Every week we ask a creative, artisan, or musician to share what music gets them going from dawn to dusk. This week, Singapore electro singer-producer Of Methodist arranges the songs that drive his day.
How can a soldier subsist without a rifle? For Chuck (aka Of Methodist), his weapon and ammo are his compositions instead. The Chicago-based Singaporean musician bares his soul to conceive this moniker that examines both religion and sexuality.
Of Methodist's whisper-like vocals seduces listeners when paired with smooth and bass-driven music. After succumbing to temptation, you'll notice tension within the political implications of his lyrics. Deep stuff.
Every Singaporean son has to serve the mandatory two-year military service. So on his debut album Soldier Without A Rifle, Of Methodist explores the unique narrative of being gay and facing conscription. Self-written and produced, the album provides deeply personal accounts of the artist’s struggle with sexuality in a place dominated by the ideals of masculinity and violence.
“From the start, I wanted to create an album that reflected the experience of being in the military and coming of age,” Of Methodist says. “Discovering my sexuality and identity in a sonic way. This album has been a reflection of my growth as a person and artist.”
We caught up with the multi-disciplinary artist to know who Of Methodist really is and his musical intentions.
ESQ: Firstly, congrats on releasing your debut album, Soldier Without A Rifle! What made you want to convey something so personal such as your sexuality through this medium?
Of Methodist: Thank you! I thought it was a good idea to do it with music because it is such an accessible and flexible medium. Music also works really well with visuals which I try to fore-front as well. When paired together you can really develop an interesting world and narrative.
ESQ: Tell us how Of Methodist was conceived and his motivations.
Of Methodist: Although the debut album was militaristic the initial concept of the project was to discuss religion and my turbulent relationship with God. The name was inspired by a novel titled The Handmaid’s Tale which discusses weaponized religion.
ESQ: Looking back from your debut in 2015 with Pvlgrim till now, what are some defining or memorable moments that contributed to your growth and identity?
Of Methodist: Back in 2015, I had begun on SoundCloud and released my music there exclusively. I started making music as a hobby. My most memorable moments are debuting my first single on Spotify, 'Authority' and performing the early singles of Soldier Without A Rifle live for the first time. In those moments it really felt like I was doing something more than just a fun project, it encouraged me to take my music more seriously.
ESQ: How will your vulnerability with sexuality inspires and motivates listeners who resonate with your narratives?
Of Methodist: When you bring down the walls that surround sexuality for listeners it puts them in a voyeuristic experience. I really like that because there isn’t enough of it. There is an almost defensive/on guard atmosphere surrounding sexuality, especially politically, that it can inhibit meaningful interaction. Openness and vulnerability encourage open conversation potentially paving the way to normalization. Hence the name Soldier Without A Rifle, vulnerability is a daunting step to take, but it holds its own power too.
ESQ: What's next for you after releasing this LP? Will you stage a solo concert soon in Singapore?
Of Methodist: Since the album was so self-contained and contextually specific, it will take some time for me to figure out what is next for this project. I will be spending some time focusing on my studies and hopefully using that as a way to find the magic in music again. Writing and producing an album almost entirely independently can be very exhausting. I can’t wait for music to feel like an escape again rather than work itself. Haha, I don’t think I will do a concert in Singapore anytime soon. However, I might do another one in Chicago!
ESQ: So is Of Methodist an on-stage persona/identity? Is he an extension of Chuck or how different he is from Chuck? Why so and how do you juggle with it off-stage?
Of Methodist: Of Methodist is very much an on-stage persona and in some ways an extension of me. The nature of the persona has gradually changed and evolved over time. For the sake of the album specifically, Of Methodist had become somewhat of a defiant but multi-layered superhero-esque identity. The way I have decided to portray this persona visually with the leather and red brothel lighting has become the hallmark of the Soldier Without A Rifle aesthetic and it is something that definitely contributes to the whole experience of the album as well. However, Of Methodist is really just a character I can project onto. Writing a narrative for this identity based on my own experiences is very cathartic.
Soldier Without A Rifle is out now on Apple Music.
“I am such a heavy sleeper and dreamer that when I wake up I can get really disoriented. Especially since I have lived in different cities throughout my life, I tend to sleep near large windows to remember where I am and a good playlist to remember who I am. Haha! I’m not kidding.”
1. ‘Take Me’—MISO
“This is a great song to wake up to. It makes me feel like I just woke up on a lotus leaf and I am one with the tadpoles and koi.”
2. ‘Exit’—Jessica Domingo
“Some self-love positivity. Also, a good song for a morning skincare routine.”
3. ‘Enjoy Your Life’—MARINA
“More positivity and a reality check.”
“I get anxiety when I walk out of my apartment and see so many people. Confidence boosting music is probably my only way of overcoming insecurity in crowds at this point.”
1. ‘OMG’—Camila Cabello
“I love it when Camila Cabello tells me how good I look today.”
“I would so run down the streets dancing to this.”
3. '‘Fire’—Sophia Black
“I think Sophia Black is so underrated, I have consistently been obsessed with her voice.”
“Lock the front door. Shower. Make tea. Light a candle. Slip into bed. Read a book. Accompanied by these tracks.”
1. 'Kickin' Back’—Mila J
“I’m kicking back and I’m vibing. I’m chilling. I’m good. Literally the lyrics of the song.”
2. ‘Vibin’ Out with ((( O )))’—FKJ (feat. ((( O ))))
“The vibing continues and can we talk about that song title?”
3. ‘Lose Myself’—Lolo Zouaï
“Because it’s time to go to sleep and forget who I am and do this all over again right?”
Enjoyed the tracks? Check out our other ‘Dawn to Dusk’ playlists curated by guest artists each week and follow our Apple Music profile to access our playlist first when it's out.