The Rhythm Method: Interview
It seems for a band to be deemed cool they should at an absolute minimum cite Twin Peaks. But what happens when Porridge and Lovejoy are name dropped? How does that make you feel?
In theory, The Rhythm Method's off kilter rap ballads shouldn't work. Sounding like Ian Dury fronting D12, they're not a band you'd tell your friends about via validated reference points. In fact - on hearing the duo's influences, you'd be forgiven for picturing your retired dad and his mate watching Auf Wiedersehen, Pet re-runs, whilst strumming on the sofa drinking bitter.
But it's these anomalies that make The Rhythm Method great or as one Guardian commenter 'Kontiki' put it better 'weirdly quite good'.
On 'Home Sweet Home' lead singer, Joey Bradbury takes a lonely taxi ride through London, he's sedate, soundtracked by Magic FM and ready for bed. There's a beauty in the morning mundanity he laments. It's relatable. Add to that a chorus Tony Mortimer would be proud of and it's hard to think of a better track since its release last year.
We caught up with the band in advance of their Liverpool Sound City appearance to discuss Robbie Williams, sick fades and their next steps.
Q: A couple of years ago you said: “Masculinity now, the way we see it, is very insecure and angry. That’s the story we want to tell.” Does that remain?
A: Joey - Absolutely, the modern man is in crisis. I think as a whole it will eventually progress to a good place. But right now that insecurity and anger is still rife. It’s not all ‘GQ Men of the Year’. Our times are defined by people desperate for an identity and I think a lot of men are unsure of theirs.
Q: You occupy two distinct roles in the band, a classical game of contrast – even if, on Twitter, your voices are so similar to the point I sometimes can’t tell who’s saying what. Can you tell us a bit about your roles in The Rhythm Method?
A: Joey - We are very distinct I suppose. Within the band I play the part of the listener. I’m approaching our writing as a consumer, whilst Rowan is somewhat of a perfectionist. If I don’t like a demo within five minutes we generally scrap it. I need to be instantly hooked, that’s pop music.
Rowan - I suppose I’m the musical one. I’ve been writing songs since I was 10, obsessing over the technicalities of pop. Joey is both the audience and the performer. He makes no secret of his admiration for Robbie Williams. I like that. He’s an untrained outsider. Sort of our biggest fan, leading the singalong in the pub.
Q: You recently released ‘Cruel’, which is another genre in your canon … Where are you at creatively at the moment? Are you recording for an album?
A: Joey - we’re still writing at the moment, we’ll go months without and then sit down and write three songs in a day. It’s not as simple as sitting down to just write with us, we need a few months of kicking our heels first. In our minds we have an album written, we know the story and the plot tline, it’s just a case of making it.
Q: How have things changed since ‘Local, Girl’?
A: Joey - I’ve put on about two stone.
Rowan - We’ve taken it a little bit more seriously. When we wrote Local, Girl we were just trying to make each other laugh. We always will do that but now we know that other people get it. We want to keep on that.
Q: What’s The Rhythm Method’s biggest influence? Musically, visually and in terms of the lyrics.
A: Joey - In terms of lyrics I’d say Kris Kristofferson’s story telling as well as Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais’s sitcom writing.
Rowan - In a weird way, I’d say it’s ourselves. It’s just stuff we like. Sometimes music, but could be films or places, specific scenes. Joey will say let’s write a song that sounds like George Michael going to a meeting in Soho and we’ll try and do that.
Q: You’ve tapped into the mindset of our generation, a narrative pop music’s so far been scared of. And you’ve quickly built a cult. But did you expect your London story to be such a universal experience?
A: Joey - absolutely not, we had no expectations about our message travelling. We thought we were very London centric, with our voices and things we sing about. We thought we’d be considered as being part of the London metropolitan elite and that would alienate people. It seems though that the more personal we get the more universal. Our songs are not just for Londoners, for 20 somethings or for men. they’re for everyone.
Q: Your fans are quite full-on. What’s the best endorsement you’ve had?
A: Joey- We’ve had a couple of people use the line “Be my Cherie Blair, I’ll be your cherie amour” in their tinder bios.
Rowan - Elton John played us twice on his radio show, we got to meet Suggs too. Other than that, someone compared me to Howard Moon from the Mighty Boosh. Thought myself more of a Vince Noir.
Q: And the worst insult? Because like all great things, you polarise: unapologetically.
A: Joey- Someone said I had a shit haircut. Which I fundamentally don’t, it’s a sick fade.
Rowan - We’ve been described various times as the worst band people have ever heard. However some of those people went on to become our biggest fans.
Q: What’s your greatest ambition?
A: Joey - Buy a Rolls Royce.
Rowan - Want to write a song as good ‘You Get What You Give’ by the New Radicals.
Q: What’s next? How does the future look?
A: Joey - Our newest EP is out soon, it’s a summer funk collection. There’s new tunes coming about being single, haircuts, being scottish and Brexit.
Rowan - Maybe a short film too. We’re doing all sorts of festivals. Bestival, The Great Escape, Liverpool Sound City, The Wirral … keep building the movement, showing people that there’s an alternative. A real alternative, as Charlie Kennedy said.