Small Talk with Metric

Successful Canadian foursome Metric graced the Toronto’s Virgin Festival, reigning on the main stage days before making their way to Montreal.
Amist their hectic touring schedule, bassist Josh Winstead was free for a little chit-chat about solo projects, new songs and losing his virginity way back when.

The band has been going strong since your debut in 2003. Some lead singers embark on solo projects and then don’t go back. When Emily launched her solo project was this ever an issue that crossed your mind?

No. We knew exactly what was going on. There was never a moment of fear about that. We knew that these were things that she needed to do so she could continue doing Metric. Which was the same thing with me.

You also stepped away from the band with Joules Scott-Key and produced Best Friends In Love.

Joules and I recorded a two week rock session in Oakland, California. It’s me on guitar and vocals and Joules on drums. We wanted to make a hard hitting short rock album.

How much of a departure from Metric was this project?

It is more blues and guitar based with male vocals. We tried to keep our pop sensibilities about it. We wanted it to be danceable rock music. Sometimes you have other music in you and it just really needs to get out. If you don’t take the opportunity to express that then you will start to resent the thing that is keeping you from it. Those channels allow us to put more energy back into Metric.

Does performing on the main stage at the Virgin Music Festival, performing four nights of sold out shows in Toronto and then offering a free concert on a street corner in Montreal create balance and keep you grounded?

It does in a sense. It’s a mental gain to be able to play big shows and be around famous people then go to places that are more laid back. It makes you appreciate the humble beginnings. The ability to have that translate to people is really important.

Your music reached a larger audience when it appeared on the television hit series Grey’s Anatomy and CSI: Miami. How does it feel selling your music to TV?

You have to know that it’s commercial and it helps your career. I don’t really watch TV myself so it doesn’t excite me that my music is on television. You have to do certain things to continue your career or you will disappear. You have to realize that you are in a business and you have to make some money and support yourself and maybe eventually a family. I just try to maintain my love for the music and that I’m doing it for the right reasons. Sometimes there are necessary evils and to me that’s one of them.

Were you aware that being on board Toronto’s Virgin Festival you are required to share how you lost our virginity?

(Laughs) OK! It was with a female swimmer who I had a huge crush on. She was bigger than me and stronger than me. It happened in a closet in a room while two of our friends made sure her little brother didn’t come in. It was actually beautiful and silly. It wasn’t a high pressure moment because she is an awesome woman. We’re still friends.

(Laughs) I can’t believe I told you that!
Now with such blissful thoughts on your mind, what are your favourite songs to play live?

One of my favourite ones to play live is “Ending Start”. We don’t play it as much because it’s a bit mellow but I really like playing that one live. “Dead Disco” is a fun song to play live especially when Jules and I do a solo break down. I’m never sad to see it on the set list.

Your set lists seem extra fresh these days.

Yeah! The reason why we’re doing this tour is because we finally have the opportunity to take a little time between recording our next album. There’s enough awareness of the band and we didn’t feel like we needed to rush out there and release an album so people would remember who we are. I think we’ve established ourselves enough to give ourselves some time to be able to work on the tunes and take them out to people and get a response from them.

Is fan feedback that essential?

You need to have a conversation. If you’re making obscure music that no one understand it’s like you’re having a one-sided conversation. It’s like a dialogue. We’re asking, “What do you think about this? Do you want us to play this for you? Will this be something you’ll enjoy and dance to?”

Should fans expect a lot of new material at your shows now?

On the tour so far we’ve played seven or eight new songs each time. We’re playing more new stuff than old. Anybody coming to a show should expect to hear a lot of new Metric. One thing to do at our shows is relax, have a good time, cheer if you like it and boo if you don’t.


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