Alex Metric Interview

Alex Metric came into town last week to destroy the legendary Club at Firestone, and I was lucky enough to snag an interview with him for Orlando Weekly… you can find that here and click some sharing buttons if you like. He absolutely ripped it and lived up to the hype I’ve been giving him for the last couple of years. If you’ve ever been completely disappointed by one of your favorites artists when you finally get to see them live, well this was the exact opposite. From his numerous DJ sets, to the remixes, original productions, and producer credits, it is hard to find a mis-step along the way.

My assignment for Orlando Weekly was a 500 word featured interview piece, so here is the full length unedited version of Ed Luvables interviewing Alex Metric….

…British super-producer Alex Metric, who beat out the likes of Justice and Soulwax in 2009 when he was named XFM’s remixer of the year, hits up Firestone Live this week, and if you’re not already familiar with Metric’s clutch skillset, one listen to his darkly adventurous official remix of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” – released last year as the centerpiece single of the legendary group’s 2011 album Remixes 2: 81-11 – may just convert you. Orlando Weekly spoke with Metric about the architecture of his “dangerous” sets and saying no to LMFAO.

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What brings you to Orlando?

 It’s my First time in Florida as part of a North American tour.

Are you here long? Will you be checking out the town?       

I think, as is often the way, it’s just in and out and onto the next stop.

Plug time! Can you give us a quick rundown on what you’re working on these days?

I’ve have been so busy writing new stuff recently. It’s been great. I’ve surprised myself at how its all come together. Got maybe 7/8 brand new tracks awaiting release, how I’m going to do that I’m not sure yet. But I’m excited to unleash them all. Maybe it’s an album, maybe its EP’s or maybe individual releases. I feel the model of writing something then sitting on it for months is dated. I find it frustrating to be in that cycle. As an artist you want to write something and move on. So somehow challenging those release schedule issues would be great. I just haven’t figured out an effective way to do that yet!

Other than that its been production work for some other artists, I’ve done a track with the klaxons and did a bit of programming on the new Robbie Williams album, then there’s some remixes looming. It’s all going on here in the batcave!

Any new studio toys?

I got a lot recently, my Doepfer Dark time sequencer has been pretty awesome, it’s a lot of fun to make music with. I just got Maschine too but haven’t delved into it properly.

I know you’re fond of the Jupiter 8, is that your favorite piece of studio gear?

That is also a relatively new purchase. Something I have wanted for a long time. Is it my favorite? hmmm, probably yeah. Its a beautiful instrument to own. I feel lucky to have something so old and classic. In this day of software being so easily accessible its bits of kit like this that can make you stand out from the crowd, though it seems a lot of people actually do just want to sound like everyone else! haha

 

 

Do you even bother with VSTs, or are you all outboard gear?

Yeah I still use vst’s a bit, I will often route them through something analog though to add a bit of charm to them. Through my tape echo or even the filter of the ms20.

Researching for this interview (trolling your twitter wall) I see tweets to Uberzone, Skrillex, Evil Nine etc. Stuff with those guys would all sound really unique… aside from your remix work and the stuff you produce for others, do you like to collaborate?

Love collaborating! There are a few on the horizon that I’ve done over the last few months. I don’t like to say too much about who with until they appear as things can change. But one in particular has been gestating for nearly a year now, me and the other producer involved have been really busy and paths haven’t crossed but its nearly there now. It’s a great record. I’m very proud of it, and it’s been worth the wait to get it right. 

Who would be your dream collaboration be with?

Jeez, well I think I have done one of the collaborations I’ve always wanted to do. You’ll hear it soon. Other than that I guess Noel Gallagher! Would love to do a remix for him or have a vocal of his to work with. That would be an honor!

Madeon would be perfect, any chance of working with the blazered wonder in the near future?

Who knows, I’d be open to it. We chat a bit online. He seems like a nice guy, so maybe!

How about a super tour of French House and Nu Disco with yourself Madeon, and Daft Punk? You could be the French House Mafia.

That would be pretty amazing haha!

I usually call your style Indie Dance and Nu Disco, is that how you would define it if you had to put a label on it?

I wouldn’t. What I do musically and DJ wise is quite a mix of different things. It’s hard to say. I have fans that like the disco stuff, fans that like the bigger room house stuff, and the electro stuff too. That’s what I enjoy, making whatever music feels right at the time regardless of genre.

You have a knack for picking out the perfect songs to remix. Do you seek out the artists, or are they looking for you now?

Generally they come to me, only twice have I ever requested to do a remix. Phoenix and Niki & The Dove.

To me, the most important part of your music is that it stands the test of time. You’re able to change up your style, but the listener can go back and check out stuff from 5 years ago and it holds up. How?

