G-7L1BQ01JC4 google-site-verification=FcHx71H1bjVosBa3N5PbNSP0lPlz9dKW5Fnb3zbHVBI Dead Method is In the Key of Q - Gay Music: In the Key of Q

Episode 6

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Published on:

19th Apr 2022

Dead Method: Femme, Feelings and Welsh Resilience

Welcome to In the Key of Q the weekly podcast where I chat with inspiring Queer musicians from around the world as they share stories, inspirations and of course their music.

Lloyd Best performing as Dead Method is an alternative pop artist based in Cardiff, Wales. They started a solo career in 2018 and they've gone on to support 65 Days of Static and Public Service Broadcasting. In 2020, their debut album Queer Genesis was released, an exploration of queer culture and identity.

The sceptre of Section 28 hung over his upbringing as merciless homophobic bullying went unchecked in his Welsh Catholic school. Despite the comfort and support of a loving home the experience and failure of teachers to act in loco parentis still scar him today.

Despite growing up in the country's capital city of Cardiff he faced narrow-minded attitudes towards his sexuality. Perhaps surprisingly these were present in the city's music industry too which left him feeling small and silenced.

Thankfully he found his tribe as so many of us do, which allowed him not only to blossom as a musician but also as a queer man. This is shown no better than in his empowering and catchy new album release, Femme.

Additional Material

If you enjoyed this episode why not take a listen to Daniel Versus the World.

In the Key of Q is a weekly 30-40 minute podcast publishing every Tuesday. I’m your host Dan Hall, and in each episode, I chat candidly with a gay/bi musician about their life and music. 

Access exclusive interview content and support the production of this podcast by heading over to Petreon and making a small donation.

Enjoy the music of previous guests by listening to these playlists with tracks selected by the artists themselves.

Credits

  • The podcast can be reached on email and on social media at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The podcast’s forever home can be found here.
  • Theme tune is by Paul Leonidou.
  • Press & PR by Paul Smith.
  • Many thanks to Kaj and Moray for their continued support.
  • In the Key of Q is presented and produced by Dan Hall and made at Pup Media. Dan has recently produced the landmark BBC film, "Freddie Mercury: The Final Act" (dir. James Rogan) and is the producer of the podcast series Been There Done That. For audio or video production inquiries Dan can be reached here or at Talent Manager.

Would you like to appear on the show? Or have an artist you'd like to recommend, please tell them to get in touch via email.

Transcript

Dead Method

I was 11 years old. My best friend asked me if I had a crush on anyone and I confided in them that I was gay. Literally the next day, it was like a witch hunt. Basically everyone had teamed up and they were all following me around the school pretty much all day.

Dan

This is In the Key of Q featuring musicians from around the world who inspire my queer identity. Everybody is welcomed to the conversation, whatever beautiful identity pleases you. Music helps us feel connected and know that we are not alone.

This program is made possible thanks to the financial support of listeners like you over at patreon.com/inthekeyofq. And remember to subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts.

I'm Dan Hall. Tune in. And be heard.

They started a solo career in:

A big welcome here here at In the Key of Q to Lloyd Buest, aka Dead Method. Lloyd, hello!

Dead Method

Hello.

When I was a very young child my mum used to listen to lots of music, lots of singing around my house as well. So we used to listen to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill together and just sing pretty much every song top to bottom, probably every day. And then when I got into primaray that's when I really discovered that I had a voice that people wanted to hear. So I used to be like the lead singer in the choirs when we did plays and things like that.

Dan

Can you remember where the point was at which you realize that just listening to music, wasn't going to be satisfying enough and that you needed to create it too?

Dead Method

I've always been really creative, so I can't pinpoint it to any sort of memory. But there was a separation between me singing and writing poetry. And sometime I would say probably in high school I realized that, well, actually I can sing this poetry that I'm writing. And then that sort of flourished into songwriting.

Dan

So you were creating poetry and music in two separate lines. Thinking about your poetry, what kind of things, what was this kid writing about?

