When Hayden Menzies of heavy, Toronto-based, power-trio Metz phones, he's just getting organised to head out and see Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Expat Kiwi Ruban Nielson's band are playing up the street, and though musically Metz and UMO are hardly similar, Menzies is still a big fan.

"We played at the same festival as them a few months ago, in Roskilde, and we loved seeing them play. They were phenomenal! We actually rarely listen to really heavy music, because we're constantly hearing it when we're touring, but we all have musical families, and they're always encouraging us to listen to new things - old, new, anything, really."

And what attracted the trio to the brutal, slashing, ecstatic music they create is hard to say ("I don't know exactly why we play the way we do, or write the way we do, I honestly can't answer that"), but it certainly seems to be working for them.


Drummer Menzies met guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins, and bassist Chris Slorach through mutual friends in the punk scene and the three just clicked. Those who've seen them perform frequently comment on their unity as a group, like one wild beast with three heads, so in synch they are.

"I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we're all very good friends. The three of us have to spend a lot of time together, touring and practising and writing.

"But it has a lot to do with the fact that we see eye to eye too. We might have different ways of getting there, but we all have the same idea about where we want to go."

What has made them really stand out, however, is their ability to capture a particular mood, and capture their live energy in the studio. Their self-titled debut has been described as a big city record, and a reflection of the pressures of living in a city.

"It's funny, because ... when Alex said that in an interview - just off the cuff, you know, it just occurred to him - we all agreed. It wasn't preconceived, but there is some sort of continuity between the conditions under which you live, and they sometimes catch up to you before you even know that they're having an effect on you.

"That feeling has, I guess, shaped this whole project, and the record definitely has that feel to it for us. And I don't think that's necessarily a negative thing - there can be negative connotations, you know, with people feeling stretched in big city environments and there can be a lot of unnecessary pressure that people end up putting on themselves, anxiousness, claustrophobia, so those things can be negative.

"If I have any feelings like that, they go right out the window when I'm playing live. That's the time to release, and it's fun for us, performing, we're all smiles, and that's why we play as hard and loud as we can, because it's fun. I understand how that can come across as being aggressive, or angry, but it's not, it's pure buzzing excitement for us. We thrive off it."

Live music preview
Who: Canadian noise-rock trio Metz

When and where: Performing at the Kings Arms in Auckland tonight.

Listen to: Metz (2012)