Home Rock Music Metric, Damaged Social Scene, ‘Scott Pilgrim,’ & Extra

Metric, Damaged Social Scene, ‘Scott Pilgrim,’ & Extra

Metric, Damaged Social Scene, ‘Scott Pilgrim,’ & Extra


We’ve Received A File On You options interviews during which artists share the tales behind the extracurricular actions that dot their careers: appearing gigs, visitor appearances, random web ephemera, and many others.

When individuals speak about Metric, the long-running synth-rock powered by vocalist Emily Haines and guitarist Jimmy Shaw, they have an inclination to gloss over the band’s early days in New York — if New York is talked about in any respect. The “official” Metric historical past is primarily tied to Toronto and the rise of Damaged Social Scene, the baroque-pop collective that featured now-famous appearances from Leslie Feist, Haines (her crystalline vocals lead “Anthems For A Seventeen-Previous Woman,” and each she and Shaw co-wrote on You Forgot It In Individuals), members of Stars, Do Make Say Assume, and plenty of others.

If you happen to flashed again in time and spoke to a music journalist within the early 2000s, they could painting Metric as a Damaged Social Scene facet challenge, however that will be a misrepresentation. After forming Metric in 1998, Haines and Shaw left Toronto for New York, the place they rented a loft in Williamsburg. Along with Metric, that Metropolitan Ave. house would additionally finally home members of TV On The Radio, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Stars, and Liars. Not solely did Haines and Shaw witness NYC’s rock rebirth (now often known as the Meet Me In The Toilet period), they have been really half of it.

“I do take into account us a Toronto band due to rising up right here and due to the assist and the chums, and the truth that we might all the time come again to the anchor,” Emily Haines tells me over a Zoom name from Muskoka, a leafy and pastoral retreat casually known as the “Hamptons Of Canada.” “However the band is from New York and from that second.”

As we speak, Metric are broadly recognized and beloved for his or her foundational indie-pop/rock information like 2003’s studio debut Previous World Underground, The place Are You Now?, which turned 20 this 12 months; Develop Up And Blow Away, which Metric technically recorded in 2001 however wasn’t given a proper launch till 2007; and 2005’s synth-punk roof blaster Dwell It Out, simply to record just a few.

On Friday, Metric will launch their ninth album, Formentera II, which intently follows final 12 months’s Formentera. Certainly one of its singles, the synthy and strummy “Who Would You Be For Me,” serves as a pleasant reminder that this Toronto band can also be a New York band. On the time of launch, Haines referred to as it “a throwback lullaby set in NYC in 2002. All of the motion takes place in Tompkins Sq. Park, in a subway automotive, and on the café on St. Marks Place the place I labored as a waitress once we have been getting our begin.”

Under, Haines appears to be like again at a strong and sensible profession — with Metric, Damaged Social Scene, solo, and past.

Metric’s New Album Formentera II (2023)

I’ve seen in the previous few years, after I’ve spoken to musicians who recorded between 2020 and 2021, they wound up with a surplus of fabric primarily as a result of they’d extra day without work the highway and/or in COVID lockdown. It looks like we’re in a second the place there’s been a variety of second chapter-type albums, or sister albums, popping out of this abundance of recording. To what extent was that the case with Formentera II?

EMILY HAINES: I like that saying “2020 and 2021” is now shorthand, so we don’t must say “pandemic” anymore. 

It’s humorous as a result of, as typical, I really feel like if there’s one thing taking place that will be regular, that we might be usually a part of — I don’t really feel like we’re. For me, the abundance of fabric is sort of normal Metric actuality. The distinction is that we had time to complete all the pieces. And on the similar time, we left a lot on the chopping room flooring as a result of we’re harsh dad and mom. I don’t perceive the logic of, properly, “I made it so I’m going to place it out.” That’s not one thing that I relate to. On this case, it was the standard unusual course of. As a result of it’s not like our vacation spot is that this clear bullseye of a style or a industrial goal.

It’s a distinctive feeling to be on this band as a result of we all know when it’s one thing that we expect is worthy of sharing with individuals. Aside from that, that’s the one standards for what we launch. The cohesion of those two albums [were about] having time, constructing our personal studio, and going stir loopy within the woods. [That] meant we had time to finish all the pieces. However like I mentioned, I’d by no means simply launch stuff. It isn’t B-sides, I suppose is what I’m saying. “Simply The As soon as” and a variety of the issues which can be within the second chapter are the very first issues that we wrote. However out of your perspective, it’s fascinating. If you happen to’re seeing that as a sample, it’s cool.

Then once more, it’s additionally case-by-case throughout the sample. Some bands go for the B-side method. Others may love sure songs however really feel like they don’t match the general theme for a primary challenge and so put it aside for the following challenge. The one commonality is releasing back-to-back initiatives from a interval spent off the highway.

