Interview: Psychedelic Pawn Crumpets
Hailing from Perth (but really the UK), the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are just as wild as their name suggests. We got to catch up with Jack McEwan, Luke Reynolds, Luke Parish, Chris Young and Danny Caddy ahead of their Splendour In The Grass performance to chat about their latest single, “Hymn For A Droid”, and a whole lot of randomness quite frankly.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. Guys, welcome to Splendour! Have we got anything extra special planned for our Splendour set? I mean, people always pull out the big guns at these sort of shows, right?
Jack McEwan: We tried to get Luke’s mate. Who was it?
Luke Reynolds: Tried to get Ross Wilson.
JM: Yeah. Ross Wilson. To do “Eagle Rock”. From Daddy Cool. But then, he’s on holiday, or something.
LR: Yeah, he’s in Greece.
JM: And that was our big moment. And then, it all…
Chris Young: Everyone with their pants down…
LR: What a sight that would be.
Yeah. That’s what I’m kind of nervous about for “Cosby Sweater” for Hilltop Hoods, tonight. Apparently, they ask people to take some clothes off in that one. I’m like, number one, it’s a weird song to keep on rotation. And number two, asking people to take their clothes off at “Cosby Sweater”. I don’t know about that. Anyway…
Luke Parish: Oh, did they not hear the reports?
LR: Surely, you put a Cosby Sweater on. That would make more sense.
LP: And it does get cold at night.
You guys are hitting up a lot of festivals this year, it seems. You’ve got Spilt Milk later this year. Summer Sonic in Japan. You’ve got Y Not in the UK. Do you guys prefer festival sets?
JM: It’s different. It’s like movies in theatre. They’re kind of like, one is more a show where we’ll get nervous, because you’re the ones that people have come to see. But here, you’re not headliner, so there’s no pressure, and you can just do your set and you’re almost like an underdog. So you just get more excited for it. You’re like, “All right, we’re doing our thing. And no one knows who we are.” But, I don’t know. It kind of still feels like that. Until we, if we ever do a headline festival, then it would be the most terrifying thing of all time.
I think you’d be excited. You wouldn’t be terrified. You’d be like, “We’ve made it, team.”
JM: I don’t know. You can’t have a beer for 10 hours. You’d have to chill and just sort of have a chat.
LP: Headliner, you’d get a massage before, wouldn’t you.
JM: We’ve never had a massage before a gig.
Guys, there’s free massages happening in the Wellness Centre. You can go book one and you can also get infrared saunas, and you can get B-12 shots.
JM: I’ve never had a massage. But I think it’s one of those things where it’s like a gateway. So if you have the first one, and they crack your back, then you’ll always have to go back and get another one. Because you’re like, “My back hurts.” And then you’ll get a massage. But, if you’re going to live with it, it just fixes itself. Like, I’ve never had one. And my back is all right, I suppose. Cracks every now and again, but it will be there.
I don’t really think that’s how it works. I think you just moulded yourself into a wrong position. And I think they’re meant to make you right.
JM: I’ll just stare my shoelaces when I’m old for longer periods of time.
So, back on the plans of the year. You guys have got a massive year. You’ve just done a little Australian tour. You’re going to be hitting up the UK and Europe for a little bit, soon you’ve got a big US tour planned. Are you guys good on the road together? Do you guys get a big tour bus?
JM: There’s been some feisty moments, but usually, 99 per cent of the time, I think we’re all besties. We learned to share beds and sleep with each other.
Okay, what’s the sleeping arrangements? Do you have double rooms? Does it rotate?
CY: An isolated bed, the loudest snorer goes in that one first.
Who’s that? Who are you throwing under the bus?
JM: We think he’s been smart about it. We think he just has a snoring habit, so now he knows he can get a double bed.
LP: It’s just a bluetooth speaker with snoring noises on it.
JM: It’s a good idea. He’s played us well. Usually, all the four of us share a single bed and let Luke have a double one.
He’s living like a king. I love it. And do you guys have an on the road road-trip playlist, or anything? What do you play on the big tour bus?
LP: It kind of varies.
JM: If Luke’s driving, well, Reynolds was playing some James Taylor today. But… what else have you got? Nash and Young always comes on. Avalanches is a go-to. We’ll play that on the way here. I don’t-
LR: We had The Great American Songbook from America. Sorry, we go like Simon and Garfunkel. The Eagles.
CY: Occasionally bossa nova groups in there.
JM: I think it always changes, which is nice. We’ll always throw on a bit of something to throw everyone off. Limp Bizkit was the bogey song of the last tour. Andy Shelf has been played all the time, but I think now we’re looking for more music. It’s hard, because obviously, we’re in a band, and that’s what I suppose you do. Rather than trying to outdo each other with good bands, we try and outdo each other with bad bands. I don’t know. To fit in that bracket where you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I like this.” But then it sort of grows on you. I suppose the same way that… who’s that guy that came back? Sprinkles the dust like this with his hands?
LP: Oh, Darryl Raven.
JM: You know what I mean? He comes back all of a sudden and it’s like, wow, everyone sort of gets around it, because they kind of like it, and then… music’s going in this kind of mean way, isn’t it?
LR: That’s like “Gangnam Style”. You know? That’s like, if he does that about four times live, doesn’t he?
JM: Soundcheck would be so easy. You just literally, for a four hour rehearsal, we do the set, it’s just the one song. You’re like, all right, done.
