Image & Video by Jan-Willem Dikkers
“Methyl Ethel started as a recording project that,
out of necessity, morphed into a live group.
—Jake WebbThe name is chemical-based anthropomorphism.” — Jake Webb
A trio formed in Perth, Australia, Methyl Ethyl includes members Jake Webb, Chris Wright and Thom Stewart. Beginning as Webb’s solo project, Methyl Ethel’s releases include the EP diptych Teeth and Guts (2014) as well as the debut album Oh Inhuman Spectacle (2015). The band is signed to 4AD.
Hailing from Perth in the isolated western region of Australia, Methyl Ethel has expanded from Jake Webb’s 2013 bedroom project to a fully-fledged band including Chris Wright and Thom Stewart. Their debut album, 2015’s Oh Inhuman Spectacle, began one summer in various bedrooms, friends’ studios and a muggy storefront inhabited by Webb for a time. A showcase for the frontman’s gentle, androgynous vocals, Oh Inhuman Spectacle followed two experimental pop EPs, Teeth and Guts, released in quick succession. The band has since toured with fellow Australian Courtney Barnett, and were shortlisted for the 2016 Australian Music Prize.
Methyl Ethel performed for us as they passed through Los Angeles on tour, and Webb took our questionnaire.
Where are you from?
Perth, Western Australia.
When did you start making music?
Probably when I was eight or nine.
Who did you listen to growing up and who is your music influenced by today?
As with most kids, I listened to my parents’ musical tastes, which were good in my opinion: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Neil Young etc. Nowadays, I’m influenced by the old and new—a mix of avant-garde and melodically-sensitive music.
How would you describe your musical genre or style?
How did you decide that this is what you were going to do?
I still don’t know if it is what I am going to do.
“I’m influenced by the old and new—
a mix of avant-garde
and melodically-sensitive music.”
— Jake Webb
What’s the story behind the forming of and name Methyl Ethel?
It started as a recording project that, out of necessity, morphed into a live group. The name is chemical-based anthropomorphism.
How does it feel to have finished your debut album? What was the process like?
The album was finished quite a while ago. I’ve almost finished the next one. The process is what I enjoy the most. It involves a lot of time spent alone.
What cities or venues are your favorite? Which are you most excited for in upcoming tours?
Any new place or venue is exciting to play at. We haven’t been at it for long enough yet to have a favorite. Perhaps one day I will. I’m looking forward to getting to Europe.
What’s your favorite album right now?
J Dilla’s Dillatronic, Palmbomen II’s Palmbomen II and Arca’s Mutant are on ultra-high rotation for me right now.
What are your interests and passions outside of music?
Nothing unusual: spending time outside of the city, watching good films, cooking good meals and drinking great wines.
How do you feel about the rising creative scene in LA?
I’ve been told that it exists and am happy for the creative in LA. I hope to meet some of them one day.
More music. Always more music.