Emily Haines might live in Toronto, but the jet-setting lead singer of Metric, has trouble writing music there. On Fantasies, the burgeoning indie rock band’s fourth album, the songstress moved to Argentina for a couple of months to clear her head and pen her new album.
“Sometimes you have to remove self from your immediate environment to get perspective with what’s going on,” she says on the phone from New York. “I was on the road so much that when it came to writing a Metric record, I didn’t feel like making a disc called ‘I’ve been on tour for the past five years.’ I forced myself to experience something that is outside the realm of anyone who knew me.”
Haines almost went to North Carolina first, but at the last minute she found an apartment in Buenos Aries with a piano. She brought her Pro Tools enabled laptop and she was ready to go.
Don’t worry though, Fantasies isn’t filled with South American sounds — if anything getting out of Dodge allowed Haines to challenge herself without the watchful eye of the Toronto music industry looking on. “Doing this gave me a chance to get away from everything and return to what I do best, which is write songs,” she says. “As much as I enjoy and appreciate the touring and our connection with fans, I still need to be alone with my instrument.”
The end result is another deeply intense and dark new wave, indie pop disc. Musically it’s not a major departure from Live It Out or Old World Underground — though it’s arguably better than both those discs — but lyrically, Haines sounds slightly more cheery than usual.
While she won’t say exactly why her lyrics take a more positive turn this time around (“I don’t see any value of explaining what something is,” she says), she does admit that the band was interested in fantasizing about the future and what happens when dreams come true.
“Anything you can imagine you can make real,” she says. “That was really our preoccupation and how everyone I know is trying to navigate every day of their life. It’s about their power of imagination over their environment.”
For Metric’s members, many of their dreams have become real. They’ve opened for The Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden, they’ve played every important festival and they’re one of the more respected indie acts around. Yet, Haines claims she’s never had a plan to be where she is today.
“I follow an impulse to make things when I need to make them,” she explains. “And I have no idea what is going to happen next.”
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