Metric: A Rock Band Declares Independence

by NPR Staff

Metric's new album, its second on the band's own label, is titled Synthetica. Left to right: Joshua Winstead, Emily Haines, James Shaw, Joules Scott-Key.
Metric's new album, its second on the band's own label, is titled Synthetica. Left to right: Joshua Winstead, Emily Haines, James Shaw, Joules Scott-Key. (Brantley Gutierrez)
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    Jun 30, 2012

Metric has long been identified as an indie-rock band, but it recently embraced the "indie" part of that descriptor in a big way.

For their last album together, the band's members formed their own company — Metric Music International — to distribute the record, organize a tour and handle promotion without a label's support. The result was the biggest album of Metric's career: Fantasies sold half a million copies worldwide.

"The only fundamental and life-changing difference is there's one band at the center of that whole organization — and it's us," singer Emily Haines tells NPR's Laura Sullivan.

Metric has just released its second self-distributed album, Synthetica. Haines says the title is a term that wouldn't go away during the writing process.

"When I was still working on Fantasies, I had kind of concocted this character, this sort of robot, soulless woman who I named 'Synthetica' — someone who was so free of flaws that she made being human seem repulsive," Haines says.

"We started to develop other ideas of what the word meant to us: the idea of what's artificial versus what is real, and sort of imagining landscapes, even, of a place called 'Synthetica,' " she adds. "The word almost sounded like the music we wanted to make."

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