Metals
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Metals

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Christopher Coe is all about contradictions. His recording alias, Digital Primate, neatly points to both the human aspect of making music, and the technological side of using computers to create it.

Christopher Coe is all about contradictions. His recording alias, Digital Primate, neatly points to both the human aspect of making music, and the technological side of using computers to create it.

So it seems fitting that when he first saw neo-soul and hip hop MC, Candice Butler, he would want to explore the contraction between his robotic beats and her soulful vocals. It was an idea that would lead to the formation of Metals.

"We met about six years ago when Chris was working on the Digital Primate album," Butler explains. "He was looking for guest vocalists and a mutual friend suggested me, so we hooked up. We wrote something like 14 songs in the first two weeks. But it was a whole bunch of stuff that didn’t really fit with the Digital Primate album, so out of that was what evolved into Metals."

Coe came up with the unique name ‘Metals’ for the project after talking to a friend in the fashion industry. But it was a name that took some time to grow on Butler. "To be honest, I hated it at first. Basically what happened is that Chris has a friend and her job is a Trend Forecaster – her actual job is to determine the next trends. And given that the last decade has been based around animalistic things, they were predicting that the next decade would focus on elements and metals."

"Chris just turned around and said, ‘So that’s it, we’ll call ourselves Metals.’ To which I was appalled; I had this image in my head of death metal music. But eventually the name grew on me. We came up with this logo that was kinda like a lipstick looking thing. And then it dawned on us that metals are the tiny elements of change. That’s something Chris and I both have in common, our desire for change and our political stance."

While Coe and Butler may be adept at combining their unique and occasionally disparate attributes to form Metals, it has created a situation in which they both find it difficult to describe their music. According to Butler, "A lot of people have attempted to describe the music and basically end up throwing a whole bunch of juxtaposing genres into one sentence. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. They’re like, ‘It’s rock, it’s rap, it’s soul, it’s techno, it’s house, it’s reggae, it’s, you know, Metals.’ The definition we came up with post-jacking-neo-tech-booty-rock-soul."

Last Friday saw the release of the duo’s first EP, Get Yourself A Gun, and Butler has been thrilled with the whole process of releasing a product to a larger audience. "It was a buzz to see the artwork come back and some of the press come back. We’re excited to see how it goes, and to get it out there more."

But the release of the politically charged, Get Yourself A Gun won’t be the first time that Coe and Butler have created waves. Late last year the duo teamed up with Boxwars, a Melbourne based collective who create cardboard armour for epic battles, for the must-see video for Drop Your Guard.

But, as Butler notes, the teaming of Metals and Boxwars was completely down to chance. "It was funny, Chris is involved with a lot of environmental stuff. He works with a group who work with major music festivals to make sure that they’re carbon neutral. He was working on a particular music festival and he rocked up and has seen these guys walking in stormtrooper outfits entirely made out of cardboard. He was just blown away by it. So it was Chris who brought the guys from Boxwars in. They’re amazing artists. What they can do with cardboard I could never have even imagined."

When asked about any future collaborations with Boxwars, Butler confirms that there are plans but stays tight-lipped on the details. "Believe it or not though, they will be creating more costumes for us. Actually, we’ve got a Melbourne Fashion Festival thing coming up, and we’re doing a show for there."

But before that, fans of Metals will be able to catch Coe and Butler perform at Miss Libertine and then at Push Over, gigs Butler is very excited about. "At Push Over, obviously there will be songs from the EP that we’ll be performing live. But we’ve been working on a bunch of new stuff looking forward to the album. So you may get sneak peeks of new tracks that as yet haven’t been performed live. We’re working on a whole new live show at the moment for the upcoming gigs. So we’ll be taking you on a journey through this strange little world of ours. We’ll take you through some of the dirtier, glammier stuff. It’ll just be good music and a good show."

METALS play Miss Libertine on Friday March 11 and PUSH OVER at the Abbotsford Convent on Sunday March 13 (tickets and info from thepush.com.au). Their Get Yourself A Gun EP is out now through Illusive.

BY GLEN PARKS