Dead Method

Probably not very good now. And it was all probably very sad and depressing and, you know, kind of like the new, the new stuff that I write, I suppose. But I remember I, I do have one memory of being in English class and we'd all been tasked with writing a poem and then we all had to read it out in front of the class.

And I read mine out and a bunch of people ended up crying and I was like, Hmm. Okay. That was, and that was like probably my first memory of someone reacting to something I'd created in a positive way.

Dan

And how did that make you feel realizing you could have that effect?

Dead Method

Probably weirded me out a little bit at first. It took time for me to be comfortable with people sort of hearing stuff that I created and offering feedback, or even offering an emotion in return. So I think it took a lot of time for me to get comfortable with that.

Dan

Why is it you think that art forms in this case poetry, can have that kind of visceral reaction on people? What is it about it? Do you think that that does that to us?

Dead Method

It's probably to do with our shared experiences and poetry or, or songwriting is often when you're listening to something someone else has created, you realize that you have a shared experience and it might remind you of something that you've suppressed or you're holding onto.

And it can be cathartic, I suppose, to, to hear it from someone else's perspective.

I didn't start to really work on my own music until I went to college. And that's when I sort of found the freedom that. I could do it and then I could learn these skills.

Dan

And so how did you go about starting to turn this passion for music into something you were actually starting to create?

Dead Method

Yeah, definitely. So I left high school and I went to do a levels thinking I was going to be a writer, and a journalist because I, I sort of convinced myself that that was my passion. So I did two years of A-Levels studying Media Studies and English language and literature. And then when I got to the end of those, I realized that actually, that wasn't what I wanted to do.

So I took up another course for popular music technology. So I could learn about songwriting and and production, and then eventually went on to do a degree in that as well. And then it was a case of basically just figuring out, you know, what kind of professional music person. I wanted to be like, did I want to be an artist? Did I want to be in the background? And that, you know, that takes a lot of time to figure out, but artistry really is where I constantly come back to

There are people in my life who were cheerleading me and telling me I could do it. And then there were other people who were not so positive. And really it's only in the last say two years that I've made a conscious choice to, to actually pursue that sort of theatrical level of artistry. That feels right for me.

Dan

So how on earth did you react when you had people saying to you don't do this? Don't don't quite be yourself. You know, you're not a, you're not a big pop star. Just calm it down. Who do you think you are?

Dead Method

So at first I listened to them, which was a really stupid thing to do. I made myself smaller. I tried to, you know, just to fit in and keep my head down. When really that's not what I'm all about. So for years, you know, I just kept my head down, made myself smaller and eventually it sort of just bubbled over and I just thought, fuck this. I just gotta just do what I want to do.

But there are still people especially in, in Wales where attitudes towards LGBT people can be a bit shaky at times especially in the music industry, I find that there's quite a lot of pushback from the sort of like corporate and business side of the music.

But in terms of people listening and being a fan of stuff, I've made a lot more fans in the last two years than I did working five years in a band before that.

Dan

And how would you describe your sound now?

Dead Method

So that the main descriptor use is alternative pop, but with this new record that I'm working on, we've really chased a more commercial pop. So really inspired by the greats, like Lady Gaga and Madonna and that it felt really natural to, to sort of find that sound. The alternativeness comes from the subject matter so I'm talking about, you know, queer problems and relationships and things like that that maybe aren't so radio friendly.

Dan

Why do you think it's important as queer people that we hear our stories in music?

Dead Method

Because if, if we don't tell our stories, nobody else is, there's so much to explore that hasn't been explored. And I think it's important to amplify those types of voices.

Dan

And invisibility is toxic.

Dead Method

Exactly. If you look at mainstream podcasts and things like that, you know, a lot of queer artists aren't being invited onto those things. There's, there's no seat at the table for the queer people in the music industry.

So we have to make our own spaces and our own table.

Dan

I totally, I agree with you and Lloyd, I think you should reach out to Carrington Kelso, who was one of my wonderful guests and series one. And he says exactly that he's he says we should stop trying to get a seat at other people's table. Let's make our own table and we'll rise together.

