There is an unsettling restless edge to the new single ‘Matters’ from Perth’s Methyl Ethel that is wrapped in the most danceable and funky faux fur cloak. With soaring, gliding vocals that evoke The Jackson 5 in the chorus and a hyperactive rhythm section and blistering synth that bubbles and squeaks, this is something very unique and very enjoyable.
Methyl Ethel is the nom de plume of West Australian songwriter, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jake Webb. Webb describes the capturing of a sense of unease in the song:
I was living in LA while writing this song. After being there a while, I realised that I knew nothing about what to do if there was an earthquake. 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.
The lyrics reflect this unease:
Oh folly, oh
Onto the bed
And cover your head
Miles and miles
I’m busy in erosion
Don’t shake me awake
The accompanying video perfectly captures the restless unease and the frenetic heart palpitations of anxiety in the genes of the song.
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.
Duncan Wright (Pond, San Cisco) directed the video and says:
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.
Feature Photograph: Xan Thorrhoea