Methyl Ethel: ‘There are fault lines that run through all of us’

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Methyl Ethel: ‘There are fault lines that run through all of us’

Methyl Ethel

Following Jake Webb's performance as part of the inaugural Splendour XR, today sees Methyl Ethel unveil their new single and music video for ‘Matters’.

Methyl Ethel bring us a synth-heavy 1980s-inspired ‘Matters’, which utilises Webb’s falsetto to full effect to create a catchy, effervescent indie-pop tune.

“I was living in LA while writing this song,” says Webb. “After being there a while, I realised that I knew nothing about what to do if there was an earthquake.

What you need to know

  • Methyl Ethel have released new single ‘Matters’
  • It’s slightly reminiscent of Metronomy, synths and falsettos abound
  • Webb wrote it about ever-present danger in Los Angeles.

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“It occurred to me that there is the ever-present danger lurking beneath your feet. It’s just something you have to learn to live with, this aura of danger.

“There are fault lines that run through all of us, threatening to open when we least expect. As the world begins to reckon with a certain cracking of the foundations, I thought it would be interesting to explore the frenetic, reactive feeling, of danger.”

Of ‘Matters’ glitchy music video, Webb explains, “I love how powerful the cameras in our pockets are. It’s amazing how quick on the draw people can be when there is something to document.

“I guess, everything has value as an image on the internet. I thought it would be interesting if we (the band and I) basically all filmed a video from our perspective.”

“The song deals with the idea of something catastrophic looming over you. What better way to represent that frenetic, anxious feeling than with shaky phone footage. So, we taped our phones to our chests and shot a video in a cellar in 2 hours. It’s instant and, I think, echoes the reaction a lot of people have to catastrophe, they pull out their phones.”

Director Duncan Wright (Pond, San Cisco) elaborates, “Jake and I were really interested in creating a video clip which felt quite intense and claustrophobic while also pushing the bounds of phone camera technology and live performance video. We filmed in the cellar of a wine-store and taped the band members’ phones to their clothes, recording from their point of view. A lighting crew lit the cellar with harsh pulsing lights which really pushed the cameras video capture capabilities. I then played with various techniques in post-production to distort the image further, creating this complex yet visually intriguing live clip.”

‘Matters’ follows on from recent single Neon Cheap’, which is approaching one million streams and saw Methyl Ethel sell out multiple headline shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as two additional Sydney shows as part of Vivid Sydney. All shows have now been postponed; new dates will be forthcoming.

Methyl Ethel—the nom de plume of West Australian songwriter, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jake Webb—makes music that draws from myriad influences and a history of new wave and indie rock, whilst sounding like its own thing entirely. Both familiar and alien, intimate and aloof, you never quite know what you’re in for, but the trip is bound to be enchanting.

He’s now released three albums (2015’s Oh Inhuman Spectacle, 2017’s Everything Is Forgottenand 2019’s Triage) and three EPs (2014’s Teeth and Guts, 2020’s Hurts To Laugh), attracting two Australian Music Prize nominations, a top 5 Hottest 100 placement with the ARIA Platinum single Ubu, an ARIA Gold single in Twilight Driving and an AIR Best Independent Album award for Everything Is Forgotten.

Perhaps most interestingly, over the years, Methyl Ethel has evolved from a solo bedroom recording project into what is now a seven-piece live band, touring extensively at home and abroad.

‘Matters‘ is out now via Future Classic.