Kicking it With Gym Class Heroes

Matt McGiney is the drummer for the hit punk-rap band Gym Class Heroes, which made its splash on the pop charts with “Cupid’s Chokehold.”  After going gold with their first album, Gym Class came back with “The Quilt.” The album features the hit song “Cookie Jar,” with artist The Dream. The band, which came from small town Geneva, NY, began when McGiney and MC Travis McCoy met in gym class. They will rock the stage at Shocktoberfest alongside Shwayze. McGiney caught up with the New University on the road from Atlanta to Illinois.

Q: You guys are on a monster college tour, what are your favorite memories besides the performances?
A: We’ve made a lot of cameos at college parties, and we are generally really excited to feel normal with these kids for a couple of hours.

Q You guys and LMFAO have kind of taken over with this party punk-rock genre. What made you adopt the genre?
A: Gym Class has always been very unique. We came up playing just to impress our friends. We just wanted to make records that our friends would bump in their cars. Having an honest foundation sort of helped us to come across to larger audiences.

Q: What do you do when you are on the road?
A: We catch up with a lot of shows really. With online television and with things like Hulu, it has become a lot easier to stay with shows like “The Office” and “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” One of the guys on our crew uses Torrentz and downloads everything! And I’m like “What? That just came out yesterday!” I don’t want to mess with that stuff though because I don’t know how that works with the authorities, but it’s tight.

Q: You seem to be somewhat down with Torrentz, so you are cool with us downloading your music illegally?
A: Absolutely. All of us came up downloading music and dubbing CDs for friends. I am from the age of the mixtape, when the ultimate way to impress a girl was to custom make her a mixtape and see if she takes that bait. It would be very hypocritical to speak against people dubbing of file sharing our music.

Q: You and Travis started the band in Geneva, NY.  Where is Geneva?
A: It’s a small town in upstate NY. It is kind of wedged between Rochester and Syracuse. There was nothing around us. It was pretty much rural farm country, but I think we found ways to preoccupy ourselves with writing and recording music.

Q: No band gets huge off the bat. You guys have been through some of the typical band struggles like personnel changes and what not. What kind of advice can you give to young and/or struggling bands?
A: Ultimately, it is just about finding something that you are musically passionate about. For us, we never made it a goal to get signed or to put out records on a label. We always put all of the emphasis on the music. From an early age, we knew we were doing something unique and musically relevant. We adopted the approach that we were going to continue to use with the hopes that someone would be willing to take a chance on a band as different as the Gym Class Heroes.

Q: How did you guys get The Dream and what was it like working with him?
A: His CD was one we were all into. When we made a wish list of producers we would like to work with on our latest CD, we put down The Dream. He told us he had a bunch of artists he was already slated to work with, but he was really cool and was like “Fuck it” and moved us to the top of the list. We are glad he did because the tracks we did with him like “Cookie Jar,” are crowd favorites.

Q: How did you guys come up with “Cookie Jar”? What made you come up with cookie jar as a metaphor for having trouble keeping your hands off of girls?
A: Travis has always been that type of lyricist. He will take a certain situation and find a way to creatively re-explain it with a metaphor. It’s just a clever twist on the usual guy-girl relationship.

Q: Well then, which cookie is your favorite?
A: Ummm, I would probably say…. thin mint. No! No! Probably the Girl Scout cookies (laughs) but that is not a metaphor for liking younger women. That is strictly a metaphor for liking the grasshopper cookies. They are the most delicious of all.

Just to put it out there, I play the best tennis players at the school I go to. I am currently sending applications for any UCI players who want to get at me and get stomped! You are welcome.

Q: You should ask for Steve Henderson.
A: Is he The Dude? I am down to whack a couple of tennis balls around.

Q: Finally, now that you are performing at UCI’s Shocktoberfest, do you feel as if you have arrived in the music industry?
A: Absolutely!