Coming Of Age; An Interview with Jake Webb of Methyl Ethel

Methyl Ethel’s own Jake Webb looked towards the creation of Triage as a sense of closure.  The previous two albums of Methyl Ethel have been dark and obscured, while being expressive.  As Webb reached his thirtieth birthday, the work for Triage signifies him coming of age; referencing snapshots and memories that they have become.  

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with the Perth, Australia musician to discuss the latest album and much more.

The project started in the friendly confines of your bedroom.  What was it that led you up to wanting to add the others?

I was asked by our local radio station to play a fundraiser show. Being a fan of the station I thought I’d do something special and put together a band for it. METHYL ETHEL has had one foot in the live band world ever since.

Blending the older generation of music with new, what fascinates the band about going towards that direction?

It’s all relevant. It’s not even that we view music through a linear lens, that is to say, the best music is timeless. The smart approach when making music is to blend old and new technologies, compositional and production techniques. Meta-Modernist oscillation, or something like that.

How prominent was music in your home growing up? 

I think growing up in a place where everything is a good 20 min – 3.5 hr drive away a great amount of music is consumed on long car rides. Every happy memory from my childhood is accompanied by good music. I’m grateful that Mum and Dad had good taste too. Well, for the most part. 

What was the one artist/band that truly made you look at music differently than most?

Probably most of the proto-punk bands of the late 70’s. Television, Talking Heads, Pere Ubu, Suicide. Of course Kraftwerk were big for me too.

Being a full-fledged band for a handful of years now, what are some of the things that you are now discovering about one another?

I think we’ve just grown into a pseudo family. You understand each other’s idiosyncrasies and how to navigate them all. I find myself occasionally apologising for my foibles that, after years of touring, I’ve discovered about myself.

You were asked about the thought about uprooting from Perth in an interview a couple of years ago. You answered that you weren’t necessary giving the idea much thought.  Do you and the members of the band feel that there’s pressure to leave ever?

I’m trying to get everyone to move to Toronto.

How often is writing being done?  Do you find yourselves constantly working on new material?

All the time, as much as is possible.

What’s the meaning behind the naming of the new album?

It’s about sorting through things in a calculated way. The album is like a group of songs pleading their case, vying for attention. 

I read that there’s a sense of closure with the new album.  What do you mean by that?

I just feel like I’ve gained a sense of perspective about how I’ve been writing over the last few years. I only realised this when I listened back to the completed album. It’s nice to feel a natural pull toward a new direction without it being too forced. The changes, however, are probably not going to be too drastic. We’ll see.

How long did the writing process for Triage take?

It was spread out in between tours over the last couple of years, but it really only took a couple of months to get it all together. The majority of it was written/recorded between Jan 2018 to April 2018.

Having been experimenting with different elements in the band’s efforts, does it feel like the surface has only been touched slightly with where you want to take it?

I think so, there’s still a lot I’d like to try within the music world. Whether with this band or something else.

There are some upcoming dates where the band will be performing here in the States.  What are some of things about the US are you most looking forward to?

I think the landscape of the United States is incredible. Seeing it all, even through a van window, is always a pleasure. 

What’s the future for the band hold?

Hopefully good times with great friends, old and new.

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