[INTERVIEW] Alex Metric Talks Summer 2013

This has been a strong summer for UK based Alex Metric, who’s spent his time touring all over the world playing out the biggest festivals in the industry to collaborating with some of the biggest names in the game for his new hit single. His unpredictable and insatiable sets at HARD Summer were some of our staff favorites and quite the musical expeditions. With roots and influences spread throughout the early days of the electronic industry, his eclectic taste and style surely shines through in his music. For those who haven’t had a chance to catch Alex this summer be sure to checkout his latest August DJ Mix and without further adieu:

What’s up! How has your summer been?

Been good, been busy, yeah really busy. Lot’s of festivals and that’s been it really.

Yeah you’ve had EDC, Glastonbury, Tomorrowland, Optimus Alive, and HARD Summer as well as a ton of pool parties and after parties, and not to mention your residency at London’s XOXO, did you find any time to have fun this summer?

Well I haven’t had any time off really, I’ve had fun doing the shows but definitely not a lot of time off to chill, but the touring and the shows have been good so that’s great.

Any favorites?

My two favorites this far have been Optimus Alive as well as HARD.

Yeah! So you just got done with HARD where you had a set during the festival and then a slot at Destructo’s official Afterparty. How did that work out?

It was great, the festival was definitely my favorite of the two shows but the afterparty was good fun as well, I got to play some different stuff than I did at the festival. Just the response I got from the set at the festival from all the kids and from all the people was amazing so I’m really pleased with how the set went down, especially since I almost missed my flight.

Oh no!

Yeah my flight was delayed a bit, 4 or 6 hours, and I thought if I didn’t leave in the next hour I wasn’t going to make the festival and have to cancel so I was like shitting myself thinking, oh no I’m not going to make HARD…and then the show turned out so good so it was really, really cool.

What kind of preparation went into preparing the two different sets?

You know, I really don’t prepare my sets much. I’m not a DJ who has a clear idea of what I’m going to do. I’ve usually got my first few records picked out but after that I just feel it out and go with what I feel is right. When you’re DJ’ing every week you’ve got loads of tunes that you know go together so it’s not like you don’t know what’s going to happen. So I certainly don’t prepare things too much because to me the excitement of DJ’ing is not knowing. It’s reacting to the crowd and seeing what records they enjoy and playing to that taste.

Is that what made HARD Summer and Optimus Alive so memorable?

Yeahhhh, definitely! Like at the Afterparty I think I started with the same two records and then it went off in a completely different direction. So definitely, that’s the exciting bit, that not knowing what’s going to happen and improvising and rolling with what happens on stage.

The lineup in that tent (HARD’s Underground Stage) was perfect for me as well. Playing after Julio Bashmore was right because he played a more house-y, stripped down, and track-ey set. For me, that’s great, you know, you heard my set, it gets pretty wild and banging but I don’t start on that level and a lot of my sets go from A to B. I don’t like it to be on one level the whole time. So after Julio I got to start a lot housier and you could feel the energy rise as my set went on. Whereas at festivals and clubs sometimes you can come on after someone who’s been banging the shit out of it out and then what you want to do with your set, you know have some dynamics to it, can sometimes fall flat because you don’t start with the energy someone ended with.

At Optimus Alive it was kind of the opposite, I got to start a lot more techy and then by the end of it I ended up playing a lot of disco, and it’s like, how often do you get to play disco at a festival? It was like 4:30 in the morning and the tent was still packed so it’s great being able to go from up to down and down to up.

You posted after HARD Summer you got the chance to hop back in the studio for a second with YUKSEK, what was that like?

Yeah! That was great! I was in the studio with YUKSEK the week before HARD Summer and it’s a song we’ve been meaning to do for a long time. He came over to London a few months ago and we started a session then and I had to play Tomorrowland so I said, “Why don’t I come over to France?” and we hit the studio that day. We’ve got two tunes started, one’s kind of 90% finished and the other 50%. It was great working with him, super talented guy, and we’ve always been compared to each other of the years, and we’ve both sort of done similar things: we both had bands, both sing on our records, and we both put out a lot of remixes. So it was great on a creative level. I want to work on the track that’s nearly finished in my studio for a bit and see if I can take it up another notch, but his studio is great as well, so many amazing synths.

You call your studio the Bat Cave, is there a story behind that?

Just because I like Batman haha, I’ve loved him ever since I was a kid and it kind of is like my cave that I never leave, and it’s filled with all my gizmo’s and gadget so calling it a Bat Cave seemed like the right thing. In the day when you used to have physical records I always loved seeing on there, “Produced by Alex Metric at the Bat Cave.”

What are the chances of a Batman Theme song remix in the near future?

Hahaha no, I think that would be taking it a bit too far. I have got the Batman logo as soon as you walk in the studio though.

So you’ve had a lot of collaborations lately, in fact two with your upcoming release “Safe With You,” care to talk about what it was like working with Jacques Lu Cont and Malin for your newest single?

It was an amazing, amazing experience. I’ve been a huge fan of Jacques for years and years and certainly he’s one of my main inspirations for getting into dance music, so it was really great to meet Stuart and make some music with him and I feel really lucky to have been able to do that. The end result is everything I wanted it to be as well, it was super easy working with him and I think the one thing I learned from working with Stuart was that no matter who you are, whether you’ve been doing it for years and you’re super successful or whether you’re new into it, we’re all just making music and someone’s idea is just as valid as someone else’s. We would do the sessions remotely, and then together, and then remotely, you know, and Stuart would send me ideas and if I didn’t like it I would be able to say, “I’m not sure about this synth part,” or whatever, and it was really refreshing. There were no egos or bullshit involved, we were just there to make the best music we could make. I learned a lot from the process just in that sense, you know, no matter how much success you’ve had, on a creative level we’re all equals.

And Malin?

We got Malin involved because I did a remix of Nicki and the Dove and Stuart had been playing the hell out of that remix so when it got to the point that we needed to put a vocal on it, it just seemed like the obvious thing to do. She’s got such a unique and special voice, and sort of soul to what she does. For me I kept thinking of the Jacques Lu Cont remix to Röyksopp and how good that Scandinavian voice sounded with Stuart’s production and so it seemed like a good route to take working with Malin in that sense.

So this fall you just announced you’re hitting the road again with Zedd for his “Moment of Clarity Tour” to support with Oliver, how did that come together?

I have done a couple of tours now with Zedd. It’s always been great, I guess Zedd likes having people like Oliver and me with him because there’s nothing worse than bringing along support that plays all the same shit you want to play. I think it’s good for him having people coming from a completely different angle, you know, everyone stands apart and does their own thing. The tours with Zedd before have all been really great, I’ve always really enjoyed them, and I find it exciting doing tours like that with someone who’s so massive and so successful, and who also might have a different audience than me because it’s a chance to play my music to people who might not have heard it before. There’s always a danger doing something like that, that maybe they’re going to hate what you do. I remember one show it didn’t go that well, but the rest of the tour everything I did went amazing. This is a huge, huge, tour we’re about to embark on. Six or seven weeks on a tour bus together, it’s going to be pretty intense. Oliver are pretty good friends of mine too so it’s going to be wicked hanging out with them again.

Well best of luck with all of that, and your set today at Summer Set Music Festival, looking forward to catching one of your sets again soon and thanks for your time!

Awesome, awesome, thank you, I have no idea which way it’s going to go today but I’ll figure it out!