They went it alone – and it's a gamble that has paid off in spades.
In the past year alone, Canadian band Metric has played Radio City Music Hall, recorded with Lou Reed, worked with famed producer Howard Shore on the soundtrack for David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, rocked thousands at top fests and debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 chart with a new album, Synthetica – all without the backing of a record label. Their previous album, Fantasies, sold more than half a million copies.
And now, after more than a decade spent doggedly building a fan base at small clubs and concert halls, the band is about to embark on something that is usually the stuff of DIY dreams: a cross-country arena tour.
"It's very surreal for us to go into this knowing that not many bands that aren't Katy Perry ever achieve this, and we're so grateful it's ridiculous," says self-effacing guitarist Jimmy Shaw, who founded the band with singer and former Vancouverite Emily Haines in 1998. "We're going to have to dream up a new dream after this one."
Known for its cinematic synth rock and its unflinchingly honest lyrics, the band – which ironically had a song called Stadium Love on its last album – is also famed for its fiercely loyal fans and fiery live shows, and this tour, which is making stops at three B.C. stadiums, promises to reach new heights for both the band and the audience.
"It's this incredible ping-pong of energy. We give off a certain energy, and if we get it back from the crowd, then we just keep doling it out and they keep doling it back to us. And the whole thing has the possibility of spiralling upwards into a totally transcendental experience. Emily calls it rock 'n' roll church," Mr. Shaw says with a laugh. "And when it happens, it's magic."