Discover Metric

All the way up to August 6-8, we will be featuring reviews and previews for artists playing Lollapalooza 2010. Not only that, we’ve enlisted Lolla-loving blogs, many which you guys picked out yourself, to help us out. Today’s feature on Metric comes from Loud Loop Press. Melodic dance-rockers Metric work hard and play hard. Since self-releasing their acclaimed 2009 album Fantasies, the members of Metric (singer Emily Haines, guitarist James Shaw, bassist Josh Winstead, and drummer Joules Scott-Key) have been locked on a speeding train of touring and press junkets. Yet, somehow the band takes comfort in festival gigs and the hope of someday getting back into the studio. With the digital age encouraging artists to shed record label dead weight and go their own way, Metric decided that the timing just made sense when it came to self-releasing Fantasies. “It was just painfully apparent,” said James Shaw in a telephone interview. “It just seemed like we’d learned too much about the record industry and we knew what the risks were going to be and what the pay offs were going to be (of self-releasing).” The road to Metric’s success was paved with building a more intimate relationship with its fans. That meant producing extras such as music and behind-the-scene videos as well as connecting with fans via social networks. While music videos are not his preferred method of self-expression, Shaw said that an artist’s role is to create art. “Your artistic output is the thing that keeps people interested and involved,” Shaw said. “It keeps a dialogue and it keeps your life interesting and the fans’ life interesting.” Shaw said that Metric’s videos allow fans to get to know them by using an element of humor. “It’s as entertaining to watch a band make a video as it is to watch the video itself,” Shaw said. “I like a little sense of humor and self-deprecation. Self-deprecation is probably the strongest influence that Canada could offer the rest of the world.” While Shaw admits that touring can be an alienating experience, it is the festivals that give bands a chance to relax and hang out. “The only real connection you have is via the stage,” Shaw said. “Festivals are fun because you get to hang out with like-minded people and everyone just has a good time.” Shaw recounted an experience at this year’s Ottawa Blues Festival where Metric came back to its dressing room to find Wayne Coyne holding two shirts from Metric fans he had met on the festival grounds. Shaw was impressed with both Coyne’s lack of ego and his prowess as a live performer. “What [Coyne] does as a reverend of love is completely out of control,” Shaw said. “There isn’t one out of 30,000 people that isn’t smiling beyond ear to ear.” Lollapalooza 2010 will mark Metric’s fourth trip to Chicago since the release of “Fantasies” in 2009. While Metric returns frequently, Shaw said that Chicago remains a daunting city to play. “There’s a lot of real music fans in that town (Chicago) and they’re really listening with all their ears and all their hearts,” Shaw said. “You can feel that as a musician and it’s a very different experience.” This year’s Lollapalooza will be Shaw’s first since playing the festival in 2006 as a member of Broken Social Scene. “That (Lollapalooza) was one of the – probably the pinnacle Broken Social Scene performance in the last seven or eight years,” Shaw said. “We were right before the (Red Hot) Chili Peppers and the crowd was not wanting to turn around and it was just one of those magical, magical shows.” Shaw is excited to return to Lollapalooza not only to play onstage with Metric but to see The Strokes. “The Strokes, to me, are absolutely seminal, a very important band in my own life as a musician,” Shaw said. “I think they are awesome; I’m really happy they’re playing.” After Lollapalooza Metric will join British alternative rockers Muse on tour in October and November. Shaw speculated that more tour dates may be on the horizon but his wish is to dive back into the recording studio as soon as possible. “Records are made very meticulously by us and they take time,” Shaw said. “So I want to get back in and start working.” Make sure to catch Metric at Lollapalooza before they speed off into the sunset with Muse. Metric will perform on the Playstation stage on Saturday, August 7. Written by Audrey Leon