Interview with Joules Scott-Key of Metric
By: Dennis M. Kelly
DK: Hello, Joules?
DK: Hi, this is Dennis Kelly from the Chicago Music Guide
Joules: Oh yeah, great, I was expecting you!
DK: How you doing today?
Joules: I’m doing good, how are you?
DK: Not too bad
Joules: Great, we’re at the San Diego House of Blues and things are going great
DK: How are things with your tour bus, I understand you had some trouble recently?
Joules: Yeah, we were in Austin, we played a show in Austin we left that show and hit Denver and the starter fell off the motor. So we were stranded. Metric usually doesn’t miss shows, so it was a bummer. But we did get to stay one more day, they had to drive the part out to us so we had to stay. So, it was kind of a day off for us.
DK: At least you got a bit of a break there. I understand that the tour has been selling out (at least on the Canadian dates) How have things been going on your U.S. shows?
Joules: Pretty good, most of the shows have been sold out and if not, they’ve been pretty close. This tour we’re booking ourselves into much bigger venues, but it’s proving to be a smart idea. A lot of people are coming and it’s just nice to be able to play bigger venues, it’s a lot more fun. We get to move around a lot more and it’s fun for us
DK: So, do you have a larger lighting rig and things like that?
Joules: Yeah, we have a lighting guy with us this time which is a lot more fun for the band an apparently for the audience as well, they’re digging it and we’ve got lots of new tricks. Keeps it refreshing
DK: Definitely you’ve come along way in a short period of time; this has got to be an exciting time for you to say the least
Joules: Yeah, definitely, but I beg to differ about going a long way in a short amount of time because we’ve been doing this for about 5 years now. So, what I think you mean to say is it’s recently been the fruits of our labors have finally yielded themselves the last couple of years.
DK: Yeah, it definitely seems like thing have been blowing up in a good way for you
DK: Certainly having the opportunity to open for the Rolling Stones
DK: How did that end up going for you?
Joules: It was great! We were lucky to get the Madison Square Garden show which was really incredible, and it was just flattering that they just picked us, apparently Mick Jagger liked the music.
Joules: You can’t really frown at that at all, it’s fucking great. It’s kind of cool cuz you play with the Stones and you get this funny kind of recognition across the board of all ages. You know, I’ve been playing shows for a long time now and I’ve been pretty happy with that, but it’s funny older people like for example my father was finally impressed.(laughs)
DK: (laughs) Well, they’re a pinnacle band
Joules: Yeah, yeah, you’re getting props from, ya know respect from people, my peers and then of course the older crowd saying “I guess you’re doing something right”. But that was a great show, we still have it, I was very impressed
DK: You didn’t happen to record it?
Joules: No, I don’t think that any of that came down, if it was done, it was done by someone outside of our party and I’d love to see it.
DK: That is what I was going to say, that would definitely have been something to have released a DVD for. Speaking of which, do you think you will release a live DVD anytime in the future?
Joules: Yeah we’ve been working on one, the show in Montreal was recorded professionally ya know with the big swing arm something basically like the Superbowl halftime show kind of stuff. But yeah we finished recording it in Montreal and we’ll be making a DVD for that
DK: Cool, I am very anxious to see that and certainly to also see you come back to Chicago within the next couple weeks
Joules: Yeah, we love Chicago, it’s a great town, I like playing there. Have you gotten to see us play yet?
DK: Actually not yet, but by hook or by crook I’m definitely going to be there.
Joules: I like that, I am going to steal that and use it in my next interview (laughs)
DK: I have a lot more questions, but I don’t know how much time you have. You’re doing a photo shoot later on, right?
Joules: Yeah, I have unfortunately about 10 minutes left, sorry
DK: Are you touring with the band Elected yet, or is that yet to come?
Joules: Uh, no, not yet. We’re playing with Islands, they’re a band from Montreal, some of the members used to be in a band called Unicorn.
DK: Ok, actually, just got their CD and it definitely was quite interesting
Joules: Yeah, it’s great. But those guys are so talented it’s really a pleasure playing with those guys. It’s nice being on tour with your friends and there’s about six guys in the band, so it’s a pretty full house… lots of jokes
DK: That’s cool, do you ever share the stage with them at any time?
Joules: Yeah actually we did a couple shows where they come on stage where we sort of explode into a musical universe of sounds. But I think Jamie (the drummer), I’m going to sit in on a couple shows and we’re going to do the double drummer thing, it should be pretty cool. I’ve always wanted to do that and he’s a great drummer.
DK: Speaking of drumming, how long have you been playing?
Joules: I’ve been playing for a long, long time since I was a kid and was self taught. I’m a fidgeter and most drummers are, they can’t sit still.
