Just Make The Stuff

Metric’s Emily Haines has no plans to repeat herself

MUSIC by Ezekiel McAdams

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Metric And Death Cab For Cutie
Conexus Arts Centre
Monday 28

Months after the band’s sixth album and after starting her new North American tour, Metric’s lead singer Emily Haines has no plans to slow down. The band’s latest album, Pagans In Vegas was released in September, showing off a electronica-pop sound that strays from the band’s indie-rock roots.

The reviews are mixed but Haines is happy to not repeat herself.

“It just sounds like death to me,” says Haines. “And what is that, as an artist? For me that’s not what I’m here to do. I feel like this is a life-long journey for me and I may be only halfway there.”

Haines is excited about the tour since her band, as anyone who’s caught a Metric gig knows, comes to life playing live.

“That’s where the band lives and that’s the point of everything we do,” says Haines. “The concert is really the lifespan of the band. The songs from Pagans that we’re playing live are really adding to the show. Big smiles and happiness.”

Haines specifically loves the spontaneity of touring, as things will happen on the day. One of her favourite memories is when the late Lou Reed was joined them in New York City on the Synthetica tour (Reed sang a duet with Haines on the track “Wanderlust”), and inspiration struck.

“I got the idea of also doing ‘Pale Blue Eyes’, which is of course his song,” says Haines. “We rehearsed it the night before at sound check and had Half Moon Run, the opening band, learn all the harmonies and practice it, and at sound check I said to Lou, ‘what do you think?’ And even though all his assistants were like, ‘no way’, he ended up doing it.

“And it ended up being one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, actually.”

Haines is really excited and proud about what the band has accomplished with Pagans In Vegas.

“Yeah, I mean, we wanted to make what we wanted to make. So that happened. The other thing we wanted to do was not repeat ourselves, and I’m happy to accomplish that.”

Haines her favourite Pagans In Vegas song is “Cascades”. Thanks to that song, she won an argument with band member Jimmy Shaw over whether any song could be acoustic.

“Jimmy and I have always had this thing where any song — no matter what the arrangement or instrumentation —  should stand up to guitar and voice,” she says. “And we had this argument live on the air, and Jimmy said “Cascades” would never work acoustic. And I said ‘let’s try it right now.’ And we did and it’s kind of my favourite.”

Pagans in Vegas also has a untitled companion album that’s yet release date.

“It’s turning into something bigger,” says Haines. ”I’m in no rush. Again, it’s like, one of the  great benefits of being independent is calling the shots. I’m not worried. I’m not going to rush this record. We’re going to make it the most beautiful thing we can and it will be ready when it’s ready.”

Aside from the unreleased album and ongoing tour, going forward, Haines hasn’t really thought much if she’s grown or changed as an artist.

“I guess I’ll have to wait till I die to see how it all played out,” she says. “That’s really an answer for the public and for my fans. I know in the time where we’re living in, we seem to really honour vanity and self-absorption and the art of the selfie, but I really feel my role is to make the stuff and not spend too much time looking back at my reflection.”

“People who’ve been with us for 15 years, they’ve also changed. Ideally for the better.”