Originally published in The Big Takeover magazine, issue 73 (2013)
Photo by Robby Reis
Nearly a year into the tour cycle to support their self-titled debut, Toronto trio Metz continue to perform their blistering, ‘90s-influenced punk rock in front of more and more people each night. Those who consider the band to be an overnight success may be surprised to learn that this has been building over time.
“It took us four years to get to where we are,” says singer/guitarist Alex Edkins in a makeshift dressing room – an empty bar attached to the covered parking lot where Metz would perform their first-ever Ohio show just an hour later as one of the featured acts at Cincinnati’s Midpoint Music Festival. “We’d play to 10 people, next time to 20, then it was 30 and 40, then there’s 100 people and next time you’re playing the place in town you never thought you’d play and it’s packed.”
When they were in their early teens, the guys in Metz would never have guessed that they’d sign to a label they all admired. “I racked up massive bills on my dad’s credit card ordering Six Finger Satellite, Godheadsilo, The Spinanes, and Eric’s Trip records from SubPop,” admits bassist Chris Slorach quickly adding that his dad now knows all about this. “I would just order everything they were putting out.”
Metz came to the label’s attention after sending SubPop some demos and then playing shows with Obits and Mudhoney. “We found out recently from Jonathan (Poneman, SubPop co-founder) that Mark (Arm, Mudhoney) went home after the tour and said, ‘Check these guys out.’ SubPop said, ‘Oh, they sent us stuff already.’ And it slowly happened that way.”
Metz’s self-titled debut, released in the fall of 2012, is a product of the members’ musical upbringing. It’s 29 economical minutes of abrasive and aggressive melodic noise influenced by Jesus Lizard, Drive Like Jehu, Shellac and Unsane. “We grew up in the burbs and mail order was truly what we did so it was listening to Dischord and Touch and Go bands and reading HeartattaCk zine,” says Edkins.
And then there’s the similarities to Nirvana – the amiable personalities of the guys in Metz are much more in line with Dave Grohl than Kurt Cobain. While nobody at SubPop has come out and said, “You guys are the next Nirvana,” Edkins says, “I think they are excited to have that whatever-it-is-we-are-doing thing because they can relate to it. Maybe subconsciously it reminds them of ‘back then’.”
With the tour for the album coming to end, Metz is looking towards their sophomore album. “We’re gunning for 2014, but, beyond that, we can’t really say,” says Edkins. “At the end of the day, the most important thing is that we don’t do anything stupid. It’s always been about the music and it always will be. The worst thing you can do is fall into a trap and push it and end up with something that you’re not happy with. We want to make the record we would have made regardless of anything happening around us.”