Off the back of stellar albums like ‘Live It Out’, ‘Fantasies’ and last year’s ‘Synthetica’, Canadian digital-rockers Metric have been running rings around the globe for as long as they can remember. On the eve of their highly-anticipated Australian tour celebrating their new remix album ‘Synthetica Reflections’, frontwoman Emily Haines shared her tips for surviving and embracing the touring life.
1. Savour that moment on stage above all else
Yes, there’s new cities and free drinks and people to meet, but Haines says you can’t let those distractions overtake your reason for being on tour in the first place.
“You have to realise that nothing is better than playing a great show. There is no ‘bender’ that will compare! It always just comes back to that hour-and-a-half that we are on stage. It means a lot of time in an isolation chamber in my bunk [laughs] but you know, it’s a very unusual life and that’s the way I handle it.”
2. Treat touring like a race
No, it’s not just shows, adventures and after-parties. If you want to make the finish line, Haines advises pacing yourself and keeping a tight routine.
“The best advice I could give anyone is to think of yourself as an athlete. You have to find repetition and control whenever you can because when you think about the amount of equipment and people on tour, anything in the world can happen. We’re a touring party of ten, we have two tour buses and a semi-truck, so every single detail down to every finger on every hand is subject to the unknown! So for me it’s discipline, and choosing your moments to go off.”
3. Get sleep… wherever you can.
No rest for the wicked? Yeah sure, but then the wicked ends up with no voice and bad reviews. According to Haines, all artists need a bed time.
“Get as much sleep as possible! As a singer, there’s no clean shirt or tea that can compare with the power of sleep! You’re not going to celebrate if you haven’t earned it. You get so in tune with your body that you just get sleep whenever you need it. We are playing a lot of stadiums that have these industrial hallways that look a little bit like a prison. But you just find a room, light a candle and find a way to kick it.”
4. Party on… selectively
Just as you pick your battles so too do you have to pick your parties, says Haines. “You can’t force or fake it – you have to feel it! We all know when those moments come and when they do, we take them!"
5. And party for the right reasons
Beware the dark side of touring, says Haine. Partying when you’re down / lonely / isolated won’t help – it’ll only make things worse.
“There was a certain amount of [partying] as a survival thing when we were playing clubs when we were younger. I'm happy to have graduated out of that. When you are partying to survive, you’re not celebrating. It can’t be that you are trying to completely numb out everything else. If something is not working fix it, but don’t try to just blur it out. I’ve seen a lot of things get pretty dark on the road when people have chosen that path. I’ve taken that path before myself and I don’t recommend it.”
6. Respect yourself and your body
Once you really start clocking the miles on the road, what you’re putting in the gas tank becomes even more important. Haines is a big believer in healthy living and taking it everywhere she goes.
“In terms of health, it’s a whole plan of vitamins and supplements. You can't trust the food that you are going to find lying around, you have to be organised on that. We have a cayenne pepper, lemon and maple syrup rider.”
7. Phone home
Touring can be a bit like drifting off into out of space. Haines advises keeping open comms with friends and family to keep you grounded.
“Time on the road can be difficult when you're too tired to get the comfort that you need from your friends. Especially when you're the singer and you get run down, talking on the phone is the last thing you want to do. So far on this tour I've been able to keep in touch and man, I’ve no idea how people did it before cell phones. It's great to be able to have my friends just drop me a line anywhere I am and send me love!”
Tickets through Metric’s website
Saturday, 7th December – Metro City, Perth
Monday, 9th December – The Forum, Melbourne
Wednesday, 11th December – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Thursday, 12th December – Enmore Theatre, Sydney