Exactly. I totally agree.

Dead Method

Cardiff's changed quite a bit since, since I was a child. It was still the, the capital city of Wales, but it was much much quieter. It's a lot more busy and bustling now. It's not as queer friendly as I would like it to be. And growing up, it was a very hard place to grow up as a queer person, especially as an out queer person. I've been out since I was very young. And there was just no hiding the fact that I was gay. So, you know, I had no choice really.

My family, luckily I've always been very supportive and loving. So I think that that made life a little bit easier.

School was terrible. I went to a Catholic high school and I was the only out gay person in school until obviously after everyone left, everyone started coming out. I was basically the, the main target that people would go for in school. It would just constant remarks from people, you know, people constantly coming up to me trying to make gay jokes and things like that. Sometimes violence that just incessant, like you would never enter, used to dread going to school.

Dan

What'd you say to people who go, well, that's just a rough and tumble of school life?

Dead Method

I don't think that's the case, especially when I it's, it might be different now. I don't know. I haven't been in school for a very long time. But back then, even the, the teachers were in on the joke, you know, they, there was never any support from the teachers.

Some of them would even, you know, be allow that sort of behavior to fester. And I, from things that I've seen in like school reports in the UK and things like that recently not much has changed. They just allow bullying for things like being LGBT. And I just think, I think it's disgusting. I think you don't realize until you're older, that those are grown adults and that they should have a handle on the situation and they should be there to protect vulnerable children are more often than not they weren't.

Dan

And what affected did this have on you?

Probably

Dead Method

a fairly negative one I think. That ties into why I sort of diminished myself later in life and made myself smaller just to avoid that sort of stuff happening as an adult. And it's only really the last couple of years that I've just thought, you know, this, this doesn't make you happy. And those people are going to do what they do no matter what. So you just have to be yourself maybe change a few minds along the way. But it, it took a lot of unlearning.

Dan

And I think people unfairly say, oh, you should just man up, we should have thicker skin because I don't think they necessarily realize how formative these years are at school, under which we suffered these scars. And they don't always have to be, "we were cornered in a corridor and beaten to a pulp". It is like you said, rather eloquently earlier, it's just this constant drip, drip, and it makes you dread going into school. One of, one of my guests talked about how he tried to avoid homophobic bullying at school by always making sure he left lessons five minutes early so that he didn't have to walk the corridors when everybody else was wandering around them.

I mean, this is just terrible.

Dead Method

Exactly. And when you think about it, you know, they're children, I was a child. Like you shouldn't have- children shouldn't have to worry about that kind of thing. They will obviously always be bullying, but then that's what the teachers are there for to stop that and to, to nullify that behavior.

Dan

And coming up with the line, but there will always be bullying that is no answer to sit and do sod all to sort it out.

No, absolutely

Dead Method

You know, I used to avoid eye contact with people when I was walking in the street and just sort of stay out of people's way. You know, I didn't use to, to speak my mind or to make my opinion known and especially working in the music industry those are skills you need to have as an artist. Otherwise people will walk all over you and you'll just lose opportunities left, right and center to people who are willing to speak their mind and, you know, let their opinion be known and more often than not, those are straight white men. So unless you're willing to, to put yourself out there, you just get steamrolled.

I think it probably happened a lot more when I was in doing my degree. So I was the only queer person on my course and they were, there were tons of opportunities for like live music sessions and things like that. That they were generally group sessions and had I felt more comfortable, I would have joined in. But because of the, you know, that it was a course of just lads basically, and I didn't feel comfortable working with them. I didn't feel safe. And so I just sort of kept myself to myself and just did the bare minimum to get by.

Dan

People unfairly we'll often go, you should just have your voice. You should you just, just be able to jump on it and know that it is there, but if we don't feel valued, we really do close in on ourselves and end up with a very toxic space of feeling like our voices have no value. So why, why mentioned them?

Dead Method

Yeah. And, and if you don't feel safe to, to know be somewhere in a space, you're not going to want to engage. And you know, it's not on us as queer people to, to make those spaces safe because we're not the ones making them unsafe.