I went and saw Shannon Noll once, and he played “What About Me” twice.
JM: I heard a story of him coming on… he played a gig in Fremantle and he came on horseback. No, he rode-
CY: No, he kayaked across the Swan River, and then on the other side, he had a horse waiting for him. He rode the horse into the festival ground, straight to the stage where his band was waiting, playing big chords. It was at a tiny festival on the South Perth foreshore.
Oh my God. When I saw him, it was at Beer Fest in Brisbane, and he chucked a shoey and had XXXX Gold in his shoe. And he was wearing double denim and had a ripped vest with no shirt underneath, just had the guns out. It was possibly the most Australian think I’ve ever done. He also sang “Waltzing Matilda.” And I was like, “Where am I? This is amazing.” It was the best.
CY: He’s been working on those guns, hasn’t he.
JM: We actually saw him at the Brisbane lounge. But all of us couldn’t have the guts to actually…
LP: We were too starstruck.
JM: Yeah. I was getting a salad, as I remember.
Okay, guys. Let’s talk more about you guys, rather than Shannon Noll. Congrats on the new single, “Hymn For A Droid” off your latest album. You guys recently dropped the video for that one. It has footage from some of your UK festivals. Is it kind of nice taking a look back and shooting on the road? Is it cool to collage it all together?
JM: I think that video came about, like, we didn’t really know what was happening. And the first night, we were quite… well, severely hung over, and was it Liverpool, the day that we- Oh, Glasgow was the first one. And we just started getting into, obviously, the tour… kind of bad habits, I suppose, of… And then, when we got the footage back, we were like, “Oh my God, we look ridiculous.” So we got our friend Ollie to animate over all our faces. Basically the crowd, make them look like they’re having fun. Make us look like we can play well. And Ollie was like, “I know exactly what to do.” And just literally made that whole music video 10 times better than just having some footage of what it was.
It’s a sick vid. Absolutely. I want to talk to you about And Now For The Whatchamacallit. Where did that name come from? I mean, you guys are pretty zany with a lot of your names.
JM: I think it fits the miscellaneous way that this sort of album came together. It was supposed to be a bunch of different concepts, and then It just eventually became this one messed up idea that… you know, like your homework? You just staple all that four ideas together. And okay, here it is. And you just present it. We were like, if we put a pretty cool name, like Whatchamacallit, it would make sense that it’s a scrambled piece. Stuff like, here are all these ideas that don’t make sense. But then it does, out of its unclarity. Is that a word? Non-clarity? I don’t know. There’s a word for that.
JM: I didn’t want to use that word. Mess of an album. Like, chaos. But it’s nice. It’s kind of tangled in all these different kinds of weaves and bits and pieces. And we were like, well the Whatchamacallit just kind of sat nicely. And it’s something you don’t understand, so you’re just like, all right. And that’s kind of the way the album progressed. And ended up.
I read that the original concept for this album was a reimagined 1930s carnival?
JM: Yes. Sort of old English quaint village life. You know, like Hot Fuzz? Where it’s got the Kinks playing? And it’s still got that traditional thing? When I watched this… there was a documentary on, an old war time documentary, in where I grew up in England. And so it was all these… we got these really cool samples off of it, of these people doing the Punch Judy show. It was the, “The old lady that lives in a shoe.” It was just brilliant, and there were all these kids playing and having fun in a time where… they were unaware of what was going on around them. So, I think it was really nice.
And we sort of wanted to capture that childish kind of element of being dazed in life where you’re like… or taken away somewhere that was kind of playful. We wanted to reimagine it in the future, and then add this kind of weird circus that got it kind of wrong. Do you know what I mean? They were like, “This is what we think it will be like.” But it’s got futuristic notes to it. I don’t know. But even that changed to… what else did we try to do with the concept? It was weird. It went through a couple of bits. But I think that’s that kind of organy sound in the album…
So, you guys are a lot more like concept-based rather than personal experience writing from heartbreak and things like that? It’s more like, this is the experience I want my listener to enjoy when they’re hearing our music?
JM: Well, that was the difference with this album. But I think everything other than that, like the first couple of albums, are definitely… they’re just about nights out, I suppose, at festivals. We had one about… What was “My Friend’s A Liquid” about… Most of them are about about mushrooms, I suppose. And then, just the weird experiences. “Denmark” was another nice little trip we had down south. Yeah, I think it’s very much personal experience based, but that’s why we wanted to change it on that third one and be like, what can we do? And now we’re crawling back into our shell and making personal music again.
I can’t write in second person. It’s all just like, if I say “you,” it doesn’t make sense. I swear, I’m trying to get out of the habit of starting a song with an “I” and just having this existential breakdown, and be like, “I’m so self involved.” Or self obsessed. And then I’m like… and I don’t write a song that starts with “I.” Now I say “my,” “me.” Wow.
That’s interesting, because I mean, music is journalistic and you are just meant to be sharing personal experiences with audiences. So it’s interesting that you pick up on those notes. Guys, I’ve got to wrap it up here. I’m super excited for your set later today. Cheers, guys, thanks for this. I appreciate it.
PPC: No worries, cheers.
For more on the band head to their Facebook Page.
Photos by John Goodridge at Splendour in the Grass, except where credited otherwise.
This article was originally published in the AU review.