As predicted Metric have blown up, but not blown away, big time. Fantasies reached number eight on the Canadian charts and crept into the Australian Top 40 and US Top 100, while incessant touring in Europe and North America has further strengthened their fan base. Webcuts emailed Metric guitarist and half of Metric’s lead songwriting team (foil to the uber talented and alluring Emily Haines) about the new disc, how exactly the campfire test worked, iPod commercials and more.
Jimmy, you’ve said songs had to pass the “campfire” (acoustic) test for this record. Does being able to reduce a song to its basic elements allow for more versatility and portability (e.g. can be played on radio and Internet stations with just the two of you to a full electric rock show)? Is that how you and Emily usually write together, and will you write in this way in future?
We hadn’t written like this in the past and by no means was it a way for us to strategically play songs for radio stations. It was a theory we came up with that helped us write very cohesive and emotionally accurate songs. We may use this method in the future we may not. It’s not the only way to write good songs, it just helped in this instance.
Did a seemingly anti-acoustic song like “Stadium Love” pass the test? Will acoustic versions of all or some of the Fantasies tracks get an official release at some point?
Not sure about a release. We have recorded some of them but I don’t know about all of them living together on one CD. “Stadium Love” definitely doesn’t work, nor does it need to. As I said above it’s not the only way to write songs.
You work shopped most of the tracks from Fantasies in a live context between 2007-2008 and many of the songs changed significantly in that time, notably “Gimme Sympathy” and “Twilight Galaxy”. Was this to provide more variety for the album or did they evolve independently of the album?
It evolved probably because someone walked into the studio, heard what was happening and strongly objected. We try to just pay attention to our ears, and when all eight Metric ears are happy it’s a go.
2007 finally saw the release of your debut album Grow Up and Blow Away. You’re obviously a very different band, with a different sound now, how did it feel revisiting the album and why did the re-release omit “Fanfare”/”Parkdale” and “Torture Me”?
It was a bit strange. I’m not sure I was actually the best person to do the job as it involved a giant wrap around mirror and a time machine. Again I just tried to make it sound good to my ears, hence the omissions.
You’ve always pursued the independent path but Fantasies takes this to the next level with your own company Metric Music licensing out to various indies around the globe. What are some of the challenges of going down this route?
It’s a lot of work, but we do exactly what we want and don’t need to go into some board/bored room to make decisions happen. We don’t have to deal with music industry folk who believe their thoughts are relevant because they signed Culture Club or hung out with Courtney Love’s assistant.
With the falling sales of albums licensing to adverts is increasingly common place. What would/wouldn’t you license to?
Album sales are falling? But sure, I love iPods. I love chocolate. I love Polaroid cameras. I’m not huge on cars or shampoo.
Is it correct that Josh Winstead and Joules Scott-Key had more input into the writing process this time? How did their contributions shape the songs?
Yes. It made them more Joshy and Joulesy.
Emily and yourself have been referred to as Canada’s Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, what’s your secret in maintaining such a lengthy and fruitful partnership?
We tour in separate planes and I hang out in trees. We enjoy our relationship immensely.
With Fantasies getting an Australian release and support by radio is there a chance of you guys touring here in the foreseeable future?
YES, really soon, like REALLY soon. See you soon.
(Ed — Thanks to all those on the Metric Forum who posted questions)