interview stuff: METHYL ETHEL

reppin: perth, australia // 4AD/Dot Dash/Remote Control Records // 2013 - present

sounds like: taking the "Magic School Bus" with Ms. Frizzle out into the vast depths of Earth's atmosphere

lastest album drop: everything is forgotten (march, 2017)

featuring: jake // thom // chris

 methyl ethel | photo cred: issuemagazine.com

methyl ethel | photo cred: issuemagazine.com

WARNING: Before your eyes and ears are on this, put your shades on, maybe twist one up, take your mind to 1963 and get ready for a magical journey that can only be compared to the one “The Dude” takes. What they are saying is true, normal is the new weird. Weird opens the mind, makes us more flexible and accepting of different weird. Weird is beautiful and this music that Methyl Ethel creates is nothing short of beauty. A balance of pop and psychedelic rock that can catch the ear of a human that despises psychedelic shenanigans. How does that make sense?!

These kids truly are blessed musicians filled with individualism and uniqueness that shines through each track they produce...and there are a lot of them. Having put their stamp in their hometown of Perth, they are just the latest example of awesome “band x” killing it in music. Like for cereal, Australia’s scene is amazing right now whether it is punk rock, indie or something a bit more experimental.

Last month I caught singer and guitarist, Jake Webb, on the cellular as they were in the vast grasslands of Iowa en route to Minneapolis before rocking out the Empty Bottle here in Chicago. Just from the sheer bliss of their sound, I knew there was a deeper meaning behind how they create these songs. Well, I sure as heck found out what it was all about. Feel free to read to yourself in an Australian accent.

Interview Stuff

Love the little drips of pop and psychedelic in your sound. Where does the sound originate from and what did you combine from that 50s/60s era to make it your own?

So the jumping off there. I just draw from whatever I sort of listen to as well as my musical knowledge. There is never a really a choice to reference anything. I mean what goes are kinda like what I’m feeling in the moment and what is around me and what I enjoy.

 methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

Me: I like to try and at least put the reader in this bucket of the type of music it is going to be, but I understand that is not the basis for how you are writing and trying to sound. If anything, your sound is super original.

Hey, thanks. You know I find it very fun to record and write music. It’s kinda this back and forth of subconsciously referencing things that are around me and that I’m going through. Okay I could that, that sounds nice.

Me: You seem like you have a great grasp of organized chaos of how to write a song. Is this a slow build or does it come out all at once?

It is just feel. The songwriting and recording go hand in hand a lot more lately. I’m more inspired these days by trying to pull melodies and incorporate progressions from other vast types of sounds rather than just sort of sitting down and just writing. So when I sit down I am not writing with this harmonic structure in mind. I think that is where the chaos is being organized. It is more inspiring to me to create music like that rather than just writing and sitting down.

How do you channel your sound into the live show? What is going through your mind as you are looking into the audience..what do you want them to experience? (Note: They were in the middle and still are of a pretty large scale worldwide tour)

I think at the moment our show, we kinda toured all of last year as well. Then the album came out and we had a bit of time off in the winter period. With this new record, we’ve added another member and flushed it out. As it stands, it is kinda of taster for what is to come in the future. When we leave the states I think we’ll flush the show out a bit more. We got a bit of everything from all the areas of each member. There is a lot more that we’d like to do. We are constantly tweaking the show, I could get into the nuts and bolts and technically aspect of it, but that would get boring. We definitely have this idea of delivering the record in a 3D way. I think we have been quite successful in bringing the sums of this new record to life, I’m really happy with it.

Me: I haven’t seen you all live yet, but just kinda trying to envision your record coming to life, I can see how maybe you can perk the ears of the common individual who may not know what you are all about.

 methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

The parameters that we work with as well are always changing. We play bigger venues in Australia, smaller ones in the states and mixed ones in Europe. I don’t want to have three different shows and have to dial back when we play smaller ones. The same show in Chicago should be the same show that we play in Sydney. It is about not getting too ahead of ourselves and being patient. We don’t want to move too quickly

It seems like there has been just year after year of pushing out some solid records? How do you all grow as a band as you are constantly writing music? Are there moment that stand out where you thought, yes, this is the next step?

Well for me it is the only the constant, is making more music. It makes me feel better about having an album out there and knowing I have a follow up on the way. So, at the same time, whenever I am, whether in the back of a van or at home, being able to work on music constantly keeps me sane. Who knows how many records I’ll make either so strike while the iron is hot. I’m still loving it so why not.

 methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

I think a lot of people work real hard to get to where they are. I think the work justifies the opportunity you have and it just balances out.

Lets talk about your lyrics. Who writes, where do they drive from and how do you want your fans to take it in?

They definitely supposed to be interpreted. I suppose they are just based off of personal things and relationship based as those are great sources for inspiration. But then at the same time I am trying to spend more time constructing in writing and with the lyrics. I think my first record was more stream of conscious writing. I’m working on more of a cerebral approach and I think there are definitely things that I have put in there, but at the same time they are very open and are supposed to read in multiple ways.

Me: I love when lyrics are interpreted openly. It makes me think about songs I loved in high school and how those tracks have a totally different meaning now than they did in the past.

Yea, I mean we kind of live in world that is so clearly defined. We can find out everything and so much detail. So, to be able to leave some mystery in things, it’s kind of nice given the context.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

That’s a tough question (laughs). Well...I don’t know, I’m going to have a think about it. There are definitely some physical places I can see it taking people to, but I think I should have another listen to the record and get back to you. I haven’t actually listened to it in quite some time.

Side note: So - I was not able to connect with Jake at the show, but as you can see I did some deep thinking. Jake, there is still time to think of one!

suggested listening experience: getting through the day at work // sunny saturday afternoon around the house // twist one up and relax

listens: ubu // no. 28 // twilight driving // idee fixe // rouges // l'heure des sorcieres // drink wine

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