Heat, noise, a buzz that’s palpable. A throb of disco, a pulse of pop. Weaving through the bodies, to the DJ booth: and there, Alex Metric, mixing it up like few others. Genres thrashed together to comprise exciting new dancefloor possibilities. Bass, melodies, riffs, lyrics: elements from across the spectrum of modern music, together in intoxicating ways. The emphasis: we’re all here, we’re all now, and this is life for the next few moments. Might as well make it incredible.
London-based, genre-hopping producer Metric enjoys an international reputation in 2013 – as a globe-trotting DJ calling at super-clubs and huge festivals alike; a remixer with a beyond-enviable client list; and a solo artist in his own right, with his recent works released through Skrillex’s OWSLA label.
There was a time when Alex was more band-minded: he fronted a live ensemble,
in a vocal role, in the late-00s, while simultaneously operating in capacities he’s
celebrated for today, and presenting his own BBC Radio 1 show (an “amazing
time,” he says). He’s produced – for Snow Patrol, The Infadels, Robbie Williams –
but now has a definitive idea of what direction his solo material best suits.
“I definitely don’t want to make records with me singing on them,” says Metric,
who has realised his strengths in the best way possible, recognising that his
acclaimed solo work and on-going series of commendable remixes – he’s
reworked cuts by the likes of Gorillaz, Depeche Mode, Beastie Boys and Phoenix
– represents personally and professional fulfilling paths.
Metric’s is a music both accessible and pushing at perceived boundaries of
‘mainstream’ dance. His massive breakthrough track, 2011’s ‘Open Your Eyes’ – a
collaboration with Steve Angello – perhaps typifies this combination of traits. On
the one hand it’s bright, bouncy even; but listen deeper and there’s myriad layers
“It’s a bonkers piece of music, that I can totally stand by,” says Metric. He’s far
from concerned about such a hit’s albatross potential. “That track couldn’t be any
more ‘me’. It was very much a distillation of my sound – and I love it when
people ask me to play it.”
Since ‘Open Your Eyes’, Metric has issued a successful series of invigorating EPs
bearing the ‘Ammunition’ brand. Late-2012’s second instalment (of three, in
total) featured the blistering ‘Rave Weapon’, a track The Fader named “a classic-
break centrepiece”, FACT a “modern take on… a house anthem”, and Metric
admits to being “totally different to anything I’d put out before”.
There’s a real freshness to the ‘Ammunition’ tracks, a fearlessness, the feeling of
any potential pressure after a certifiable mainstream breakthrough being craftily
avoided. They both echo their makers’ influences – from British big beat to
French Touché, Primal Scream to The Prodigy – and resonate with contemporary
And it’s this willingness to go beyond what might be called comfort zones that
continues to push Metric further into his own unknown – and into the souls, and
soles, of an ever-growing audience. He’s a perfectionist of sorts, able to turn
down money spinning remix work to focus on projects of a more relatable
nature, that “make the hair stand up… There needs to be heart, I don’t want my
work to just be some plastic music”.
Metric’s commitment to doing more than simply delivering on-trend bass drops
and clichéd elements familiar to EDM-guzzling millions is set to mark him out
amongst the scene’s very best purveyors of floor-filling tunes. As America
continues its love affair with big-arena dance events, Metric is benefitting from
the attention he’s afforded stateside.
Vibe is one of many stateside publications to have commented on his talents,
tagging ‘Ammunition Pt.3’’s ‘Lilium’ as “thumping” and “intense”, but also
“melodic”, noting its impressive drop. Paradise Beats has acknowledged his
accomplished diversity; and Rolling Tuff simply classified everything on
‘Ammunition Pt.2’ as “killer tunes”. No arguments there.
“I’ve been to the States a lot recently, and it’s amazing to see kids going so hard
for dance music. The reaction they have is absolutely incredible. But there isn’t
much daring to a lot of the music – people aren’t making records that sound like
them, they’re making whatever sounds big. I know I’m trying to be unique – in
my mind, at least.”
The latest entry in Metric’s run of always fresh releases is ‘Safe With You’, on
which he works beside Stuart Price, aka Jacques Le Cont, and Niki & The Dove
singer Malin. The track’s forthcoming on the Ministry of Sound label, receiving its
premiere on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show. It’s an insistent, engaging number – solid
yet yielding, soft vocals riding an escalating arrangement that merges euphoria
with introspection. Again, it’s something different, but maintaining Metric’s
“I always wanted to work with Stuart Price,” says Metric, “And now, I have. We
met a couple of years ago, and I finally asked him if he wanted to do a track. So
now I’ve got a great track that I’m really proud of. It’s really emotional, and it’s
been a dream come true.”
One dream of many, it seems, as Metric’s trajectory, built on “mad moments” that
will forever live in the memory, continues apace. Following ‘Safe With You’ will
be an album. Metric feels the time is right. “I want it to be a statement, and now I
have a decent body of work, it’s a statement I’m ready to make.”
And, with that, another dream will be realised.