The Rhythm Method are more than just a pop group. For Joey and Rowan, it’s a way of life, and the duo are ready to bring their own unique brand of methodology to the masses.
"The Rhythm Method is more of a philosophy than a band in the traditional sense,” begins musical mastermind and co-singer Rowan as he lets us into the wonderful world of The Rhythm Method. It’s an ethos that the duo has been cultivating for years going right back to the vibrant mid-noughties indie golden age when the two met as gig-hungry musically obsessed 16-year-olds.
Initially, though, The Rhythm Method began as a vehicle for the extraordinary writings of lyricist Joey. “He was in a bad place in his life, unemployed, no qualifications, sitting around at home in a bit of a slump,” explains Rowan. “It’s the same thing everyone goes through at some point in their early twenties. He’d always written bits of songs and bits of poetry, and I thought he was really good. He put loads of songs on SoundCloud, and it was this very weird, unfiltered primal scream. He was getting his demons out in these songs.”
“That’s some of the weirdest music I’ve ever heard in my life,” continues Rowan. “He doesn’t really understand music. He’s not a musical guy. He just made these tunes at home and wrote about 20 songs. It’s like outsider art. I thought it was mad and brilliant and it would be great for Joey to try and put his lyrics over my music.”
The result was the beginnings of their own pop revolution. The Rhythm Method are a band that have no boundaries and the wonderful freedom that colours everything they do allows them to easily stand out from the crowd. “We want to bring back the middle in pop,” says Rowan. “You’ve got very serious music like the Mercury Prize and the BBC Radio 6 Music world at one end, and on the other, you’ve got the chart or what used to be the chart. We like to think there’s a middle and all our favourite bands existed in that middle.”
The kind of bands they’re talking about are the sort of wildly ambitious pop groups of their youth. Bands who believed that you could make pop full of personality and jokes and playfulness, but it could also be something bigger. Rowan cites Pulp and 80s favourites like Madness as the perfect example of this: “They had this big pop appeal and big melodies and arrangements, but also they were intelligent and heartfelt bands. They had political and emotional ideas as well.”
All these years later in 2017, The Rhythm Method see themselves as a vital antidote and something a bit different. “We see a lot of cynical, by numbers, insincere music out there, in the serious and non-serious camp,” proclaims Rowan. “We want to provide an alternative for all the kids who feel like Morrissey did when he sang about songs that ‘say nothing to me about my life’. The Smiths provided an antidote in the 80s, and we’d like to see the same thing now.”
After two years spreading their message and gathering a devoted following up and down the country The Rhythm Method have caught the attention of some similarly like-minded pop idealists like The 1975, and their frontman Matty Healy. “Matty has been really supportive,” says Rowan. “He came to see us at one of our gigs in Dalston in January.” It’s easy to see why a band like The 1975 feel a connection with The Rhythm Method. For both bands the subversive power of pop and the personality that goes with it is everything. “We have the same philosophy. It shouldn’t be that surprising that they get it,” explains Rowan. “I like that The 1975 are a band who are interested in that intelligent middle. They really stepped up to the plate and said, “fuck it, we’re going to write some really massive songs. It’s great to hear a band like The 1975 who want to write some bangers.”
The Rhythm Method have no shortage of bangers of their own though from the Mike Skinner produced dreamy dub of last single ‘Cruel’ to the joyous dance pop rush of ‘Party Politics’. Now all thoughts turn to their debut album where The Rhythm Method can fully express themselves. “In our eyes, the album is written, and we’re in the process of talking to various people to put it out. We’d like to have it done by the end of the year,” says Rowan. It’s still in its planning stage, but the band are full of ideas about the possibility of a concept album, a theme that lends itself to their instantly relatable real-life vignettes. “We want to tell the whole story. We’re playing with the track listing and thinking of all sorts of ideas of how we can tell a story with it. Not in an overblown way because everything we do is quite mundane but in the sense of a day in the life kind of thing.”
One thing is for sure though, no matter what form their album will take it promises to be something a bit special. If you buy into The Rhythm Method and everything they stand for, then there is much to look forward to. We’re all in it together. As Rowan signs off, “Anyone can be part of that philosophy.”
Taken from the June issue of Dork, out now.