Mondays mean BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the PropertyOfZack feature today with Matt Carter of Matt & Toby (and also Emery). The band is releasing their great debut record tomorrow, so make sure to pre-order it here.
In this week’s feature, Matt dives into one of his favorite bands, Weezer, and one of his favorite albums by the band, Pinkerton. Matt describes what Pinkerton did in terms of shaping his music career, which ultimately led to the music he has been able to make in Emery, among many other things. Listen to Pinkerton by Weezer here and check out what Mike had to say about one of his biggest influences below!
From Matt Carter of Matt & Toby:
I became a big fan of music when I first heard Nirvana, when I was in 7th grade and Nevermind came out. I loved the distortion aggressiveness and rawness. I was a heavy music fan. A year or 2 later I heard 3 “alternative” chicks walking down the hallway of my school singing the Sweater Song. I hadn’t heard the track but I thought it was hilarious that a song had lyrics like that. When I heard what the track sounded like I was floored that it was heavy song. I loved that it could be silly and heavy, more than that specific combination; I liked the apparent mismatching that seemed to work. I got into Weezer big at that point. The Blue Album was my first experience with the combinations of heavy, pretty, melodic, funny expressive music mixed together.
Needless to say when Weezer announced that they had a follow up record coming out, my friend Ronnie and I were pumped. When it first came out we listened to the whole thing 3 times in a row. My favorite song by far was “El Scorcho,” followed by “Why Bother.” It’s easy to see looking back that they are the 2 poppiest songs on the record. They became my least favorite songs over time. That is the mark of a truly great record, that it has gateway songs to hook you and then take you places and stretch your tastes so that you end up loving songs that you never would have given a chance to.
Pinkerton is basically an Emo record as far as I am concerned. It was not what anyone was expecting. The production is insane, there is so much room soundieness and feedback and weird throw in vocals all over the place. Weezer was breaking so many rules on these songs. I was used to just radio rock music at the time. I had just started playing guitar and I began to notice things like 2 noodley guitars and no real rhythm or lead guitars. (see No Other One) There a bunch of weird key center changes mixed up with feel changes. (The Good Life, Across the Sea, Pink Triangle solo) But the greatest ting about the record is that it is sad. They lyrics are really sad and somehow that can be used in conjunction with some weird and silly music. This is much more powerful than sad music strictly with sad lyrics, or heavy music with straight aggressive lyrics. I think one of the hardest things to do is have a sense of humor and STILL have powerful music that is not a joke.
In Emery, I always have tried to use experimentally different pairings of sounds, textures, and feels. Pinkerton taught me to think way outside of the box, and to trust that Good and catchy lyrics on top of weird music WILL tie stuff together. My goal is always to make things that are complicated come across as easy to follow or catchy. This prevents things from ever being boring or predictable. In Matt and Toby its great because I get to do the same thing, but there is no expectation that the music needs to be heavy, so we are free to make even broader mixing of sounds and textures, acoustically and electronically.
I got my background in all this from Pinkerton. I loved it so much that in college with an 8-track hard disk recorder I re recorded the whole Pinkerton record. Starting with the drums and trying to get emulate every sound the record. I had some friends play a few different parts, and all my friends sing lead on one of the tracks. Toby sang No Other One, Devin sang Across the Sea, and I sang The Good Life. It was a ton of fun, and I learned and was influenced more by that record than any other.