HAINES: One other issue for my part is the truth that [the pandemic] radically modified the way in which individuals get pleasure from music and the way in which that we launch it. Even the concept of an album cycle is totally different than it was in your lifetime. 

I’m excited that we acquired on the fitting facet of the curve, due to the additional time we had. That is the primary time [after releasing an album] the place we don’t must go away and regroup. Going away and regrouping was constructed into the interval main as much as it. We extensively toured the primary Formentera, however I additionally like this sense of being somebody who’s proof against the concept of individuals saying it’s the tip of albums. 

How about this: How about I methodically and passionately sequence this album and create a very cohesive piece of artwork that may be helpful and loved on the earth. If you happen to solely wish to hearken to it on shuffle, be my visitor, or if you wish to hear to at least one music, be my visitor. The thought of simply eliminating this entire layer of which means from the craft, it’s simply such a bummer to me. I’m not doing that.

I believe that’s one other fascinating level: Possibly individuals are additionally feeling just like the ideas of singles and pacing has modified. I suppose partly due to the pandemic, but additionally possibly that’s in a unique actuality of how music is on the earth. I’m simply making an attempt to have the vibe of embracing and adapting.

The emotional by line — and this has been the case endlessly — is that this sense of insurrection, justice, id, and authenticity. But it surely’s so summary for us. It’s not like we ever ticked all of the bins of punk. It’s simply once we really feel like we’re not being stuffed with shit and feeling like different issues are [full of shit]. Navigating that as you hit a 20-year mark of your profession, it’s simply so bizarre. 

I don’t know what’s worse. We speak about these things on a regular basis. Guys being that rock dude that simply gained’t take off his leather-based jacket — is that this one unhealthy final result? On the opposite facet, there’s the cringe of, I don’t know, Mick Jagger in a sequin bathing swimsuit or one thing.

You are feeling the spectrum of participation. Seems, that is who we’re. It began from an angle, however we actually wish to take part. We love being a part of the principle occasion, nevertheless it’s always recalibrating your self. That’s channeled straight by our music. The entire thing of adapting — [say] it’s Spotify. Okay, let’s do this. We added one million and one thing loopy numbers of listeners on Spotify within the final 12 months, as a result of we’re like, “That is the world now.” Was it higher? I don’t even know. Let’s simply take part in it.

Yeah, I’ve needed to keep nimble in my profession as properly. For higher or worse, I remind myself daily that change is inevitable.

HAINES: Yeah. I really feel like in each side of life, that’s the first query. Is maturity simply slowly eroding what was actual and what was pure? Or is it [about] being open and never being so inflexible? Loosen the stovepipe in your skinny denims on the backside. I’m fascinated by that conundrum. There’s so many issues — we’re placing the setlist collectively for these particular exhibits that we’re doing. Making these posters, I’ve this artist I work with on a regular basis. I like him. We’re so mind-meld. We have been [designing] this merger of visuals from Previous World Underground, The place Are You Now? and Formenterra II. Then I’m having the identical expertise as we’re doing the set lists, the place we’re integrating the songs from 20 years in the past with songs from proper now. It is likely one of the most beautiful experiences. It’s heartening as a result of I’m the identical fucking individual.

Previous World Underground, The place Are You Now? Turns 20 (2023)

Now that Metric’s debut album is popping 20, have you ever discovered that your first wave of followers now have youngsters who’re attending to know Previous World Underground for the primary time? Maybe there are a number of generations attending Metric exhibits?

HAINES: For positive, fortunately. I imply, that actually is the concept. And it’s humorous after I consider somebody like Olivia Rodrigo, proper? It’s like, she was born the 12 months that the document got here out. There’s an odd sense that for some cause my era appears to be tripping out more durable about this. However after I was a child, I listened to adults, I listened to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground and all that stuff, and people information got here out within the ’70s. They got here out after I was born. And also you’re a child and you discover your manner by the pop stuff that’s on the radio. After I was a child, it was like Madonna and Cindi Lauper and I used to be like, “Cindi Lauper, that’s my route.”

To me, it’s precisely the identical course of. However there’s this sense that youngsters are solely alleged to music by youngsters or one thing. It’s simply odd. It’s like, yeah, I see the entrance row and it’s younger individuals, they’re going out to social gathering, they’ve heard about Metric, there’s lore. After which there’s older individuals who’ve been round from the start. Then there’s a brand new wave of [fans] who acquired it from their dad and mom, or they discover it themselves or they’re musicians or no matter. 

The concept each 12-year-old is meant to be listening to a 12-year -old — I really feel just like the adults are so insecure. You’re not out of contact in case you’re not into listening to pop music from a youthful individual. It’s very odd. It’s so insecure. Personal your references, personal your time.