Dan

And I think that's something that people often forget is that whenever we walk into a space that's new to us or features new people we have to come out every single time because we live in a heteronormative world where the assumption is usually that we're straight. And so we have to either come out or drop into conversation that, that we're gay simply because we're not understood, or people don't understand where we're coming from where there's a relevance to it. And we have to do that again and again. And every time we have to do that, we're also having to do a subconscious safety check. Is this a safe space for me to come out? Is this a safe space for me to be myself? And I'm 48. I still do that every single day.

Dead Method

Exactly. And if, if you don't feel safe, you're not going to want to come out in that space. And therefore you'll, you know, your recede back to, to wherever you do feel safe. And there is so many spaces.

To bring it back to the music industry, like within the music industry, where that is the case. If you don't feel safe, you know, you're not going to do your best or be heard properly.

Dan

What was the point at which you started to feel that tide was turning and that actually you had a bloody voice and you were going to get people to hear it.

Dead Method

So it probably happened about three, maybe four years ago now. So I was in a band, it was called Dead Method. But it was me and then a group of other guys. And the music was very different from, from what it is now. And we were lucky enough to get onto this artist development scheme called the Forte Project.

And when. Invited onto that we were then surrounded by tons of other different types of artists. And I started to realize that even within that music scene, I still didn't fit in. I still didn't feel like I was a part of it. I just felt like furniture that was, you know, not supposed to be there.

And they came a time then a little while later, I started to meet some other artists who were based in Cardiff or around Cardiff, who were a bit more like me. And I saw them doing, you know, being themselves really and doing the music the way they wanted to do it. And then that started to inspire me to, to push myself.

And then there came a time where I was just, I just had enough then. I was just, this is what I wanted to do. And I was going to do it no matter what. And whoever was on board was on board. And whoever wasn't wasn't. And that led to, to tensions within the band, really. Which eventually we, we broke up and I started just doing, you know, what I wanted on my own terms.

My original coming out was not a choice. So. We were, I was 11 years old. Just started high school, I think when we were in our second year, maybe and my best friend asked me if I had a crush on anyone and I confided in them that I was gay.

And then they were like, oh, who do you fancy? And I didn't actually fancy anyone at that time. But I just gave them a random name of this boy who was in high school year. Cut to that literally the next day it had been passed around the entire school. So everybody knew. And there was, it was like a witch hunt. Basically everyone had teamed up and they were all following me around the school pretty much all day, trying to ask me questions, trying to bully, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And that was my first sort of real experience with homophobia. And it was, you know, it was not easy. It was not nice. But I'm glad that it happened that way because otherwise I might not have come out for years.

Dan

And you had to deal with this at 11.

Dead Method

Yeah, like I said, it wasn't easy, but it was it shaped me into who I am.

If I hadn't had the, you know, the, the support from the family side, I think it would have been, you know, a different, different outcome dealing with school. It would have been a lot harder, but because there was somewhere safe to go home to at the end of the day, it wasn't so bad.

Dan

Did you get any support at school for all of this?

Dead Method

Not really. Like I said, it was a Catholic score and the teachers why the complicit, or they would ignore it. Teachers back then probably had very stern political beliefs about LGBT people. And it was just on the backend of section 28. So there was still a lot of that attitude of not talking about it or not you know, not bring any attention to it.

Dan

cher's government in the late:

Dead Method

Exactly. And it just led to people just not talking about it at all.

Dan

And most critically, it meant that kids in schools, when they would go to their teachers and say, I'm being homophobically bullied, or I'm gay I need some support. The schools to these pupils who are at their most vulnerable would turn around and go, we cannot support you. It's against the law.

Dead Method

Exactly. It's terrible.

Dan

So it was the school experience. Would you describe that as being something that was traumatic for you?

Dead Method

Very much so. Yeah, I think it informed a lot of my, sort of th the way I carried myself for years to come after I finished school. And I'm sure that isn't true for everyone, but in this case it had a negative impact.

