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On Saturday before the concert, Emilie Eastman and I were able to represent The Waltonian and sit down to talk with Matt Thiessen and Matt Hoopes from Relient K! The boys were very laid back and accommodating during the interview and were open about even some more personal subjects.

Waltonian: (Kim) What were your original thoughts when you were asked to play at Eastern?

Matt Thiessen: “Well, I just found out yesterday.” Thiessen wasn’t aware that Eastern was a Christian College! However once he found out, he thought the school was a great fit with their style of music. Matt Hoopes actually attended a small Christian university in Ohio called Malone; they played their first CD release show there. The band had never heard of Eastern University before they were asked to come and play.

Waltonian: (Kim) How does faith play a role in your music?

Matt Thiessen: “The big picture: we’re guys that have faith.” Thiessen says that when they write a song, there’s a part of them in that song. They don’t write things in their music that contradict their faith and throughout their careers they have been greatly blessed as a band.

Waltonian: (Kim) How does that role compare in your music when you were first starting, and now?

The boys said that their faith affects their life, and therefore their music. They said that their songs aren’t always perfect, and just because they’re Christian doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Hoopes says that as a Christian band they, “thought there were more rules back then, when we first started out; we’ve learned that it’s not as simple as we thought it was.”

Waltonian: (Kim) What are the hardest parts about maintaining a relationship with God for each of you, especially while you’re on tour and on the road?

Matt Thiessen: “It’s no different than not touring; every day you wake up and decide who you’re going to be. It’s always the same, no matter what.” Hoopes says that “a lot of people rate their relationship by their routine. Faith is not a regiment.” Thiessen interjected saying “It’s 24 hours a day”, with Hoopes commenting “it’s something that you strive for.” Speaking for the band, Thiessen says “we also surround ourselves with good people.”

Waltonian: (Kim) Did you go to college?
Hoopes attended Malone University in Ohio and has about a year of college under his belt and was taking college classes while he was still in high school. Thiessen has one semester of college experience; while he was in college, he wrecked his car twice, causing him to miss an important test and winded up with academic probation. His college experience spiraled downward from there.

Waltonian: (Emilie) Was that experience “College Kids” was based on?

The song “College Kids” was loosely based on Thiessen’s experience with schooling; he says he’d much rather be in a band.

Waltonian: (Emilie) Wikipedia says that Matt Thiessen dated Katy Perry in the past: can you comment on that?

Thiessen was very open while talking about Perry. The band met her when she 14 or 15 years old. In the beginning, they all thought she was kind of annoying. Down the road, Thiessen ended up forming a little crush on her and “fought for her.” The two hung out together for 2 or 3 years, during which they wrote some music. When Perry was 18, Matt went with her to get “Jesus” tattooed on her wrist; they still sometimes keep in touch today. Perry has attributed Thiessen as a big reason for how she learned to write songs. In reference to her public image, Thiessen says “she’s always been the same”; she has always pushed the limits with how she dresses, and Thiessen says that even back then, she was wearing her “shortie-shorts.” He thinks it’s unfortunate that the Christian music world didn’t accept her much for who she was, but he’s happy that she’s still finding success.

Waltonian: (Kim) Do you have any advice to college students?

Thiessen’s advice is to “pick your direction” and says not to people please. Hoopes discussed that you don’t always get a job within the degree that you earn in college; his advice is not to worry so much.

Waltonian: (Kim) What are you guys working on now?

Thiessen says they’re looking for the “next step”. As a band, they have a lot of different sounds that they’re able to do; right now, they’re working on some pop songs. They’re continuing to look for something different. Thiessen says that their new CD will hopefully be out by the end of the summer, which they are all excited about.

Waltonian: (Kim) Matt Thiessen collaborated with Owl City on a few of their CDs; how was working with Adam Young?

Thiessen: “He’s great; we became really good friends.” Both Thiessen and Young came from very conservative backgrounds, so they relate to each other in that way. Thiessen says of Young: “He is his own person; I don’t know anyone else like him. He makes me want to be a better person.”
Waltonian: (Kim) In our online questionnaire, Jon Schneck said he speed solves Rubik’s Cubes in his free time; what do you guys do in your free time?

Hoopes likes to golf and he bikes; he has 2 kids who are 1 and 5 years old, which occupies a lot of his time. Thiessen likes to run any chance that he gets; he has “those toe shoes” and says that “they make you run on the balls of your feet, so you kind of spring along; you feel very dainty.”

Waltonian: (Emilie) Matt Hoopes, you have two kids; how do you balance family time?

Hoopes says in the last 2 years, he’s made more time to devote to family, especially while he’s not on tour.
Waltonian: (Emilie) Do you guys have any advice to kids our age wanting to pursue an art, like music?

Thiessen: “Times are changing and to succeed in the arts, you have to be able to think younger than all the other people out there.” Because the music world is catering to an ever younger crowd, you have to be able to meet their needs. 

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