Dear Everyone Who Reads This,
What a time we are living in. Back in “the day”, when only about 10 people including my parents knew the name METRIC, I would write individual letters reporting the latest developments in the band to each of you, delivered by real mail. Now I have adapted my writing to suit a worldwide crowd of unseen eyes. Which is amazing. But to me this is still a letter, not a blog. We have to stop and remember things as they were a few minutes ago because everything moves so quickly. Huge world events transpire, we all react and comment, and then it’s as though they never happened. It’s hard to prioritize and keep track of what is really going on.
“These are exponential times!”, someone shouted at me on this topic. For a while I thought it was only my own life that was speeding by. Then I asked around and the consensus is that pretty much everybody is falling over themselves to match the ever quickening pace. What a relief. I’m so happy I asked! The things you consider ordinary or only related to you will be the most challenging to clearly express and also the most universally true. When I wrote the song “Help I’m Alive”, I had no idea how many people would relate to the way I was feeling. I put it out there as a personal statement and ended up finding out that a lot of people understood where I was coming from for the first time.
Spending your whole life being in a band is a confusing thing to get your head around. METRIC has been together for 10 years. I have come to accept certain things about what that means but I still struggle with others. There’s this constant sense of gratitude that I get to do what I want for a living, and at the same time an awareness of how insanely hard Joules, Joshua, Jimmy and I have worked, and continue to work, in order to even carry on existing as a band. Especially since we made the move to run MMI ourselves. It’s really rewarding, and I like to think we are paving the way for other bands to take control of their art and their careers. I hope we are contributing something valuable.
Jimmy and I spoke on a panel at Harvard recently, (See? I told you being in a band gets weird), with the manager of a Rich & Established band from the recent past (not saying who) along with one of the band members. It was pretty classic. The band member was explaining to the audience why he felt really bad for modern acts like METRIC. He was saying that because of all the developments in the online world, musicians were getting cheated. A valid point.
Then Jimmy chimed in and said, “Look at it from our perspective. You think a band like us would have ever gotten the stamp of approval from a major label without having to become something we’re not in order to survive there? We embrace the changes in the way music is being discovered and shared because it frees us from being stuck sucking up to those guys in order to get our music heard. We let go of those old ideas a long time ago and that is why we are successful on our own terms. We have faith that a new system that fairly compensates the artist will evolve out of the listener’s sense of value for the music.” … Or something like that.
Then the manager of the band took Jimmy’s side—against his own client!— and the two of them started arguing, with me and Jimmy in the middle passing the mic back and forth between them. Like I said, it was pretty classic. Both really nice guys by the way, who genuinely care about the future of music and feel bad for us that we may be getting the short end of the stick compared to our rock brethren of yesteryear.
This is just one of the many massive ways that being a musician has changed in the past 10 years. Sometimes I romanticize a time when rock and roll didn’t require tweeting, but I can’t imagine how people used to tour the world without cell phones. So, here we are.
And now, Everybody Who Reads This, it is time for The News.
As you know, we have been working on a new album.
Yes, it is ready.
Ahhh, I know what you’re thinking! I can read your mind.
What is the new album called?
What is the release date?
June 12th in Canada and the US. It will vary by up to a few days in the rest of the world.
What does it sound like?
It sounds like the culmination of everything we have done. We’ve always had a sound in our heads that we hoped to realize and we finally heard it coming back out of the speakers this time.
Where was it recorded?
At our own studio, Giant, in Toronto. And at Electric Lady Studios in NYC. The album was produced by Jimmy Shaw and mixed by John O’Mahony. This is our favorite combination of people and places.
What is SYNTHETICA about?
FANTASIES was all about pushing ourselves out into the world, going to unknown places and shaking off everything familiar. SYNTHETICA is about staying home and wanting to crawl out of your skin from the lack of external stimulation. SYNTHETICA is about forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection. SYNTHETICA is about being able to identify the original in a long line of reproductions. It’s about what is real vs what is artificial.
SYNTHETICA is about insomnia, fucking up, fashion, all the devices and gadgets attached to our brains, getting wasted, watching people die in other countries, watching people die in your own country, dancing your ass off, questioning the cops, poetic justice, standing up for yourself, sex, the apocalypse, doing some stupid shit and totally regretting it but then telling everyone it made you stronger, leaving town as a solution to unsolvable problems, owning your actions and owning your time.
That pretty much covers it. Does this mean I don’t have to do any interviews? More news, tour dates and dispatches from the studio to follow. Just wanted to say hello really, and let you know that we’re on our way. love,
p.s. This image was created by Adolfo Natalini & Cristiano Toraldo Di Francia, founders of Superstudio in Italy and pioneers of the 1960’s Radical architecture movement. Their visual ideas about the future inspired the sound of SYNTHETICA.