By Jamie McNamara
CALGARY — In doing research to talk to METZ frontman Alex Edkins, one thing becomes very clear, very quickly. Their touring schedule is a major point of interest to the majority of music publications that have talked about the band in the past. It’s hard to help it, really. The band’s touring schedule is relentless, much like the music they play. Just two days after coming home from a whirlwind tour that saw the trio playing through countries like Singapore, China, and Russia, Edkins still isn’t certain the title is necessarily something they’ve earned.
“I don’t know why, but it’s definitely a sticking point for a lot of people,” he says on the phone from home in Toronto. “I think it might’ve been true when we were first starting out. We were touring that first record for almost two years and it got a little bit ridiculous by the end.”
Admittedly, a lot of bands tour with near constant pace, but not even a sliver of those bands play music with the same intensity that METZ manage to stir up night after night. The trio, completed by bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies, have fittingly become world renowned for their cacophonous aural assault.
While Edkins admits that performing as manically as METZ does can get tiring, he still thinks it’s more about finding balance than slowing down. Of course, for a band like METZ balance still means a fairly constant presence.
“With the last set of dates we officially ended our tour of the last record,” Edkins says, sounding slightly relieved. “We are going to be home in Toronto for most of the rest of the year, other than the odd festival show or one off tour. Basically all of our focus is on LP three now.”
METZ’ third full-length won’t land until 2017, but the band still left fans with reason to celebrate in 2016, finding time in between touring to work on music that would come out on three 7” records earlier in the year. There was the arresting Eraser/Pure Auto for esteemed California label Three One G, the spontaneous collaborative single with Swami John Reis of Drive Like Jehu fame, and a split 7” for Record Store Day that found METZ trading covers with post-rock heroes Mission of Burma. The latter two releases came to fruition following serendipitous timing and the hustle METZ is known for.
“We’re huge fans of [Mission of Burma] and we did the cover without really expecting much from it. We’ve played shows with those guys, so word got to them that we had done it and they offered to cover one of our songs as well.” Edkins has a slight tinge of disbelief in his voice at this point, and it’s hard to blame him. “They’re heroes of ours and it’s still crazy to hear one of our songs done in their unique style.”
As for those one-off shows Edkins talks about, METZ will make the trek to Calgary for a show that is sure to be a perfect escape from mid-Stampede madness. When asked about the idea of playing Calgary during the most raucous event of the year for one particular sect of Calgarians, Edkins laughs before asking a question himself: “Is that a good or a bad thing?”
It’s a good question, but really METZ’ music is oddly fitting for the Calgary Stampede. Sure, the Torontonian masters of percussive noise rock aren’t a massive country act, but the carnage they unleash is great aural accompaniment for the cowboy themed piss-up that arrives in Calgary every July. The clash of people all seemingly drunker than the next, bouncing around downtown Calgary with a bleary-eyed mix of sunstroke and country-western fever. It’s something that only the harsh noise METZ offer can cure, let’s all be thankful they’re making the stop this year.
You can catch METZ in Calgary July 13th at Commonwealth Bar & Stage.AB, Alberta, Commonwealth, METZ