Metric’s Emily Haines Ponders Earth’s Erotic Apocalypse

One of my favorite bands in the world is Canada’s Metric, which is led by the irrepressible Emily Haines. She’s smart and sexy with a gift for poetry and philosophy.

We mashed heads awhile back this year for the Metromix, before her band’s excellent new release Fantasies came out. But like I said in the previous post, it’s been a busy fucking year. Speaking of fucking…

Metric’s Dark Fantasies

Scott Thill, Chicago Tribune

Intelligent dance music is a rare thing indeed, but Canada’s Metric makes theirs work, and think, very hard.

Fronted by poetic siren and keyboardist Emily Haines, and buttressed by a smoking rhythm section comprised of guitarist Jimmy Shaw, bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key, the Toronto-based standout released early body-rocking, brain-teasing efforts like “Grow Up and Blow Away” and “Old World Underground, Where Are You Now” before turning loose 2005’s raucous “Live It Out,” a criminally underrated shred frenzy that took dead aim at the geopolitical excesses of the Bush administration.

But after that abrasive salvo, things changed. Haines released the contemplative solo effort “Knives Don’t Have Your Back” and then went into hiding in Argentina, looking for solace and herself. Four years later, the band reunited for its latest, most accessible effort, “Fantasies,” a sonic analysis of sex, tech and identity crisis that is as danceable as it is cerebral. We caught up with Haines by phone to break it all down.

Fantasies seems designed to concentrate the band’s identity into one effort.
I would say it’s a synthesis of fractured pieces. I think it is an interesting time, an unusual and unprecedented time, where it is possible to be so many people, to morph and contort who you are. There are levels of anonymity that are unheard of. But I’m kind of obsessed with honesty, which can make me a strange dinner guest. In general, the process of growing up is a slow, steady stream of decisions that break down and degrade the integrity of the person you were as a kid, the honesty that kids have. Getting older means lying more. I’m interested in that as a theme, refusing to become that person.

This album rocks less than “Live It Out,” but it’s dreamy music with a fair amount of nightmare.
For me, the word “fantasy” is inherently sinister. It is a blissful dreaming of magical worlds, but it’s also f—ing terrifying reality. You know you are not going to get a Metric record without a dark undertone.

There’s plenty of sexual darkness in songs like “Gold Guns Girls” and “Stadium Love.”
It’s scary the lengths that we have to go today to literally get off, to be stimulated, to be affected or turned on. There are sexual references in those songs, but I hope they are obvious on a larger scale. It is a sad state to find yourself in when you become immune to simple pleasures, when you’re a ravenous consumption drone, whether of sex, culture or the illegal acquisition of foreign countries. The idea of being creatively insatiable in your work is a good one. But if you reverse that to a consumptive process, it’s constant destruction.


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