Since their 2010 inception, birthed from a shared love of hardcore acts on labels like Dischord, noisy Ontario trio Metz have garnered a reputation for intense live performances. “Unfortunately, you can’t really chill out and look cool when you’re playing this kind of music,” laughs guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins down the phone line.
Edkins is currently in the studio with his bandmates recording for a follow-up to their brilliant, self-titled 2012 debut. Brimming with punk and noise rock ferocity while lathered in eccentric pop sensibilities and post-punk undertones, the album was met with widespread acclaim following its release late last year. Influences ranged from the punk acts they grew up on to more left-field acts like This Heat and The Birthday Party, striking a balance between exuberance and experimentation that makes the Metz sound incredibly difficult to pigeonhole.
“I think we all had a pretty distinct idea of what we wanted to get down on tape,” says Edkins. “We love noise and ugly stuff but we also love pop music, so we tried to mix the two in a way that felt natural to all three of us. We’re pretty happy with how it turned out in the end.”
Organic songwriting and delivery have been at the band’s cornerstone since the start, reveals Edkins. “I think it’s just that we play honest music,” he replies when I ask about creating the sort of wild atmosphere that Metz shows frequently foster. “We try to beat the hell out of our instruments. I think these songs, if you play them any other way they don’t sound right, so it becomes almost necessary – we want it to come across the way it’s supposed to sound. It’s full on.”
Australian crowds will get their first taste of the live Metz experience come December, the trio playing a pair of headline club shows in Sydney and Melbourne respectively before capping off the brief run with a slot at the inaugural edition of new Perth festival Slanted and Enchanted. Joining them will be the likes of TV Colours, Batpiss and Deep Heat, supports hand-picked by the headliners themselves.
The group has been touring off the back of the first LP for roughly ten months now, playing basements, clubs and festivals everywhere from their native Toronto to all over the US and Europe, and sparking crowd responses equally as intense and visceral as their own performances everywhere they go.
“We try and have as much fun as possible when we play and that tends to rub off on the crowd. We played some pretty manic ones in Spain where you really just can’t believe what you’re seeing, people were going crazy”.
For their part, though, Metz want you to connect with their music however you see fit; be it limbs flying or a more observational approach. “We’re cool with whatever. Sometimes people respond physically and that’s awesome; We love that, because it’s a direct and immediate correlation when people are moving and dancing. Some people see it more academically and like to hang back and chill. Either works for us. Live music for me is all about having some kind of back and forth with the audience, hopefully giving something to them they can be excited about. It’s all about how people react in an honest way.”
BY BLAKE GALLAGHER
METZ play Howler on Thursday December 5 alongside Batpiss and Deep Heat. Metz is out now on Sub Pop/Inertia.