Coming as a shock to literally no-one, the new album from Methyl Ethel is a fiercely poignant, eccentric masterstroke from the minds of Perth's most peculiar art-rock fivesome. Their third LP in total with a gargantuan theatre tour in its support lined up for June, Triage is as musically dense as it is danceable. Keen to learn more about how it went from embryonic to anthemic, we caught up with frontman Jake Webb.
How did you want to evolve your musicianship with, or build creatively on what you’d established Methyl Ethel to sound like with this record?
Just basically work at the finer compositional elements of the songs. Building complex harmonies, but try to keep things simple in general.
Did you approach the creative processes in any new ways, or try to shake things up with how you brought the songs together as opposed to how you would in the past?
I’ve just been trying to question whether the first thought is always the best. Sometimes, if I force myself to take a little more time, there will come a better way of doing something.
I read that a lot of this album was either written in solitude, or while you were in the midst of touring. How does your creative mindset differ between those environments?
It’s all an escape – on the road it’s just as solo as it is at home. Songwriting and production is a joy for me, so it all helps to balance out the grind of touring.
What were your highlights from the studio sessions for this album? Did you have any experiences that especially stood out?
Nothing I can think of in particular, apart from working with Marta Salogni. That was really great fun.
Did you have the live show in mind when you were writing the album?
I avoid thinking about the live show at all costs when writing. The show has, after the fact, come together really well. I’m very happy with how the songs are sounding with the band.
What guitars were you wielding in the studio?
I’ve got a bit of a Frankenstein Stratocaster and a Japanese Jaguar that get a bit of use depending on the situation. Mostly I use my Rickenbacker though. The effects are usually just delay and compression. I track a lot of small guitar parts – I have a loose rule of no chords, too.
How about onstage?
Rickenbacker, JC-120, delay, reverb, drive, fuzz harmoniser... The usual guitar jock kind of stuff.
Do you have a go-to guitar at the moment?
I’m really happy with what I have at the moment. Nothing I’m swooning over.
Saturday June 15th - Astor Theatre, Perth WA
Friday June 21st - Forum Theatre, Melbourne VIC
Saturday June 22nd - Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW
Thursday June 27th - The Gov, Adelaide SA
Friday June 28th - The Triffid, Brisbane QLD