"I just took a shower, which is pretty rare for tour," says Matt Johnson, keyboardist and co-vocalist of Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Matt & Kim. He's calling from Minneapolis, as he and drummer (and girlfriend) Kim Schifino tour North America in preparation for the Nov. 2 release of Sidewalks, their third full-length album and follow-up to 2009's breakthrough, Grand. Known by many as the band that stripped naked in Times Square (for their "Lessons  Learned" video), Matt & Kim — whose constant grins seem stapled lobe to lobe — will likely keep their clothes on Saturday at Virgin Mobile FreeFest (scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on the Pavilion Stage), but who knows? For the sake of the party, these two will do anything. WESLEY CASE, B

What's the planning like for applying your regular set to a big outdoor show?
Sort of what we realized is that the best thing to do is not change anything. We started out playing warehouses and art spaces. I remember when we did our first festival we had one summer where we had done a couple venues beforehand and jumped right into Lollapalooza. We were like how the f--- is this going to work? But we be ourselves and embarrass ourselves on stage and give it everything we got. It's the same we do in every situation. Stick to what you know. 

You and Kim will be back in Baltimore Oct. 23 at Rams Head Live with Donnis. I know you've done shows with hip-hop acts before. What draws you to that combination?

Kim and I listen to a lot of hip-hop, more than anything else. We listen to our other share of stuff like punk rock, but generally we listen to what we think is fun. For going out and coming to shows, there's so many indie bands we get posted up with in certain situations when we're not able to choose our own support. You stare at your feet and look at the band look bored. That's the antithesis of what we're about. … As long as people can have fun and dance, it works. 


The new album is Sidewalks. For fans that were turned on to you guys from Grand and its singles, what can they expect this time around?
I think where we started with Sidewalks, there'd be a couple of songs you write that kind of define where you're gonna go next. Songs like "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare" and "Daylight" were A) the most popular and also what we were most happy with. We were able to use some of the influence from hip-hop beats and we put that into Sidewalks. And we're still Matt & Kim. We released the first single called "Cameras" to great reception, better than we could have hoped. People were like, "this is so different" and it didn't even occur to me. I think it'll still be unmistakably us.

Your music videos have played a major role in your breakthrough. Is there a treatment for "Cameras"?  
We came up with an idea – a killer idea. We were going to shoot it before this tour but there was too much to do so we're going to shoot it after the tour. There might have been a hiccup to make this particular video. It is something very important to us and to me as a guy with a film background. Our music is our one chance to work that sense. We've gotta top "Lessons Learned." I can't divulge yet, but if we pull it off we'd make a few people mad but it'll be perfect.

The FreeFest has an eclectic lineup. Have you and Kim picked any sets you have to see?
We had circled, as big hip-hop fans, Ludacris and T.I. We fly in from Denver the day of the show, and we have to fly straight back out to Vancouver so we're only in for a short period of time, but hopefully we'll catch some of the show.