Sophie Appleton 15/06/2009
GIITTV's Sophie Appleton spoke to Metric guitarist James Shaw about their fourth full length studio album 'Fantasies', their inspirations, having one of their songs appear on a Polaroid advert.Plus how the internet has bennefitted the band, and what the future holds for Canada's Metric who are tipped to be a 2009 festival favourite.
Three words to describe your new album 'Fantasies'?
Expansive, terrifying and amazing.
What inspired you to make such a move from your initial new wave routes?
I think it's part of the Metric Mantra, we like to always do something different to what we did last time, were just trying to continue on our own tradition.
There was quite a gap between your last album and this one, was there a reason for this?
We did a lot of stuff, we stopped touring for the first time in five years which was very important for us personally as we had to rejuvenate family relationships. But at the same time Emily made an EP and toured it, Josh also made a record, we released Grow up and blow away, the Metric DVD and were in the recording studio, so it wasn't like we weren't doing anything, but none of it was really Metric property. We wanted to give Metric a bit of air.
When writing where does your inspiration come from?
I think it's a combination of what we perceive to be going on in the world, where we perceive it to be coming from. We like to travel a lot and take in places as a band, and write from that place.
I read that Polaroid wanted to change some of the lyrics to “Grow up and blow away” for their advert, was this something you were ok with?
At the time I barely felt like an artist, it was probably the first phone call we ever got regarding Metric. Its really about circumstances, we have been playing acoustic stuff for radio shows and in Satellite Minds there's the lyric “I heard you F*ck through the wall” and they were like, if you could just change it to I heard you talk through the wall, but for some reason that takes all of the juice out of that song. But I don't think it felt wrong to us to do that to Grow up and blow away and I love Polaroid!
The line in that song seems very personal, is this the case or is it just something that came?
I think every song is a combination of both. It wouldn't come to you if it wasn't personal, but I don't think its always about just talking about your self or your own experiences. Everything's a bit of a metaphor.
Has the internet limited or benefitted your career?
Definitely benefitted. Our career, and countless other musician's. It seems that the only people it hasn't benefitted are the industries that fought it. The internet is a giant blob of energy, you can't fight it. It's a combination of the world's energy and intellect in one place. Music fans now have more music than they've ever had, and musicians can release their music on their own.
With the increase in reality talent shows, do you feel there is a lack in genuine musical talent?
I don't really watch television, I surround myself with tons and tons of talented people all the time, so for me to say there's a lack of that it would be dissing all of the people I hang out with. But on the other hand it does seem to me that the pop sensations of the 60s were infinitly more talented than they are today. For example the Jackson 5 were the ultimate in pop, they were some of the most talented people around, but I've never hung out with Kelly Clarkson, I would resist on betting on the amount of talent she has.
Who were your inspirations?
I grew up playing classical music, so inspiration came from a lot of different places for me, when I was a kid I was obsessed with Bach because it was so mathematical and made so much sense musically.
In your opinion do you feel the music industry has any responsibility for the violent teenagers we see in today's society?
I think that music has a responsibility to expose people to what other people feel, its their responsibility to reflect back on everything they see happening in the world, and put it to music - literally score their experience. I don't think you can censor that. I think it's the listeners responsibility to take it for what it is, If someone talks about violence, or killing or misogyny - you cant censor what's a truth them because you don't want it to be a truth to someone else. I'm finding more and more these days that the music listener is not taking full responsibility for the fact that they are listening to music, and part of that is that they're not paying for it. When you pay $10 for it, you pay more attention to it, and treasure it a little bit more, and I think its their responsibility to interpret it not to re-enact it.
What advice would you give to young musicians?
Its harder to break now more than ever but once you do its better than ever - so don't give up.
Do you prefer being on tour or in the studio?
That's a really tough call, they're totally different - for me both.
Where do you see yourselves in five years time?
I honestly have no idea. I'm not very big on setting goals for myself. I try to but it doesn't work. As long as I make it to the show tonight and tomorrow, I'm fine.
Metric's new single 'Sick Muse' was released on the 1st of June. You can watch the video HERE.