Lost at Splendour: Interview with Methyl Ethel

With frontman Jake Webb’s soaring falsetto and ethereal guitar work, Perth band Methyl Ethel have gone from bedroom-project to globetrotting rock stars in just a few short years.

Not bad considering the band’s 2013 EP ‘Guts and Teeth’ was actually made by Webb on his own, with bass player Thom Stewart and drummer Chris Wright joining the band after its release so they could play live shows.

This week the band play Splendour in the Grass, appearing in the GW McLennan tent at 1:35pm on Friday, July 22.

We caught up with Jake to talk about the possibility of pyrotechnics at their Splendour show, the Australiana of his lyrics, and the best way to have fun if you’re working at the festival (although you won’t end up getting paid).

Your debut album, Oh Inhuman Spectacle, has such an introspective vibe. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process?

“I just record/write wherever and whenever I can. There aren’t any special rituals other than I often feel stifled if I fall into too much of a routine.”

With lyrics like “Twilight driving gotta watch out for the roos”, did you set out to make a distinctly Australian album, if so what inspired you to do do? Or did it naturally evolve that way?

“The chorus lyrics were conceived first, then the song was written, stream of conscious, after it. It uses the anxiety of driving in Australia, with the threat of hitting the local fauna, as a sort of metaphor.”

Having just wrapped up your first UK/Europe tour, can you tell us a bit about your ‘first tour’ experience? Any naughty tour tales you can share?

“The tour was great, we’re actually back in the EU right now. No naughty tales, sorry.”

Classic festival problem – band clashes. If people are torn between seeing you and someone else, what would you say to sway them your way? What can we expect at a Methyl Ethel show?

“Well, that’s a hard question. Come along if you want, If you don’t, don’t I guess.

“That’s vague, but maybe we’ll bring some pyrotechnics to sway you.”

Have you got any tales from times you’ve got completely lost at a festival and ended up having a great – or terrible – time?

“No, not really. Thom once took acid while working at the Coke stall at the Big Day Out. = Good Time, but (Coke) Zero pay.”

Getting away from the mainstage, which lesser-known acts are an absolute must at Splendour 2016 – those we can’t afford to miss?

“Are Fat White Family a lesser-known act? They’re good, we enjoy their song ‘Touch The Leather’.”

Splendour in the Grass will be held from July 22-24 at North Byron Parklands. Whether you’re heading along or not, be sure to stay up to date with all the action through Lost at E Minor with the hashtag #LostatSplendour

Methyl Ethel
Methyl Ethel