Methyl Ethel On Their Next Album: "It's already coming in to shape."
They've just released a stellar second album, but Jake Webb is already looking to the next one.
Today sees the release of Methyl Ethel's new album, Everything Is Forgotten, and to the surprise of not many of us, it's a fantastic follow-up to their 2015 debut, Oh Inhuman Spectacle. Written and recorded by frontman Jake Webb, it feels slightly more upbeat than its predecessor, but still filled with the quirky, off-kilter pop sounds their rapidly-growing fanbase have come to love over the past couple of years.
Whereas album #1 was very much Webb's own beast, this time around the album was brought to life by revered British producer James Ford, who in the past has worked with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Foals, and you may also know as one half of Simian Mobile Disco. We had the chance to chat with Webb a few weeks out from today's release, where we discussed working with Ford, his desire to tour overseas as much as possible, and about the next album - which is already well under way.
Everything Is Forgotten is out now Dot Dash/Remote Control Records. Methyl Ethel join Groovin The Moo touring the country nationally next month, and will be playing album launch shows in May (dates down the bottom).
Jake Webb on album #1 vs album #2:
I guess the only difference between album one and two was that I knew it would get released in some sort of capacity. But I similarly would have begun working on more music as soon as the first one was done. Whatever those songs become I don’t really know. Sometimes they don’t seem like they’re even going to be... well they never start out feeling like Methyl Ethel songs, or what previous albums sound like. Because I’ve scratched the itch of wanting to do something different. But it doesn’t take much to reign it in and make it at least fit with previous stuff.
On being the driving force behind Methyl Ethel:
Yeah I make the music, and we all together produce the live show. It’s not that I want to keep a stranglehold on it all, I guess I just find the time to make the songs you know?
On talking about an album that's been finished for a long time:
I always wanna hear what other people think about it, and their readings of the album. Rather than give mine. That’s the frustrating part, I’ll be asked for a whole year the same questions as to what it all means. But that’s not why I make it. If I wanted it to be specifically about certain things, or if I had political or social issues then I guess I would find it more comfortable to preach that message. But it’s not intentional for this music. The exciting thing is having people listen to it and put their spin on it, even mis-hearing lyrics, that’s as much the fun part of it as anything.
On working with James Ford:
James is such a wizard when it comes to synthesizers and electronic production. It was good fun to be in the control room tracking some of those songs and those parts. The dance element and up-tempo sort of moments were really enjoyable. My process of making records is like, bouncing between two different schools of thought. At least as a reaction to something I’ve just done. So that first album is definitely a lot more down-tempo, so perhaps this time I wanted to make something more up-tempo. Not consciously, it’s just like, ‘I think I might do this now’.
On adding Hamish from HAMJAM to the live band:
It’s great. Hamish is a great musician. And Chris [Wright, drummer] played in The Chemist with him for a bit. So we all know each other, so it’s a great fit. Four members is kinda necessary to play some of these songs. And even some of the old songs needed four people. And the first incarnation was five members. So it’s good to flesh it out again.
On travel and playing to crowds oversease versus Australia:
I like to travel. I like to see the world. And a personal goal for me is that if I want to continue playing music I wanna do it not in Australia. That’s not a wanting to be famous thing or anything. I just want to challenge myself to go further. Not that it’s easy or anything to play shows here. But I would rather play to nobody in a place that I’ve never been before, you know?
You notice when somebody in the middle of nowhere at a random place that you’ve never been, somebody says, 'I really like your record and I came down especially to your show'. That’s what I love about it.
On the time since Everything Is Forgotten was finished, and album #3:
[Everything Is Forgotten has] been in the bag long enough for the next one to be coming in to shape.
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