Andy Metz: V-Neck Wearing Hip Singer/Songwriter With Beautiful Delusions

Andy Metz is unique amongst hip(ster) singer/songwriters. With a range that runs the gamut from folk to hip hop and just about everything in between (except metal – see the interview below), Metz sets himself apart from the cool kids with a voice that communicates something that’s more than soulful or folksy, but takes its cues from both. A Chicagoan via Seattle (essentially the opposite of Eddie Vedder), Andy self-declares his influences more POTUSA (“Lump”) than Seattle grunge. The influence is discernible in his music as some of his subject matter is obviously meant to be darkly (yet intelligently) humorous, while other songs of his betray an almost Neil Young like solemnity. He is at his best when he strikes a compelling combination of the two though. His latest full length release, Delusions, is loaded with songs that do just that.

“Guns,” the album’s standout track melds Metz’s humor and commentary in a way that is reminiscent of the best type of comedian. I’m talking the likes of the late Bill Hicks and the ever sarcastic Denis Leary here (see Metz’s stated affinity for comedy below). With it’s rather uplifting melody, and bitingly satiric lyrics, “Guns” will make you laugh then pause, almost in horror, at your own urge to laugh. It’s the kind of art that elicits two contradictory emotions in you simultaneously while entertaining you at the same time. This kind of art, especially as conveyed through music, is rare these days and signifies Metz as a rare talent.

In the same vein, “Evil,” with its equally brilliant lyrics, chugs along to a piano bar romp, striking the same silly, yet serious, vibe that “Guns” does, although with a little less of a social conscious. Here Metz is simply warning his girl that he probably isn’t the best partner. “You as hot as I’ve ever seen/But you still gonna end up burned” is probably one of the dumbest, yet some how best, lyrics I’ve heard in years. Yeah, that’s probably hyperbole, but damn it struck me as funny as hell. If Metz only wrote “Guns” and “Evil” and retired, he still be worthy of being considered amongst the greatest lyricists to come out of Chicago (more hyperbole).

While Metz might be a master of satire and wit, that aforementioned Neil Young-ish element comes to full fruition in “Witnesses,” the album’s most striking track. Here Metz engages in a seriousness of storytelling that is truly touching and heartbreaking in its quiet, yet serious, earnestness. “I won’t watch my heart break from a distance/I don’t want to be caught up in a cynicism/And I won’t ever view my life as a witness/If I want to live/If I want to live.” Just when I figure that Metz is just another cynical hipster in a v-neck t-shirt, he goes and gets all emotional and poignant and shit. No scratch that, he actually goes and gets brilliant.

Metz has written, and hopefully will continue to write, his little slice of satire songs as well as moving narratives for years to come. Delusions is just the tip of the iceberg of what Metz appears to be capable of, both as a singer and a songwriter.

Being maybe one of the only few hipsters actually hip enough to get away with v-neck t-shirts, Shutter 16 had the pleasure of speaking with the incredibly hip, and incredibly talented, Metz in a wide ranging interview which, like his music, varied widely yet held together thematically, even if we didn’t quite to chat about the aesthetics of v-neck t-shirts.  

Shutter 16: What can we expect out of you throughout  the remainder of your career – and if tomorrow it all ended, what would you want anyone to remember you by?

Andy Metz: That’s a great question. I don’t really have a clear career trajectory. I’ve always assumed that it made the most sense to pick one genre and try to refine my music within it, but I don’t think I’d really enjoy going that route. So, I’m just going to write any type of music I like and hope that other people enjoy it as well. I hope at the end of the day, people remember me as someone who wrote catchy hooks they can’t get out of their head.

Shutter 16: Notoriously people enjoy or detest the actual recording process – where do you stand?

Andy Metz: I don’t detest recording at all, but the process does sometimes make me anxious, especially at first. I get it in my own head that there’s a ticking clock going on how much time I have to get each song right, which is not a great way to approach the recording process. I think one of the keys for me has been to make sure I have people I know and trust as part of the process, and I’ve been lucky enough to have that be the case in the last couple of years.