Dan

Now then Lloyd, usually when I finished recording this program, I'll pull into the edit and chop us around a little bit and make us sound lovely and erudite, but for the next two or so minutes. I'm not going to get out my red pencil at all. I'm going to guarantee to you that for the next couple of minutes, the floor is all yours to talk about whatever you want. It can be something we've already spoken about or something completely new.

Dead Method

So I think I'd like to talk about my, my new project, my album Femme which would be coming out this year. It might even be out by the time this episode airs. I'm not sure.

Making this project was a really healing experience. I was able to work with a gay producer for the first time and have that level of comfort when making the music that I could just say what I wanted and try new things and not be worried about the opinions of the people around me, because they were there to support and to, you know offer helpful suggestions. And if something didn't work, it didn't matter cause we could just try something else.

So that there's a lot of songs on this album that really were things that I needed to hear. And I think a lot of people will connect with those things. So the, the album is called Femme because it's about embracing the feminine aspect of yourself or the queer aspect. Whatever makes you unique. Yeah. It's I think it's, I think people are going to really love it. So I'm really proud of it.

Dan

What do you think your 15 year old self would think about you now and what you're doing?

Dead Method

I think, I think me and my 15 year old self at totally different people. I was not a very happy person when I was 15, so I probably wouldn't like me now cause I'm very happy and I'm content.

I think first glance, we probably wouldn't be friends, but maybe if we spent some time together the younger version of me would learn how to accept themselves a bit more. And you don't have to be so closed up. You don't have to be a bitch to everyone because not everyone is out to hurt you but to trust your instance.

Dan

Do you think your 15 year old self would recognize you, the adult, you are now as a progression of who they are or would they seem alien?

Dead Method

I think it would seem alien. I think so much of my sort of transformation into it in my adult life has happened in the last couple of years. And that's because I there's so much trauma to, to unpack and to deal with from when I was younger. So I think we're two totally different people,

Dan

Where can we find you online, Lloyd?

Dead Method

So I'm on Instagram, Twitter, Tik-Tok Facebook, all that just search for Dead Method and I should pop up. I, I also have a website, deadmethod.co.uk. And obviously on Spotify, apple music anywhere you can stream music, Bandcamp, just search for Dead Method. And I should be the first thing that pops up.

Dan

I like to close the episodes by asking my guest for their gateway song. And this is a song which for people that don't know your material will act as a perfect introduction to your catalog both past and the future.

So what would your gateway song be and why?

Dead Method

So my gateway song is Femme which is the title track from my new album. The reason I chose this is because it's the opener to the, to the new album and it really sort of consolidates all of the, the new experience, the new version of Dead Method that I wanted to create. It's upbeat. It's happy. It still has that, that wet, nihilistic tone to it. But it's all tongue in cheek and it's a lot of fun. And like I said earlier in the episode, I really needed to learn to, to not take myself too seriously and to have fun. And I think this song is the perfect representation of that

Dan

Lloyd Best, thank you so much for coming on In the Key of Q and and for your story and your music with us. It's been wonderful to have you.

Dead Method

Thank you for having me. I've had a great time.

Dan

Thanks for listening to this episode, you can support In the Key of Q via Patreon. The link is in the shownotes.

Theme music is by Paul Leonidou at unstoppablemonsters.com. With press and PR by Paul Smith.

Help others discover new queer musicians by rating and reviewing In the Key of Q, wherever you find podcasts.

Thanks to Kaj and Moray for their continued support and to you for subscribing.

The show was made at Pup Media. I'm Dan Hall. Go listen to some music and I'll see you next Quesday!

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About the Podcast

Gay Music: In the Key of Q
Queer chat. Queer music.
Music-loving gay podcast. The best bi and gay music from around the world featuring insightful and inspiring conversations with Queer musicians.

Episodes drop weekly and are 30-40 minutes in length, celebrating LGBTQ identity, tunes and stories.

Presented by Dan Hall (producer, BBC’s Freddie Mercury: The Final Act) and produced by Pup Media.
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