The sensitive and sincere south London duo head to a house party in their video for ‘Party Politics’
Like all the best male electronic pop duos (think: the Pet Shop Boys, Yello, the Associates, etc.), south London's The Rhythm Method split their duties between a vocalist/lyricist up front and a musician/producer at the back. In The Rhythm Method's case, it's a guy called Joey who delivers spoken lyrics about pubs and light entertainment TV programming, while his counterpart Rowan makes karaoke-style backing tracks inspired by 90s house music. The sound is chintzy and the lyrics are spoken plainly, but the whole thing is genuinely heartfelt and sincere — as is the video for their new single “Party Politics”. It takes place at a fairly pleasant party in a fairly pleasant house on a fairly pleasant street and doesn't try to feign glamour: there's an R2-D2 cake, Kettle crisps, and supermarket hummus. Someone's even brought along one of those party lights from Argos.
Watch the video for “Party Politics” below, and read on for a quick Q&A with the band.
How did you both meet?
Joey: Rowan and I met outside Nambucca on Holloway Road in 2006. It was back when everyone was in a band — I was in a pretty woeful Libertines rip-off outfit with a bad name, Rowan was in the kind of band that played toy keyboards. We bonded over three-hour night bus journeys, Lloyd Cole, GTA: San Andreas, and living under the flight path.
Why did you decide to make music together?
Rowan: A few years ago we were living together in a guardian scheme. It was an old office block by Tower Bridge. We lived there because it was cheap and incredibly located, but it was a strange environment. Our social lives began to break down. We’d spend Friday and Saturday night indoors, watching Graham Norton and eating sweets. We thought we should write some songs instead.
Who are some of your lyrical and musical inspirations?
Joey: When I was a teenager I was trying to be Morrissey. These days I don’t take much influence from lyrics. I’m more into dialogue from sitcoms — the quick witted, almost spiritual turn of phrase of Norman Stanley Fletcher and Arthur Daley. My dad’s Glaswegian profundities are a great source of inspiration too.
Rowan: Our influences come from everywhere. TV theme tunes is a big one: The Big Break, Minder, Dinnerladies… We wrote a lot of our songs as themes to imaginary sitcoms. Joey’s lyrics are kind of like snippets of dialogue. Film soundtracks too, like Bugsy Malone and Once Upon a Time in America.
“Our influences come from everywhere. TV theme tunes is a big one: The Big Break, Minder, Dinnerladies… We wrote a lot of our songs as themes to imaginary sitcoms.” — Rowan, The Rhythm Method
What are some of your non-musical inspirations?
Joey: My biggest non-musical inspiration is probably the environment in which I’ve grown up. I’ve lived in Putney and Wandsworth for almost my entire life. The Rhythm Method started when I spent my days sitting by the Wandle smoking weed and eating footlongs, making songs on Garageband. Only one of them, “Ode 2 Joey”, survives to this day.
Rowan: We take a lot of stuff from the internet. We’ve both fallen victim to the related videos vortex before. We put a lot of sound effects ripped from YouTube in our songs.
Where do you currently live?
Joey: I’m currently back in Wandsworth with my parents after a few years away, splitting my time between there and my girlfriend’s on Archway Road. South west London is beautiful; the riverside will always be a place of great solitude for me. Unfortunately the people let the place down. I like to look at Putney through rose-tinted glasses. I long for the days of my dad’s Putney — Jonny Binden and Dennis Waterman. In reality it’s now estate agents in red trousers eating at Five Guys and sitting in shit pubs. Rowan’s from South West London too; he’s crossed the river and is living a room above a pub in Hornsey now though.
What do you make of all those ‘death of UK nightlife’ articles that have been popping up recently?
Joey: I feel like London nightlife has always been transient, certainly in the 10 years we’ve been going out. There’s always been fallow periods that tend to follow the death of a scene. What’s happening right now feels more permanent — it feels like London is becoming a giant version of one of those private forecourts around riverside new-builds. The one’s with fountains, square bushes and skate stoppers. The abundance of pontificating about it does get on my tits, though. I feel like it’s very easy to sit around talking about it instead of trying to do something about it. Also, people who move to Berlin in pursuit of some arrogant bohemian existence are cocks. I don’t want to read about that. It’s not an accessible reality for most people.
“London nightlife has always been transient, certainly in the 10 years we’ve been going out. What’s happening right now feels more permanent — it feels like London is becoming a giant version of one of those private forecourts around riverside new-builds.” — Joey, The Rhythm Method
Are you concerned that people will think your music isn't sincere?
Joey: Not at all really. We quickly discovered that making good music in the time we live isn’t about making something particularly pioneering and original sounding. It’s about honesty — it’s the antidote to an insincere culture.
What can you tell us about your new single?
Joey: It’s called “Party Politics”. It’s about parties and politics. It’s the anthem of the champagne papi socialist generation.
Rowan: We wanted to write a song that sounded like Lenny-era Red Nose Day.
What happened at the last party you went to?
Rowan: We had a party in honour of the video. Joey recreated a series of real-life incidents, including a Mick Jagger impression that broke a coffee table. I was riding around on a segway, which is surprisingly dangerous.
Are you nostalgic people?
Joey: I suppose we are. Nostalgia is comforting and we’re both very sensitive young men. We’re just longing for something warm and sincere — that doesn’t have to mean looking backwards though. We can look around us and see we’re not the only ones longing for that.