We look to METZ for power. For the transfer of the omnipotent, unruly energy between frontman-guitarist Alex Edkins, bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies that’s resulted in a body of work composed of four nothing-like-it albums, including last year’s Strange Peace, that tunnel through a noisy groove but boast a blast radius that is complex and intriguing. The noise canon is rife with brain-battering fare but though it packs an almighty impact, the music of this Canadian trio’s music is imbued with a dynamism and emotional veracity that makes it necessary to the pop cultural bloodline. At Laneway two years ago, we received a brilliant display of this live. In June, the band will return for its first ever headlining show here thanks to Other Sounds and Middle Class Cigars. In the lead-up to that big day, we had a chat with Edkins about the music and cause he holds so close to his heart.
You last played in Singapore at the Laneway Festival in 2016. How was your time here?
We loved our time in Singapore. It was far too short, though. So we are very glad to be coming back again.
“We’ve never been interested in ‘making it’ on a commercial level so that really helps us feel free to make whatever kind of weird music we want.”
How was your experience working with Steve Albini on Strange Peace?
It was great. We have a lot of respect for his work and his way of making records. It was our first time tracking live off the floor so it was a welcome challenge for us. Albini works really fast and there is no room for second-guessing yourself. You need to know what you want and go in and capture it. The Strange Peace sessions were the most productive four days we’ve ever had in a studio and the end result is a record we are very proud of.
How has touring strengthened your bond as friends over the years?
At this point, we are family. It is a cliché but it’s undeniably true. We spend so much time together on the road that we can anticipate each other’s every move. I know when the guys need space or when they need support. Living in such close quarters is challenging and can definitely get stressful. It’s easy to see why so many bands breakup. Your sense of autonomy ceases to exist. You are officially tethered to two other people. It’s something most people can’t understand. But, you eventually learn how to co-exist in a respectful way that doesn’t dampen the spirit of what you are trying to accomplish. We’ve dedicated a huge portion of our lives to METZ and we do it out of a shared love of the music.
METZ’s commitment to its hometown scene (doing shows and helping other bands) is truly inspiring. What keeps you so devoted to your scene?
We have a lot of love for the Toronto and Ottawa music communities because they are the people that supported us and helped us get on our feet. My experience with underground music, punk, DIY involved a very close-knit community of friends who functioned as my second family. It was incredibly inspiring and gave me the confidence to try to make something myself. We try to support younger bands, artists and promoters as much as possible because we are thankful for those who helped us.
With the rise of hip-hop and dance music today, what do you think the place of loud, guitar-heavy music in the zeitgeist is?
Music of every variety is constantly ebbing and flowing in and out of the public eye. I think music trends are cyclical and what is considered to be ‘cool’ will always change generation to generation. The good news is, whatever it is you like, if you look for it, you can find it and you can find like-minded people to share it with.
It’s so easy to get loud, heavy music ‘wrong’. How would you say you’ve managed to keep your sound interesting and challenging across your albums?
We try to follow our instincts. We don’t listen to very much ‘heavy’ music and I think that might benefit us. We’ve never been interested in ‘making it’ on a commercial level so that really helps us feel free to make whatever kind of weird music we want. There are no outside pressures to interfere with the process and our intention is really just to evolve over time and push ourselves somewhere new.
Your upcoming shows will follow through till September. How do you keep going night after night?
We love what we do. We feel privileged to play music. We put everything we have into this and the day it feels like a chore is the day we will stop.