DC Scene: How did you compile the original members of the Rentals?
Matt: The first recording The Rentals made was with half the group. It included Pat Wilson, the drummer of Weezer, Petra Haden, Cherielynn Westrich, and guitarist Rod Cerveraband of That Dog and myself. The Rentals were born out of Weezer and That Dog's relationship. It combined elements of both groups. Weezer had opened up for That Dog many times and we were really into what they were doing. They were able to effectively harmonize their songs. That, along with the aggressiveness of Weezer, formed The Rentals.
DC Scene: Having come from Weezer prior to starting The Rentals, did you feel more added pressure to succeed since Weezer was so successful?
Matt: Not sure. Pressure is always there. For me producing music independently as a solo artist, low key or in big studios ... the pressure is all the same. Striving to hopefully do something at a high level is very difficult. Whether making Weezer records or Rentals records, the pressure always feels similar to me. I guess a little less with Weezer and with Tegan and Sarah (Matt played keyboard on Tegan & Sarah's last record). Pressure is what it is.
DC Scene: The Rentals have toured with some interesting bands in the past ... Chili Peppers, Alanis Morrisette, Blur, Garbage ... who would you say that your music most closely meshes with?
Matt: Blur had the biggest indirect impact on The Rentals. Damon the singer was a huge influence on the second Rentals record. I've spent a lot of time with Blur. I was spending a lot of time in Europe chasing the first love of my life around in Spain and all that really had a noticeable influence on that second album. It was even made in Europe where Blur recorded.
DC Scene: You have The Rentals third studio album coming out in 2007. Are you going to be playing any songs off that album tonight?
Matt: No. Since getting back together, we've spent a while trying to figure out where we could go. It was a big wake up call when we went on the road. We looked at the first two albums and thought this was a good place to start.
DC Scene: Was it hard taking a few years off and just getting back together to not only tour, but write and record music as well?
Matt: Bad lesson to be learned. Seems to be if you don't do anything, everything takes care of itself. The reception has been overwhelming every night of this tour. Just amazing. We have no songs on the radio or any big corporation behind us and the audiences keep getting bigger and bigger. Weezer went through the same thing after we recorded Pinkerton. They took a break and then when they came back, there were even more fans.
DC Scene: What goes through your head when you hear one of Weezer's new songs on the radio?
Matt: Not a lot. I just wish them the best. It's not like there are any hard feelings there, just don't communicate that often. I wish them the best. I wish the best for anyone in this business.
DC Scene: Many people say that Pinkerton is one of top albums of all time. Was that style more or less like the sound you wanted to produce both while you were working on it and what you wanted to produce on your own?
Matt: That record was part of a long series of albums in that era. I don't look at it as a reactionary record. Many bands have that second album that reacted to the success of the first. Nirvana had it with In Utero, Flaming Lips did it to. Pinkerton falls into that category. Of all the records I've done, that is the most liberating one of all. You can tell it is just so free flowing.
DC Scene: Growing up in Arlington, Va., were you into the music scene in Washington D.C.?
Matt: Not really. I didn't drive until I was 18 and was basically the kid in the suburb. There wasn't really a whole lot to do. The cruel thing about being a musician is having the passion and desire to make it, but not having the tools to get there. That was my case.
DC Scene: Thanks and best of luck.