but for some reason had this song in my head. So I decided to throw that one together. And I’m like, “It’s pretty much done now and it only took me a few hours.” Sometimes I wake up and just have to get this thing recorded and then other times I’ll just be working on a song every night for a month until I get it exactly how I want it. I typically work at night though the most. Sometimes I have some good ideas during the day, but I just like night better.
MC: I totally understand. I’m the say way. I can’t do shit in the morning because it’s all about being a night owl for me.
Matt Hill: A lot of times it feels weird. I mean, we play at night too. So when I’m working on music during the day I kind of don’t know what to do with myself. But regardless, I’m usually doing something musically related. Even if I’m not down in the studio, I’ll be listening to other stuff or playing guitar or checking things out on YouTube.
MC: I know you guys have been playing since ’08. What has the process been like for you as far as getting your foot in the door and your name in people’s hearts? What have been some of your biggest challenges along the way up to this point?
Matt Hill: Convincing people that we’re worth checking out even though we are from Kansas. I thought that with the internet and how you can learn more about others, people would get over “The Wizard of Oz” jokes. I mean, some people treat us like cowboys. But I am definitely not from a farm. So yeah, we still get some of that. They don’t think that we are going to be up to par with other bands that are touring nationally. Even though I definitely think we are. Also, learning how to produce. When we first started out, I only had a looping pedal and a guitar. Then we incorporated Ableton and Logic and all that stuff as soon as we could afford it. And we just learned that stuff on the fly. There’s just a world of things going on inside a computer that you can do musically. I don’t know if I would look at that as a challenge necessarily, but as maybe an opportunity. When I first started messing around in Logic my tracks sounded awful. So it took awhile to learn how to use that stuff.
MC: What’s the relationship like between you and Mark in regular life and how does that translate onto the stage in terms of how you perform?
Matt Hill: We’ve always been best friends. Since we were little, we’ve just always done everything together. We never really fought. When we were little we would argue and yell at each other. I hear about people fighting with their brothers physically and stuff. But we just never did that. We just liked each other too much. Our tastes pretty much fall onto the same shit pretty much constantly. We like the same sports and foods and stuff. We don’t really talk about anything before we go on. We might decide what we want to start with, but most of the time we don’t even do that. I don’t really have to tell Mark anything because we just kind of get each other. A lot of times we will be playing and he’ll want to hear a certain song next and yell at me and I can’t hear it. But I’ll just play that one anyways because I was on the same page. I can’t really imagine playing with someone that isn’t my brother anymore. We have a very strong connection.
MC: Would you say that this experience has brought you closer together and as a result made you better musicians in the process?
Matt Hill: Probably yeah. To be honest, I just don’t even think about it. We don’t rehearse. I don’t have to worry about him at all and he doesn’t worry about me. And maybe we’ve gotten better. It’s kind of hard to tell because we have only played with each other. I mean, maybe we have actually gotten worse when it comes to playing with other people (Laughs).
MC: What’s one of the most awesome things you have experienced while playing and what’s one of the worst?
Matt Hill: You know, there have not been too many bad ones. Sometimes when gear cuts out that sucks. But yeah, I didn’t like when that naked chick at Wakarusa got onstage and started messing with the drum set. But a lot of the crappy stuff has been with driving. There was a little run earlier this year when everywhere we went we just happened to run into a freaking blizzard. We got stuck in Colorado, Chicago and all these different places. It was like this blizzard was just following us around on tour. That sucked balls. Playing wise, I got electrocuted once on stage. It started raining while I was playing a MicroKorg and it shocked my arm, causing it to go numb. It was pretty weird. Honestly though, I haven’t had too many complaints. That sunrise set at Waka was pretty great though. I got everybody to high five each other. It sounded like it was raining or something with all the hands slapping together. That was awesome.
MC: Yeah, I was there high-fiving along with everyone. It brought a huge smile to the faces of my friends and I. It was definitely a great moment.
Matt Hill: One time, I got everybody at The Bottleneck to do a giant group hug. Stuff like that is really great. Because I feel like our fans are very positive and loving and open about that kind of stuff. I’ve never seen anyone ever pick a fight at one of our shows. People are really good to each other. It seems like people leave our shows just smiling.
MC: I can definitely see that being the case. When it comes to your live show, it’s safe to say that you guys have some swagger. Your showmanship onstage sets the tone for the shows and the party vibe in general. Can you even begin to describe the kind of joy you feel while performing. What ways do you truly feel alive while you’re up there playing to a crowd?
Matt Hill: It’s what we live for. I don’t ever want to do anything else ever. That’s another thing that we don’t think about or worry about or even talk about. We just get up there and have fun and just let it happen. I think that maybe the fact that we don’t rehearse our songs helps with that. Because if you drill a song 3 hours a day for a week, by the time you get onstage you are probably sick of it. We’re up there thoroughly enjoying listening to our own stuff.
MC: In your opinion, what makes your sound unique and original?
Matt Hill: I don’t know. I think it’s just that we go straight for the funk every night. I know some bands dig into that somewhat. I don’t know though. That’s another thing I just haven’t really thought about. When we’re working on tracks and stuff, I kind of just work on one until I can’t stop dancing to it. Maybe that comes out. Also, I think that we don’t take it too seriously. I mean, we take the music seriously when it comes to making it good and stuff. But then again, we smile in pictures. We don’t act all hood and crap like that. Yeah man, I think that maybe it’s just years and years of listening to and playing funk and that kind of defines our sound.
MC: What kind of experience are you wanting to share with your audience when you go on stage every night?
Matt Hill: Just a funky good time man. It’s just a party. And like I said, it’s just a very happy party. Hugs and high fives everywhere. I’ve woken up in the morning after if I’ve gone to a show or a party or whatever where I’ve been dancing a lot. I’ll wake up not hung over at all but just really sore. I’d like to share that kind of feeling. The kind where you dance your hangover away.
MC: Yeah, just sweat it right outta ya. So yeah, what would you say is next on the horizon for you two? Do you have aspirations of making a full-fledged album or do you just want to focus more on EP’s and singles right now?
Matt Hill: You know, I’ve got about 6 songs done on this new album and we were thinking about doing an EP. But I think it would be a lot of fun to see if we can get to full-length status. I feel like those are a big deal. It seems like EP’s and singles are just TV episodes. Whereas, a full album is more like a movie, you know. Our last few releases have been singles and EP’s. I just get so impatient that I want to release it. The more I get excited about it, the more I want to get it out there.
MC: In the big picture, do you guys still feel like you are trying to find your identity and carve out your audience? Or have you started to hit your creative stride yet?
Matt Hill: Yeah, we think we’ve hit our stride. When we put out our last album, Sunroof Cadillac, there were a couple of the tracks where I was onto something new for us. And then this new album I’ve been working on I’m really proud of all the songs. So yeah, I would say that we’re feeling in stride right now. We just gotta keep it going. I do not want to peak yet.
Matt Hill: producer/guitar
Mark Hill: drums
The Floozies set this Saturday night will begin at 10 p.m. Tickets for the Boomtown Arts & Music Showcase are still available online. Please be sure to follow The Floozies on Soundcloud and visit their website for any and all relevant information.
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– Matthew Cremer