I’m glad you said that. It’s very important that this is the case. First and foremost i am a musician. I make music to get emotions out, express something, create some art, give something of me to the world. It just so happens that I work within electronic music. I think it’s important that dance music isn’t just throw away DJ tools with no soul. I want my records to still be enjoyed in 3 years, not just last 3 months while DJs hammer them then they are forgotten about. I’d like to think I have achieved that with some of my remixes and singles!  I certainly try very hard to achieve that and am strict about what I let leave the studio.

Your style comes from all sorts of places, you could go from smoother easy listening nu disco, to breaks, to hard banging techno. How do you plan your live DJ Sets? Are you playing strictly your own stuff?

No I don’t plan my sets at all. I find this a lot more exciting than turning up and going through the motions. Reading a room, watching it build and move with you is the most interesting part of DJing. I like the danger element of not knowing what’s coming next and running with it. When you get it right its very satisfying. And no I don’t play just my own stuff, it is a mixture.

Do you have a standard club night set vs. festival set? How much do you change things up?

I change it up depending on the room or venue and crowd. Never planned.

Do you create and test out new material on the road?       

Yeah I test stuff but don’t write when on the road. I need to be in my studio to make records.

What would you rather play, a big festival or more intimate club setting? Why?

Both are great. I love big crowds and the immediacy of a festival set, but also love smaller rooms and going on a journey. I did a three hour set recently for the first time. Loved it. Started at 110bpm disco and ended up at 130bpm techno. It was a lot of fun taking the room on that trip.

What is your favorite DJ structure, (Deadmau5 cube, Amon Tobin’s Cube, etc.) If you were to build one, do you have any ideas of what it would be?

The Pyramid. As everyone else has just been trying to better it and have one of their own. But Daft Punk got there first! Love the Chems live setup too actually. All the synths onstage look great and their lights / visuals are next level. Though not really a structure as you asked.

 

 

Do you care about DJ polls?

Nope.

How would you vote in the DJ Mag poll? Care to give us your top 5?

No, I don’t want to get involved in all that, its kind of meaningless to me.

Would you like to start a twitter beef today? It could be good for press. C’Mon give us the hate!

There are 2 people I meet on the road sometimes who are constantly absolute wankers. But it would create a bad vibe to call them out publicly. Haha! But if they are rude next time I see them I will have to have a word with them about it. No need for it.

I’m always intrigued when artists run into each other on the road and you see them tweet about meeting up in whatever city they’re in. Do you have any good stories about bumping into other artists on the road?

hmmmm, its too long a story to delve into now but once on tour in japan I rocked up to my gig with Tommy Lee , that was a pretty random night! It’s a great part of the job meeting people on the road and making friends. I met some great peeps on tour in Australia this year like Azari & 111 , and Holy Ghost. Actually there’s a couple of good stories from that but I couldn’t let them out!

I’m sure we are an interesting bunch, what is your favorite American slang term?

Tite! I like that word a lot.

Thoughts on the recent explosion of dance music?

It’s great in many ways, but not great in others. Great because more people want to come to shows, and its super exciting, a new generation has been swept up into this music in the states. Its amazing to see the explosion and exciting as an artist at the possibilities of reaching so many new people… but as its become a lot more ingrained in pop music you get people that want to hear these pop dance records and only them, they are not interested in hearing new stuff. That gets my back up. Why would you want to go out and hear the same records you hear on the radio in one set? Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with playing a popular or big record if its good and it fits, but when DJs play them all back to back in one set its pretty one dimensional, and a lot of them are terrible anyway. I hope that all these new fans of dance music will learn about other music within the scene and see there is a world beyond the pop dance stuff, just open up to new things really. I have had a few experiences at gigs where it has been people wanting that and it hasn’t been much fun. I got into electronic music to hear new interesting sounds and be surprised on the dance floor by things, I like sets where you don’t know what’s coming next or where it might go.

Best answer to give when someone asks if you have any LMFAO, or similar crap. 

I would make it very clear I don’t play LMFAO! Haha.

Is there even a place for campy commercial Electronic Music?

Yeah if executed well there is a place for commercial electronic music. I have no issue with pop music or the crossover of the two. I enjoy making pop records. I just don’t like the copycat aspect of it and the way that stuff is going isn’t very pleasing to my ears. Everyone seems to be using the same nasty sounds, the same arrangements, the same vocal tricks. It’s uninspiring, unimaginative and lazy. Pop music should be exciting and forward thinking and I don’t think a lot of this stuff is at the moment. It feels like producers think, “that will do, that’s enough to get a hit record. Trance synth check, Autotune check, lyric about the club / drinking  check. We have a hit!”  Its music I wouldn’t listen to or play out, and sonically its getting more and more plastic and cheap sounding. Its not music that will stick around in 20 years time.

Do you have any hobbies, what takes up your free time?

Free time? Haha! I don’t really. I’m lucky enough to love what I do that much that there’s not really anything else I would rather do than make music.

Thank you for your time!

Ed Luvables

More from Alex Metric

Alex Metric Christmas Mixtape

Alex Metric Ammunition EP

Alex Metric Essential Mix

 

 

 

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