After a year of delivering solid gold bangers, it's time for The Rhythm Method to take their all star cast of celeb cheerleaders and deliver that debut album.
Potential leaders of the south-of-the-thames set, The Rhythm Method are a duo you'll have seen in our pages many a time. It's because they're bloody great, yeah? After a year of delivering solid gold bangers, it's time for them to take their all star cast of celeb cheerleaders and deliver that debut album.
There’s something brewing in South London; something a little bit odd, a little bit funny and a whole lot brilliant. 2017 has seen The Rhythm Method leading the charge, and 2018 promises to see them bringing their unique brand of Methodism to the masses.
There isn’t really another band like The Rhythm Method. Nobody comes close to the idiosyncratic duo of Joey ‘n Rowan, who have gradually spent the last few years making some of the best pop music you could ever hope to hear. “We exist in our own ecosystem,” says Rowan. With a whole lot of momentum behind them and a sack full of bangers in tow, The Rhythm Method’s bubble is flourishing.
“It’s an old friendship is how I would describe us,” begins frontman and top pop poet Joey, as he describes how the band came together. “It was a matter of circumstance. We lived together, and it was out of boredom that we started making music together. We released the video for ‘Local Girl’, and we weren’t taking it too seriously - well, it’s not a serious song really. But other people started taking it seriously and, yeah, two years later we’re here in a Salsa bar in Edinburgh.”
The band are currently on tour with fellow South London upstarts Shame, reflecting on a year that’s seen The Rhythm Method’s cult grow and grow. “Pretty much every weekend [this summer] we were away playing festivals. That was a great experience,” says Joey. “We lucked out at a lot of them because it was pissing down outside and we were playing in tents. So, a lot of people were seeking refuge and that paid off. We’ve been continuing to spread our seed.”
There’s a lot of things that make The Rhythm Method special. The glorious pop songs, the hilarious but often touching lyrics or their status as the finest purveyors of top quality videos, but the real heart of the band and why they work so well can be found in the relationship between Joey and Rowan, forged years ago in those London flats.
They’re a true double act; one wouldn’t quite feel right without each other. Two brilliant characters that bounce off each other perfectly. “We’ve been developing that over the course of the last year,” explains Rowan. “I enjoy being the straight man to Joey’s funny man. It’s the classic thing of light and shade. On stage, I like being that stoical figure because then Joey’s ridiculousness seems even more silly.”
“Obviously, it is considered, but it’s the way we are anyway,” adds Joey. “I’m a big show off, and he’s quite straight-laced. We are Morecambe and Wise or Ant and Dec.”
The one thing The Rhythm Method don’t lack is confidence. They’re aiming high and preparing to shake things up. Ask Joey why they’re one of the most exciting new bands in the country and the response is emphatic. “The songs we have released and are recording right now are frankly second to none, to be honest. I have so much faith in what we’re doing. I genuinely think Rowan is the best songwriter of his generation and in a lot of ways, I think I’m one of the best lyricists. We balance each other out.”
They do recognise they’re a bit different, but that’s all part of the fun. “It’s good music,” explains Joey confidently. “It’s not very in vogue. Every festival we’ve played we’re still surrounded by guitar bands. We’re not willing to change for anyone. We know what we’re good at and we’re running with it.”
For Rowan, The Rhythm Method’s purpose is vital and direct. “I want us to give a voice to kids who feel like music is letting them down,” he explains passionately. “I’m one of them, and Joey is one of them as well. Where are the tunes? The storytelling? Where’s the humour?”
Tunes, storytelling and humour are abundant in The Rhythm Method’s clutch of turbo bangers. From the tender piano lament to their hometown ‘Home Sweet Home’ to the summer bank holiday anthem ‘Something For Weekend’, The Rhythm Method’s songs have it all.
These songs are all borne out of a passion to shake things up and restore clever, thought-provoking and gloriously hilarious pop back to its rightful place. “That’s my issue,” says Joey about these seemingly lost values. “Fundamentally I’m an indie kid. I’m 27 now. The Libertines were my band. I loved that stuff. I know I’m quite opinionated on Twitter when it comes to music; I’m not being a hater for the sake of it. Do you ever watch Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares? What we’re trying to do is tough love like him. We’re just trying to say, ‘Look, if you’re going to be in a band, just write better songs’.”
“It’s not that hard,” continues Rowan. “We appreciate anyone who just tries. A lot of bands are not actually trying. People are starving for it.”
While The Rhythm Method have spent the year honing their craft they’ve also picked up a legion of celebrity fans with a bunch of Dork faves thrown in. Matty, Ellie and Dec all love them, and that’s not all. “It does feel like every successful band in this country fucking loves us,” says Joey with a characteristic confidence. “We’ve got every big band in the country on our tail.”
“It’s a bizarre star-studded guest list,” laughs Rowan. “Elton John, George Ezra, Matty Healy, Ellie Rowsell, Right Said Fred, Matt Lucas, Suggs - they’ve all given us a nod.” For a band who have a growing collection of hilarious and moving videos perhaps the next step is to recreate Peter Kay’s ‘Amarillo’ video with a bonkers collection of celebrity supporters.
As The Rhythm Method’s cult has grown throughout 2017, they’ve used their position to back political causes close to their heart and spread a message of hope and change. In the months preceding the election, they went out on tour with Matt Maltese campaigning for an end to the Tories. Just check out their now infamous anti-Tory merch.
“I think Jeremy Corbyn’s success was the one thing we took away from that,” says Joey. “On that tour, it felt like there was a real energy. A real feeling of hope. It did feel like, wow, people are coming around to changing their way of thinking. That never felt possible before. We grew up under Tony Blair, you can say what you want about him, but basically, politicians are all the same. We realised that maybe they don’t have to be all the same and there are other options.”
In many ways, The Rhythm Method are the alternative option. The antidote to anything bland or fake. They know exactly who they are and where they’re going and they’re going to have fun getting there. “Join the movement,” says Rowan emphatically. “I’ve always thought someone needs to step up to the plate and headline Glastonbury as a new band. I want people to say about us; there’s a band that could do it. Make a seminal moment.”
Their ambitions are sky high, but for The Rhythm Method, it’s the only way. “Aim high is us all over. If we don’t get there then at least we tried. I can’t stand people not trying.”
There are lots of reasons why The Rhythm Method are exciting. For Joey, it comes down to something simple. “It’s just pure honesty really. I think the aim is, and what we’ve found, is that a lot of people come up to us and it’s almost as if they’ve found something with us that represents a lot of stuff that isn’t spoken about. We’re not too brazen about it. It’s all wrapped up in metaphors, but I feel like we’re representing sad lads and lasses basically. They’re our people.”
Taken from the December 2017 / January 2018 issue of Dork, out now. Order a copy here.