Festival Special: Metric

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Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw
WRITTEN BY
SPIN Staff

How has the economy affected this year's festival season?
HAINES:
Everyone's thinking it's going to be really bad, but the results have been to the contrary. People are still going to concerts.
SHAW: Economic crisis fuels artistic movements. Maybe people don't go out to eat as much. Maybe they don't renovate their houses. But they end up needing more entertainment.

What's the most mismatched act you've ever shared a bill with?
SHAW:
The band that played in between us and Broken Social Scene at Reading [in 2006]. Could they have been Goldie Lookin Chain?
HAINES: Right! We had the smoking show -- -- and then it was nine white Welsh dudes in yellow jumpsuits and big gold chains.
HAINES: Although playing festivals keeps you from being too narrow-minded about music. You come to realize there are some really sweet people who play in heavy bands and some nasty bastards who play in twee violin quartets.

Which song of yours is the closest to a festival crowd-pleaser?
HAINES: "Monster Hospital" [from 2005's Live It Out]. Whatever people make of the phrase "I fought the war and the war won" makes it a good sing-along, whether it's about an actual war or a war within themselves against their personal demons.
SHAW: The one-line chorus is always a fist-pumper.

What do you feel is missing from the festival experience?
HAINES: Food that isn't disgusting. Water that isn't in a plastic bottle.
SHAW: And doesn't cost $4.
HAINES: The festivals that stand out are the ones, like Coachella and Lollapalooza, that don't follow the old model of mud and date rape.

Why shouldn't people go get a snack during your set?
SHAW: We're a dance band. A lot of festivals are just people standing around for eight hours.
HAINES: We don't waste people's time. We have the stamina and energy to put on a great rock show without shoegazing or telling endless narratives onstage. Unless I'm drunk.

Is the song "Front Row," from your new album, Fantasies, meant to be critical of fanatical types who want to be near the stage?
HAINES: No. Something I'm most happy about being in this band is the people who come to the concert. Metric crowds are the best -- they're a really good balance of guys and girls, looking good, but not overstyled or overly hipster. There are no baseball caps happening at Metric shows.I'm proud of that.

What's the dumbest thing one can do as an attendee?
HAINES: Don't bring a crew of more than four or five people or else you're going to spend the entire time texting and trying to find each other.
SHAW: I'd say, "Don't do drugs and alcohol," but you're going to, so I think you should drink water. Or else you will pass out in the crowd. It happened to someone I know very, very well.
HAINES: You mean you? Was that during Radiohead?
SHAW: It was during the Flaming Lips, right after Wayne Coyne's bubble passed over my head. The last thing I remember was saying, "That bubble is amazing!" And then I woke up and some girl was pouring water on me. Stick to the organic drugs.
HAINES: Keep it green.

Fantasies (Metric International) is out now.

Read the entire Festival Season package in the May issue of SPIN, on newsstands now!

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