DK: More of a perfectionist or more that you like playing around with different aspects of the drumming?
Joules: Probably a little bit of both. I have some strict guidelines that I stick to, ya know, things like tempo. I hate when drummers drag. Ya know, but I love experimenting with different styles and sounds and stuff. There’s no limit to that in my opinion.
DK: Do you play more by feeling, I guess you’d say?
Joules: Yeah, yeah, um, I would recommend it
DK: There are some drummers that are more technical that tend to worry more about the technical aspects of the drumming rather than the feeling of where the beats should be best placed and things like that.
Joules: I think the technical side of music is the simple facts of just what goes down in your drum circle but if you only focus on that then I feel that the product is not going to be musical.
DK: I can definitely agree with that certainly Metric’s music has more of a punch to it and not so much on the technical side – more on feeling and less on technical. Which, I think if it were more technical you’d lose a lot of the characteristics of it.
DK: Moving on to the new album now, I understand its gone gold now?
Joules: Yeah, that makes both of them now
DK: Cool! How has it sold in the rest of the world?
Joules: Surprisingly well. I couldn’t tell you how many units we’ve sold, but according to my people everything is good. But, I try to stay away from words like units… (laughs) But yeah, we’re being received well and we’re selling lots of records at shows and I think we’re doing well in stores too
Joules: It’s our time to conquer
DK: Well, like you said, for as long as you have been around and it definitely is about time and I am really pleased to see that. I think you definitely have a great product in your latest album and I have to confess I’ve not heard your first one yet, I sincerely apologize for that, but I do love the “Live it Out” album
Joules: Cool. I think you may be in for a refreshing surprise; it’s different, more mellow. This record we sort of wanted to “Live it Out” (laughs) but the first record we hadn’t really toured that much before going into the studio, so after we finished… ya know the band was trying to find to find itself, so after we finished recording and we went on tour like crazy. The songs live felt a lot more energetic and we felt comfortable with that direction. When we went back into the studio to record “Live it Out” we maintained the mandate of sort of a live sound, which is why it is more comparatively “in your face”
DK: I understand it was recorded in a studio that you all put together?
Joules: Yeah, we recorded in Toronto and built the studio and James produced it so it was kind of just us as the band. Of course we’ve had some help from some of our friends and engineers, John O’Manney whose engineered lots of records in NY and he’s a good friend of ours. We had a lot more freedom and it’s a lot more fun, but when you work for someone, you pretty much have a little amount of time and that can hinder the creative process as you can imagine.
DK: Do you think you’ll record album # 3 there also?
Joules: I don’t know if we’re still going to record it there, but we’ll definitely use the same process. I am sorry, I am getting another call now and I think I need to get to the photo shoot, I’m sorry.
DK: Not a problem at all, we totally appreciate your time and are looking forward to your show here at the Metro on April 13th. Have fun at the shoot and a great show tonight!
Joules: See ya!
Emily Haines (Vocals, Synth),
James Shaw (Guitarist),
Joshua Winstead (Bassist),
Joules Scott-Key (drums)
METRIC is Emily Haines, Jimmy Shaw, Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott-Key. An independent rock and roll band empowered by their innovative approach to the music business, METRIC self-released their last album FANTASIES on five continents without the benefit of a label and earned themselves multiple radio hits around the world with songs such as “Gimme Sympathy,” “Gold Guns Girls,” and “Help I’m Alive.” They went on to sell over a million singles and 500,000 albums worldwide.
FANTASIES earned METRIC “Album of the Year” and “Band of the Year” at the Canadian Juno Awards, and the band finished 2010 with their music featured in two major Hollywood films including Scott Pilgrim vs The World and the Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The Twilight soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy Award and landed METRIC on the Academy Award nomination short list in 2011 for the theme song they co-wrote with composer Howard Shore. They have since partnered up with Howard Shore on another project: The score to David Cronenberg’s latest film Cosmopolis, composed by Shore and performed by METRIC, due out this year.
Their fifth full-length studio album SYNTHETICA is currently available. Sonically futuristic yet organic, this album sounds like the culmination of all the music the band has made in their 10 years together. First single “Youth Without Youth” examines the fraying social state with a bristling energy and a driving beat. “Breathing Underwater” and “Speed the Collapse” both deliver on the classic METRIC chorus of soaring melancholy, while the lyrics for “Lost Kitten” and “Clone” call out some bad behavior and the consequences. Hard rocking title track “Synthetica” offers an epic conclusion to suspenseful album opener “Artificial Noctune.”
METRIC will be on tour throughout 2012 and have already announced select tour dates in North America, UK, Europe and Australia.