Metric are a band with an eclectic, adventurous outlook, whose music encompasses elements of synth pop, new wave, dance-rock, and electronica and whose hometown has vacillated between Toronto, Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, and London over the course of the group's existence. Metric's story began in 1998, when vocalist/keyboardist Emily Haines met guitarist James Shaw in Toronto, Canada. Although born in New Delhi, Haines -- the daughter of Paul Haines, a Canadian-American poet best known for his collaboration with jazz artist Carla Bley -- had moved to town by the age of three. While studying at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, a high school for aspiring artists in Toronto, she met fellow students Amy Millan and Kevin Drew, future members of Stars and Broken Social Scene. After attending university in Vancouver and Montreal, she returned to Toronto in 1997 and eventually crossed paths with the British-born Shaw, who'd relocated to Toronto following three years of study at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. Haines and Shaw discovered they were musically simpatico and began writing songs together.
During a sojourn in Montreal, Haines and Shaw began recording demos of the material that would become Metric's debut EP, Mainstream. After its release in 1998, the two relocated to Brooklyn, New York, and collaborated occasionally with Torquil Campbell and Chris Seligman of the group Stars, which later included Amy Millan. After cutting more demos using synths and a drum machine, they were scouted by representatives of a major music publisher who flew them to London to work with producer Stephen Hague. Haines and Shaw combined the London-recorded tracks with material they cut in Brooklyn, and the results formed Metric's first full-length album, Grow Up and Blow Away. In 2000, Metric returned to the United States to sign a deal with Restless Records, but shortly before the album was scheduled for release in 2001, Restless was bought out by Rykodisc, and under the new ownership the Metric album we