SonicNet chat with Matt Sharp - 1999

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Web interview with Matt Sharp
Publication SonicNet
Interviewee Matt Sharp
Date 1999[date?]
Format Web
External link Via Internet Archive
References See where this interview is referenced on Weezerpedia

SonicNet chat with Matt Sharp - 1999
Author: various (SonicNet)
Published: 1999[date?]

Matt: Welcome friends and lovers, it's Matt from the Rentals!

Goldberg: Myself and Senior Writer Gil Kaufman will be speaking with him.

Gil: Matt, we spoke a while ago about the positive vibe on this album and you said it reflected your feeling at the time. Tell us again what was so liberating about your travels in Europe over the past few years?

Matt: People seem to get some sense of optimism out of this record. Which is a good thing, because it was certainly written during the highest time of celebration in my life. For me, this record was the most epic experience I've ever had, musically. I'd say it's twice the scale of both Weezer records and the first Rentals record, as far as the impact that it has had on my life.

Goldberg: You had a hit with "Friends of P" on your "The Return of the Rentals" album. How did that success impact you?

Matt: Well, the whole experience in general with the first album sort of took me to places where I never thought it would. Different countries, meeting different artists, which had a big impact on me creatively.

Goldberg: After doing that album ("The Return of the Rentals") what were your ideas about the next one?

Matt: Initially, with this record, my first decision as the producer of the record, was to record it in the way that would reflect how it was written. The first decision was to go to Europe and to disconnect from the record industry and everything else. Initially, we had planned on recording it in Barcelona, in the midst of the experiences that were documented on the record. But I soon realized that there would probably be no way that I would get any work done, because the days are short there and the nights are long. I would be having too good of a time living and would not be able to sit in the studio, so we went to London to record the album. I've recorded a few things there before, in London, and I liked it there.

Gil: The first Rentals album had a pretty steady retro keyboard vibe, but this one has a much more varied sound, why do you think that is?

Matt: On the first record, I let the sound of the record sort of determine how the songs were recorded and produced. On this record, we let the songs let themselves go where they wanted to go, sound how they should sound. We didn't put up any borders or restrictions on how they sounded. Songs like "She Says it's Alright" wanted to be more mellow, or "Insomnia" wanted to be more aggressive. We let the songs go where they wanted to naturally. Saying that, I like both kinds of records. I like the first record for the fact that it is one vibe. I just didn't have the desire to repeat that again on Seven More Minutes.

Goldberg: You said that meeting different artists had an impact on you. Which artists and how were you inspired?

Matt: Some of the people that had the biggest impact on me weren't necessarily the guests and the people that I worked with. It was really the people that were around me when we were writing. That girl that was dancing in front of me on that mountain in Barcelona, and those people that we met during our travels. Those were the people who had an influence on the record.

Gil: You corralled a bunch of English friends/rock stars to be on the album, such as Damon from Blur and Donna from Elastica, how did that happen? Was it a coincidence or did you already know them?

Matt: I already knew them. Most of the guests on the record are people that I met on the road, either with Weezer or with The Rentals or at festivals, or at radio shows. But, most of the things on this record is that, there was no solid plan. I wanted to let things happen as they happen. I wanted to let things evolve erratically. So, with most of the people that guested on the record, the day before they contributed, I probably didn't envision it that way. But afterwards, I couldn't imagine it any other way. Like, with Donna Matthews, it was a last-minute thing, her vocals on "Say Goodbye Forever." After she had done her part, I couldn't really imagine it being anything than what it became. The way things started out with the writing, not being conscious of what we were going for, and afterwards understanding what is was we were doing.

manolis_varnassinger: what do you like most playing live your music or playing your music in a recording studio?

Matt: Right now, at this point in my life, I have no desire to go back into the recording studio. This record took a lot out of me, making it. Making this record was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do in my life, but in the most beautiful way. Right now, there's nothing I'd rather do than be on the road, supporting this record. These songs are, for me, are not songs of alienation. It's an experience that I want to share with everybody. Beyond all the pretentious b.s., that I may say about the record, in the end, it's just an incredible excuse for all of us to get together and have a good night out and have one enormous party, where I am the host.

manolis_varnassinger: matt, do you like cinema what movies have u seen lately?

Matt: Yes, on and off. I go through periods of watching movies all the time, and then I go through periods of having no interest in it. But, during the recording of this record, I had all the people that were working with me on the record, watch the film Hearts of Darkness, the documentary on the making of Apocalypse Now. We began to see quite a few similarities with making the record and the making of the film. The fact that we made it in a foreign land, and, slowly, but surely, we went insane.

