The New Breed of Noise Rock: Q&A With Canada’s Metz

Few bands, if any, sound like Metz, thanks to their pummeling percussion, live wire guitar and hoarsely hollered vocals.


Interview by Kyle Mullin


And while the Canadian trio’s aggressively uncompromising strain of noise rock is indeed all their own, that distinctive sound is even tougher to reinterpret visually. Yet burgeoning music video director — and frontman of fellow noise rock troop Hot Nerds — Nathan Joyner, did just that, shooting frames for the recently released Metz single “Eraser,” that sizzle with static akin to the hissing feedback of frontman Alex Edkins’ guitar. Below, Edkins talks more about the vid, mixing music and images with his Dad, and more.

Tell me about how Nathan Joyner’s visuals are apt for “Eraser.”
Nathan did an amazing job. It was really all his idea. He is one of the graphic designers at Three.One.G (the label releasing the 7″ “Eraser,” single alongside Sub Pop) and also plays in a great band called Hot Nerds, so he really understood where we were coming from as a band and what we liked visually. He just made it out of the blue with very little input from us, and that was it. We loved it immediately.

In an earlier Interview Magazine article, you described “stage divers running and jumping and pulling our power chords out and everything” at previous shows. Are your fans still this rambunctious, and if so what’s the craziest thing that one of them has done recently when they hopped onstage?
We just finished a tour of Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago and I think it was some of the best crowds we’ve ever had. Lots of stage diving and dancing. Nothing crazy though. We always stress that people in the audience should treat others with respect and be safe when dancing. We want our shows to be fun and 100 percent inclusionary. Everyone should feel welcome and comfortable to be themselves.

I read in Exclaim! magazine that you “grew up going to cheap all-ages shows” and listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Fugazi on college radio. How did that early exposure to Canada’s alt music scene affect you?
My life line to music was college radio stations like CKCU and CHUO. There was also a phone line that you could call where local promoter Shawn Scallen would leave a message listing all of the shows happening that week. So you could call the number and write down all the show listings. It’s crazy to think about now!
Some of my first shows and best memories revolve around going to see a band called Buried Inside. They were a very heavy band that took inspiration from Neurosis, Shotmaker, Okara, and Union of Uranus. Amazing people and incredible live band. (Buried Inside vocalist) Nick Shaw used to light his gong on fire and some of my first tour experiences were travelling around the US with those guys.

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Metz ‘II’ album cover

Your father took the photos that adorn Metz’s self titled debut and its recent follow up, II. How did his photography inspire you over the years?
My dad has been a hobbyist photographer his whole life. There isn’t a day that passes where he isn’t working on his art. It’s his true passion in life, and I always really liked his photos, especially the ones that he took when he was a teenager and young man in the 60’s and 70’s. When we were deciding on artwork for the first album, I kept on coming back to one of his photos and thought it would be a good fit for the feel of the music. He allowed us to use it and it just snowballed.
We’ve used his photos for two albums, our t-shirts, our 7″ and posters. Our music certainly isn’t what he usually listens to, he prefers jazz. But I think he understands our urge to create. It is definitely a cool experience to collaborate with him, and have his work be reborn or re-contextualized because of it.

This past spring, Noisey quoted you as saying: “It’s not directly in the lyrics (on the album II), but I’ve had to deal with the loss of some loved ones over the past year and a half. I didn’t touch on those stories specifically (in our songs) but I think it’s does show mood-wise… All in all the album (II) just feels more human.” Was it cathartic to let those feelings seep into the music?
METZ’s music has always seemed like a cathartic release, or form of therapy for all three of us. When making records or performing live, we try to be as honest and unguarded as possible. Lyrically, I attempt to paint a mood instead of an entire story or narrative. I’m hoping for people to visualize a frame of a movie instead of the whole thing.

What’s next for METZ?
We have a few small collaborative releases planned for 2016 that we are very excited about and will be touring Australia, New Zealand, China, and Singapore. There are also several European festivals planned. Our main focus, however, will be writing and recording new music in the spring.

metzimage

Metz will perform at Shindaita Fever on Friday, Jan. 29. For more information, click here.

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