A chat with Jake from Methyl Ethel

Perth dream rockers Methyl Ethel have been on a wild ride since dropping their debut album, Oh Inhuman Spectacle. The three piece have since received an Australian Music Prize for the album, placed 98th in Triple J’s hottest 100 for Twilight Driving, and have embarked on a massive US tour.  We caught up with the bands frontman Jake Webb to chat about touring, SXSW, and new music.

Bridie: You’re in Melbourne at the moment playing three sold out shows, how is it?

Jake: It’s been good fun! It’s nice that there are people here who used money to buy our tickets.

Bridie: You’ve been touring with Jaala – how have her shows been? 

Jake: Yeah we saw her play last night – she’s incredible. They’re an incredible band.

Bridie: The last time I saw you play was when you were supporting San Cisco at the Triffid last year. Since then things have really picked up for you guys. What been the biggest change?

Jake: I guess there are more people coming to our shows now see us play. Also, we all have new hair cuts and have probably changed our clothes since then.

Bridie: How was SXSW?

Jake: It was crazy. Everything we hoped it would be.

We were playing in a church and there were these insane bolts of purple lightening filling the sky as we walked up to play our show.

Bridie: Give me a story.

Jake: The final show was pretty great. It was the last show out of eight, which in itself was kind of a victory. It was a Friday night and they had just closed all the outdoor venues because of this crazy thunder storm. We were playing in a church and there were these insane bolts of purple lightening filling the sky as we walked up to play our show. We also got these tiny wines to drink in the church, which was probably appropriate.

Bridie:  Definitely appropriate!

So, Oh Inhuman Spectacle began on a Fender Rhodes piano with electronic drum beats. How did you move the sound from that point and into an album? 

Jake: I guess I get excited about making different sounds all the time. So for those few weeks when I was beginning to make Oh Inhuman Spectacle, I was just really excited about just making beats and writing songs with those beats. From that point, I produced my own songs. I would use [the beats] and say, “okay, I’m going to pull this apart now, or layer it up, in a way that I could make it sound better.”

Bridie: What are your tour plans for this year? 

Jake: We are going to Europe in May, and then we’ll be in the States again for a couple of shows and then back to Australia.  We will definitely be stacking up those frequent flyer points!

Bridie: What’s the Perth music scene like? It’s been getting a lot of attention with the whole Pilerats / Tame Impala hype. What other things are going on over there? 

Jake: It’s a killer scene.  There’re a lot of undiscovered bands and artists. I say undiscovered because not enough people know about the good stuff.

Bridie: What are some good venues in Perth? 

Jake: That’s our problem. Most of the good bands are just playing at house gigs. Most of the good venues are closing down.  The Bird is the jewel in the crown of the Perth music scene, in my opinion. If you’re ever in town, go down there, say hello to the staff. Every night of the week you can enjoy electronic music, acoustic music, rock and roll, pop, anything you want!

Bridie: I’ll have to check it out! So whats going on? Why are all the venues closing down? 

Jake: I think its a liquor licensing thing. Also, we don’t have enough people in the city to sustain the industry. Everybody leaves and moves east to work their magic.

[In Perth] we don’t have enough people in the city to sustain the industry. Everybody leaves and moves east to work their magic.

Bridie: That’s a tricky time. Brisbane’s going through that too with all the proposed lock out laws. Who doesn’t love a good house party though? 

Jake: Yeah!

Bridie: You’ve spent the summer writing some new music, is it similar to Oh Inhuman Spectacle? 

Jake: Well I like to think that its a new direction, but it’s probably the same. The tempo is a bit different. I’m not playing in a different time signature or anything though. Theres no 5/4 or 7/4.

Bridie: That would be interesting! 

Jake: It would be…There’s a bunch of songs and they’re going to be out soon. You can listen to them and tell me if they’re different or the same, or if it’s worse or if it’s better.

Bridie: I will, I’ll get back to you. 

Jake: Sweet.

Bridie: You’re heading up to Brisbane this weekend for Blurst of the Times, any favourites on the lineup? 

Jake: I’m looking forward to seeing Kirin J Callinan play. I haven’t seen him play a show  before. He played in Perth a couple of years ago but I didn’t get to see him.

Bridie: I’ll see you in the crowd! 


You can catch Methyl Ethel play at Blurst of the Times on Saturday 14th April, from 8:30-9pm at The Brightside Carpark. Grab a ticket while you still can!

The timetable for Blurst is out! Click the photo for a better view of your evening 😉


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