Every interview teaches you something new. This one reminded me that not everything, you find on the internet is true.
Fortunately my interlocutors turned out to be very kind and chill people – in contrast to their stage presence. I spoke to Chris and Hayden – rythm section of one of the most important noise-rock bands in the world – METZ – few hours before their show in Warsaw.
Did you see that video of Liam Gallagher of Oasis reviewing your music?
Hayden (Drummer): Yeah. We didn’t know about it, until someone at Sub Pop just texted it to us. It wasn’t planned and we had no idea, so it was pretty funny.
I like the part where he says something like: „They probably look like nerds, but they sound pissed”.
Chris (Bassist): Have a look! How do we look like to you, Man? (Laughs)
Hayden: He was right. He was right on both ends.
I really need to ask about the „pissed” part. Are you pissed about something in particular? Or do you write or record, while you are pissed off?
Chris: I think everyone is generally pissed off about something at some point of the day, everyday. But I’d say – in general – we are very jovial bunch. We are thinkers, but we’re pretty even-keeled. I wouldn’t say we’re pissed off people.
Hayden: No. I think the music is, sort of, outlet for that, but it doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be angry and violent. It’s cathartic for us, but it’s not supposed to have this baggage that makes it really negative. To us it’s a very positive thing. We may sound pissed off, but we’re not.
So what drives you to write such music?
Chris: Everyday life. The things you cross everyday can inspire you in some sort of way. I think writing our music is just a reflection of something that’s happening at the moment.
It’s sort of a paradox for me, that the best „pissed off”, noisy bands are from Canada – like you. To us, and I think that for most of the world, your country seems really nice, friendly, and easy to live.
Chris: There are bunch of bands that we’re friends with and we love them. I love that there’s a solid, noisy rock n’ roll scene coming out of Canada at the moment. And they are really good, you know? It’s not just like: „Oh they’re from Canada, they’re pretty good”. They’re really good bands in the first place. They just happen to be from Canada. And it’s just like the tip of the iceberg. There’s tons of great bands from our city.
Hayden: Yeah, i don’t know if there’s anything in the water necesarilly with really noisy music per se. If you need to search for answer – maybe Toronto seems like very healthy music scene and all of the boxes are checked off there – you’ve got hard rock bands, metal bands, hip-hop, indie and some noise as well. So it has all of it. If you’re inclined to listen to that kind of stuff, then you’re definitelly gonna find it in Toronto. But for why is it so popular in Toronto now? I don’t know – it’s just good.
So as a good, noisy band, you just had to make an album with Steve Albini at some point. How was it?
Hayden: (Laughs) He’s great.
Chris: It was very positive. Really efficient session. You’re going in prepared and you just record your music. It took us while to finally decide to work with him, but we’re happy we did. He’s very much like… set up the microphones, push „record” and that’s his involvement in the session. He helps you get the sound you’re trying to get.
Still, „Strange Peace” is your most experimental album. There are some catchy vibes, some quiet parts. Was it a conscious decision to write something different or it just happened?
Hayden: It was a conscious decision to do something different, but we weren’t necessarily sure that it’s gonna be quieter or longer or weirder but the way the songs came together just seemed that this type of options just naturally came up within the songs. You know, when we play live, we still play hard and we do old stuff and new stuff, but it’s healthy for us and healthy for other people’s ears and attention span to be… You know, when you go to a show, and there are three bands, you don’t want them to sound the same. It’s always the same with records – you want to do something different. Next one will probably be reggae. (Laughs)
Your new album is completely different in the visual way as well. I’ve read that, you’re responsible for that, Hayden.
Hayden: No. We were just told in one of the interviews that on wikipedia apparently it says, that I did it, but I didn’t. There’s a local artist named Jonathan Bauerle in Toronto. He does a lot of collage work. I can’t remember if we had mutual friends or we just saw his stuff online…
Chris: I just follow him on Instagram. That’s all I know.
Hayden: I think it’s a record store connection. There’s a very good punk record store called Faith/Void in Toronto and he had done some posters or something like that for them. So we found him online and asked if he would be interested in putting some stuff together and he send us some stuff to choose from and we took a bunch of it and gave it to one of dudes from Sub Pop – Jeff Kleinsmith and we worked together on that for few weeks, and he got the best of everything.
As we’re talking about the visual side of METZ, I’ve seen your new video for „Drained Lake” and it’s pretty fucked up, like nearly all of your videos. Is it your thing to present your music in a fucked up way?
Hayden: I think it’s just nice to have someone else’s thoughts on what they get out of your song, whether it’s just sonically or it’s based on lyrics or maybe they’ve had this idea that they always wanted to put to something and they don’t give a shit about a song and they only want to use this idea. I don’t know. It’s definitely a luxury for us to relinquish some of this control over the band – cause we are pretty neurotic, but make sure that everything goes our way.
Chris: It’s just nice to collaborate with artists. To see a strange mind and getting to see how he sees our music. It’s amazing, you know? We are fans of art and we consider playing music a form of art, so collaborating with other artist is exactly what it’s all about. We just tend to lean towards the weird.
You’re playing in Poland pretty often for a band from Canada. Do you have any expectations about tonights concert?
Chris: I think it’s our fifth show in Poland. If I remember correctly, the last one we had here was pretty crazy, sweaty, fun show, so – I won’t say I’m expecting it, but I’m hoping for the same. I like a good, sweaty, intimate, crowd-in-your-face show, when it feels like you’re in someones basement. This venue reminds me of this basement in Toronto that we kinda started this band. So I’m looking forward to play a show like that. We haven’t done it in a long time.
It’s definitely gonna be sweaty.
Chris: Oh God, I hope so. (Laughs) I’ll be sweating for sure.