Metric take over the metro

"You can't reduce me to something less than I am by looking at me."
Justin Broadbent

Metric frontwoman Emily Haines has a great head on her shoulders. So it's no shock she'll be back in town both to headline Rock the Garden at the Walker Art Center on Saturday, and to pair her mental quickness with comedian David Koechner for a taping of the Wits radio program the day before. In both cases, she'll use her stage presence and fiery, opinionated personality to entertain.

City Pages spoke to Haines before these sold-out shows, and the conversation revealed the sharp intelligence of a woman still plotting what's coming next.

City Pages: Now that it has been out for a while, how do you feel about Synthetica compared to your past works?

Emily Haines: Synthetica totally surpassed our expectations in the way it was received, so it's all good. All I can base it on is the fact that I perform this music 300 nights a year, so it's very interesting to feel how the songs fit together in a set. The live shows are really where they fit, so what's interesting for us is how carefree they meld together, and even the songs all the way back to [2003's] Old World Underground — how they connect back to the newest music. We feel that cohesion in the records that we make going forward. I think we're on the path we want to be on.

CP: How did the line in your single "Breathing Underwater" about never meeting your heroes come about?

Haines: We push ourselves to express something that's far beyond us. You can never expect for that vision to inhabit reality. To me, I actually find a comfort in that. A lot of our favorite artists also forget that, because the point is even if you can meet them — aside from dreaming about possible collaborations or wonderful music that could have been written — the point is that everything they do was always outside of them and beyond the person who wakes up in the morning and tries to figure out what to do next. A lot of people want to know if that line was based on Lou Reed, and all I have to say to that is that he is nothing but a lovely and incredible artist and human.

CP: How do you feel about being a female in the music industry in 2013?

Haines: Anatomy is destiny. You're lucky in some ways, and you're unlucky in others. You can't reduce me to something less than I am by looking at me. So for me, whoever has the stronger vision wins. I'm trying to manifest this version of myself, one which I am totally not there yet. The thing I'm aspiring to be has always carried me above any derogatory thing anyone says. So that's worked for me. It may be a denial approach, but it's also the strength of your own vision. You have to be vigilant, and you have to be active in manifesting another version of what it is to be a female artist.

CP: How about getting up onstage and improvising for Wits?

Haines: I really enjoy getting an opportunity to be a part of a discussion, because the reality of life as a musician, especially when you play as much music as we do, is that you end up with a lot of your time spent in parking lots or locked in hotel rooms. So any opportunity where I'm part of a conversation and contributing is great.

CP: What is your favorite Minneapolis memory?

Haines: We always remember the time we spent Thanksgiving with the staff of the 7th St. Entry. We had a day off. It was so lonely, so it was absolutely amazing when they shared Thanksgiving with us. They totally welcomed us, so we have nothing but love for Minneapolis.

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