Shutter 16: There is a climate in America over the past few months that has almost been downright scary, there is a statement on many things just waiting around each corner to talk about and many ways this could go, but would you mind weighing in on what is in your heart right now on any of the looming issues?

Andy Metz: We made a horrific mistake in electing Trump in November, and no part of his presidency so far has dissuaded me from that opinion. I think Trump’s election speaks more to our susceptibility to authoritarianism, even in the United States, which is the most troubling part of all. I have no answer to how exactly this happened, and though it’s some consolation that Trump lost the popular vote, he still did far better than I assumed a fraud like him could.

Shutter 16: Now that we’ve went heavy, let’s loosen up a bit; I’m all about the twang of humor. Who is your favorite comedian?

Andy Metz: I definitely like to have some humor in my music, and I think some of that comes from my early fandom of The Presidents of the United States of America. They broke with the songs, “Lump” and “Peaches,” which both had humor and a certain lightness that I sometimes try to replicate with my music. In terms of favorite comedians, I always enjoy a good standup comic, and Ali Wong is one of my favorites. She had what I think is the best standup special of 2016. I also enjoy sketch comedy, especially being in the Second City/Improv Olympic hotbed of Chicago. The Defiant Thomas Brothers are definitely my favorite sketch comedy duo.

Shutter 16: What is a typical night in the life of Andy Metz…Who is Andy Metz?

Andy Metz: When I’m not working on music, I definitely tend to take it easy. I cook a fair amount and enjoy staying in and watching Netflix or episodes of Dateline with my wife and our dog. I try to make an effort to go out and see local musicians I enjoy as well. I think it’s important to support the local scene as much as possible.

Shutter 16: Do you remember the first song you ever played/learned?

Andy Metz: I don’t remember the first song I ever learned, as it was so very long ago, but when I first started recording my music at around 15 years old, the first cover I recorded was “Out of My Head” by Fastball. It’s a great song, but I didn’t really know how to play guitar at the time, so I recorded one string at a time and layered it. The resulting song was pretty terrible, but I still have it my iTunes library just in case I’m looking for a nostalgia trip.

Shutter 16: You are a true vocalist; who are some others that influence your style, or that you tend to lean toward and search out new stuff by them?

Andy Metz: I try not to model my vocal style after anyone in particular. I just try to sing in a way that comes most naturally to me, which is sometimes singing out of the side of my mouth, sometimes rapping, and sometimes growling or screaming at the top of my range.

Shutter 16: What do you have in store with us this year?

Andy Metz: I’m wrapping up a hip hop mixtape tentatively titled Da Jams: Volume 3, which I felt that I just had to get out of my system after the election. After that, I’ll begin my follow up to my last album, Delusions, which I’ll record in the Summer and Fall and release in early 2018.

Shutter 16: What can we expect out of you throughout  the remainder of your career – and if tomorrow it all ended, what would you want anyone to remember you by?

Andy Metz: That’s a great question. I don’t really have a clear career trajectory. I’ve always assumed that it made the most sense to pick one genre and try to refine my music within it, but I don’t think I’d really enjoy going that route. So, I’m just going to write any type of music I like and hope that other people enjoy it as well. I hope at the end of the day, people remember me as someone who wrote catchy hooks they can’t get out of their head.

 

Shutter 16: Random question time (one word/one phrase answer):  

Worst phrase people overuse lately?

Humbled (people seem to think this means the opposite of what it actually means).

Music genre you never got into?

Metal (one of my good friends keeps trying, but I can’t do it).

Worst smell in the world?  

Excessive body odor.

What is one thing that reminds you of childhood?  

The Seattle SuperSonics (bring them back!)

Something you miss?

The house I grew up in Seattle.

Something you love?

Bob’s Burgers

And lastly – something you cannot live without?  

Moisturizer. I have crazy dry skin all the time.

 

Check out Andy Metz at ReverbNation and his full album, Delusions, available on Apple Music and iTunes.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/2RgqUyqQ816Mg3r6UXqLxU

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