METZ. Photo by Robby Reis
METZ are a buzz band right now, but that’s no reason to hate them.
Basically, they sound like a giant spastic robot with long, greasy hair, dressed in ripped jeans and multiple cardigans, pissing acid rain all over skyscrapers it just kicked over. Like Godzilla meets Transformers meets an Adderall-addicted Kurt Cobain.
Frontman Alex Edkins, on the other hand, is a super friendly dude who sounds like he wouldn’t piss on or kick down anything he wasn’t supposed to.
They’re about to go on one helluva big-ass tour, and probably won’t see their home base, Toronto, for most of the year. When I asked Edkins if they were ready for that, or if they were doing anything in particular to prepare, he just laughed all easygoing-like and said, “We enjoy travelling on planes.”
Gregory Pike: Being a so-called grunge-punk band, I’m guessing you guys might be fans of a little band they call Nirvana. Did you know it was the 19th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death a couple days ago?
Alex Edkins: I did see that online. Yeah. I didn’t know until everybody started commenting about it.
GP: I know some people who were having these weird marathon Nirvana listening parties. Get up to anything like that?
AE: [laughs] Yeah, I don’t think our fandom goes that extreme. Nirvana was one of those bands that was impossible to escape when we were growing up. But by no means would I call them one of my favourite bands, even when I was younger. Actually, I was one of those kids who would dislike whatever was popular. I was just one of those kids. I don’t know why I thought that way. I really only started to appreciate Nirvana much later, after they stopped being a band. They’re definitely not one of our major influences. But for the generation we grew up in, they just kind of seeped into everyone’s musical make-up.
GP: You’ve said there wasn’t much to do growing up in Ottawa’s suburbs besides playing music in basements with friends. What kind of advice would you give to kids out there dying of boredom out in the ‘burbs?
AE: Oh, well, I’m not very comfortable giving advice, but: Have fun. I mean, we just always played music because it was the thing I loved to do the most. And there wasn’t much to do out there, so you could always beg someone’s parents to play in their basement. And that’s what we did. But it also helps being out there in the suburbs. I mean, we had to get our records through mailorder catalogues. Like, we’d read Heartattack zine and stuff like that and try and find the most interesting stuff we could. Then we’d make our trip to the mailbox and there’d be this amazing package of records from all over the place that we never would’ve heard of through more common means. So there’s some advantages to being isolated. I think you almost end up looking for stranger stuff. You know, there was no record store in town, so we basically found these zines at shows and ordered from them. It was all about falling in love with weird music that way.
GP: So Toronto is kind of an expensive city compared to Montreal. Are you guys able to subsist just off the band, or do you still hold down day jobs?
AE: Well, we’ve definitely been working full-time since the beginning of the band. It was basically about right before we left for our last European tour that we had to put our day jobs on hold because we just looked at our schedule this year and saw that we didn’t have any time. We’re gone most of the year. So yeah, it’s not until very recently that we’ve stopped working our day jobs. But it’s still to be decided if it’s something that’s realistic. I think we’re all in the mindset where we’re like, “Hey, you know, let’s do this!” We don’t have any lofty or unrealistic goals. We just want to get out there and play this record for as many people as possible. And the timing seems right. That’s our mode of thinking. As far as finances and all that go, I think it’ll become clearer as time goes by.
GP: Your old day job was doing research for documentary films, right?
AE: I’ve actually still been doing that on the side whenever I can. It’s kind of like contract work. Basically, for a documentary film, I’m the person responsible for hunting down archival footage and licensing it so they have the legal rights to show them. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past five and a half years, ever since I moved to Toronto from Ottawa.
GP: Any Toronto bands right now you feel aren’t getting enough attention?
AE: Yeah. I mean, a lot. There’s the Soupcans [opening for Metz tonight] — they’re a band we think are fantastic. There’s a band called Thighs that’s relatively new doing some very interesting stuff. I think Toronto’s got some really awesome stuff right now, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s just too much to mention really.
GP: Anything really scary happen on tour yet?
AE: Well, recently we were flying to Tampa and our gear got lost. So that was terrifying.
GP: I’ll tell you one thing about Montreal: It has a terrible reputation for gear theft.
AE: Oh, I know! We’re acutely aware of that every time we go to Montreal. ■
METZ play with the Soupcans and Modern Primitive at la Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent) tonight, Monday, April 8, 8 p.m., $15