Having just released his third Ammunition EP, Alex Metric’s current purple patch doesn’t look like it’s going to be ending anytime soon, especially as he has a raft of new remixes on the way and an exciting collaboration in the works with super producer Stuart Price.
We managed to grab 20 minutes with the man himself last month just after he had come back from his mammoth 5-week North American tour, Alex talked candidly about the concept behind his ‘Ammunition’ EPs, what actually happened to his now infamous canned album, and what he has planned for the rest of 2013 and beyond.
HBF: So what was the concept behind the ‘Ammunition’ series? Were they made as DJ weapons or were they part of an album – what’s was the thinking behind it all?
The thing that always annoys me about making records, or even an album – is the waiting. For instance, if you’re doing album you can being making it for years, and then you have to wait ages to get it out. So the with ‘Ammunition’ I just wanted an easy way to release records quickly, and not think about them too much, you know, try not to procrastinated about them too much. In a way it allowed me not to put too much pressure on myself – other than to deliver some club records. I also hate it when I’d do a track and I get pigeonholed as a certain genre or style, so with the EPs I can do all the sort of styles that I play. So for me, with each EP, I can balance the different styles off of each other. So I can have those big peak-time bangers, more of my disco records and some of the other weirder stuff. So for me, as an artist I felt a lot happier doing it this way.
HBF: So we’ve heard through the grapevine that you canned an entire album. What happened, were you just not happy with the end result?
You know what, it’s pretty much like I’ve just said: I spent two years making a record and by the end of it: the person I was and the music I wanted to make were pretty different. So ‘Ammunition’ was a massive reaction to that process I’d just been through. I just needed to get a record out so I gave the first ‘Ammunition’ away for free pretty much just as I had finished it, which is almost unheard of these days – and, you know, I just needed to get a fucking record out. The canned album in the end put me under real pressure to get some music out, and maybe I’ll come back and have another go at it.
The album, where I left it, had three or four songs on it that I fucking love – there’s ‘Golden’, which is online somewhere, as well as ‘2-9-2-1’, ‘Do It’ and ‘Headstraight’. And who knows maybe I’ll try and get them out somehow. The thing is with the album it was pretty much like ‘Headstraight’; it was me singing, and to be honest I kinda got that whole thing out of my system now. I realised I didn’t wanna tour with a band, I didn’t want be a leadsinger. And you know what: It felt good to sack off the album. It felt like a big relief. And to be honest I’ve kinda released an album now. ‘Ammunition’ is basically an album. It’s 9 original tracks, but without the bullshit of waiting around.
When I do an album, if I do an album, it’s got to be fucking next-level, I think I’m just too much of a perfectionist. I have this very romantic view of an album, completely different to how I did it the last time – so basically not making it between touring. If I go back and do one, I wanna maybe just get away to LA or New York and do it properly, take a snapshot of my life for a 6 months or a year. I kinda wanna do it like a band would do it. I just really need to invest the time and effort. But at the moment with my life I just can’t do that at the moment. But soon enough that’ll all change and I’ll try and get an album done. So for the time being it’s ‘Ammunitions’, singles and remixes. But just for my own fucking satisfaction I want to be able to say one day: I’ve done an album.
HBF: You’re about to release a collaboration with Jacques Lu Cont. What can you tell us about it? How does it sit between his many aliases (JLC, TWD, Paper Faces etc) and yourself: Alex Metric – what can we expect from it?
Stuart is an enigma wrapped inside a mystery. He’s very interesting and creative person. The way he approaches music and his career I really admire. He manages to jump from 10 year’s of making pop music to making obscure techno to DJing a clubs. Everything he does is a reaction to what he’s done before. I’d say stylistically the song is more Thin White Duke than Alex Metric. The track is called ‘Safe With You’, it has Malin from Niki And The Dove singing on it and it’s a big vocal pop monster, but with a lot of soul and substance.
What we tried to do with that record is try and get away from the plastic synths, and vocals that are hyper crowding everything out. For me, a lot of dance music lacks a bit soul at the moment. So we wanted to show the world you can do a big record like this but have a bit of soul and substance to it. It’s a big emotion hands-in-the-air festival record, and it’s very different to anything I’ve ever done before really. It’s probably closer to some of his older JLC stuff than my stuff. It’s going to be a one-off single on Ministry of Sound. And I’m incredibly proud of it, and to honest it’s come at a great time for me, especially with the success of ‘Ammunition’, so to be able to come out with something like this is really cool. Basically I’m really stoked that I was able to make a record with, thee, Stuart Price
HBF: So what remixes have you got in the pipeline? What you’ve been sitting on that we should know about?
There’s a remix for Willy Moon, I sent that out to a load of DJs a while ago and got a great response, it’s been in my mixtapes and the Magician really liked it too, but the label changed their mind about which single is going to be released. So it’s there, it’s done and it’s just up to the label when it’ll get a release. I think you can hear it online. It’s call Willy Moon ‘Where Were You’ Alex Metric’s 1992 remix. I’m also doing the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s new single. Well I’m trying to, its currently underway and hopefully next week it’ll begin to come together.
HBF: A little spy told us you recently started to work on a track with Yuksek, what can you tell us about that?
Actually that was really really interesting session, we’ve been talking about doing something for ages, and last month he was in London, so we arranged to meet up at my studio but he only had 3 hours before he went to do the Mixmag DJ lab. So we started the basis of a new track. The great thing was there was no fucking about: here’s a beat; here’s a bassline; here’s a vocal sample. And we actually got a really good vibe for a track going. So the plan is for me to go over to Reims and finish it off next month.
HBF: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen DJing?
Fucking hell. I’m trying to think. Not sure about weird. But some guy tried to grab my USB key whilst I was playing which would have been pretty fucking annoying. I don’t think I’ve seen anything weird; I’m probably too much in the zone trying to get records in time to be noticing the weird stuff, haha.
HBF: If you studio was on fire, and you go back and save one thing what would it be and why?
My Jupiter 8. It’s rare and cost a shit load of money. But just because I love it, really. When I was in LA a couple of years ago, I rented a studio and a Jupiter 8. And ended up writing ‘Epichords’ on it. So when I got back to London I said to myself I have to buy one. ‘Scandalism’ was made on the Jupiter 8 too. In fact, a lot of my favourite records I’ve made were on that synth. The way I see it: you only need to make a couple of big records for it to have paid for itself. At the moment I really want is the Arp 2600 and CS80 – so if ‘Safe With You’ becomes a big record I might treat myself. Actually, most of ‘Safe With You’ was done on Arp 2600 – so there you go.
HBF: If you could create you’re own festival line-up who would you book?
Haha, an easy one: Daft Punk, Pheonix on support and the Verve. I saw the Verve play ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ at Glastonbury and it’s still to this day one of the best experiences of my life.
HBF: Who’s on your radar that we should know about?
Baskerville – they’ve done a couple of things of BNR – it’s that sort banging techno electro – they’re really cool.
On a UK-tip I’m really liking Mao – their stuff really fucking good.
And Disco-wise – Spirit catcher – all their new stuff is really good too.
Taken from Ammunition Part 3, released April 2nd