By Anna Denejkina
Envisage the aptitude of an artist who is in unremitting demand by other musicians to remix their work. Merge this with his background as a musician, producer, remixer, band member, DJ and above all, solo artist. Take the plethora of his undertaken projects, including work on Depeche Mode, Beastie Boys and Phoenix, and now understand the fertility of Alex Metric.
Through the above, and his countless, unmentioned works, it is a difficulty to suppose that Alex Metric only reached prominence in 2008, as he has rapidly managed to create an undoubtedly inspiring resume, and one that whets the appetites of anyone who yearns for his position.
Metric’s Australian visits have been very, very few, and to be precise, just one in particular. A club tour many years ago, that Alex himself cannot distinctly remember. Nonetheless, 2012 will see him live at the rapidly approaching Future Music Festival, on the back of his most recent release, a compilation of his remix and production work, entitled ‘Open Your Eyes’, which has mistakenly been dubbed as his inaugural full-length record, a misconception which Alex was quick to put to rest.
“That’s not really a full length album,” he began to explain; “it’s kind of a collection of remixes and some original stuff up to date… my debut album is yet to come.”
His forthcoming opus does hold a precursor which found itself scrapped due to the length of time Metric took to create it, and owing to this time, the record found itself too dissimilar from his concepts with its inception, to the final product delivered. For Alex, who admittedly finds a huge importance in only releasing music that represents him in that moment, he found this erasure “quite [a] liberating thing to do and a quite scary thing to do at the same time.”
“I just feel like if you take a long time over a record, you when you started and you when you’ve finished are two completely different things,” he continued. “I felt like the record I’d just finished didn’t really represent [me], I didn’t feel like I could then take that forward for another two years touring and promoting it. I just felt like it wasn’t what I wanted to say at that point in time… whether it’s a single or remix, or an album, I’m really particular about what I do, and making sure that what I put out there represents me at that time, and so I can be one-hundred-percent proud of every bit of the music I put out.”
Describing that he is moving into a “different territory” with the new record, but asserting that the music is still distinctly Metric, thrown in with experimentation of sound and beats, Alex portrayed the record’s niche as eclectic, rather than detailing something which may not come to realization at its completion.
Currently six tracks into the new album, a number which unexpectedly surprised Metric himself - due to the swift nature of his present writing process; “not thinking about it, just doing it,” - a number of singles are due for release this year as a taster for the album, which will additionally feature “a collaboration with one of my all time heroes, producer heroes,” he exclaimed.
As can be guessed, this collaboration, or the possible others which will feature on the imminent record, was not revealed, but according to Metric, the name would be easily worked out as “there are very few people that I revere and hold up as one of my main influences in making electronic music, so I’m sure people can put two-and-two together.” Perhaps not too easily, as Steve Angello is not that man.
“… it’s somebody who has inspired me massively from when I was a teenager growing up; first listening to electronic music, so obviously Steve’s a fantastic producer, but this is somebody that’s kind of really been there as a prominent, driving creative force with what I do, for many years.”
Alex’s extensive remix catalogue highlights the prominent names of the Bloc Party, Ladyhawke and the Gorillaz – to blatantly name a minute few – and yet, it has been well publicized, rarely has Metric asked to remix a band, having approached only two artists himself: Phoenix and Nikki and the Dove. The others, they have all come to him, and from this, the majority are turned away with a predominant reason of Alex’s lack of connection with their music.
“I kind of turn down probably three-times more mixes than I do, just because I want the ones I actually really care about and have a connection with.”
“I turned down one of my favourite bands recently,” he commented with regard to one of his beloved, TV On The Radio, “and I’d said that I could do the remix, and I actually got in on the computer, got it going, and just couldn’t find anything that really got me, and that I was proud of. So I had to go back and say that it wasn’t something I could do, which is a shame.”
“Sometimes that happens,” Alex continued. “Sometimes I [would] rather go back and not turn out something disappointing for one of my favourite bands, than turn out something that’s kind of average and that doesn’t really please anyone.
“So it’s good to be critical and it’s good to be strict on these things.”
Most recently having worked on Mike Snow and Snow Patrol remixes, Alex mused that these will be the last remix projects he undertakes for some time, albeit humorously adding that every time he mentions the ending of this process, “people like Mike Snow and Snow Patrol come along and I can’t really say no, and I love the records!”
“But hopefully for a bit, it will be the end of remixing,” he began, “and I [can] just crack on with some new stuff and who knows, you know if something that excites me comes in, I’ll do it, as long as I’m excited with it’s vibe, then I’ll do it over.”
Overtly holding a love for performing, Metric candidly admitted that his “heart is in the studio,” whilst speaking of the partiality for performance or writing. However, commenting on his forthcoming Australian tour, Alex described his view of the six-feet-down-under audience as “pretty clued up,” and as his latest two releases have done quite well on our shores, it is in perfect timing for his visit.
“They seem to really love what I do and get what I do… I don’t think that I’ll have to feel like I have to do anything other than just play what I want, and play the music I love,” he expressed.