'Really big and really dreamy'

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Exploring Metric's Fantasies'

Sitting on his couch in New York City, Metric's James "Jimmy" Shaw was enjoying a rare luxury while speaking with The Telegram pre-Juno Awards week.

It is unusual for Shaw to have time to sit and relax, to sleep, to dream.

Take that very day. Shaw started in Hollywood, California, with bandmates vocalist Emily Haines, bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key, having played a concert late into the previous night.

Metric - Submitted photo

Sitting on his couch in New York City, Metric's James "Jimmy" Shaw was enjoying a rare luxury while speaking with The Telegram pre-Juno Awards week.

It is unusual for Shaw to have time to sit and relax, to sleep, to dream.

Take that very day. Shaw started in Hollywood, California, with bandmates vocalist Emily Haines, bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key, having played a concert late into the previous night.

Following a good sit and a day of interviews at his home in New York City (he says it like that during the interview - always with the "city" on the end) Shaw would be flying again, to his Toronto recording studio.

Ah, the rock star life. A dream for many. For Shaw, a regular work schedule, sometimes grueling.

In playing a sold-out Canadian tour in 2008 and then releasing the long-awaited 10-track "Fantasies," he and the rest of Metric have been steady-belt, finally jumping full-on into the band again after taking time to pursue solo projects.

They truly did jump in. The band self-financed the recording of its latest release. Then, they disregarded the standard label-supported international release process.

In Canada, the album has been released under the Last Gang label. In Mexico, it will be released under Arts and Crafts. Otherwise, the band - and staff it has personally hired - have taken on the responsibility for handling the release in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, continental Europe and the United Kingdom.

"It's pretty insane, but it's really exciting. We might go down in flames, or it might be the best move ever. Either way, it will have been on our own terms and for us that is success," Shaw has said.

It's a control thing.

"Fantasies" was carefully co-produced by Shaw with Gavin Brown and mixed by John O'Mahony (Coldplay, The Strokes) at Electric Lady in New York City.

Shaw said "Fantasies" took a year and a half to make, versus the no more than 10 weeks taken for their album "Live It Out."

It was all about hitting the right sound.

"I felt like I could hear the whole thing in my head - it was really big and really dreamy," said Shaw, who worked closely with Haines on the lyrics.

While previous albums like "Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?" have spawned "indie" hits for Metric like "Dead Disco," "Fantasies" has already found a larger audience.

For example, "Help, I'm Alive" has become the band's biggest radio hit ever in Canada, kicking Kings of Leon out of the top spot on "hit" charts.

"When Emily and I started, we definitely were going for it," said Shaw. "But that doesn't mean you're not surprised when you actually achieve these sort of milestones."

For "Fantasies," Metric have been nominated for Juno Awards in the Group of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year categories. In addition, Haines and Shaw have been nominated in the Songwriter of the Year category.

The band's only previous nomination was in 2006, for Adult Alternative Album of the Year for "Live It Out."

While in St. John's, Metric will play a sold-out show at the Delta BallroomApril 16, with New Group of the Year nominee Arkells.

Meanwhile, Shaw said he is already writing for his next record, but has only had "maybe three days" in the Toronto studio so far to work on it.

Chalk it up to the travel schedule.

"My living room is in the Air Canada lounge, no doubt about it," he said with a laugh.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com




Metric an 'indie' band

They're working hard, doing the indie-style thing of self-financed recordings and not relying on major labels, but are Metric an indie band?
"We've ... never been called anything other than an indie band, ever," band member Jimmy Shaw told The Telegram.
It is all in the sound.
"There's a shoegazer aspect of indie to me," said Shaw.
"I love that music, but I don't think we are that music."
Nominees for Alternative Album
of the Year at the 2010 Juno Awards.
Handsome Furs, "Face Control"
Japandroids, "Post-Nothing"
I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, "Julie Doiron"
Tegan & Sara, "Sainthood"
Metric, "Fantasies"
Source: http://junoawards.ca

Organizations: The Telegram, The Strokes, Delta BallroomApril 16 New Group of the Year Air Canada Tegan & Sara

Geographic location: California, New York City, Toronto Canada Hollywood Mexico Japan Australia New Zealand Europe United Kingdom Leon St. John's

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