With a career that spans over a decade and across many cities, Metric hails from no where in particular, although from their perpetual usage of the word “dimension” in their interview with Ted Stryker at the Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ, they might simply be cosmic beings gifting our planet with their otherworldly indie new wave.
Dulcet-voiced vixen frontwoman, Emily Haines–who had been awake until a “confidential” hour into the wee morning–smiled behind her sparkly-framed sunglasses and said that their trick to performing without proper sleep was that the band exists in their own special Metric “universe.”
“I’ll tell you what you do. This is my tip to other bands: you just pretend you have jet lag,” said Haines. “You just exist in this whole other time-dimension that belongs to you and the music and your band and your crew and you just kind of roll in your own time-continuum space-continuum dimension. “Haines then laughed and hinted that if she was “spouting sci-fi” one week after the album release, the rest of their time promoting it would be interesting.
The sci-fi metaphors perfectly translate to their recently-released album Synthetica; Haines even deemed the album as a “sci-fi pop opera” in an interview.
The band played six all new songs from the album including “Artificial Nocturne,” “Youth Without Youth,” “Speed the Collapse,” “Breathing Underwater,” “Synthetica,” and “Lost Kitten.”
When describing the song writing process, Haines again dropped a galactic allusion. “Some songs start on the piano,” Haines explained. “Me, lots of loneliness. Lots of isolation is the ticket to writing songs at least for me.”
“So, you know, bring some of those songs to the band; see how they can make them fit, make them work. Other songs begin with Jimmy [Shaw]… He creates amazing production-sound synth-worlds to makes us feel like we’re in another dimension. Josh [Winstead] and Joules [Scott-Key] give it the energy to flesh it out. It’s kind of an intuitive–not cognitive–process. “
Despite their chimerical metaphors, Metric does have a down-to-earth approach to writing new material. Whenever they are writing new material, they “bring it out into the world,” says Haines.
“We include the people who are going to listen to it,” the frontwoman continues. “It’s like a conversation, our relationship to our fans and listeners. It’s not a big television.”
Though their songwriting process is a “conversation” with their fans, Metric says they are inspired mostly by visuals and not just listening to other bands play–although they named director and artist David Lynch’s album as one they are constantly spinning.
In keeping with their often post-modernist tastes, the band just scored a David Cronenberg-directed film called Cosmopolis which is based on Don DeLillo’s book of the same name.
Metric continued their abstracts into the astronomical when an audience member asked them what they would do if they weren’t musicians.
“That’s a really hard thing,” said Winstead. “Are you going inter-dimensional on us? I don’t know if any of us could give you ‘I’d be an astronaut’ or something like that. If you’re asking us, ‘What are other fun things to do out there?,’ I’d be a stuntman. How’s that sound?” Haines laughed, saying she wanted to be an astronaut and that Winstead could do “stunts on the moon.”
Metric is not afraid to delve into the absurd or the fantastical and it reflects in their sound. But when it comes to their “sci-fi pop opera,” Haines said that it’s just another sonic story about “being alive.”
“I’m sure your listeners can relate. Your life: here it is. You’re just living it. So we just try to translate the things that we see happening in the world around us. Things happening in the world around us; inside ourselves. You know, just trying to check to make sure we’re staying on track, you know?”
“Becoming the people we should become and trying to keep our heads on just like everyday else.”
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles