Interview: Methyl Ethel

Words by Nadia von Bertouch.

I’m sitting in the middle of Adelaide’s insane heatwave with only a Kmart fan on rotate to save me, while Methyl Ethel front man Jake Webb is relaxing in his much more temperate home town of Perth. He tells me he’s going make the road trip down to his parents’ house after this interview, taking a much deserved break before the release of Methyl Ethel’s forthcoming album, Everything is Forgotten.

Since forming the band in 2013, Jake has been the musical mastermind behind some of Methyl Ethel’s biggest tunes like Rogues and Twilight Driving. Although Jake has said that he strives for the band to continue creating new, dynamic sounds with their music, ‘Everything is Forgotten’ promises to provide the same perfectly crafted melodies and catchy pop essence. The band have already given us a taste of what’s to come with the early release of two singles from the album, No.28 and my favourite, Ubu – a track that is near impossible to listen to without getting it stuck in your head.

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I talked to Jake about the release of Everything is Forgotten, life in Perth and about their upcoming world tour, this is what went down:

Congratulations on the upcoming release of Everything is Forgotten!

We’ve already been given two of the title tracks No. 28, and Ubu which is currently gracing radio airways, what has the response been like to these tracks? Was it what you’d expected?

I can’t say I ever expect anything as far as people receiving it goes. It’s nice that people are into it, without sounding too pessimistic!’

It’s nice. Surprising, and nice.

What are some of the other tunes on the album that your most excited for fans to get a listen to?

I think having people listen to the whole record from start to finish will be really good. With albums, people say that they’re in this shuffle stage of dying out but I think the record is a full piece of work. Some songs of the record I personally like are Summer Moon, and a song we’ve been playing live at the last few shows called L’Heure des Sorcière.

Some of the song titles from the album have quite foreign sounding names, you’ve got French, Japanese and the final track Schlager which is German for pop music right?

Is that just for the sake of having catchy track names or do they kind of influence the story behind each of the tracks?

Probably both. Putting titles to songs is always good fun to do, and there’s that magician thing of misdirection, but they definitely do all have a reference point that ties into it. Whether it’s a joke or just a way of saying something but kind of disguising it, it makes them a little ambiguous.

You say you want Methyl Ethel’s music to speak for itself, do you think Everything is Forgotten is able to do that? What kind of message or thoughts would you ideally want the listeners to take away from the album?

People can take what they want, love it or hate it. They can put themselves and their own voices into the record. I try to promote the character and voice of the record as its own thing rather than making every record being autobiographical. I write from experience but that doesn’t necessarily mean writing my life into my songs.

Following that, do you think your sound has changed since previous albums?  

I think the sound – hopefully – always changes. I try to evolve and do things differently out of boredom. I always think things sound wildly different, but it’s people I show my music to that say it still sounds like me.

Will that also be reflected in your stage performances when you tour the album?

We’ve grown into a four piece now so we’ll be touring with an extra person. Hopefully it will fill a few more gaps.

Your world tour begins next month, what are some of the places you’re excited to play and how has your music been received overseas?

It’s been received well. People come to our shows and they don’t throw things at us so that’s good. I’m looking forward to going to Germany. You get to go around and meet some people here and there and make new friends. It’s nice to be able to say “we’ll see you soon!”

You’re returning to Aus in April to play Groovin the Moo alongside a sweet line up, what are you most excited about the festival and what acts are you super excited to see play?

Who are you excited to see play?

Everyone I guess, and you guys of course!

It’ll be nice to see if The Darkness are still kicking it as high as they used to. I’m not sure how the line “get your hands off my woman motherfucker” will go down in today’s current class.

The tour finishes off in Bunbury, I’m sure playing in front of your home state of WA is always a highlight. what is the music scene like there, do you think it differs from other cities?

I played a show in Bunbury supporting our good friends San Cisco, and they had to shut down the venue because there was someone running down the street with a hammer… So that’s about the extent of my experience of Bunbury. I think it’s (Perth) really good, there’s amazingly talented people here, and some great bands.

You might have got this question before but the line that repeats in Ubu ‘Why’d you have to go and cut your hair’, is that a literal question from something that really happened or more of just a metaphor for something else?

Well if I was to answer that it would be cheating, wouldn’t it? It’s not for me to say – who knows, maybe it will change the world one day!

 

Everything is Forgotten is set to be released on Friday March the 3rd.

You can catch Methyl Ethel live on every corner of the globe during their world tour, or when they return to home turf to play Groovin the Moo.

 

 

 

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