Take Aim: Matt Pinfield vs. Amy Sciarretto
Wed, 10 Aug 2011 10:08:17
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MTV2's 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield is the re-invention of MTV's prolific music series and it has returned to MTV2 as an on-air monthly series beginning Saturday, July 30th at 1 AM ET/ 10 PM PT. ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto fired off five questions at Pinfield in this month's Take Aim column. He was at the center of the alt rock boom and beyond, so his brain (encased inside his famously bald head) is one that we were dying to pick!
Why did you decide to revisit your past with the new, revamped, relaunched 120 Minutes? What was the magnetic pull that made you say "YES!" I know it's where you began your career, but a lot of people often don't want to revisit the past. It's very interesting that you chose to!
It was a series of events that brought about my return to 120. For me, even though I did multiple TV shows after it for HDNET (Sound Off with Matt Pinfield), Universal/ USA(Farmclub.com) to name two, and spent 5 years as Vice President of A&R for Columbia Records, the show never really left the collective consciousness of music fans. Whether it was Jack White, Jack Black or The Black Keys, so many people told me over the years how much the show and I shaped their musical tastes. Before this, I spent 3 years doing mornings at the Alternative Rock station WRXP in New York City and we were discussing how it would be great to do a radio version of 120. I asked MTV about using the name "120 More Minutes with Matt Pinfield" and they said they would really love to see me hosting the show again on MTV too. Yes, it's been 11 years since I hosted the show regularly, and music and television continues to evolve. So although it will be a little different in format - it will still have the music information and passion that I always brought to the show.
How involved are you with the programming?
Just like in the '90s when I was part of the music department as Manager of Music Programming and 10 of us picked the buzz clips, and fought for what we believed in – the programming is chosen by committee which I am of course a part of.
What is your opinion of "alternative" music in 2011? It's obviously very different than it was in the '90s, as the genre ebbs, flows, morphs and evolves that sometimes, we're not even sure what is "alt" nowadays. What's your take? Is there a sub-set or sub-scene that you think truly defines alt in 2011?
Alternative music has always evolved and it is a really healthy creative time for alt music. To me, if it's not getting hammered on Top 40 radio and doesn't fit comfortably into a sub genre box then it can be considered alt music whether its indie guitar rock, dubstep, noise duos, folk, etc.
What is your favorite memory all time of 120 Minutes? I must say, I remember Mike Patton gave you a hard time during a Faith No More interview and I was impressed at how you kept going, even though he gave one-word answers!
I have many fond memories of the original 120. The first time I did it was as a fill-in in '93 with Depeche Mode, and Dave Gahan has been a friend ever since. Then Oasis in '95. Frank Black… Sonic Youth… Bob Mould… there are far too many to narrow it down.
What's your take on MTV and the music video in this digital age?
I'm glad to see MTV2 embracing 120 and Music Videos and Music Information, and of course - they have launched MTVHive.com where you can see my minisodes 120 Seconds and also find old episodes and current full length extended interviews from the new show. A writer said to me 120 will be a valuable tool for those who don't have hours and hours to scour the internet looking for music to love with the vast amount of stuff. I agree. This can be a curation.
What are you two favorite bands right now?
I love so many - where do I start? Arcade Fire, The National, The Black Keys, Black Angels, Black Lips, Surfer Blood, Kurt Vile, F***** Up, Sleigh Bells, The Joy Formidable, Decemberists, Sea Wolf, No Age. I still love Spoon as well and have loved Phoenix since United. I think the Foo Fighters new album is one of their best. This is just today's list and changes hourly. I love music and I'm a music enthusiast, not an elitist. I've always believed in sharing and turning people onto music. I should also say that the people who started most of the big music websites out there right now may not admit it to you, but they've told me that 120 and I inspired many of them to devote their life to music, and I'm proud of that! I guess they were thinking if a short bald man who isn't a pretty boy can do it so can they. And that's how the punk and alt rock ethos started in the late 70's-DIY!