Aug 16, 2010 12:00AM

metal heads

Melbourne band Metals are successfully shunning digital music stereotypes. Chris Coe from Digital Primate snapped up soul singer Candice Butler to develop a distinctive sound that combines sneering vocals and electro rock beats. The pair describe themselves as futuristic and this is reflected in their music and forward-thinking approach to touring. They are setting a benchmark for the future of the digital recording industry, ensuring that they producing fun and potent music with an environmental conscience. Their new single 'Drop Your Guard' has just been released and Oyster's Tiffany Pilcher caught up with them to find out more about them.

OYSTER: What are you guys up to today?

CANDICE: We're in Melbourne town organising our tour, and working on our EP.

OYSTER: When's the EP out?

CHRIS: October- we are still deciding on a selection of tracks, right now we are pushing the new single 'Drop Your Guard', it's a smash hit as you may realise.

OYSTER: How has the single been received so far?

CHRIS: Everyone loves it! It's getting heaps of radio play and we are really excited about people hearing it.

CANDICE: Molly Meldrum saw us at Illusive's Sound Check Party and we heard that he was impressed, which was unexpected, and wonderful. He is a huge icon in the industry so to have his support is just amazing.

OYSTER: What message are you trying to get across in Drop Your Guard?

CANDICE: It's about a woman acknowledging her own worth. It's saying "I deserve better than this, and if someone isn't willing to come to the party then that's ok." It's about being able to walk away in a neutral way, and not in an angry or aggressive way. Just knowing that it hasn't worked out and there are better things ahead. It's put in a way that's not cryptic, more a train of thought.

OYSTER: It seems there is a sense of conflict as well.

CANDICE: Yeah, it's like saying 'come on, I know you are capable of more than this, why are you an emotional retard?' It's that feeling of 'I'm walking away, are you going to step up and if not, it's cool too'.

OYSTER: Is it referencing a certain relationship in your life?

CANDICE: The lyrics were written about four years ago, before I had my child, and yeah it was relevant then. It also applied to my teenage relationships, and through uni, and it can still be relevant even now. I think it is a universal message.

CHRIS: It is. When we were writing and recording this I was in a relationship and I realised I was that guy, I was the emotional retard. We ended it, and because of this song I understood where she was coming from.

OYSTER: Are you politically inclined in your song writing?

CHRIS: Definitely, we are interested in politics in all forms, not just making sure the Greens get into the Senate but also in terms of relationship and social politics and human rights. It's really important to both of us. We are actually one of the first bands to insist on an environmental clause in our contract. We made sure that when we signed with Elusive that it was part of the deal to incorporate fair trade products as much as possible, and carbon offset all of our expenses.

OYSTER: Was Elusive supportive of that move?

CHRIS: Yeah they were great, they thought it was a really positive move, and hopefully more bands will follow suit. The environmental impact of recording and touring can be huge, so the aim is to minimise your carbon footprint as much as possible to begin with, then offset what you can't reduce. This comes through in our music as well. You can't help but talk about what you are passionate about.

OYSTERL Is that where Boxwars came into it?

CHRIS: Yeah we used them for the film clip. These guys are obsessed with cardboard. They basically make really intricate weapons and armour out of cardboard and go to a park and beat the shit out of each other until everything is destroyed, then get drunk. It's every five-year-old boys dream. They designed our costumes and weapons, and the people we are beating up in the clip? That's them. It was great that they could be a part of it.

CANDICE: I still have cardboard burn around my stomach from that day. It was great to work with them, they make the most elaborate and intricate costumes and props and it's all sustainable.

OYSTER: How did you come up with the name Metals?

CHRIS: It was after weeks of debate and conversations actually. We had a friend who had spoken to something called a 'trend forecaster'. Apparently in the eighties, band names were all about animals and colour, in the nineties it was more organically based, and in the noughties and into the future, it is meant to be all about metals. So we thought well, we'll just be ahead of the game and call ourselves 'Metals'. Metal is cool stuff too, it's the only thing that you can really transform. You can take a really aggressive, destructive piece of metal, melt it down and form it into a pretty vase.

OYSTER: How did you guys end up working together?

CHRIS: It was a series of events that just fell into place. We were collaborating within Digital Primate, and we created a lot of songs that just didn't fit. I was in a band twenty years ago, then I went into techno which I still love, but I had this passionate yearning to be a rock star. I want to be in a band! I want to play bass!

CANDICE: It was really the opposite for me, I came from a band, and my music has always been really organic, and our sound has a lot of digital elements to it which is completely new to me.

CHRIS: We are a band with benefits!

CANDICE: Hmmm that sounds... interesting.