Interview: Metric, Canada’s modern New Wave export, talks about new album Pagans in Vegas_lowres


There has never been a bad time to catch Canada's modern new wave stalwarts Metric, but this Voodoo Music + Arts Experience performance comes at a unique juncture. While the band's recent performances have drawn heavily from September release Pagans in Vegas, that album is only half of a larger body of work. Metric says there's a companion LP coming in early 2016. In an age when it is hard to get listeners to notice one album, Metric took on two.

  "It's more like the project took on us," says guitarist and founder Jimmy Shaw. "We just had enough material, and all of it felt like it wanted to be realized and then heard. So the two LPs are in very different veins from each other, but they complement (each other). One without the other would make less sense."

  Even without the yang to Pagans' yin, festivalgoers can expect Metric to deliver its stadium-ready sound. The latest release has a few departures — less prominent guitars and more synth than ever before — but it still incorporates many of the group's signatures. Shaw leads tight, intricate orchestrations, and there is a sense of urgency and purpose in singer Emily Haines' vocals. As genres like pop-punk, modern indie rock and electronica have come and gone during the band's 15 years together, Pagans proves Metric remains true to themselves.

  "One's fingerprint is one's fingerprint," Shaw says. "We have always solely obeyed what sounds good to us in the moment when it comes out of the speakers. Trends are great and fads are real, but I'll leave the creation of them and the chasing of them to other people that can do it much better than us. Our primary goal has always been to be the most us."

  Part of being Metric has always meant taking chances. It has played small clubs and opened for The Rolling Stones. The band has self-released its recent albums. It has released solo albums and had songs featured on soundtracks including Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Twilight. The forthcoming finale to Pagans will feature portions recorded while the band was on the road with Imagine Dragons, including some parts from New Orleans. The band wouldn't elaborate, but it teased a reference to Esplanade Studios on Instagram during the summer, and Haines recently told Time the band collaborated with a local brass quintet with results that will "freak people out."

  Friday's performance at Voodoo will be a homecoming of sorts. To celebrate, the band will do what it always does in such situations — perform what feels right at the moment, which could be anything from Pagans to Fantasies or other tunes.

  "After playing and touring for 10 years or so, you never really know which songs are gonna resonate with the band, but for the most part when it does resonate with us, it will with the audience," Shaw says. "That said, we have singles for the fans that have cared and followed, these rogue anarchist singles that have infiltrated the airwaves like a Parisian cat burglar. They make fans very happy to hear when within a larger festival context. It's as if they were in on it all along."