Q&A: Alex Edkins Of METZ On Signing With Sub Pop, Sharing A Practice Space With Fucked Up, And Bowling With Mudhoney's Mark Arm
Sub Pop's raucous misfit cred has been kept afloat by the white-trash, noise-oozing pranksters in Pissed Jeans, the garage surf-rockers Obits, and the grungester royalty Mudhoney. But new young blood is joining the legendary Seattle label, and it emerges from a town where the Maple Leafs are still chasing the Stanley Cup that has eluded them since 1967 and where hardcore experimentalists Fucked Up reign.
Noise-rock rascals METZ not only have played an integral part in spearheading Toronto's DIY scene (the trio share a practice pad with Fucked Up); with their debut face-smasher (out in October), the thirty-something punkers are keeping Sub Pop's original underground rock vision and sense of community alive and kicking. METZ's pummel borders on Melvins-grade heaviosity, its repetitious noise-bathed guitar licks steeped in Nirvana-wicked catchiness. The Black Francis-y blood-curdling yelps are gloriously anthemic, too; the kids will go nuts to this chaos.
Sound of the City caught Alex Edkins in the van (driving with his METZ mates Hayden Menzies and Chris Slorach) to talk the Toronto music scene, their anti-hockey stance and their new album.
The record hasn't even come out yet, right? Are you testing out the tunes from the METZ album on this tour?
Exactly. It comes out early October. We're playing mostly all stuff from the record; a couple of new ones. The songs on the record are not all that new to us, I guess, because we've been working on this record for a little bit now. But there's definitely stuff from the record [we'll be playing live] and we're anxious to get that thing out, for sure. The thing has been done for a while; it's just been kind of in limbo and to know it's finally coming out is a good feeling.
I think it was finished a good five months ago. We're really happy with how it's turned out so we have no problem with touring the heck out of it and playing those songs because we're into it. We did the record with two guys--one guy is named Graham Walsh and he's known for his work in Holy Fuck, which is a band from Toronto and another guy named Alex Bonenfant, who runs a studio and he's done work with Crystal Castles and stuff. We're still anxious but it's been a long time comin.'
How did you hook up with Sub Pop?
Honestly, we sent them demos from the record when we started getting songs together and then Chris at the label was like "I like what I'm hearing. Why don't you send it to us when it's finished?" So we did. And that's kind of how it happened. That's the short story. We did a bunch of shows with Obits and a bunch of shows with Mudhoney and we know the dudes from the Constantines(http://www.subpop.com/artists/constantines) from Toronto. But I really don't know if that had any kind of affect on anything [of getting signed].
So you guys scored a deal with Sub Pop by sending in some demos in and they were into it? That seems like a rare occurrence.
Yeah! It's basically how it went. I think Steve from the Cons gave us, you know, a direct number! It's not like we mailed it [the demos] blindly. But it was basically us sending out tunes and them responding to that.
It must have been rad playing shows with Mudhoney and Obits. I assume you guys are way into those bands.
Definitely. Oh, yeah. It was a real pleasure [laughs]. Just meeting those guys and getting to play with them because we're fans, obviously. We like Drive Like Jehu, too, so meeting Rick [Froberg] was cool. They came out last time we were in town so we got to see them and hang out. Nice. We all came up listening and being involved in DIY punk rock and we were definitely into the early Sup Pop releases were influential. We were definite [Sub Pop] fans.
How about Mudhoney? Those guys seem superfun to hang with.
Yeah, they're awesome. It was only a couple of shows but when we were in Seattle, Mark [Arm] came to our show and we went bowling with everybody. It was cool.