I agree, Olivia Rodrigo appears to spark a variety of nervousness round age — as if her age is saying one thing about an older fan’s age. Regardless of the case, individuals appear to take her age as a private slight.

HAINES: I suppose on the upside, it’s good to see youthful girls within the pop style have a lot extra company and id, most likely due to social media. She’s a terrific instance of a cool, thrilling artist that doesn’t must be dismissed due to her gender. However cynically, I really feel like all these individuals have figured on the market’s cash in that demographic, so immediately they care in regards to the opinions of teenage women.

There’s a darkness and a readability and a knowledge to teenage girlhood that I attempt to keep proper tapped into whereas proudly owning the truth that I’m not a child anymore. I seen it in journalism, and it most likely drives you loopy too. Once more, it simply appears insecure. You’re simply going to fake you didn’t know rock bands [when you were younger]? You simply by no means heard of a guitar earlier than? Come on. You may like these songs out of your previous, and you’ll, it’s cool. You possibly can nonetheless hearken to the Doves document.

Metric’s Early Days & New York Beginnings (1998)

I really feel like I ought to have realized this a lot earlier, however I didn’t notice that you just spent just a few years early on within the late ’90s in New York and that you just have been roommates with a number of the members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV On The Radio. When individuals speak about Metric, particularly the start of your band journey, they solely speak about Toronto and the entire array of bands from that scene and period. However Metric is technically additionally a part of the Meet Me In The Toilet scene. What stands out to you about your time in New York?

HAINES: Yeah, it’s humorous, our origin story actually has by no means been advised, or advised correctly. Sooner or later I used to be similar to, you understand what? I’m going to cease caring what says on Wikipedia as a result of it’s simply fallacious. However then it’s really terrifying — as a result of everybody appears to be like at Wikipedia. 

Anyway, yeah, the inception of the band and really a lot the guts of the band is from that point. Jimmy [Shaw] and I left Toronto in ’98 as a result of we shaped Metric. Me and him have been like, “We’re going to go do that factor and we have to discover our individuals and discover like-minded artists and go to New York. So, Jimmy discovered this loft in Williamsburg that was a totally totally different place than it’s now — it was above this trucking firm on 249 Metropolitan between Bedford and Driggs. [He] befriended the owner man Stanley and drove his dad to dentist appointments, I child you not, to get in with this man, who then rented Jimmy this complete L-shaped place.

Then we have been like, okay, “Now we acquired to get individuals to maneuver in.” One of many first individuals was Nick Zimmer. Our associates in Stars had a room. Karen [O] lived there for some time, Angus [Andrew] from Liars lived there, Jaleel [Bunton] from TV On The Radio, and everybody was there. 

As a result of we had all these demos, Jimmy and I acquired a name from a supervisor in London. [It was] that complete cliché: “You’re going to be a star, go to London, have this comical journey and find yourself having to return again to New York with an actual distaste for the major-label system.” We’d been in Demo Land the place they’re like, don’t even play a present. You don’t should be a dwell band. That is Craig David, boy bands. 

I’m rushing by the main points to get to the purpose of your query. However we got here again, and we have been fired up. We have been like, “That isn’t the life for me.” You spend your entire life doing demos, you can simply be making music. You do these demo offers. They gained’t pay for tools, however they’ll pay for studios, and an enormous a part of Jimmy’s aspirations have been his manufacturing goals. 

So, we’re like, this mannequin fucking sucks. Then they personal all the pieces endlessly. We have been in London for 2000 and 2001. We got here again proper as all of this was taking place, [we] went and acquired the Strokes document on the Virgin Data. Nick and Karen are doing Unitard. We’re all hanging out at Black Betty and TV On The Radio are doing their factor. We’re all similar to, “That is one of the best factor ever, to be coming again to this second, as a result of fuck that recording artist life. We have to discover our band.” And we did. And we discovered Josh [Winstead] and Joules [Scott-Key] in New York at the moment. I can credit score that second in historical past with the guts and anchor of who we turned. 

What I believe is exclusive about us is that now we have songs which have that scrappiness. The sound — that very explicit garage-y sound — it’s represented in some songs, however we’ve all the time executed a scope of sound. It doesn’t match neatly. 

After September 11, we went to Toronto, which is the place we reconnected with these associates from Damaged Social Scene, and that was ingesting beer and writing songs. Then we went to LA, which is the place we made our first document. Then we’re going backwards and forwards between New York by that entire time round writing “The Listing” and all these songs. That’s when that was all lifting off within the early 2000s. 

However we weren’t in Toronto. It’s solely actually just lately that now we have been.

