Ahead of his Hong Kong performance last month, British DJ and remixer Alex Metric caught up with Young Post to talk about discovering dance music as a teenager, and how he became a famous musician and producer.
“I grew up in the Britpop era in Britain, so it was all bands like Oasis, The Verve, Blur and Scream,” explained Metric, whose real name is Alex Drury. “I didn’t like dance music for a long time. I just wasn’t into it at all. I’d missed my bus home from school one day, and went into HMV to check out some music. I recognised the name Fatboy Slim from music magazines, so I stuck it on – and it blew my mind. I’d never heard anything like that before. That was the moment where it all changed for me.”
From then on, Metric knew he wanted to be a producer, and wanted to be involved in the music industry.
“I just remember going to all these gigs, but feeling like, I don’t want to be on this side of it. I wanted to be on the other side, being involved with the music and not just being a member of the audience.” The promising producer started networking with people, and getting involved in any way possible.
“I did lots of work experience while I was at university, just working for [free] for different companies, like the Ministry of Sound [a huge club in London],” he revealed. “I was doing as much as I could to meet people, to make contacts and to break down those barriers.”
Within three years, Metric managed to land his first big break after having built a working relationship with one of his heroes, electronic pioneer Adam Freeland.
“One night, when I was at [nightclub] Fabric in London, I saw Adam at the bar. I went up to him and said I was a really big fan and that I’d love to work for his record label Marine Parade, so we exchanged numbers. I can trace so many things back to that moment I met Adam. I was a waiter at the time he asked me to produce his 2007 EP The Hate, so I knew I could easily quit my job and go to the US for three months.”
Since that record, Metric has been recording albums and making remixes for established indie bands such as Foals, Phoenix, La Roux and Gorillaz. But one of his biggest records to date ended up being 2012’s Rave Weapon, which was released through Skrillex’s record label OWSLA.
“I was stuck in a record deal that I didn’t want to be in,” Metric said. “I couldn’t release records with other labels, so I thought ‘I’m going to give Rave Weapon away for free’, as I needed to put something out.
“So I did – and it took off and became a really big record that year.” After the unexpectedly positive response to the record, Metric crossed paths with Skrillex at a Swedish House Mafia set in Ibiza. “We became friends and [we] felt we should put this record out properly – and so he did and I ended up touring America.”
Having spent most of 2017 in the studio, Metric is ready to hit the ground running in the new year with a tonne of new releases. “Next year is when everything is going to drop. I’ve been working with this new band, Nations, as well as LA band The Knocks. Then there’s Metroplane – my project with [Belgian music producer and DJ] Aeroplane. We’ve got a brand new single coming out in January too.”
With all these projects scheduled, Alex Metric is clearly planning on having a busy 2018 – and from the sounds of things, this is perfectly fine with him.