With modern electronic music, there’s sometimes a tendency to take things, shall we say, ‘a little too seriously’. All too often producers and deejays get caught up so heavily in the idea of being elitist and ‘underground’ that they forget the idea of music altogether – that it should be built to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. This is not a criticism anyone could consider levelling at British wunderkind Alex Metric, however. As the man himself says, ’I want my music to reach far and wide. I want to take on the overground without compromising what I do and what I love." Something which, had you attended any one of countless Metric deejay sets last year, or been in a dark, sweaty club where someone was playing one of his myriad tracks or remixes, you would have witnessed first hand in truly emphatic style.
First though let us, as the late Simply Red once said, roll back the years. After a chance, inebriated accosting of electronic pioneer Adam Freeland, young Metric found himself signed to Freeland’s Marine Parade label, where he promptly offered up the first taster of the sonic cocktail brewing in his tiny mind with the teutonic ‘What She Wants’ EP.
Although roundly embraced by ravers and deejays alike, it was not until Alex turned his attentions from tweaking (and often totally destroying) the pile of questionable 80’s vinyl on his studio floor to his own vocal offerings that things really started to get interesting.
Revisiting the lyrical talents he had not explored since featuring in a number of bands as a teenager, Alex started to push his grinding electronic output in an increasingly pop-centric direction while maintaining his ethos of chucking together the best bits from his favourite sounds and influences -" 80’s synth pop, filter disco, big beat and indie were my main influences growing up" – as well as the incredible ‘what the f*@k’ factor that had always distinguished his productions from those of his contemporaries.
The subsequent ‘In Your Machine’ EP fired a keytar-shaped missile into a number of electronic genres, selling as speedily in specialist record shops as it did on iTunes, and prompting a flurry of remix requests from big name acts such as Hard Fi, Alphabeat, Reverend & The Makers and The Infadels, and more recently Ladyhawke, Phoenix, La Roux, Fenech Soler and Gorillaz (Fatboy Slim naming this remix the first big tune of summer 2010). This subsequent slew of first-rate reworks saw Alex crowned ‘remixer of the year’ by XFM, beating the likes of Justice and Soulwax to the punch.
Keeping up the momentum, ‘Deadly On A Mission’ did yet more damage, and gave the greatest indication yet of what to expect from Alex’s forthcoming album – quirky, offbeat vocals backed with fuzzy, cracked-at-the-edges synths and huge, singalong choruses. So prominent were the latter, in fact, that Alex was promptly headhunted by several up-and-coming bands looking for a touch of the Metric magic. The fruits of Alex’s production efforts with these groups, Panama Kings, The Locarnos and Freeland, respectively, are already helping bring the young pioneer’s work to a whole other stack of fans. Most recently Alex has produced for the Infadels new album and future pop starlet Charli XCX.
On top of all this, Alex has also been building a reputation as one of the most exciting young deejays working today. His genre-hopping sound – which the man himself describes as ‘less of a steady build… more of a really really unsafe rollercoaster’ – has graced the soundsystems of most every major club in the world, as well as the stages of festivals including Glastonbury, V, and Serbia’s Exit, where 2009 saw him being asked to return after being judged to have played one of the best sets in the event’s history at the 2008 festival.
October 2010 saw Alex launch his live show by supporting Phoenix at Brixton Academy, since then he has played packed shows for the Levis Ones to Watch shows, the Skins House launch, the Bestival launch at Koko, his own sell out London show, Camden Crawl and The Great Escape. Summer 2010 will see Alex take to the stage with his live band at an array of major festivals including Glastonbury, Global Gathering, SW4, Bestival and Iceland Airwaves later in the year.