Lloyd Best is fearless. He hasn’t always been, but there came a time when he needed to look himself in the mirror and confront his trauma. In order to conquer it, he peeled back his bandages and attended to wounds he had long forgotten ─ or simply suppressed. As any queer individual can relate, such a journey isn’t easy, and it’s rarely without its price.
Known professionally as Dead Method, Best unleashes his debut, Queer Genesis, a gnarly and warped alt-pop dance record, with an unsettling paintbrush and a singular voice. Across nine songs, the Welsh singer-songwriter dips into themes of “heartache, loneliness, depression, and anxiety as effects of oppression,” he says. Each track excavates various kinds of trauma, including misery “passed down through generations of oppression.”
“Queer souls rest here,” he mourns on title track and album opener. A collaboration with HVNTER and MADI, it rings as almost a funeral march, a prayer like a handful of dirt cast upon the millions of tortured souls who never had any rest or justice in this world. The haunting centerpiece, slathered with an afterlife glow, ties directly into “a feeling of sadness and panic that queer people are conditioned into feeling.”
“It’s not always safe for us to walk down the street, to live in our homes, to go to a club,” he further explains. “Some of us have had such terrible experiences that we are unable to just relax in places that we should feel safe in.”
With producer James Minas’ otherworldy style underlining Best’s evocative and soul-squeezing stories, Queer Genesis pumps with sinister musical outlines. It’s fitting that Best has an affinity for horror films, including Pet Sematary and Alien, borrowing trace amounts of unsettling synth work and various other components. “I am drawn to those dark vibes, but it’s very much a sound that we’ve spent years refining and comes very naturally to the lyrics and melodies I write,” the musician says.
Songs like the rattling, chain-bound “Babylon” and closer “Haus (of God),” flickering with electronic debris, interlocks the queer experience of deep “longing for a family when the one we’re born into is not there for us,” he says. “So many people have to create a family, and each of those songs is a different side of the same coin in that experience. The despair of being forced out of a home and the beauty of creating a new one.”
While Best has very supportive parents, many of his close friends do not. “Our bonds run deeper than blood,” he sings in the latter track, which celebrates club culture while never losing sight of the fact that building a family within the shared queer experience literally saves lives.
Only piano in tow, “Bleach” is Best’s artistic pinnacle, a performance so devastating you can feel the wreckage tumble down around him. “There’s a monster in me/And I fed it,” he wails. While working at a call center, and feeling creatively stuck in second gear, he put pen to paper and quickly realized his soul was literally crying out for help. “My music career was stagnant, and I felt like I was fading into the background,” he says. “I suppressed my identity as a result of being told I was acting too gay in comparison to my band members, and it felt like a battle I was losing.”
His mental stress was like a bulldozer, crashing into every facet of his life, and his physical health soon bottomed out. He became so severely ill that he was “confined to my apartment and found that no one was visiting me or checking in ─ other than my partner, who worked throughout the day,” he remembers. “I was alone for the majority of the day with nothing but my sickness and my thoughts, and at that moment, I had to make a decision to choose to live or waste away. It was a hard-fought battle, but I managed to come out of the other side.”
“The structures for helping those with poor mental health in the UK are dreadful, and so many of us fall through the cracks,” he continues. “Queer people are statistically more likely to have poor mental health, and as a result, it becomes another form of oppression keeping us down.”
“Hurt” locks into a similar emotional puzzle. Wintry sounds sweep across his mental desolation, letting his vocal completely burn to the cold earth. One of his very first artist songs – written with album producer James Minas when they first started collaborating seven years ago – the heady track wrestles with giving someone too many chances. “It’s like you’re dancing on my grave,” he cowers into the dark.
When you think you know what to expect, Best tosses out some jarring (but refreshing) curveballs. A song like “Violent Men,” dragging the listener into some macabre club rave, jolts the system awake. Not only does its frantic energy course through the body, but its lyrics hit even harder. “I wrote [this song] the day after the most recent UK election. Seeing the Conservative party rise to power left me with an empty pit in my stomach and a feeling of utter dread,” he says. “I looked around the world and found so much of our trauma is passed down from the violence of wealthy men and women in power.”
“Go to war/Die on the dance floor,” he sings, inhabiting a very unsettling vocal transformation. It’s a simple but acidic line, further puncturing to the emotional core. “Most of us just want to exist in peace but we’re tricked into being pawns in a game that we cannot afford to play,” he says. “I wrote the song to empower people (and myself) to reject the great game and to hold these vile people accountable for their actions.”
“Chasm,” a twisted piano spinning like a tilt-o-whirl, consumes from the inside-out, mimicking what it’s like to be arrested by existential dread on a daily basis. “Will it ever get any easier?” Best begs. He probes and digs, coming up empty handed, and he’s left to his choir of mental demons instead.
“Existential dread is new to me. I’ve had bouts of depression in my youth, but it didn’t really hit me hard until I was in my mid-20s,” he admits. “It’s the anxiety that really gets me. I found myself drinking a lot and spending money I didn’t have to cover the cracks in my life, but that shit always catches up with you. That feeling of this entity always following close behind, knowing a reckoning is coming, and you can either face it or keep running, is terrifying ─ but utterly liberating if you choose to face it.”
As scary as that process can be, catharsis comes more quickly for Best via the songwriting process. “Each song on this album was written in less than an hour, and by that, I mean the bare bones: the lyrics, the melody, and subject matter. I find the longer it takes me to get that stuff out of my head, and in writing, the worse it is, and I usually end up scrapping it,” he says. “My best work seems to flow out of me all at once with only minor tweaks needed to words and melodies from there. I think the majority of the work comes in the production and finding the right sounds.”
Queer Genesis is Dead Method’s awakening. He defies his past, picks up the pieces, and soldiers forward. The war is far from over, but he’s at least far better equipped to cope. “This record has really helped me understand who it is I want to be, what my values are, and what I stand for,” he says. “It allowed me to stand in the light of my queerness and be comfortable with being 100 percent myself. It gave me the confidence to exist without compromise and to let go of some of the traumas I accrued in childhood and adolescence.”
He confesses that while his journey may never really be over, it doesn’t necessarily need to be totally understood in this moment. “I am comfortable enough to lean into it and to create art that is authentic to me, to know my power, and to challenge the glass ceiling that has been placed above me to stop me from getting further in life. I’ll just keep chipping away until it breaks.”