Live Concert Photography: Methyl Ethel with Ada Lea at Bowery Ballroom 9/29/19
Jake Webb is a Perth, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer and creative mastermind behind the Perth-based recording project Methyl Ethel. Over the past handful of years, Webb has seen tremendous commercial and critical success in his native Australia and elsewhere: Webb has amassed over 25 million Spotify streams globally. His single “Ubu,” became an ARIA Accredited Gold single earlier this year, after landing at #4 on Triple J’s 2017 Hottest 100. And his tour dates across both Australia and the UK have been sold out since 2016.
Although Webb has achieved both commercial and critical success in a relatively short period of time, Methyl Ethel initially began as a sort of personal challenge. “I wanted to see if I could write, record and release some music before the band I was in at the time finished doing the same. I did and subsequently withdrew from some close friends. Relationships were severed. I severed some even closer ones. This was all played out in such a public away, as it invariably does, so I withdrew more. My first album Oh Inhuman Spectacle became the ‘why me?/fuck you/sorry’ album that I wrote as a confused coping mechanism. It helped and I enjoyed it. I continued the introspective journaling with the follow-up, Everything is Forgotten. For me, that album said ‘who cares? all your emotions are irrational and meaningless anyway.’
“This year, I found myself in the same city, alone in a room tasked with writing an album to be heard, not as an outlet for personal grievances. I decided to find closure with Triage. The question this time around is ‘what is important? What requires attention?’ I think It’s about living with secrets. Secrets cause the problems. They call them white lies, little things used to manipulate people for the greater good. It’s a triage of truths to maintain an artifice. A poem by T.S Elliot that I referenced on the first EP I recorded says it best:
Alexandra Levy is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, painter and visual artist, who writes, records and performs as Ada Lea. Levy has long viewed her music and her visual art, which has largely been inspired by Sylvia Plath, Frida Kahlo, Eva Hesse, Karen Dalton and Nina Simone as ways for her communicate similar creative ideas through vastly different media.
Whether painting, visual art or her music, Levy’s work explores the concept of womanhood as it feels and looks to her, and how love transforms over time — with an unvarnished honesty. Interestingly, her full-length debut why we say in private can trace its origins to a need to document the ending of an important romantic relationship. Following a tormented period in which she stayed up for days at a time, frantically painting and writing songs as a way of coping. And during that period, she went on to journal for 180 consecutive days in the hopes that she would find herself again.
Levy’s self-analysis and introspection occurred in private and the process eventually resulted in a rebirth for her, in which she rediscovered herself and discovered a new sense of freedom and self-acceptance. Unsurprisingly, the chaotic feelings of her breakup and the eventual resulting catharsis of her personal life — and throughout the entire album, she reportedly expresses the thoughts and feelings that we all have in private and are conditioned to keep to ourselves, which makes the album’s material deeply confessional and raw.