The face-melting of Metz

Toronto-based band Metz are bringing their noise rock to Kingston

The trio’s tunes bring to mind the abrasive and feedback-heavy era of early 1990s sludge punk.
The trio’s tunes bring to mind the abrasive and feedback-heavy era of early 1990s sludge punk.
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You guys started gaining more notoriety during this week’s Canadian Music Week/Canadian Music Fest, how was that experience?

“It was great, it’s always a nice surprise when people seem to take notice or take interest in what you’re doing, it’s been really good lately, things have been gradually getting more exciting and more busy … we’re totally excited about it.”

You have some pretty eye-catching art that comes with your records, where does that come from?

“That’s Hayden Menzies who plays drums, he does all the artwork. He does the majority of our posters and all three album covers. He’s a painter and he does a lot of drawing and painting around Toronto, definitely something worth checking out … he has a website (haydenmenzies.com), if you like the posters and all that.”

You played at Parts and Labour in Toronto last year with Anagram and Induced Labour, how was that?

“Probably the best show we’ve had in Toronto. It was the release party for our last 45. It was great, for the first time really the crowd kind of had the same excitement we did when we go into a show. We like to perform with a lot of energy and get all riled up and the crowd really responded in the way we were hoping. It was basically just a big party and everyone had a good time. That was a highlight of playing in Toronto.”

Why did you decide to release with the label We Are Busy Bodies?

“This is the third single we’ve done with them. A friend of ours Eric Warner runs the label, I guess after moving to Toronto and playing a couple shows he approached us and asked us if we’d like to put out a record with him and we jumped at the opportunity because he was someone who was doing good stuff and he was putting out what we thought were good records … definitely someone we’ve been fortunate to meet and work with.”

What’s your writing process like?

“It’s pretty collective, we usually all get in the same room and talk about what we want to do and then kind of just go for it and it almost always involves the three of us being in the same room at the same time, it’s not like we’re writing at home and then we’ll bring a song to the band or something like that ... it’s not really part of our process, it’s mostly we’ll get together a couple times a week and see what happens you know? Sometimes it can be really slow going and other times it’ll really start to flow and we’ll get really productive periods of time. That’s what’s happening now, I feel like things are really coming along for the new LP we’re writing, which is great.”

How much of the full-length is complete?

“I’d say were about 75 per cent done writing it and were going to start demoing it ... We’re going to try to head out somewhere maybe like a cottage and spend a weekend or something like that putting our ideas down and demoing the record before we go into a studio.”

That’s exciting, what about Metz’s recording process?

“We worked with John Drew for the last three records, he’s done stuff like Fucked Up and Tokyo Police Club … so we would go in with him and record live off the floor with the three of us, like a concert, then we would take those tracks with us into our rehearsal space and I have a little recording rig so after the fact we’d tinker with the tracks we did with John and then put our own stamp on things and do overdubs and kind of experiment … it’s mostly because we don’t have the money to spend to be paying someone to be in the studio for too long so we kind of bang it out and do the rest ourselves.”

Much Music’s New Music blog described you as a band who makes the kind of “scraping racket that will make you froth at the mouth and lose your shit entirely… plus make you go deaf, so wear earplugs.” Where does the intensity of your live show come from?

“I don’t know, it’s completely unconscious, it’s just what happens. We don’t have all this fancy loud gear or anything, I think it’s somewhat aggressive music but it’s not like … I don’t know, that’s a hard one to answer to be honest because I think we just kind of turn the amps up to match the sound of the drums and I guess that’s pretty loud. I guess it can be a bit shocking for some people. It’s definitely not something that we discussed, like, ‘we’ve got to be really loud,’ or anything like that, it just kind of happens that way.”

Your tunes bring the nostalgia of feedback-heavy early 1990s sludge punk, are you fans of the era?

“Sure, I mean that’s kind of the music we all grew up on so I think it’s probably sort of engrained in all of us a little bit. Same with the post-punk and punk music from the 1980s ... we love that 1990s sound. It doesn’t surprise me that there are those comparisons but we’re not trying to consciously reference any sound or era … I think it’s natural that it comes out.”

You played Kingston a few months back with B.A. Johnston and False Face, the same acts you’ll share the stage with next Wednesday, what’s bringing you back?

“Our last time there was great, we had a really good time. It’s the spot in between Ottawa and Montreal, it makes sense for us to play Kingston because it seems like there’s a small but cool scene happening there that we want to stay in touch with and we want to play for. We’ll go anywhere people will have us. That weekend’s going to be great we’re doing Montreal, Ottawa and Kingston. Totally looking forward to it and if its anything like the last time it’s going to be really fun and obviously we love playing with those bands. Those guys are great, I’m looking forward to seeing them again and hanging out.”

Under-attended shows can be a frustrating fact of touring, what has your experience with that been?

“I mean, in my experience, I’m from Ottawa and it comes in waves. There can be a chunk of years where the punk scene is really, really active because there are people getting involved in doing shows or radio shows or zines or whatever. When all that’s happening I think the music scene tends to flourish at that time. If there’s a lull you probably get a bunch of kind of smaller shows and less interest. It’s totally tied in with what else is going on in the city of Kingston, if there are art shows or rock shows, they’re all tied together ... If this year the shows are under-attended it doesn’t mean that next year there’s not going to be this new interest or new energy going on in that specific city. There’s always ups and downs to every city, I think.”

What’s next for Metz?

“We’re going to try to get this record done as soon as possible and then we’re planning on touring the States and in the Spring we’re working out the logistics of going to Europe, lots of stuff coming up … we hope.”

Metz play The Mansion with B.A. Johnston and False Face Thursday, Nov. 25 at 9 p.m.

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