Ohbijou have looked to their hometown of Toronto for inspiration since their 2006 debut, but it was time to become a little more worldly for ‘Metal Meets.’
"It’s something we’ve never explored before, that desire to expedite my cultural background," singer Casey Mecija, a first-generation Canadian of Filipino decent, tells Spinner.
This new outlook was inspired both by Mecija’s work as a coordinator at a Filipino arts center and with her recent sociology and equity studies at the University of Toronto — and, of course, the band’s recent globetrotting.
"I’m glad that it impacted our writing," she says. "It added more depth to our record."
After touring Asia for the first time last year with Ohbijou in support of 2009’s ‘Beacons,’ Mecija and sister/bandmate Jenny have an even stronger desire to visit their parent’s homeland. “Jenny hasn’t been and I haven’t been since I was a baby,” says Mecija, who laments the fact they never actually it made it to the country on that jaunt.
There are plans to hit the Philippines this time around, though, as Mecija is proud to showcase the band’s most adventurous release yet.
'Metal Meets' has a “bolder and more ethereal” quality, a shift which comes from enlisting the production wizardry of Besnard Lakes frontman Jace Lasek. “We were coming up with a lot of atmospheric sounds and just thought of Jace because, obviously, the Besnard Lakes is this tripped-out, amazing, electronically-resonant band,” Mecija says. “We had never met him but as soon as we did there was instant chemistry.”
The end result was just what the band needed — a grander sound, fuelled by Lasek’s production cues. “He knows how to get really good sounds out of his studio. He was so easy to work with, he just took what we had and added more. If we could hang out with him every day, we would.”
Though working with Lasek meant heading to Montreal to bunker down in his Breakglass Studios, Mecija and her Ohbijou bandmates are still tapped into Toronto’s tight-knit music scene, a community which has fostered the careers of Austra, Timber Timbre and Diamond Rings.
"It’s really exciting to see what our friends are accomplishing," Mecija says.
- Published October 14, on Spinner