Amidst textured layers of synth sounds and wavering degrees of apprehension melded with assertion, Of Methodist’s first single of 2017, “Authority”, is held together by the consistency of musical maturity. Eclectic strains are mellowed by whispers and croons – and, overall, the release has proven to be an intensely addictive experience that transcends the auditory threshold to make way for an intangible, intimate, and deeply luscious, affair. Here, we speak with the local artist responsible for the opus.
We understand that “Authority” is about giving full autonomy to either religion or a relationship, but can you talk us through the specifics of its inspiration and conception?
I knew I wanted to write about submission and supremacy the moment I approached this track. Going back to my earlier inspirations from dystopian literature, discipline is in the production and there’s something rather political about the song. For me, this one needed to chronicle what happens before and after a loss of self-control, and to achieve that juxtaposition sonically, I needed the ending to sound the way it did. That took a lot of experimentation.
While your music pulses with the same hypnotism, it’s obvious that your new single slightly deviates from your previous efforts. What steered you towards this new music direction?
I certainly wanted to bring out a provocative Of Methodist with this new sound. You can’t deny that R&B is seductive as hell. During the heartbreak I went through quite recently, I would just douse myself with R&B all day and come out of it feeling like the hottest boy on the block. My older sound has slight hints of it, but this time I wanted to take it further. The word “Authority” itself can be suggestive, so why not? I also grew an affinity for modulated synths because they evoke this sense of instability so necessary in the lyrical content.
Why’d you take “Saint XCVII” off SoundCloud?
I’ve been asked that a lot! It’s the most honest song I’ve put out there, and I wrote it when I was really beat down. Trust me, I intend to release it again – but you can still listen to “Saint XCVII” on Spotify!
Tell us about your musical journey – its beginning, the turning points along the way, and what you’re hoping for in the future.
I’m a SoundCloud baby. I picked up producing and writing simply to entertain myself in 2015 when I was 17-years-old and graduating from school. I fell in love with it. In that same year I released an EP titled Pvlgrim and proceeded to release another called Coven the following year. They journal this change in sound that I find so beautiful, because I am putting out music as I grow into adulthood, and this is a sonic account of the maturing mind. But as much as I change, I never abandon sounds. Parts of my sonic identity still remain, like that hoover bass I’ve had in every single release since 2015. I remained relatively anonymous when I started, but after the release of Coven, I met artists like Sam Rui, Mediocre Haircut Crew, Alextbh and Jasmine Sokko, who inspired me to love what I do even more and take it seriously, which led to “Authority”. When I’m more confident with myself, I hope to gain the confidence to perform live one day.
"Religion and sexuality are often touchy subjects; even with my music, I have to try my best to respectfully and sensibly approach these subjects, because they both coexist in my music."
Who are some of your favourite artists, and why?
My biggest influences are, without a doubt, FKA Twigs and Purity Ring. The two share in common a contrast between innocent vocals and heavy production that I find so irresistible. I also love Banks! And when I’m super emo, I listen to H.E.R. or Raye – and when I’m super angsty, I blast Sky Ferreira. Currently, Mila J’s 213 EP is on repeat. The artwork for that EP is insane! Look how sexy she is in 8-bit.
Besides music, you’re also a visual artist. Have you seen, or do you intend on seeing, both of these mediums converge in your work?
I certainly approach music with a conceptual art mindset. Because I’m someone who attempts to put meaning into everything I see or experience, my stuff is really thematic. My records have an obvious overarching theme. The first thing I can think of where my visual and sonic sides interact would be in my artwork for the music. Up until “Authority”, I did the artwork by myself and, on top of that, Coven features a portrait I painted of my parents. I’ve been working with photographer Jayden Tan recently, so you’re going to see a lot more visual and sonic splicing this year.
At this point in time, how big is religion in your life, and sexuality in your sense of identity?
Religion and sexuality are often touchy subjects; even with my music I have to try my best to respectfully and sensibly approach these subjects, because they both coexist in my music. At this point in time I’m very spiritual, but austerity has a huge effect on my artistic identity and – ultimately, as an individual – I still struggle to understand religion. I am much more comfortable with my sexuality now, compared to two years ago.
Any future projects we can look forward to?
I am so ready to complete my debut LP this year! If you haven’t guessed the context of it already, it is going to be really obvious in the next single.
Listen to “Authority” on Spotify below.
Text Odette Yiu
Images Jayden Tan