Metric's Emily Haines on New Collaboration

The singer tells us about what we can and can't expect at this weekend's festival.
Metric at Red Bull Sound Space in 2012
Metric at Red Bull Sound Space 2012 © Faith-Ann Young/Red Bull Media House
By Nicole Pajer

Metric is heading to the desert, where they will play back-to-back weekends on the main stage at Coachella, starting Friday. Since the 2012 release of their critically acclaimed 'Synthetica,' the Toronto-based indie rockers have been all over the place. The single 'Youth Without Youth' continues to dominate the radio airwaves, and the band recently contributed to the soundtrack of the David Cronenberg film 'Cosmopolis.'

We caught up with Metric’s fearless frontwoman, Emily Haines, who explained that she’s still digesting the past year. She also revealed what’s in her Coachella survival kit and reminisced about coming up as a band, right alongside her fans.

So what’s going on in the Metric world right now?

Things are going good. We had such a heavy duty year in 2012, pretty full on with 'Synthetica,' and really rewarding, but really exhausting and demanding. It’s a great place that we’re in this year so far, just kind of choosing things that we want to do, places we didn’t manage to make it to in our tour last year, and just kind of playing a little bit more like when we feel like it. It’s going to be so fun to play Coachella, of course, and then we go to Hawaii, and right from there we have a couple of days off, get our scuba on, and then play some Northern California shows.

Then we head to Canada for the Juno Awards, which are the Canadian Grammys, kind of. It’s pretty sweet, we’re nominated for five awards, including our artwork guy, and he did a good job, and Jimmy Shaw, our producer, which is really great. I think it will be a really nice experience. And then we’re doing Texas. We’re doing shorter runs and taking time to feel good about everything that just happened. I think in the past, we just kept going nose to the grindstone.

The only bummer right now is that Lou Reed won’t be playing at Coachella because he’s on our record and he played with us at Radio City when we played there in the fall.

It sounds like last year was a whirlwind of a year.

Yeah. Last year, I had to go through our calendar and make sure where I was for every day of that year there were moments where I was like, “Yeah, we did that” and other times where I was like, “This is really almost not humanely possible,” but there are such great highlights. The only bummer right now is that Lou Reed won’t be playing at Coachella because he’s on our record and he played with us at Radio City when we played there in the fall. We were going to do a song together – I was going to join him on stage – and sadly he’s not going to be here, so that’s too bad. But other than that, our spirits are high.

What’s in your Coachella survival kit? Any special gear or attire that you’re brining to the festival with you this year?

What’s in the kit? Well, the main thing for me is I have this jewelry collaboration with my friend Kate Powers, who has a jewelry line called Fleet. She’s done a very amazing project where she creates a custom piece of jewelry with a band, and the proceeds go to create recording studios for kids who don’t have access to facilities and music equipment for kids. The organization is called Hear Me. So she’s working with them and I’m working with her and we made this custom necklace, and it looks kind of like a bullet. It’s cool and it says, “Believe in the Power of Song” on it. So it’s a great thing for a festival. I’m very passionate about this cause so this is the most important thing in my kit!

Will those be available at the merch stand?

No. They aren’t for sale there but they are available at the Metric store through and

Metric © Faith-Ann Young/Red Bull Media House

There are some photos on your Facebook page with people sporting Emily tattoos. Do you see that a lot where fans are starting to tattoo your likeness onto themselves?

I’ve seen the lyrics more than my actual likeness, but yeah, that’s pretty intense. We should probably reach out to those kids, make sure that they know what they are doing. They can always age enhance it over the years you know?

It can always become a Koi fish.

Exactly! That’s an easy fix!

It must be a pretty exciting time to be an artist with all these new social media tools that connect you with your fans. Are there specific things that you guys are doing to stay involved and keep up with your audience?

In a way, we are the poster band of the whole online revolution because we predated all of that happening and sort of hit our stride right alongside these big changes. When we released ‘Fantasies’ ourselves to the US without a label, it was because of all of those little shows we played and gathered up little email addresses and stayed connected personally. It’s almost like the technology showed up to really mirror what we’ve been doing and what bands and independent artists have been doing for years, in terms of being connected. Now, I think we’re at a strange juncture because we’re seeing this technology mature and seeing how in some ways it’s diluted a lot of things. I’m sort of in two minds about what we need to protect of the past, while we so openly embrace the future. Thom Yorke had a good interview in the Guardian based about that. It’s an interesting time, but it’s also a time where celebrity and music are crazily valued, so you have to remember yourself the whole time that your motivation is not the same necessarily as other peoples.

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