METZ are self-confessed music geeks.
When the trio first emerged, it was what held them together. Aliens in the Toronto scene, the group's love and devotion for the music which inspired them helped the band to push through those obstacles.
Maintaining a thirst for new music, METZ use the gaps between shows as an avenue to get some serious listening done. “It's kind of what we love about touring,” states bassist Chris Slorach. “You're stuck in the van but what you do is share music all the time. You go rifling through your iPod and say, have you heard this? Always trying to keep something new in it, see if something rubs off.”
Stopping off in London for a sold out show, METZ agreed to take part in Foundations – naming the albums which first fired them as a band. “We've named a bunch of rock stuff,” singer Alex Edkins warns Clash, “but at the same time we could name another five records which were country, soul that were just as big.”
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Minor Threat – 'Minor Threat'
We all kind of found our footing – I know my head switched – when we first heard hardcore music. When we first heard Minor Threat. Black Flag. That's when I feel like things changed in my mind about music in general. I was a big Beatles fan, a big pop music fan and then I heard this and I was like: wow. So I would say 'Out Of Step' or 'Minor Threat'. It's just still probably the best hardcore record ever made. I've never heard of anything that touches it. (Alex Edkins)
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Eric's Trip – 'Love Tara'
We didn't talk about this before but something which influenced me from being a young kid to be able to actually play and be satisfied with my playing would be Eric's Trip. The Canadian band. Who really focussed on a lot of noise as well as very simple songs and was sort of my entrance into lo-fi rock 'n' roll. And still, to this day, one of my all time favourite bands.
I would suggest 'Love Tara'. They're also a Sub Pop band. It just came to me right now when I was thinking about my influences. That was something that convinced me that I could actually write a song and play guitar. It wasn't done with a whole lot of finesse, it was all home recorded and done with a certain level of sloppiness that actually made it really charming. The album 'Love Tara' was a huge influence to me as a musician. (Alex Edkins)
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Drive Like Jehu – 'Yank Crime'
Drive Like Jehu is a little more complex, which was exciting but that was the reason they broke up because, from what I understand, it was really hard to have fun playing live. They would get too involved, it would take a lot of precision. But there was... I don't know there was something they had which was really special and different but in that same world. It was just another indication that there were no rules, no limits. You could do whatever you want. 'Yank Crime' is a more diverse album. (Chris Slorach)
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Sonic Youth – 'Daydream Nation' / 'Goo'
Sonic Youth was a massive band for all three of us, but Alex and I don't agree on our favourite records. I love the one he loves and I'm positive he loves the one I love. I like 'Daydream Nation' the best, it was a huge record for me growing up, it was something that turned me on to bands like Dinosaur Jr, Gumball. I saw '1992: The Year Punk Broke' in 1993 and it kind of dug into the back catalogue of Sonic Youth. First of all I was really into 'Sister' then I found 'Daydream Nation' and felt it was the perfect mid-point between their early noisy stuff and their late, Butch Vig recorded album, which was a clean – for Sonic Youth – record. There's a lot of that on 'Daydream Nation'. (Alex Edkins)
I mean, 'Goo' is my favourite for reasons that are just... I can't really explain it, everything about it I think is perfect. Recently I was listening to the demos of that record. I know a lot of people think the demos actually sound better than the record but I would disagree there. It's such a cool sounding record, and I think it was their first Geffen record. It was them and there's those funny photos in the liner notes. The Pettibon cover and in the liner notes they're all dressed up as rock stars. I just remember being like, they stayed completely true to themselves but at the same time made a completely accessible poppier version of their band. (Chris Slorach)
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Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band – 'Safe As Milk'
Alex Edkins: I think another big part of what do is that we love soul music and we love beat music and psychedelic music so the one that connects those really well is Captain Beefheart's 'Safe As Milk'. It's sort of like somewhere in between there. It's got some psychedelia, it's got some beat. The Kinks and Beatles were huge, and still are huge to all of us. I believe on this new record we even attempted to do one song in particular was our weird, skewed attempt at doing a Kinks song. A little bit lighter, content-wise, for us, too. That kind of vibe. So that Captain Beefheart record – and the stuff he did later, too – it's that combination of beat, soul, psychedelia.
Hayden Menzies: Talk about fearless music, though. The guy couldn't give a shit. Beefheart is a connection to the punk ethos. He's like, I'm an alien, I'm going to do whatever I want and you've never heard it before. I'm going to exist and then I'm going to stop making music and I'm going to paint. I can do whatever I want.
Probed on this final choice, METZ admit that all five albums in their list were written without any set audience in mind – from Minor Threat's hardcore atom blast to Captain Beefheart's R&B abstraction.
“When you set out to please a certain group of people or set out to be successful you will fail. The only thing that appeals to us are people who make music because they believe they have to make music. That's what they love. To me, that's always the stuff that comes out feeling the best, sounding the best and meaning something to you. That's kind of what we try to be about.”
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METZ' new album 'METZ II' is out now.