Sounds x Interview: METZ

Left Bank’s resident features writer caught a moment of time (and this amazing interview) with METZ, the noisy 3-piece punk band from Toronto. They have been playing around the globe for over 10 years, and have rightfully cemented their reputation as one of the sickest bands on the planet. Read the interview with them below x

You all have been a band for 10 years which is amazing. My band is a trio as well, and we’ve been together for 7 years so I can relate to that type of close band relationship/family dynamic.  Can you describe your band relationship, dynamic, relationship, family a bit further?  How does it affect your writing/recording/etc.  

I think its hard to explain in any real meaningful way. Terms like friendship or family don’t even feel adequate.  For stretches of the year (for over 10 years and counting) I spend more time with Chris and Hayden then I do with my wife and son.  I think that’s actually quite common for most people who work regular 9-5 jobs, it’s just not as concentrated, condensed, [or] exaggerated as being in a band.  When we are on tour, we are literally spending almost every minute together except for sleep. It’s truly bizarre and at times obviously quite tedious, but I think our longevity can only be understood as a testament to our shared artistic goals and love of music.  

Did you all ever consider adding a 4th member to the band? Why have you decided to keep to the power trio dynamic? 

No. We’ve never considered it. I think we enjoy working with limitations. In a live setting, we like the direct power and minimalism of a trio. There is also the economics of it all if we hire a horn section we need to rent a bus! When recording, we like to stretch out and bring more instruments and elements to our songs but the 3 piece is always lurking in the back our minds telling us not to add that 7th synth track. 

What is your LEAST favorite part of touring and why?

Missing our loved ones. That is really the only downside I can think of. The touring around the world and playing music part is pretty great. 

What sort of vehicle do you travel in when touring?  Do you have a driver, or do you all trade shifts? Whats an 8 hour travel day like for Metz? 

In North America, we travel in a Ford Econoline that Hayden bought when he was a teenager. Its been across the continent and back 20 times? I really can’t believe it’s still running.   We all enjoy driving, listening to music, podcasts, reading. I find long drives all very relaxing.  In Europe its a bit more cushy,  we hire a driver and minibus that has a place to sleep, TV, etc.

If you all could magically reinvent yourselves and play a totally different genre of music as consistently as you do rock/punk, what would it be and why?

Something less physically demanding. I see these bands chilling out on stage or even just using a laptop and I’m like, “We messed up!” I usually get off stage and feel like passing out. I just saw Fennesz play in Toronto. That looks like a good gig. In all seriousness, I wouldn’t change anything. We are getting to do exactly what we want and it’s a blessing. 

What is your train of feeling after creating a new record? Are you nervous, excited, feel accomplished, prideful, doubtful? I know when I finish recording I’m extremely self – critical and pick it apart completely and then as time passes I can love it again, just curious if you all have a similar experience of record creation?

I can relate to all of those feelings. I’m quite self-deprecating but also have a strong feeling in my gut when something is right/wrong. I just try to follow my instincts. I’ve always been attracted to raw, physical, simple music. In my opinion, rock n roll doesn’t gain much from over-intellectualizing it. 

Your music video for “Pure Auto” is really awesome!  Who created it and how did you came up with the concept? I love all the elements of random things popping out while you play.  

That was made by Scorpion Dagger from Montreal. 

How do you all spend your time when you’re not on the road? What is life for you all like when you’re not out touring? 

We spend time with our families and loved ones in Toronto. Recently, I’ve been composing music for film and television, Chris has been gigging with Daughters and Hayden is always busy with painting/drawing/animation. 

Your new album is incredibly rich in tones and soundscapes.  What sort of effects did you use while recording this record? Did you use tape machines, vintage amps, pedals, any unique instruments used to create strange sound effects?

We learn so much every time we are in the studio. When we were recording the tracks on “Automat,” we were very green. We worked with Jon Drew and were asking him to do the stupidest things. We have samples of Hayden’s dog barking and I play a kazoo through a delay pedal (soft whiteout). We played percussion on the water pipes in our rehearsal room (Automat). We filled a dogfood can with rocks and smashed it on the ground (Dry Up). It was a lot of fun.  We had a very strange idea in our mind about how things should sound and we were lucky Jon was there to help us and didn’t try to talk sense to us.  It was a beautiful time. It was pure unabashed enthusiasm. 

Listen to the magic that is Automat below.