Writing to you from Berlin on an early Spring day

Writing to you from Berlin on an early Spring day

April 20th, 2016

no artist tolerates reality


Writing to you from Berlin on an early Spring day. Every tree and every flower is about to burst into bloom.


It’s only been a couple weeks since we finished our North American headlining tour but emotionally I’m worlds away. It’s not a choice, it’s a matter of functional necessity. Getting off the road and adapting to daily life can be really disorienting. It’s best to get over it quickly by doing 5000 loads of laundry and paying 5000 bills and shoveling 5000 feet of April snow and just generally compensating for the lack of external activity with an unparalleled commitment to domesticity. To quote the great Paul Haines poem…. In its own momentous way/ An uneventful day.


The show we created with our crew for the “I Can See The End” and “Lights on The Horizon” tours took us to another level. For the first time in my life I didn’t want the tour to end. Instead of coming home exhausted, I came home energized. It was so fucking weird. I felt like what we built together with the audience was strong enough to withstand 100 years on Broadway, which roughly translates to 3 months in Vegas. (Take your pick, I’m on the fence).


There’s so much to be legitimately bummed out about at any given moment, but waking up in the “morning” knowing I was going to be playing this show for our fans every night? It restored a lot of the basic joy I feared had faded from my life forever. That creeping feeling of everything diminishing, that sensation that’s the opposite of learning to ride a bicycle, (FYI it’s a skill that’s supposed to stay with you forever), that draining feeling had latched onto me of late and I feared it was never going to subside. To quote the great Leonard Cohen poem….And thanks/ For the trouble you took from her eyes/ I thought it was there for good/ So I never tried.


With the help of Plus1.org, the band donated $1 from every ticket sold on these tours to 350.org in the US and to The David Suzuki Foundation in Canada. Plus 1 was founded by our neighbours in Arcade Fire. Regine shouted us out at the Junos in her Humanitarian Award acceptance speech and I’m told she broke through in her message to the perhaps boozy and potentially inattentive awards show crowd. Bravo Regine! Our tour raised over $80K in support of these essential environmental organizations who are committed to promoting divestment from fossil fuels and leaving what’s left of the plague in the ground. And even though we’re told every day that nothing we do will ever be enough, we have to remember that something is not nothing. So I feel really good about this and I hope more bands will sign on.


Want to know some other reasons why I came home from tour feeling fantastic instead of hollow? Well, for one, we shared the stage with bands we respect and got to hear them play their hearts out every night. We sold more tickets than ever, despite the fact that this is technically not our moment. We freed ourselves of the assembly line meet & greet formula and created a VIP experience that started out as a backstage sing-a-long and ended up becoming a chance to be part of an on-stage choir with the band. Also, I found out there are a considerable number of people in the world who have tattooed my lyrics onto their bodies. This made me feel “important” and a little bit guilty. We were given hand-written letters describing in intricate detail the ways our music has woven through peoples’ lives. A guy proposed to his boyfriend backstage and we all stood in a circle around them singing “Dreams So Real” acoustic as they kissed. I could go on, but I won’t, because sometimes it’s good to be selfish with your memories in this age of branded over-sharing.


I love Berlin so I think I’m going to stay here for a while. I love Toronto in a different way and it’ll be great to come back and play Wayhome Festival. We’re on right before LCD. It’s gonna be so fun, all our brains are gonna maybe pop. I’m told that Tier 2 General Admission tickets are sold out, but there’s a special exclusive ticket deal in place for Metric fans, (and by extension any voyeuristic trolls receiving this newsletter.) Get your Tier 2 tickets here until Friday.


See you in the mix of sun and clouds!


Your faithful bard,
Xo emily