“Dumbing down” is a phrase usually applied to pop music, but the frontman in loud noise-rockers Metz says that’s almost what they set out to do with the songs for their self-titled album, released independently and later picked up by the renowned Sub Pop label.
The Toronto-based trio – guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins, drummer Hayden Menzies and bassist Chris Slorach – had released a series of singles since forming in 2008, and wanted to concentrate on songwriting for their first full-length album.
“It was a process of dumbing it down, almost, making everything really simplistic.” – Alex Edkins
“For us, what it meant was really stripping our songs back to the essential idea or feel,” explains Edkins. “Prior to this record, some of our songs were more complicated and convoluted. For this album, we wanted to just focus on the essential idea [of each song] and highlight that.
“So it was a process of dumbing it down, almost, making everything really simplistic. Everything that made the record was very direct and hit the listener full-on.” For example, Metz made every effort to boost the vocals, compared to past releases.
While the recording of the album was quick, it was preceded by considerable honing and demo-ing in pre-production to get the songs up to snuff. The bed tracks were then recorded over a week in a converted barn in Stoney Creek, Ont., with Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck, while the overdubs, vocals and mixing were done back in Toronto with Alexandre Bonenfant (Crystal Castles) over several weekends.
“Everything that made the record was very direct and hit the listener full-on.”– Alex Edkins
“I like to think of it as being self-produced,” says Edkins, “but those guys were invaluable as far as the technical side and making sure the ideas were translating properly to tape.”
From “Knife In The Water,” whose tension-building boom-cha-cha intro is a nod to Phil Spector-produced girl groups, to the classic three-chord punk of “Get Off,” Metz’s intention is to make “good solid songs that have aspects of pop and aspects of punk, a nice middle ground where there’s the best of both worlds happening,” Edkins says. Dictated by the vibe of the music, Edkins says the album – which includes such titles as “Sad Pricks,” “Rats,” “Nausea,” Headache” and “Wasted” – is naturally about darker content.
“I’ve tried, but it just doesn’t seem to work to write a happy song or a love song over that music. It doesn’t seem to make sense. So a lot of the stuff on this record was [about] frustration and paranoia and some of the pressures of living in a big metropolitan city, and the pressures of the modern age that most people can relate to in some way.”