Sammyling: how is your relationship with weezer now?

Matt: To me, Weezer is more like family than it was like a band. Like in family, sometimes you love each other, sometimes you hate each other, but in the end, you're family. Since we've stopped working together, Rivers and I have collaborated with each other more that we did when we were a band. The song "My Head is in the Sun" is actually the first true collaboration that him and I have done together. And I helped him produce one of his songs for a film soundtrack. I love and respect all of them and wish them all the luck in the world.

tygerstile: What bands have most inspired you?

Matt: On the first record, our influences were much more direct. Where the producer, Tom and I, would borrow things as we pleased and were having a good time. But, with this record, the biggest influence for The Rentals now, is the environment that we live in and work in and drink in and dance in and have sex in and drink coffee in, has a more direct influence than any particular musicians.

dannlup: if any shows, who will open for you guys?

Matt: Too early to tell. Our first rehearsal is tonight, so, we haven't looked that far ahead.

Gil: When will you be going on tour, and who with? Will you be playing any festivals? Who will be in your backing band?

Matt: I guess some people know, the thing about The Rentals is that we're not a traditional band. With the same group of musicians in the studio playing live. But, there's always familiar faces with us, who come in and out of the studio. But there's one thing that I'm certain of, the band that we have this year is gonna be on a whole new level that where we've been before. The shows will have much more energy. Our shows are going to be a place where people can come and leave their sarcasm and cynicism at the door, and get off their heads with us and have a good time.

Gil: Are you going to play any of the package tour or radio shows, will you tour alone? And when does the tour start?

Matt: We haven't set anything yet. But, for me, either or and all of the above. Like anybody, we always prefer to be with our people, people that come to have a good time with us. I'm certainly open to festivals. Some of the most fun we had on the first record was when we played shows with twenty other bands.

Capnmoog: What's your take on the recent revival of synth bands?

Matt: After we finished the first record, friends of mine would call me and say, "have you heard this song? This sounds like a Rentals song!" It makes no difference to me, as long as the songs are good. We certainly didn't invent using synths, in that way.

Grywanderr: hey matt, I am thinking of going to Barcelona for my off term...what would you recommend as some "must go to" places?

Matt: The only thing I can recommend is, in any city that you go to, that you know people who live there and really know the places off the main path. Most of my time in this city, was that, away from the city center, in a friend's house, in a neighborhood you're not gonna find in the tourist books. Just stay out all night and have a blast, y'know?

Ssuba_Hood: Do you like Pink Floyd??????

Matt: Not in particular. Uhh . . . I have no idea where that question comes from. I like "Wish You Were Here." I really don't like "Money." It used to drive me crazy, in Virginia, they had twenty classic rock stations, pounding it into my brain.

down_with_P: what's your favorite gary numan song?

Matt: I haven't listened to him in so long! I sort of put that guy behind me for a while. I think about music, where I sort of subsist on one thing for a long time until I can't listen to it anymore. I'll go through a period where I'll only listen to the Rolling Stones or whatever, until I can't listen to it anymore. Whatever it is, I completely abuse it until I go on to something else, like the Smiths, or whatever. It's a very American virtue.

Goldberg: Can you tell us the names of some of your collaborations with Rivers, and where do you expect those recordings to show up and when? Also, any other collaborations? Also, tell us about working on "My Head Is in the Sum": with Rivers. Meaning "other collaborations" with other artists.

Matt: My head is in the sun was the last song that was completed for this record. It was a song that had to be on the record. It was very important to me that it was on the record. It had gone through a hundred different forms, lyrically and melodically. I was still working on it when we were mixing the record in Boston. I was living in River's house, and he came back from LA with Weezer for a weekend. We sat around in his basement and played acoustic guitars and piano and sang songs. And that's one of the songs that came out of that, the completion of that song. I just wanted to say thank you to everybody out there, for their patience over the last few years, and their support. And I wanted to let everybody know how much that means to me and The Rentals.

Goldberg: Hey Matt, thanks for joining us. We're looking forward to the tour.

Gil: We would like to send a hearty thank you out to Matt and remind him that the image of him standing on a toilet at a rave in Barcelona at 3 a.m. jabbering into a tape recorder is imprinted in our brains forever.

Matt: Seven More Minutes is the most important thing that I've ever done in my life time, and their support means a lot to us. I can't wait to see every one on the road.

See also