INTERVIEW: Methyl Ethel

Honored as one of the 10 most promising new bands by Rolling Stone, Australian trio Methyl Ethel had their first Seattle gig at Barboza on March 30th. The band started as a solo home recording project by guitarist Jake Webb, along with his friends Thom Stewart and Chris Wright. Whether you love indie-pop, dream-pop, chillwave, or psychedelic, their fresh debut Oh Inhuman Spectacle (released by 4AD) will be a good fit for you. We sat down with Jake for a short interview.


 

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Q: Is your first US tour?
Jake: Yes, we are so excited to be traveling around the country. We just came here last October for CMJ, but other than that we have not been here for a tour. We started up in New York and we made our way to Chicago, then Austin for SXSW, and Denver. We got stuck in the snow and did not make it to Salt Lake City, but we headed to Boise, San Francisco, and L.A. Now we are in Seattle for our last show.

Q: It’s great to have you here in Seattle.
Jake: Yes, good to be here.

Q: Which city do you like the best?
Jake: L.A. seems pretty fun. I like New York. All the places kind of have their own little magic which is good.

Q: I hope you will like Seattle too. You guys are one of the best new bands this year, for sure. But how did you guys get started?
Jake: Well, it’s kind of Frankenstein. We knew each other from Perth and started recording the music in my house. And we kind of started from there.

Q: It sounds like you guys want to form a garage band at first.
Jake: Not really. It is just like a recording process, making songs.

Q: Any influences you’d like to talk about?
Jake: Uh… I don’t know. I guess I am influenced by anything and everything. I guess that the thing I always come back to is a little old. I listen to lots of classical music, I suppose. Also I love pop music, but I like to be a bit symptomatic.

Q: I really like your new album Oh Inhuman Spectacle, especially the gloomy dream-pop sounds along with the chillwave. But the title sounds like a very serious and philosophical. Can you tell us how did you guys come up with this album? And what are you guys trying to discuss with this album?
Jake: This title comes from a philosophy lecturer, an American philosophy professor. But I forgot his name. He was talking about jobs paradox. I suppose that the title Oh Inhuman Spectacle is a way that pulls all the songs together. It is talking about, some sort of, the public and the private and the interplay between the two.

Q: I really like the song “Twilight Diving”, which is definitely the lead song of the album. Can you tell me more about the song?
Jake: I had a demo in my computer, and tried to put the chords and contexts together. I wrote down the stuff came up to my head and the chords. The chords came off first and the lyrics are kind of fun. I tried to write the song around the chords, which is a good way to do it sometimes. That’s the way it happened. I spent a lot of time, f a few hours, driving down south to Perth where I live in. It is very dangerous when you driving in the country roads, because the kangaroos will jump out into the road. It is pretty intense. Drive and think about that feeling, you know. The song is about that kind of feeling.

Q: What are your favorite songs other than “Twilight Diving” off the new album?
Jake: Uh, there are a few. But I actually haven’t thought about that! I’m pretty much finishing the next album, which has my favorite song at the moment.

Q: How’s your next album?
Jake: It is sort of an evolution from the first one in a little way. I just try to make some new music, and the upcoming one will be finished on May. I am really enjoying it.


 

WEIHAO (MELVIN) YUEN | KXSU Assistant Music Director

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