"We have the energy for it," states Metric's leading lady Emily Haines, with confidence. This is a mantra-turned-anthem for the Toronto-based band in 2009, which saw the birthing and subsequent heyday of their self-released Fantasies. Given their solid underground following, and the fact that there are nothing but outstanding Metric records in existence (four since 2003, plus a pair of solo albums from Haines), Fantasies has been the breakthrough their fanbase has long pined for. As Metric severed ties with nagging record labels, the band's global popularity grew and Fantasies immediately became the high-water mark of their decade-long existence.
Haines is the melodic force of femininity among a trove of masculine guitars and pronounced drumbeats in Metric, majestic synth complementing her crooning, breathy whispers, and strong semi-proclamations. Often her lyrics are soft and girlish, offering up her sympathy and comfort in Fantasies' "Twilight Galaxy." Other times, Haines' songs are laced with sexually charged metaphors and bold disclosures (in "Gold Guns Girls," Haines bluntly challenges the song's male protagonist with "All the tools/and the toys/in the box/couldn't get you off," the last line sung in an almost-falsetto above a muted-but-menacing guitar). Metric's music is not a lesson in gender roles, but rather blurs the barriers than can often exist between men and women, especially when it comes to musical conviction. When asked how she feels about being the only female in the bus on a tour of epic proportions, Haines simply states, "There is not a great divide of gender between us. We are like-minded people who like to live well and that's all that matters."
Not surprisingly, Haines is articulate and discerning when it comes to discussing her art. She remains humble, careening into thoughtful commentary on their recent success. "We've worked to keep our genuine love [for making music] in our policy, which is not always easy once you peek your head above the underground. We've been lucky to meet fantastic, forward-thinking people. I think this is all indicative of the way in which the music industry is being forced to shift," she explains. "We just want to bring equality between musician and machine."