Staring at Patterns: A Conversation with Method of Doubt
Staring at Patterns, the forthcoming album by hardcore outfit Method of Doubt draws on themes of self-reflection, growth, and nostalgia. Comprised of shared members from South Florida and Atlanta, the band has amassed a significant following as a result of their ever-expanding catalog since their inception just a few years ago.
Method of Doubt released their debut demo in the summer of 2018; clocking in at just over 5 minutes and 40 seconds with just 3 songs, the project would usher in the sound that would go on to dominate the scene in the years following. Liam searingly evoked emotion through his lyrics that were accompanied by a relentless instrument section. For those with a keen ear, it was a demo that wore its influence on its sleeve and it never stopped asking questions.
A little under a year later, the band would release their EP, Accepting What We Know. This record expanded upon the unique sound captured in the demo, blending additional layers of influence and challenging existing notions of what a hardcore band can or should sound like. In the months following the release of Accepting What We Know, the World at large was changed forever by the sweeping impact of COVID-19. The proliferation of the deadly virus left the group feeling uninspired, thrust into the limbo of canceled tours. Luckily for the many fans of the hardcore outfit, however, this inspiration drought was temporary.
On an undisclosed date, Liam made the trip from Atlanta to Jacksonville where he and Joel sat in his kitchen with a half stack and started writing. Though it was initially unclear if the session was spontaneous or planned, my conversation with Liam revealed that he and Oscar had already begun exchanging ideas for new music shortly after the release of their last EP. I started my conversation with the band off with questions about their writing process, which seemed to be a pretty relaxed process as every member of the band would bring an idea to the table and they work out ways to combine them. What proved to be tedious was the distance that separated them as they were only able to write one song together in person and the rest were relegated to voice memos through iMessage.
“There was definitely a point where I didn’t think anything would ever get released,” said Oscar in response to an earlier question about whether there was ever any pressure to get things written or recorded. Joel offered that the writing and recording process was practically stress-free, adding “...sometimes a little too stress-free.”
“We almost broke up,” Liam shared in response. Fearing I would be prying into a serious subject, I pivoted back to the music to get more clarity on the timeline of the recording process. Staring at Patterns was recorded in Atlanta over what sounded like a short period of time. This was the only point of contention for the group as Yoon mentioned the turnaround time for getting vinyl pressed was about 6 months, though they were told that if they’d waited any longer the time frame would have been 11 months.
As our conversation started to die down, I wanted to end with a question about the group's goals. Here is a small anecdote from Liam on one of their main intentions:
“Sound was the biggest consideration. When Oscar and I were writing early iterations of stuff we wouldn’t trim or throw away stuff that felt weird. If we liked it, we liked it.”
When you listen to Staring at Patterns, it is apparent that the band is growing and maturing from their previous efforts. I take comfort in the fact that they are evolving confidently; the assuredness translates to the final product. Though it can be easy for a hardcore band to become comfortable or stagnant, recently more groups seem to be recognizing the benefits of evolving. I will leave you with another quote from Liam on the group’s dedication to this growth:
“We’re a hardcore band but I think we finally felt okay to just write riffs and show them to each other instead of self-censoring ourselves until we had something that sounded like what we thought a hardcore band is supposed to sound like.”
When I started the conversation with the band I truly didn’t know what to expect -- as our group text conversation progressed, the most pressing question on my mind was this: “Is this record about nostalgia?”
Is this record about nostalgia?
Liam: I think it all depends on how you define it. An awareness of the past is important [like the] quote, ‘if you don’t know your history, you’re doomed to repeat’. Constantly trying to relate the present to the past or only drawing inspiration from things that have happened prior is boring and silly.
What themes are you exploring in No Friends by the Mountains? Are you wrestling with your own spirituality?
Liam: I haven’t thought about it like that, but you could say that. ‘I want to die for something’ is supposed to mean that I got a shot at life, and if I spend it taking the easy way out at every fork in the road then I’ve wasted it. If I don’t believe in something that causes me trouble or makes my life more difficult, I probably didn’t do it right.
That’s not to say you should go around being purposely inflammatory, but if everyone’s your friend, you probably don’t believe in anything.
Are any other group members spiritual or religious?
Joel: I feel that you get what you give in life. If you do wrong then wrong will follow and if you do right, then right will follow yada yada. Everything keeps a balance on some hippie shit.
Oscar signaled that he agreed with the idea of karma.
What’s coming down the pipeline next for you guys?
Oscar: I would like to tour the west coast, that would be awesome.
Steven: I wish the US tour happened.
Liam: Don’t even talk about it.
The conversation continued then tapered, as we talked Tiktok versus Instagram Reels, gatekeeping, and whether or not the full US tour was dead.
As I walk the streets of the ever-changing city of Phoenix I’m overwhelmed by the feeling of nostalgia, a romantic yearning for what once physically existed, and a fond adoration for the city’s enduring spirit, unmistakably present regardless of what new physical landscape is erected. I will always be grateful to the city that shaped me, regardless of its rapid rush of new development and cohorts and I think Method of Doubt honors that romantic essence of nostalgia in the same way with Starring at Patterns. They preserve their past while welcoming the unknown of the future, and their ability to stay relevant while not remaining stagnant will be cherished for generations to come. I’m excited to hear what they do next but if this was the end of Method of Doubt they will have been fully realized.
Method of Doubt is Liam, Oscar, Joel, Steven, and Yoon.
This record is IOU #29 and is available for purchase alongside merch here
Disorder Vinyl has a special vinyl variant for purchase here
Triple B Records has a special vinyl variant for purchase here