Following up 2009's "Fantasies" was a daunting task for the Toronto modern rock quartet Metric.
The album was not only shortlisted for Canada's Polaris Music Prize but also won the country's Juno Award for Alternative Album of the year, while Metric was named Group of the Year. But guitarist Jimmy Shaw says Metric tried not to let that success affect the group's latest release, "Synthetica."
"I really was trying to not let that get in my head and not let that change the process in any way," explains Shaw, who's also a member of the ad hoc band Broken Social Scene. "At least 'Fantasies' wasn't our first record. Sometimes when you really hit with your first one you don't have a lot of other experiences to gauge it against, and you get lost.
"So the main thing was we wanted to keep the whole thing pure and keep it as close to whatever felt natural and good, positive and normal to us as possible. We just wanted to make ('Synthetica') something that we felt comfortable with and tried not to think about the past. That's really how we approached it."
It apparently worked. Besides glowing reviews, "Synthetica" snared Metric's best chart debuts ever -- No. 2 in Canada and No. 12 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S. But it wasn't Metric's only new music this year; the group also collaborated wtih composer Howard Shore on the soundtrack to director David Cronenberg's recently released "Cosmopolis."
"That was very different to anything we've done before," Shaw says. "Howard was writing music from New Zealand and sending me scores and saying, 'Here, have free reign. Do whatever you want.' We would and sent it to him and he'd say, 'That's fantastic. I think it's going to be perfect. Now do the whole thing again with different instruments...'
"I feel like I got directed -- I'm sure actors have that sensation as well. I haven't seen the movie, but when I heard the final score I felt like, 'Wow, THAT'S what we did.' We contributed a lot of music that he turned into a classic Howard Shore-Cronenberg score. It was a very cool experience."
Metric and Half Moon Run perform Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40-$55. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.