When Markus Gmür (vocals, acoustic guitar) and José Garrido (guitar, bass, drums) reunited this year, they started to combine their talents for the wide-ranging sound of Metrophobia. Drawing on influences that range from alternative rock to grunge and noise pop, they are unleashing their sound with their debut album Silent Treatment. A hopeful and interesting start to their musical journey, the album uses basic sounds to provide a powerful sound. We had the chance to chat with both members of the band about their debut album, musical influences, creative processes and much more!
OSR: You worked together on a couple of projects before, but what had you reconnect for this project?
José: After our last project together, Mark moved to Spain (Barcelona) to study design. A few months ago, I recovered some recordings from our last band and decided to re-mix and master them. It took me some time as the quality of the recording was not that good. I sent them to the members of the band as a “souvenir”. A couple of weeks later, someone suggested: “Why don’t we try to record something new”!
OSR: Your debut album Silent Treatment wraps listeners in a variety of sounds, but what is the backstory or theme behind it?
José: There is no real theme behind it. We just wanted to do the music that we liked. Every song originates from the various influences that we have in common, across different styles. In the end, I believe that they go very well together. The most important thing is that we did what we liked.
Mark: Deep down, I’m a romantic. I don’t want to change the world, and I have nothing to claim. When I write a song, I like to talk about human relations, and feelings.
OSR: Through the album, you bring a modern touch to a slightly retro sound. Was this the sound you imagined when you first started working on the album?
José: At the beginning, we didn’t really know what we were going to do. The first song we did was ‘How Long’. Mark sent me a few tracks of the song as a rough idea, to see what we could come up with. It was too “pop”, too “nice” for me, not really my type of music. So, I decided to go in the opposite direction, adding a lot of noisy guitars, distorted bass, rich and full-on drums, to change the dynamic and feel of the song. We both loved the end result.
OSR: What do you feel has influenced your music the most?
Mark: I love lo-fi bands. Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, Tobin Spout have a massive influence on my music.
José: My main influences come from the indie and alternative scene of the ’90s: Catherine Wheel, Ride, Pixies, Bivouac, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Smudge, Dinosaur Jr. I love when there is a wall of noise coming from the guitars and melodies coming from every instrument, guitar, bass, vocals and drums.
OSR: There is a very powerful feeling to your music throughout the album. How easy or difficult did you find it to bring the message you wanted into the tracks?
Mark: In the band and in life in general, I’m a positive person, optimistic, taking things as they come, and not worrying about the future. José is kind of the opposite, more introverted and pessimistic. In the end, I believe we can hear this in our music, with the soft vocals and love lyrics, and the dark and gritty guitars, and angry rhythm.
OSR: What was your creative process for the album? Did you start with one track and work from there?
José: Usually, one of us would bring a rough idea, the other one would add his part, and we would go back and forth, changing the structure and the arrangements, until we were happy with the result.
OSR: If people could only listen to one track from the album, which would you recommend?
Mark: I would pick ‘How Long’ because it’s a great song and was the first brick, the foundation of this new adventure. But as I love lo-fi, ‘Everything Goes To Hell’ would be a close call.
José: Very difficult choice, as everybody has different tastes in music. I think ‘Fire’ would be the one I would recommend, as it’s one of my favourites. But depending on the person, I might choose a different song, like ‘Missing’, slow, powerful, and full of noise.
OSR: While music always has different meanings for different people, what would you like people to feel while listening to the album?
José: I would like people to enjoy our music, and to be surprised every time they listen to a new song. Discover all the interlaid melodies from different instruments when listening for the second or third time. People should listen with their heart, their feelings. Who cares if it’s not perfect, as long as they enjoy it!
Mark: Everybody wants to put a tag on a song: “What style is it”? To be fair, I don’t really know what category our music falls under, and in the end, it doesn’t really matter, as long as people enjoy it and we love making it.
OSR: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when creating this album?
José: As I’m working full time, I would often work on the album until late at night. However, as I love making music, this was not an issue, but I would end up very tired the next morning. The biggest issue starts after the creation of the album. As we don’t make mainstream music, the choices of radios that would play our song are very limited. There are so many albums being released every day, that it is very difficult to be noticed. Sometimes, people only listen to 30 seconds of a song to make an opinion.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the coming 12 months?
José: We’re currently working on a few new songs, and are planning on releasing 1 to 2 singles very soon.