“Oasis did two nights at Knebworth, Robbie did three. We’re doing four,” says The Rhythm Method’s Joey. Knebworth just doesn’t know it yet.
Joined by Twickenham-born Rowan, whose weekend karaoke pro hooks contrast Joey’s Wandsworth MC pulpit delivery, the duo are just a bit more than what Simon Cowell would conjure up if the other three judges on the X Factor panel were also Simon Cowell and he’d done his belt up another notch. We are sitting in a Hackney caff over full English platters; tea, not coffee, obviously. Later, the band will trudge through Homerton’s pissing rain to rehearse. Their gig set up? A CD, two mics. No more. The stage heaves with an almost theatrical elevation of personality.
“Everyone who’s heard our song Local, Girl has said ‘This sounds like the theme tune to a TV show that hasn’t got made’,” Rowan explains. “My favourite songs ever are the theme tune to [90s BBC snooker game show] Big Break. The theme tune to The Sweeney, Minder, The Bill. Even Happy Days, Cheers, things like that. Because within a very small space they have to contain all this atmosphere, the entire show. In many ways I see each one of our songs as a theme tune, and Joey’s lyrics to me are like the dialogue to the show.”
Local, Girl is a song about what pubs are changing into now – ‘No change from a tenner? / Ooh woah ooh woah oohwoahhh’ – whilst Ode To Joey “is a kind of Channel U, bedroom, Grime-influenced narcissistic vlogging rant.”
“It’s about how our generation’s being forced into being incredibly narcissistic,” Joey continues. “The main hook is ‘How would you know I was lonely if I didn’t tell everyone?’ It’s about the Facebook status, making sure everyone knows you’re feeling down.”
Playing in separate bands during the 00s indie halcyon days, when London was the centre of the world thanks to The Libertines, they met through going out and bonded through Grand Theft Auto. They debuted supporting their friends Real Lies, also in this issue, and they’re touring the UK with them this October. The group are ticking off big, socialist house; garage; pub rock; dancehall. The OCD will have a meltdown cataloguing in iTunes.
For their gig at Clerkenwell’s Betsey Trotwood pub, Joey and Rowan had a suited and booted, victorious from court demeanour before they even stepped on stage. The audience were belting choruses by their second time round. The third, pints were wobbling and words were closer to yelled. There is no need to get all Newsnight Review about the fact this band are culturally and intellectually astute – which the prominence of the keyboard in the mix, like the lacing of cheap food with E numbers, undoubtedly helps. (Both deal in equally accessible euphoria). The Rhythm Method – AKA ‘Neil Lennon and McCartney’; AKA ‘Slew Labour’; AKA ‘The Facebook Status Quo’, all things said about them – are the reason ITV4 needs to exist. Let’s add another warped portmanteau, ‘Mark E. Smithfield’: 2am blood, chance of an 8am pint and the right amount of obnoxious.
“We’re in the midst of making a film – and the songs are the soundtrack to the film,” Joey clarifies. “We don’t see the point in doing the routine that everyone does.” Like Dennis Waterman, they will star and sing, citing Madness’ Take It Or Leave It, 60s suedehead film Bronco Bullfrog and The Harder They Come as influences.
“You’re in a no-man’s land as a young male now,” he continues. “I think the rules are changing constantly and it’s very hard to keep up. Obviously the rules need to change, the changes that are happening need to happen. But it’s leaving a lot of male culture in a place where… they don’t know how to behave, I suppose…”
“Masculinity now, the way we see it, is very insecure and angry. That’s the story we want to tell,” Rowan adds.
“There’s this amazing blog post we found on a WordPress somewhere,” says Rowan. “It said, ‘The first time I heard this [The Rhythm Method], I thought it was utter shit.’” Pause for laughter. “We’d won him round by the end of it.’”
JOSEPH SIMEON BRADBURY, ROWAN ALEXANDER MARTIN
TEXT DEAN MAYO DAVIES
PHOTOGRAPHY BRIAN DOHERTY
MOODBOARD ZINE DEBUT ISSUE, PUBLISHED 2016