The king of modern pop speaks out on MTV and OJ

By Jason Fierstein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

It's not everyday that the opportunity arises to talk to the illustrious king of alternapop, Mr. Matthew Sweet, but in this week's MUTATO interview, Sweet sheds light on his latest release, "100Fun," songwriting, music in the age of the MTV monster, and other novelties.

MUTATO: Is there oneparticular area of interest that you use in your songwriting? Tell me about the ideas behind the new album.

Matthew Sweet: When I write songs, it's not so much an intellectual thing, because I'm thinking I would like to portray this situation or that situation. I just have to be in that kind of mood of wanting to write. Sometimes, I'll get these words that are really stupid and start to elaborate on them.

The songs are pretty much emotionally-driven for me and I would just be in a hyper mood and might be in the car or shower and things would start to come to mind. The songs are first melodies, then the words fall into place later.

M: What I was trying to really stab at is the fact that the majority of your songs seem to deal with lost loves, bad experiences and the like.

Sweet: I have a lot of different feelings that I tend to harbor. Music, to me, is a substitute for therapy. The music comes to me when I'm in a negative sort of mood. There are a lot of different manifestations of the feelings of love or sadness and aren't just confined towards your spouse or your one-on-one relationship. The feelings can be directed towards yourself or your parents or people you don't know.

M: How do you feel about the influence of MTV on your music? Is it crippling of your music?

Sweet: Obviously, when they play my records, it affects me a lot because it means that I'll sell more records. It's a direct correlation and it's a necessary evil. They have so much programming other than just playing videos that they have limited room to play these videos. There are so many people trying to get their shot on MTV and it (MTV) is very tied into the radio and how well you do on the radio. If you get a lot of radio, then MTV will play you eventually, but if MTV isn't playing you, then you don't get a lot of radio. But for me, I like them when they play my videos and I hate them when they play them.

M: Thoughts on the trial of the century?

Sweet: Well, we never heard anything from the defense that actually makes you think that he didn't do it. But it's hard for me to believe that O.J. got off, that someone with that kind of significance usually gets off.

M: And I take it that there's a song in the making about O.J.?

Sweet: Yeah, right! I usually don't write on topics that are that specific. I'd be more likely to convert it into my angry feelings first or something and then worry about the general injustices of the trial.

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