Tiny Moving Parts have been described as indie rock, math rock, Midwest emo and emo revival, along with almost every possible permutation using those descriptors. Their new album, Swell, is all those things—taking the stop and start rhythms as well as loud and soft dynamics of previous albums and adding in some catchy yet melodic pop punk moments.
Hailing from the small town of Benson, Minnesota (population 3,100), Tiny Moving Parts features brothers Matt and William Chevalier on bass and drums, respectively, with their cousin Dylan Mattheisen handling lead vocals and guitar. To pair with the release of Swell, their fourth studio album, the band teamed up with Dancing Gnome Brewery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to release Swell, a hazy, all-Citra pale ale.
The 16-ounce cans share the same art as the album cover and, like Swell the album, Swell the beer is immensely enjoyable. Cloudy and aromatic like the New England-style IPAs that are currently all the rage, the beer manages to balance the sweetness and acidity of citrus flesh with the tangy bitterness of an orange peel. Crushable may be an understatement.
How, exactly, does an indie-math-rock-emo-revival-family-band from a small town in Minnesota hook up with a small, hop-forward brewer a thousand miles away? The day after a sold out show at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, I cracked a can of Swell and talked with Dylan to see how it came together.
You brewed this beer with Dancing Gnome in Pittsburgh? How did that happen?
The previous tour that we did, we saw they tweeted they had this Tiny Moving Parts beer. So we tweeted back at them, ‘That’s a really cool name for your beer,’ with a smiley face, just kidding around, and they replied, ‘Dudes, we love your band, we named it after you guys, and we’re gonna bring a case to your next show.’
We were like holy shit, that’s awesome, and then they came to our show in Pittsburgh. We just kept in touch ever since and it was great beer. The staff at Dancing Gnome are super nice people so we knew when we had this next record coming out we wanted to have a new beer that is focused on the album art and that stuff with it. It just worked out perfectly.
That’s an awesome story! And the beer is delicious. What kind of input did you have? Did you say to them, ‘We like these beers,’ or, in terms of the brewing process, did you say, ‘We want it to be this style’?
No. Honestly, I mean we told them we like IPAs and things like that but we trusted them 100% and kind of let them do their thing since they’re the professionals. We’re just stoked we’re getting a beer named after our stuff. Regardless, we were just really happy that it was working out and the fact that it tastes really awesome is just a win-win.
Hamm’s is just what we go to. When we want to get fancy, the Surly IPAs are really delicious too.”
You’re out on tour now promoting the new album Swell with the bands Mom Jeans and Oso Oso, how’s it going so far?
It’s been great. I mean we haven’t played a show that hasn’t sold out yet. It’s been 17 or 18 shows in a row. It’s just been insane—the crowd reactions for every band. Everybody’s been really stoked on the whole lineup and everybody on tour is just super nice so you can’t really ask for anything better than that.
I saw you had Swell, the beer, at your show in Chicago and the show in Pittsburgh, and then it was also available at the Dancing Gnome Taproom, but did Dancing Gnome give you an allotment to take out on tour? Like a personal allotment, just for the band?
Oh yeah, they gave us some, not too much, but we definitely got a little share each. It’s at the point now we drink a handful of those, but then we want to not drink them and have some to bring home for keepsakes, as like souvenirs.
So you haven’t run out yet?
What else have you been drinking while your out on the road?
A lot of PBR. Some Miller Lites. Whatever we can get our hands on that’s cheap, kind of quantity over quality while we're living out on the road, you know?
Definitely. Any Hamm’s out there?
In the midwest, we had a lot of Hamm’s. The Minneapolis show. We didn't really stock up because we’ll like any kind of beer, but when we’re back home all we’ll do is drink Hamm’s and Hamm’s Light. That's kind of our go-to.
In an older music video, for ‘Headache,’ you’re shotgunning Hamm’s at national landmarks. Have you shotgunned a Swell yet?
Haven't shotgunned one. I know the people at Dancing Gnome did, like they sent us a picture, like ‘the beer is complete’ and they shotgunned a beer to celebrate, which is pretty funny. But Matt, Billy and I haven't yet. I feel like [Swell] is a special thing. This is so cool I just want to sip on it and not chug it as fast as I can.
If Swell, the beer, was brewed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then where was Swell, the album, recorded?
That was recorded in Blaine, Minnesota. It’s a suburb outside of Minneapolis. We went with our friend Greg Lindholm, he’s done basically all of our stuff except Pleasant Living. We’ve been friends for a long time and we all trust him a lot. He knows the direction we’re heading. We just feel completely comfortable with him. We stayed for like 40 days at his place and recorded in his garage and played with his dogs and drank a lot of Hamm’s. It was a really good time.
While you’re home in Minnesota, do you have a favorite “home state” beer?
Honestly, Hamm’s is just what we go to. When we want to get fancy, the Surly IPAs are really delicious too…
The Todd the Axe Man!
Yeah, Exactly. But I feel like I can only drink one or two of those and then I want to go back to the Hamm’s.
It’s weird how a little detail makes such a difference after you listen to the songs a million times.”
Did you do anything different this time, compared to previous albums?
In the studio, we had a little more time with things than on the previous albums, so we put a lot of time into background tracks, background harmonies, octaves, even little synths, just to make it all sound really full. So, we did a lot of time with that and it’s weird how a little detail makes such a difference after you listen to the songs a million times.
Well, that time you’re talking about definitely shows. This record definitely has a much fuller sound. Who does the female vocals that are on the album?
Her name is Kelc Galluzzo, she’s my girlfriend, and she has been a great friend of ours for many years. She’s in a band called Jetty Bones. She’s a sweetheart and she has an amazing voice so we knew we wanted to have her come out to Minnesota for a weekend and just play around and see what sounds cool, try some things, and if it doesn’t work out we’ll delete it. But it seems like everything she did we kept because she sounds great.
Yeah, it is an awesome touch. Another thing that got me hooked on the new album was when I finally saw the video for [the song] 'Caution.' It is just so much fun to watch. How did that come together?
Thanks a lot. Our friend Johnny Komar, he lives out in New York City, he’s helped on the video sets for our other videos, like 'Headache' and 'Always Focused.' Ever since we did our first shoot with him, like years ago, we just kept in touch and became great friends. So we knew we wanted our first single to be a video that he creates and we just trusted him—it was his idea of doing the janitor thing and he hired the older actors. All props to him, he created the visual aspect, and we just went with the flow and had a good time. We were drinking beers in the van in the parking lot and just coming back in and doing the shoot. It was a really fun day. It was a one day shoot and it was a blast.
So whats on deck after this current tour? Do you have anything else lined up? Are you going to Europe soon?
We’re doing our first headliner tour in Europe. We’re going to Iceland, the UK, and then Europe. That starts in April. And then this morning we just announced that we’re going on tour with The Wonder Years and Tigers Jaw. That's another full US tour that starts in May and ends in June. So we’re just gonna stay busy as possible and then the second half of the year hopefully some things will come up and we just travel. We really want to go to Australia and Japan. That’s been a dream of ours ever since, well, ever. That would be sick.