Interview
Metz

Metz

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
date
Monday 2nd December, 2013 9:42AM

Canadian punk trio Metz released their assaulting, chaotic self-titled debut album via Sub Pop over a year ago now, and have spent the interim touring the world; playing a daunting number of shows, and learning more about themselves and what they would like to do next along the way. UnderTheRadar caught up with Hayden Menzies to discuss all of these experiences ahead of their two New Zealand shows next week.

Hey Hayden. How are you? What are you up to at the moment?

I can’t tell you...no just kidding, I’m at home just hanging out.

Are you on a break from touring?

Yeah we’ve got a break of about three weeks or so and we leave next Tuesday for the last big tour for this record.

It must be nice to have a break considering you have consistently toured for the last 12 to 18 months, right?

Yeah we’ve been soaking it up, just being at home drinking coffee. We’ve been writing a lot as well so it hasn’t been completely relaxing, but it’s been fun. We’ve been trying to keep things on the d-low.

Does everything that has happened since the last record was released feel a little surreal?

Yeah it’s been unreal, we’ve have a really great reception which is amazing because we didn’t compromise, and took our time writing and recording it. The fact that people give a shit about it is phenomenal, so we’ve been having a blast.

Has there been anywhere in particular that you were super stoked to play, or you had a particularly amazing experience at?

Primavera Festival was amazing. In general we got to experience the big scale of the summer festivals and we also got to play a bunch of really cool club shows. We got to do a regular band tour in Europe where we just played regular venues and the shows were amazing. We've been able to do everything exactly how we wanted to. I don’t know if I could pinpoint one remarkable thing because it has all been amazing.

How has this relentless touring schedule affected you as a band?

I think it would be almost impossible for it to have no impact on how we do things or approach the band in general. There are a lot of things that will never change one of which being that we are, at the end of the day, just three very close friends. The three of us just want to write music and play in front of people who want to see and hear it. Touring definitely catches up with you though. You begin by thinking you’re invincible and keep going and going because but you can't do that, and you get tired and you have to start deciding whether you want to stay up all night drinking or whether you want to have a good show the next day. So there are those logistical band things, and I think we’ve also become closer from touring. You have to respect other people when you’re in such tight confines all the time and we get along so well and know how to read each other so we have a really good time touring and there’s no tension or dread about going on the road together.

That must have also affected the writing process and your creative collaboration in a positive way, right?

Yeah for sure. We’ve already started writing for the next album. There are a few things which will never change but it’s definitely different; we’ve seen so many great bands and talked about those bands while we’ve been on the road, that it has given us so many ideas we want to explore; it’s opened our eyes to different approaches to songwriting. We just want to be better songwriters and play better shows, so it’s definitely had an influence on us – we just want to push harder and be better.

You mentioned the amazing bands that you saw on the road. What artists are you digging at the moment and how are those artists affecting your sound?

We’re massive music fans in general and we’re always getting to go see new bands. We derive our influences from bands that sound nothing like us – like, we don’t go in the sonic direction of those bands but their ideas will influence us.

I don’t think we’ll sound that different in the future but we are exploring new song structures and utilizing new sounds – we’ll ultimately always be a little bit chaotic and basically make really energetic rock music.

One band that we saw that we really liked were Unknown Mortal Orchestra and we’re actually going to head out and see them again tonight which will be great.

You mentioned that you’re influenced by a whole lot of different artists and sounds but you obviously came together through the punk scene in Canada. What drew you toward that sound and subculture in the first place?

For the most part that’s what we grew up on; we went to D.I.Y punk shows and had local music heroes - we didn’t have to look to MTV because they were right there. The guys we went to high school with or the dudes that live down the street were creating something on their own - they were just doing it without fear and really putting a lot into it. That’s always been the fundamental catalyst for the band because that’s where we started. There’s been a lot of different influences along the way because I’m 34 years old now and there are things I have been drawn to since then. But D.I.Y punk has always been the work ethic that we’ve had. We’re not political or anything, but in terms of operating and functioning as a band we’ve all grown up with that D.I.Y approach.

Is there a strong punk community where you guys are from?

We live in Toronto now and I grew up in Ottawa, which is where Alex (Edkins) lived as well. While we were growing up it was really strong and there’s a really strong music community in Toronto too, but it’s a little more eclectic; everyone is doing different things and everyone is really encouraging to their friends regardless of music type or genre. It feels like a really good place to be right now.

You mentioned before that you don’t write about politics, but I interviewed Alex when you first released your album and he mentioned that while it wasn’t a concept album there were overarching moods of dislocation and alienation on the self-titled record. Is that a fair statement, and has that outlook changed at all in the 18 months since the release of the album?

I think it would be untruthful to say that things don’t change over time. We chose all of the parts of the album, like visuals etc., because they fitted really well together rather than because they fitted a theme perfectly, but yeah, that loose idea is definitely there, holding things together too, for sure. That was an influence of a different time because we were all working day jobs while getting really excited about doing this band. We spent every spare moment we had doing it and it’s hard to focus on something that you love when you have everyday stresses of other things as part of being in the big city rat race - it’s hard to escape that and still feel like you can put everything you have into something you love without your energy being sapped by annoying shit that you’d rather not deal with! But to some extent that drove us even more, particularly in teaching us not to compromise at all – it made us that much more radical.

After touring the album for a year or more we definitely don’t have that sentiment on stage. We have a blast and it’s not aggressive whatsoever, but we can see how people can perceive it that way because it’s loud and sweaty and chaotic and stuff. It's a release for us and it’s supposed to be fun. We always have the best time doing it.

links
subpop.com/artists/metz
see more

related gigs
Thu 12th Dec
Bodega, Wellington
Fri 13th Dec
Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland