INTERVIEW: The Methamphetaqueens

Words By: Laurent Shervington

So who are The Methamphetaqueens and how and when did you start up?

Ben – Bassist
Leo – Guitar and Drums (not at the same time)
Stewart – Guitar, Drums and Keys (sometimes at the same time)
Dylan – Singer, Guitar and wistful onlooker of drums

Dylan: We started about a year ago I think?
Leo: When are we counting from?
Dylan: I don’t know, its all a blur *laughs*. We’ve played in different arrangements of two or or three of us for years. But 2013 sounds like a cool year, lets say 2013.

What have you guys been listening to at the moment and have you been checking out any other Perth bands at the moment?

Stewart: As for local bands we’ve been playing with or seeing live there’s Filthy apes, Apollo’s Son, Apache and Tired Lion

Leo: I went and saw someone last night; I know the singers name was Stella. She was great, phenomenal vocalist. I don’t know if the band had a name though.

*Brief intermission to discuss the politics of Dome’s junior drinks menu*

Dylan: I’ve been listening to Julian Casablancas in all his forms recently, be it the Strokes, the Voidz or solo stuff.  I think the new Voidz album has a lot of stuff I see us wanting to do as a band, not sounding exactly like them but the dissonant, punk-y and murky stuff in particular. They have a way of sneaking familiar song structures into unfamiliar environments and the throw in crazy jazz solos into 2 chord songs, I really dig it.

How would you describe your sound? What things do you think come to mind when people hear your music?

Dylan: The fragility of the human condition.

Steward: Is there a drunk way of putting that? It seems all the people we’ve talked to at shows have been pretty drunk.

Leo: *imitates drunk fan* “Sounds like Arctic Monkeys aye”

Dylan: Some guy said we were good, but I sound like singer from Arctic Monkeys so maybe we should play their songs and end up going further. Sure they’re a cool band but how would we end up going further than them by playing their songs? *laughs* I couldn’t even be bothered arguing.

Dylan: A lot of the people that come to our gigs maybe haven’t really heard stuff they’re we’re into so they have trouble thinking of bands that we sound like.

As in they don’t many references?

Dylan: Yeah, its like they don’t know of anything else besides like Arctic Monkeys and etc. It seems like they want to say like we sound something good, but they have trouble finding something that’s actually accurate. Someone said Red Hot Chilli Peppers once, which was weird.  Someone said The Strokes once, which I’m 100% ok with.

Steward: Have we ever been compared to Radiohead or do we just listen to them a lot?
Leo: Yeah that’s how I would describe us as heavy Radiohead.

So like early Radiohead?

Dylan: Hmm I would say more Hail to the Thief era.

So the new album is out, can you tell me a bit about what the recording process was like?

Dylan: We ate a lot of ice-cream, that’s all I can really remember.
Leo: We actually tried to get in touch with Peters to get them to sponsor us.
Dylan: If the album is terrible its because we were too busy studying ice cream.

Dylan: It was really fun though, we got to work with Andy Lawson who’s a bit of a local legend, the guy really knows how to find what’s really in a band and brings it out. He has a subtle pressure that he applies, its very friendly but at the same time its like “don’t sing like James Hetfield because it’s not cool” and you don’t feel offended at all.

Leo: We felt a fair bit of pressure going through with it all actually.
Dylan: Yeah, when we booked the studio most of the songs hadn’t been done yet.
Leo: Especially the second block of songs, we hadn’t written for it until we got into the studio.
Stewart: We used some older demos and stuff for that part, which Andy helped us out with.

How do you think this release stands out from your other stuff?

Dylan: I don’t know it’s better? I hope. Before this it was more straight, down the line grunge, production-wise.

Steward: Before we started listening to The Flaming Lips basically.

Do you guys have a favourite Perth venue?

Steward: Hopefully the Bird on Thursday. Amplifier is pretty good.

Leo: The Rosemount is pretty sweet too, if you can fill it.

Dylan: I like the 459, theres something fun about how punk-y it is.

You guys did a pretty cool studio documentary for your first album, was there anything like that on the way for this album?

Dylan: I’m a pretty frequent instagrammer; you could probably make my 7 second videos into some kind of montage.

(He’s not lying)

Dylan: I would like to do it again; Cameron Hill who did the last one is finding his niche as far as his film making goes. We’ve both kind of at the same stage with our projects, but hopefully we can start doing some music videos with him soon.

Dylan: There will probably also be a lot of ridiculous video media as well, our backup for if the band doesn’t work is making video memes instead, we’ll start pumping out vines instead of songs.

You guys are playing heat #4 of the Big Splash on the 25th of June of, what do you think about your competition and what can people expect from the set?

Stewart: You can expect 25 minutes from the set *laughs*
Dylan: Isn’t it 20minutes?
Leo: Well we’ve got 25 minutes.
Dylan: Shit! Well someone’s losing 5 minutes.

Dylan: It’s a pretty intense competition, a lot of the bands playing you just want to have fun and play it and whoever sees you enjoys it but its a competition so it’s a bit different. There are a few bands where you think whoa this could be difficult, but you know that’s what makes it fun. Bands like FOAM, Rag n Bone, Apollo’s Son and Shit Narnia. These are bands we’ve either seen or heard of which in itself is intimidating because they’re real bands. The thing is with us is its hard to condense our stuff down to a 20 minute set, not because “oh its all so brilliant” but some of our songs are more slow burners and with a shorter set its harder to work with, but I think we’ve nailed the right combination of concise but still dynamic.

What would you guys do with the $10,000 if you won?

Stewart: We would go on a big southwest tour and bring our friend band’s with and us, while engaging the bands in the areas visit.

Dylan: Yeah, that rather than bring our own circus into town. Stewart is also working on making a studio for bands that maybe can’t afford more expensive studios.  It would be a pretty viable option with all the equipment he’s collecting.

Dylan: As Bono-ish as it sounds, giving back to the local music scene is as appealing as standing out from it, so it wouldn’t just be for us.

So we know methamphetamines are used to lift the mood, increase energy and increase sexual desire, would you say this definition carries over to the your music? If so which particular songs embody this type of response? 

Dylan:  I don’t think I lift the mood at all! I’m a total downer.

Leo: We don’t really have any party tracks do we?
Dylan: I think “Girl I Know” maybe?
Leo: Well it’s about a party.
Dylan: It makes you want to break stuff, which is what happens when you use meth. Which we don’t recommend.

Dylan: The name is more of a kind of holy crap we’re halfway through this thing and we don’t know what we’re called kind of moment. It just came to me, its catchy, its abrasive, which is what we’re sort of like musically. The album sort of takes a dive in terms of mood about halfway through, but pulls itself back out to end on a happy note. I’m sure people will make conspiracy theories that is some kind of trip, like it starts spacy and then gets amped up, then there’s a low point and then you come out high and settled, who knows. Drink a lot of coffee. Smoke a cigarette. Have some panadol and then listen to our album and tell us what you think.

What can we expect from the Methamphetaqueens in the future?

Dylan: We’re thinking of writing a more extrinsically focused, maybe even political album. The latest album is all about me, sorry guys.

 So maybe more of a concept album?

Dylan: Yeah just less introspective, I mean we all have pretty strong opinions about what’s going on locally and a national scale, so I think we could put it into words and put some bitchin’ riffs behind it. So something heavier and more socially aware.

The Methamphetaqueens are playing the Bird on Thursday night for Heat #4 of the Big Splash, so head down to check out what should be a night of fierce competition.

Make sure to also check out their new album “METH AM PHETA QUEENS” Here.