Do you assume that the Toronto narrative took on a lifetime of its personal as a result of Metric had a extra experimental, art-rock philosophy that conveniently aligned with what members of Damaged Social Scene, Do Make Say Assume, and Stars have been doing, versus the extra blatant, in-your-face aesthetic of New York acts just like the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs? To not point out the truth that you recorded a few of Damaged Social Scene’s most recognizable early songs?

HAINES: Yeah, I imply, that is smart. I don’t carry a grudge precisely, however it’s fascinating wanting again at the way it was mainly Pitchfork and Damaged Social Scene. It was similar to an enormous bro hug that simply got here up on the similar time. And the way immediately it was like we’re some type of offshoot. It’s awkward for everybody as a result of anybody knew we’re all associates, and everybody is aware of that Metric had predated that — that Jimmy and I had labored so arduous and been in New York and London and executed all these things, after which very a lot made our personal path. Then we’re summarily dismissed by Pitchfork, which was additionally sort of like, okay, thanks. After which simply the shock and awe of a thousand Dorm Room Boys who’ve heard [sings in a baby voice] “was once one of many rotten ones,” they usually’re picturing a fucking mermaid. After which sadly, it’s really me who’s singing — moist blanket. 

So, the feminist a part of me and of Metric, and it’s clashing with the fantasy dream lady who’s simply type of floating up on high of this thousand scruffy-beard guitars. Proper? That is like an id factor. There was a choice, let’s assume, for the gauzy backup singer, versus the difficult — I’d think about scary [singer] — leaping off speaker stacks.


Had been audiences anticipating you as an artist to be extra of a Manic Pixie Dream Woman-type character due to your “Anthems” vocal?

HAINES: Yeah. Effectively, I imply that’s the factor. Within the time, as a result of we’re wanting again at that window of New York and that Meet Me In The Toilet period, and the way we weren’t in Toronto, we have been in New York, and the way the story’s by no means actually been advised correctly. I don’t assume it’s some nice injustice, however I don’t assume it needed to do with what was taking place with individuals. I believe it was simply the press on the time.

I believe the Pitchfork factor was so significant then; the 2 issues like Social Scene and Pitchfork to me was one entity at the moment. And to their credit score, aesthetically, it is rather very similar to the Chicago scene. Or the Dino Jr. vibes and people fuzzy guitar tones, I completely get it. The experimental ambient sounds, much less typical rock — one million issues. I like that music, and it’s so cool that I acquired to be a part of it, and my long-time friendship with Kevin [Drew] and with all these guys. In audiences, I don’t really feel like there was a disconnect. I believe [there was] in the way in which it acquired documented.

It was such a enjoyable time, and there was a lot nice music, and I keep in mind it being like Lollapalooza taking part in with Social Scene and singing “Anthems,” and it being so nice. After which Metric, additionally doing our exhibits. Individuals knew each. You then’d go see Secret Machines, who we just lately introduced again to the world, which was so superior. I really feel like there was room for all the pieces. Within the time I didn’t really feel misjudged in any respect, however I undoubtedly assume within the press it was tousled.

Showing In The Oliver Assayas Movie Clear & Writing With Howard Shore For The Twilight Saga: Eclipse And David Cronenberg’s Cosmpolis (2004, 2010, 2012)



How have you ever typically gone about writing for the display screen in your profession? Do you actively hunt down movie initiatives, or do you favor to be approached?

HAINES: It’s bizarre as a result of I used to be simply pondering how all these issues have simply come to us, which may be very uncommon as a band who, to me, “famously” has had no breaks. I’m utilizing air quotes round “famously,” as a result of “famously” means a dialog with me and my associates. 

All these movie alternatives got here to us, and we’ve executed actually nothing to pursue these issues. The primary one was Oliver Assayas’s Clear. That film is definitely actually good. That launched an entire factor for us in Paris. We didn’t have any garments. I keep in mind they did that factor the place a designer will give to you one thing. However we’d by no means had that. We have been within the film, they usually introduced us to Paris and we acquired to play La Route du Rock with Sonic Youth.

[Designer] agnès b. invited us to return to her showroom and select one thing, and all of us took, I don’t know, 15 issues [because] we had no garments. [Laughs.] I nonetheless have a bit skirt that I put on on a regular basis from [them].

On reflection, it’s such a second of understanding, pondering of your self as your individual little sister, understanding how we simply didn’t know something and we have been so broke and we simply have been like, “Thanks a lot.” It appeared prefer it was all good, however looking back, I’d take tastefully an eyeglasses case or one thing. 

After which Howard Shore approached us about Twilight. That was loopy. We wrote with him in his hobbit wall, as he referred to as it. He has a loopy cabin the place the entire wall is an organ, the place he did a lot of his composing for Lord Of The Rings. That was actually intense. He absolutely wrote the rating for the Twilight movie primarily based on the melody that we wrote with him. In order that was cool. And he introduced us in for Cronenberg.



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