Metric on Taking a Year Off, Songwriting & U2 Backlash

Metric, 2012.
Justin Broadbent


Most of Metric's 2014, a year off save for seven shows, has been spent in Ibiza. Don't worry, Metric is not busting out some club bangers. Instead, the Toronto band has been getting in touch with nature.

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"I've been spending time in Spain, doing some writing there, and just trying to be a human being," frontwoman Emily Haines told Billboard. "I went to a beautiful nature side of Ibiza, so the non-clubbing part that is what drew people there long ago to begin with. A really beautiful spiritual place to ignore all of that stuff. I have family there, so I've spent some time there."

"I haven't spent a lot of time there, but Joules [Scott-Key], our drummer, spent like the last year there," James Shaw added.

"Yeah, his wife got a Fulbright Grant, which is amazing. She's a lawyer and she does her emphasis in water rights, so she was studying all kinds of ecological developments and progressive ideas coming out of Spain. So he lived there the whole last year actually," Haines said.

So with half of the quartet living primarily in Spain for the year, how will that affect the writing for the band's next album? "It's a great question, but I don't know that I can characterize it as anything other than I find I want to do it," Haines said. "This whole year there's been zero pressure on us. We've got a minute, and for some reason, for both of us, that makes us both write more. So that's how I feel when I'm in a beautiful setting. You just feel good and it's not a fight."

"That did kind of happen the first half of the year that we weren't supposed to do anything and we did more than we have done in a while," Shaw added.

Asked about the progress of the new record, the band, enjoying the zero pressure, is very non-committal, saying things like they have begun working on the follow-up to 2012's Synthetica, "But not very intensely," according to Shaw.

And Haines added, "Not intentionally, just more 'cause Jimmy has such a great studio you kind of just want to go there."

So with the touring year done the band is heading back into the studio. And Haines says they do have plenty of new songs already done.   "We've got tons of songs, we just don't know how many of them will end up on an album," she said.

One thing that does seem certain is Shaw, who produced or co-produced every album from the band except the first one, will be producing again. As for collaborating extensively, though there were other producers on the last two records, he says, "People have their own sound, like [Dave] Friddman is one of my favorite producers, but he's got his own sound, that's his sound, not my sound. I have my sound."

For Haines letting Shaw expand on his sound production wise is part of being in a band. "I don't mind being the guinea pig for Jimmy becoming a producer," she said. "The same way the band is my project writing wise, I feel like for Jimmy's production, that what it is for."

Shaw definitely wants to keep moving forward as a producer, and he has big aspirations on other artists he's like to collaborate with. "There's a really cool young band out of Ireland called U2, I'd like to work with them," he said.

"Great start, start small. Sounds like a great starting point," Haines joked.

As a potential future U2 collaborator, Shaw, as well as Haines, had their viewpoint on the huge Apple experiment of giving Songs of Innocence away for free to 500 million people. And their perspective was pretty similar to the general public's -- namely apathy.

"People feel violated," Shaw said. "It's a little strange, and I just think it's fascinating the fact the world reacted that way. We've got some serious thinkers behind that move, and I don't think anyone foresaw this as a backlash or a reaction. I think it's kind of interesting."

"I have to be honest with you: It's the last thing I care about and am thinking about. My mind is in music, in life, and U2 can do whatever. As he said, they're Sprite, and Sprite has a new flavor," Haines added. "I can't rally an opinion. I don't think it has any impact on any reality I live in."


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