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PSYCHEDELIC PORN CRUMPETS Overwhelming crowds and energy

Recently returned from a impressively large tour right around the country, WA’s own Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are developing a fearsome reputation right across our great land. Guitarist Luke Parish and singer/ guitarist Jack McEwan had a word with X-PRESS about their brand new album High Visceral {Part 2} and shows coming up this weekend at the Prince of Wales, Bunbury on Friday, May 5 and Settlers Tavern, Margaret River on Saturday, May 6. Following the down south run, the Crumpets will ready themselves for a Rosemount Hotel takeover on Saturday, May 27 which will double as local launch and end of tour party.

Let’s start with your new album, High Visceral {Part 2} . How is different to Part 1?

I like to believe our recording process has matured somewhat since the first album after we learned a lot from recording Part 1. It felt like a far more streamlined process. We also recorded the drums at Blackbird Studios with Dave Parkin. Part 2 is kind of like the bigger brother to Part 1. The riffs are heavier, the drums sound beefier, and the string arrangements are far more detailed and woven into the process.

Why the similarly named albums – does the band see it as a sequel or continuation of sorts?

That was the initial concept. They are joined in the sense that a lot of the songs from Part 2 were written at the same time as Part 1 and a lot of the concepts and ideas follow similar thread. We axed a lot of material and did our best to fine tune a lot of the songs for the second album. Now that Part 2 is done we are starting fresh and the third album will not be tied to the High Visceral series. If we continued the concept past past two it would feel too Hollywood – recycling old ideas.

You’ve just spent April on the road, and are heading back to WA for a couple of dates in Bunbury and Margaret River before having a well earned break, then finally finishing the whole shebang at the Rosemount Hotel. How have the shows been going over east – any highlights or favourite shows?

We went over east not really knowing what to expect. I think we would have been happy with a good rider and a few crew showing up to each show but there was such a great response in terms of the crowds and energy, it was overwhelming. We had the best time on the road and met so many amazing people everywhere we went. I think Tasmania definitely took our hearts though, it’s so beautiful and full of amazing places to visit.

Any random stories from the road you can share?

So many weird things happened but I’ll pick two. We were staying at the Brisbane Hotel in Hobart in these really crazy rooms with Care Bears all over the walls holding drugs and strange rooms down the hall. We learned that the building across the road was the old gallows and that convicts would have their last drink at the Brisbane Hotel before they were taken to the gallows to be hanged. We were already on edge about all of it and then our manager J’aime woke us up in the middle of the night talking crazy shit like he was possessed. The other story took place in Melbourne. We were supported by Fuzzsucker who does a crazy theatrical, alternate universe type performance with strobe lights, snow goggles and outfit changes. He sang a happy birthday song to everyone in the crowd and handed out wrapped presents. We opened it and there was a brain inside a plastic bag! Probably one of the strangest performances I have ever seen.

Tell us a bit about the support bands at the three WA shows…

The Weapon Is Sound are supporting us in Margs and Bunbury. They are an amazing Dub Reggae band reminiscent of King Tubby. I saw them a couple of years ago before Crumpets was a band and they blew my mind. The other band supporting us in Bunbury and Perth is Western Kinsmen of the Sun (great dudes, great guitar tones). Hideous Sun Demon is the main support for the Perth show and they have been one of our all time favourite bands since we started playing music around Perth, I used to have their first album on repeat when it came out. They are going to melt heads at the Rosemount, Bells Rapids I have heard only good things about and Pat Chow we have played with before and they rule.

Last time I saw you guys live I think it was supporting the amazing Black Mountain in one of my favourite nights of 2016. You’ve played some epic supports recently, including with Australian bands like King Gizzard and Dune Rats, who was your favourite band to play with and why?

It’s been awesome playing with so many great bands. I really love King Gizzard’s energy on stage and how tight they are as a band. The thing that I like most though is the amount of bands they have supported all over Australia. All the bands you mentioned we were privilege to play with and support. There is such a plethora of amazing bands all over Australia that are incredible to see live, I think getting out of Perth and seeing what other scenes there are is so rewarding as a musician.

What is it about Perth and great psych rock bands do you think?

I would say being isolated from the rest of the world means people living in Perth can feel as though there is less happening out in the world, than maybe there is. This can make people focus and put more into their own music and not get disheartened or overwhelmed. If you were a painter in Europe, the amount of history and talent could be seen as overwhelming for some people. Ignorance is bliss I guess and it’s easy to feel as though you’re creating the newest sound or revolutionising something even though there might be somebody, somewhere else creating something similar on the other side of the country. It’s that attitude that I believe pushes everything forward in Perth.

You’ve got some great song titles like the singles Buzz and Gurzle, do the song titles come first in those cases or where do they come from?

(Laughs) I think they are usually the names of the Ableton Files we use and it gets to the point where the name just sticks and you would feel like a dork trying to rename the song. Gurzle is named, however, in relation to one of our favourite bands from Melbourne, Mangelwurzel, who we played with about 2 years ago.

There’s some great sounds and production on the record and I understand it’s mainly self-produced, who’s the studio genius in the band – have you guys got a Kevin Parker type in house?

The sound we want is mutually understood. We aim to get it as close at possible to the final product and then the mix wizard (Michael Jelinek) cleans it all up. Myself, Jack and Danny also all have our own home studios and recording setups so we are all producing our own music and I guess you could say producers in our own right. We add more textures and sounds as the album progresses along. Jack will bring the main ideas to jam or will have a track recorded then we go from bedroom to bedroom until we feel there’s a song in place.

I want to ask a bit about the lyrics on the album, I’m not sure if you went into writing the album with an idea or theme in mind, but looking back do you notice a thread at all running through it? 

Yeah there’s definitely a few lyrical themes going on. When I recorded the first couple of songs – Cornflake, Marmalade March, Cubensis Lenses – it was just a solo project I created while procrastinating through uni so most of the lyrics were about big weekends and the void of thought following a Monday comedown. It felt like it was a good escape from the working week so I carried on in that style, heading out taking mental notes or recalling younger experiences and later try work out a narrative for the piece. In Part 2 I followed on with that style but got a bit closer to home and I wrote more about certain periods in time, questioning what life is, growing up and trying to make sense of a world in a universe that doesn’t make sense.

Finally what can we expect from you live when you tour this record – what crazy outfits and production have you got planned for the shows?

We are all going to wear mirror ball suits so that no one can actually see us on stage. Also we have hired half of the Cirque Du Soleil team to do crazy acrobatic stunts while we perform…

The tour so far has been pretty stripped backed and grungy which has been cool. For the Perth shows though we usually add a visual element i.e. projections that are triggered by the audio, and generators that are fuelled by 200 hamsters on wheels. We’re also getting strings and adding synths so we can do some of the bigger songs on the album.