Whether it’s producing bands like the Infadels, remixing huge names like Moby, NERD and Depeche Mode, playing live with his band, DJing alongside the biggest names in the business or working on his own productions from his studio bunker in London, Alex Metric is a man that can do it all.
His crossover indie and electronic sound takes him from the clubs to daytime radio and his new collaboration with Steve Angello, Open Your Eyes, sees one of his childhood heroes, Ian Brown, step up for vocal duties.
2010 was one of the biggest years in Metric’s career, but with a slew of new studio equipment on the way and his own solo album dropping soon, it looks like things are set to get even bigger for him.
Future Music recently caught up with him in his London studio to take a look at some of the gear behind his productions, live show and remix work.
“I had a friend who ran a record label from this unit and he and two producers worked out of their studio here,” Metric tells us about the origins of his studio. “He said I could come in and use the studio whenever there was any downtime.
“Eventually, there was more and more free time and I was using it more and more until it became just me working in here. And I’ve been here for about five years now.
“There was a time when I was looking to move but I actually feel really comfortable here and it feels like I’ve made my best records here. So at the moment there’s no massive reason to move. I really like not having the studio in my home.
“More and more I like to be here in the evening until the early hours of the morning, it’s always when the emails and the phone calls have stopped and you really lose yourself in the studio that you start to get those really good ideas or figure out what needs to be done.”
The ever-popular Juno-106 is Alex Metric’s main keyboard in the studio.
“I absolutely love this, it’s such a versatile synth that I’ve managed to get so many great sounds from. You can get everything from these weird LFO effects to ever rising and growing sounds, to simple chords.”
Roland SH-101, Multivox MX-3000 & SCI Pro-One
The hardware synths in Alex Metric’s studio all have different roles to play in his productions…
SH-101 (top): “This used to be my favourite synth but I’m sort of cheating on it with the Juno at the moment. When I got the 101 though, it really changed my music as a whole.”
MX-3000 (middle): “This is a wicked synth but half the time it doesn’t work, it’s got these really weird string sounds to it and it can do pianos and such in a really different way. It’s frustrating that it’s so temperamental but I’m going to stick with it and hope it starts working properly.”
Pro-One (bottom): “This is a great mono synth that I mainly use for effects like crazy rises and sweeps. I have used it for bass sounds too, but I prefer using it for its effects.”
Roland’s tape effect unit is a favourite of Alex’s for processing synths.
“I just absolutely love this. It completely changes the way some of the synths sound, especially the SH-101. The 101 has quite an aggressive tone but when you put it through this it sounds beautiful.”
KRK VXT6 monitors
When it comes to choosing monitors, it seems durability is a major factor for Metric. “I’m notorious for blowing up pairs of monitors,” he tells us, “but these particular KRKs have lasted well over a year and still sound great. I’m really happy with them.”
Akai MPC 2500
The hip-hop community’s favourite sampling drum machine is mainly used as part of Alex Metric’s live setup.
“This is something I use in the live show and has been out on the road for a year,” he tells us. “I haven’t had a chance to get it going in the studio yet, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how I can work with it.”
Another piece of kit that gets most of its use out on the road: “This is my DX7 for touring and because it’s the DX7S, it’s not actually as good as the DX7 so I don’t use it as much in the studio. I need to get hold of an original DX7 again.”
So has Alex Metric got his eye on any other bits of studio gear? “I’d love a [Yamaha] CS80,” he explains, “it would be my dream synth really and it’s an investment, right?
“I saw one recently for £7,000 and I think if I got it I could probably sell it later for at least the same. I’d also really like an E-MU SP-1200 after seeing [Future Music’s] Alan Braxe In The Studio video, and using one in Darren Emmerson’s studio.
“I’ve got an MS20 coming too which I’ve been wanting for ages. I have the Korg Legacy plug-in collection and the controller, but I lost the install discs so it’s just sat gathering dust. I expect when I get the real thing I’m not going to be too bothered about the software.”