Perth indie-rock outfit Methyl Ethel have been propelled into the spotlight of the Aussie music scene over the past couple of years. This came off the back of an incredible full-length debut album Oh Inhuman Spectacle, released in 2015. After putting out some EPs prior, it was this album that proved their breakthrough moment and saw them spend much of 2015 and 2016 on the road.
Unlike a lot of burgeoning Aussie acts, Methyl Ethel found themselves touring overseas successfully quite early on in the piece. Their talent has been recognised in quick time back home too, with the three-piece outfit taking out WAMawards in both 2015 and 2016. So it should come as no surprise that they’ve just announced a world tour for 2017, but not before they play a series of Aussie headline shows and sets at Sugar Mountain, Woodford and Lost Paradise.
We caught up with frontman and chief songwriter Jake Webb to chat about the band’s brand new live show, writing new music on the road and why he’s always looking ahead to what’s next without reflecting on what’s gone before.
Music Feeds: You guys are about to embark on an absolutely mammoth tour, that’ll pretty much run for the best part of three months. How do you even go about preparing for being on the road for such a long time?
Jake Webb: Well it’s been good because we’re adding another member to come help out. So we’re in the stages of reworking the whole set, and we’ve got something a bit different to deliver. We’ve sort of been touring the last 12 months as well, as a three-piece. So it’s exciting for us to do some new things. So first and foremost the approach is different, and then it’s just getting everyone to learn the new parts and the nuts and bolts of preparing for the tour.
MF: Has a tour of this scale been in the works for a long time?
JW: The nature of releasing a record is that you’ll have to go on a tour, that just goes with it. So luckily we got a bit of an international team that help us out in different territories. Had we been just working with people in Australia we would’ve probably just toured here, but we’re lucky to have a few people in the UK and US who say ‘come on over here, show us your wares.’ So we’ll head to all of those places.
MF: Where are you looking forward to hitting up the most?
JW: A lot of the venues we’ve actually played before. It’s cool to go back to some places. We just came off tour with a band called Preoccupations, so we saw some of the spots. Every place has a different flavour to it, but I enjoy driving around the states. It’s got a different political climate to it at the moment. But it’ll be good to get back around eastern Australia too.
MF: So the shows you play at Woodford, Lost Paradise and Sugar Mountain in Australia this year will be the new show as well?
JW: Yeah, the show we play at all of those will be the first time we play the new songs off the album to be released in Feb. So until the album comes out that’ll be the only spot you’ll be able to hear our new music.
MF: Are you guys a band that tends to write new material while you’re on the road?
JW: Yeah absolutely. You play your instrument every night and you’re inspired by the music. The last tour I actually did some recordings in the UK on some new stuff. So it’s always nice to bring a little portable station and work on projects. In one facet or another we always tend to tinker away, whether it’s on ProTools in the car or whatever.
MF: Are you guys pretty happy with how the first single ‘No. 28’ has been received so far?
JW: Yeah, it would appear that people don’t hate the song, which is always a good thing. It’s an interesting song. I wanna say I’m surprised that people are so into it but I guess it’s not too radically different from what we’ve put out before. This new record is the first time I’ve made a record that I knew was going to be released as a whole, going into it knowing that I was writing a complete record. So that, straight away, makes it different. The first record’s pretty soupy as well, but the one coming out in Feb is perhaps a little bolder, a little bit more direct. I enjoy making different types of songs and trying different things I guess.
MF: Do you think that given it’s more of a planned project as a whole it’ll be able to be consumed more readily as a whole than your previous work?
JW: I think so. I think the first album did meander quite a bit. I think it was more patched together, even though I set out to make it as cohesive as possible. I guess you’ll have to wait to listen to it. I feel like it’s a good cohesive unit, and I understand it in different ways because I’m pulling the strings. The way I hear it is always going to be different from how you hear it.
MF: This year’s been another awesome year for you guys, and you were up for WAMawards after winning best rock act and best EP last year. How do you feel when you reflect back on the past couple of years?
JW: It’s nice that people are listening to the music; it’s nice to have an audience and to be able to share the music we’ve got. I don’t know that I’ve done much reflection and sit back and put hands on my hips. I’m more just looking forward to the next goal or the next record or the next show. We just want to grow and be able to provide a nice show for people.
You can catch Methyl Ethel at Sugar Mountain, Woodford Folk Festival, and Lost Paradise festivals.
Methyl Ethel 2017 Australian Tour Dates
Saturday, 18th February
Fremantle Arts Centre Courtyard, Perth
Tickets: Official Website
Thursday, 23rd February
Tickets: Official Website
Friday, 24th February
Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Tickets: Official Website
And at these summer festivals…
Tuesday, 27th December – Sunday, 1st January 2017
Woodford Folk Festival, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Tickets: Woodford Folk Festival
Thursday 29th – Saturday 31st December
Glenworth Valley, NSW
Tickets: Lost Paradise
Saturday, 21st January 2017
Sugar Mountain 2017
Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne
Tickets: Sugar Mountain