If you haven’t noticed, ACCLAIM has some serious love for punk. This is mainly because of its idiosyncratic virtues that it parlayed into a movement of shoulder-chipped youth making themselves heard through a hellish outlet. METZ is a post-punk noise band from Toronto and while they might not be so young anymore, they’re definitely making themselves heard. We caught up with lead singer Alex Edkins after a recent SXSW stint and chatted about just why shit is hot up in the six right now.
How was SXSW? Did you kill it?
I think it killed me! It was cool for sure but pretty hard on the body, we played seven shows in five days. We met Courtney Barnett and her band so that was fun
What went down? Any stories?
One of our friends is in a band called Viet Cong – I think they were partying a bit too hard – and Mike, who plays drums, broke his arm and like the kind of guy he is, he carried on and played the show with one hand. And so when we played a show together, Hayden, who plays drums with us, decided to be his right hand so they played a tandem drum set. That was the highlight for me.
Were you performing songs from the new album?
We were, it was the first time we’ve played a big chunk of the new tunes.
Sick, was it well received?
Yeah, everyone was really warm. It was cool to have people knowing the old stuff and still going off to the new stuff and we had people coming up to us saying they had never heard of us and that they were really digging it.
You’re living in Toronto right…?
Is it hot up in the six right-now?
(Laughs) It was a nice day! The sun has finally come out so definitely.
Your music is intensive, maybe even angry, but you guys seem like nice, well-grounded individuals. Where does the emotion come from?
I think it’s connected – the fact that we’re chill and happy people – to the fact that we have this amazing outlet to get all of our frustrations out. We definitely live in some really messed up times and sometimes, when I read the paper or I look out the window, that’s what ends up in the song.
Watching your videos, they seem to focus on the nihilism of middle class life, is that something you guys comment on a lot?
I have to give all the credit to the director Scott Cudmore, but I think he was feeding off the songs dealing with common, real, kind of small things in life that everyone can relate to. Hopefully what we’re doing is universal and that you can relate to some of these feelings and urges to turn off and let go for a minute.
When describing your music people always use harsh words like ‘assaulting’ or ‘chaotic’, or liken it to a buzz-saw or any other gnarly implement that would look out of place outside of a shed. Can you describe your sound to me using only nice pretty words?
Ooooh…[20 seconds of awkward silence]
So, that’s a no?
I guess it’s a no, I don’t know. I’d be lying to you. [Laughs.] I’d be talking gibberish.
How about if you had to describe it to a seven year old girl?
Okay. Fast, fun, and exciting
That’s kind of nice. Your self-titled first album came out in 2012, now in 2015 you’re doing METZ II, does that mean the music be very similar to what you were making three years ago?
We definitely had no intention of making the same record. We definitely stretched out; the songs are better, the playing is better and the production is better. In a lot of ways I think it’s darker sounding, it’s heavier sounding, and at the same time I think it’s got a little bit more melody as I managed to get the confidence up to put melodies at the forefront vocally.
The Acetate promo video is very cool, where did you get the pancake idea?
We were doing a show somewhere in the states and this fella came up and introduced himself as a fan of the band, he’s an artist and we stayed in touch. We kind of hung out and he said ‘I do this thing where I make these funny pancakes’. [Then] he made this video and sent it over to us.
That’s the perfect fan input! He was even plugging the merch in the clip.
Yeah I think he got it from a show we were doing with Run The Jewels in Denver, and he was there doing an art show.
At one point, your day job permitted you access to real life, visceral crime scene photos, correct?
Yeah that’s true.
That’s obviously heavy stuff. When you’re working on something that dark does it spill over into your music?
It might have, honestly if it did [the record] would have been even more graphic, like a metal, or grind record, because some of the stuff I was working on during the first record was pretty gruesome. I would spend 8 hours a day staring at this stuff and you can’t help but fall into a fog. It can really stick with you.
What else do you want to let us know about METZ?
The record’s coming out now, and we’ve got two songs out; one called ‘Spit You Out’ and one called ‘Acetate’. We’ll be doing lots of touring and we can’t wait to get back to Australia because the last time was killer
Lastly, I know not everyone from Toronto is the same, but what would your reaction be if Madonna pashed you?
Oh jeez. Who knows, man.
METZ’ sophomore album II drops on May 1 – pre-order it here.
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