Sound & Vision: Emily Haines of Metric on the Themes in Art of Doubt

Sound and Vision
Emily Fox
photo by Renata Steiner (view set)

KEXP has been partnering with the Consulate General of Canada to bring you some Canadian bands as part of our recent Uptown Concert series in the Gathering Space, such as Sloan, Dilly Dally, and back in March, we welcomed long-running Toronto group Metric to the airwaves. I got a chance to talk with frontwoman Emily Haines about their new album, Art of Doubt. Check out Emily's thoughts on the themes of the some of the singles, and listen to the full interview below.

"Now or Never Now"

It's kind of funny. I feel like I discovered the [themes] along with everyone else, sort of. Once it's all finished, all the pieces have come together, and it's a complete body of work, the through-line that really seems to resonate — especially since we've been playing it live — is the idea of being in the present moment and asking yourself, if there are things that you want to do with your life, or in the world, or in any way, what is stopping you and wouldn't now be probably the right time to do it? Most, you know, pointedly expressed in the song "Now or Never Now" and the idea that we all sort of accumulate these fears and sort of protections. The lyric in that song is:

Because the last time I let myself feel this way
It was a long, long time ago
And now we get so scared and we get so scared
To be nowhere left alone

The idea being that you may have accumulated experiences that are stopping you from being spontaneous and taking action. But you got to do it.

"Dressed to Suppress"

Yeah, I was really exploring the idea of femininity and gender — which increasingly doesn't even apply to just women, right? So, the concept of femininity and that we create these artificial masks for ourselves that a lot of times — I mean, I know this from myself and my girlfriends, it's like, the higher the heel, the more broken-hearted. [Laughs] You know, like when you're actually feeling great, you might just be wearing, you know, a pair of sweatpants.

KEXP: Some Birkenstocks...

Exactly. And you're actually the happiest! But a lot of the things that we end up really honoring in our culture of, like, vanity and narcissism and our belief that — sort of implied — that if somebody's good-looking, somehow they're, like, morally superior? It's like, are we basing that on a bone structure? What's going on? So, I just love the idea of playing around with those ideas and doing a take on "dress to impress" and it's super fun to play live because the whole middle front row world is all singing "Dressed to Suppress" with me, and it's always a moment.

"Dark Saturday"

That's a really fun, really hilarious one to play live because we really went all the way with this sort-of Ramones-level rock thing. But the picture that's being told — or described, rather — is something we're all familiar with: having our noses rubbed in extreme, insane, crazy wealth. We're not talking like, "Hey, you got a nice life and a nice house." You know, no one's begrudging anybody any success, but just the comical level of disparity that we're experiencing globally right now. And so for me, it just came out in this kind of cheeky vignette of, you know, this nightmarish woman. She says "I'm so rich, everything's free" — which is also really fun when I'm playing it live because we've all had that experience where you're like, "Okay, well, I'm gonna go to work but, uh, catch you later?"

Sound & Vision airs Saturday mornings at 7 AM PST. Hosted by Emily Fox and John Richards, the show "uses interviews, artistry, commentary, insight, and conversation to that tell broader stories through music, and illustrate why music and art matter."

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