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Label? Check. Studio? Check. Space opera? Maybe: Psychedelic Porn Crumpets on their impending world domination

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Perth has an impressive track record. It has been the nest for some of Australia’s finest musical exports; Tame Impala, Pond, Birds of Tokyo, and Pendulum. Now there’s another act to add to that lists – Psychedelic Porn Crumpets.

Since fine-tuning their smorgasbord sound of psychedelic-space rock and cutting their teeth in Perth’s pubs and clubs, the Porn Crumpets are stepping it up a notch. They’ve released two LP’s over two years (plus a couple handfuls of singles and B-sides), and they’ve nabbed spots supporting Royal Blood and on the 2018 Groovin the Moo bill.

With things accelerating ever more quickly, we sat down with Jack, Luke and Danny from the band at Young Henrys in Sydney to discuss their impending world domination.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Photos by Jack Stillman

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are nothing if not proactive. We chat with the Perth psych lords about how to be fully self-sufficient as a band and their impending world domination.

Happy: You guys have released a lot of music over the past two years – two albums, an EP, a bunch of singles – why put out so much so quickly?

Jack: Because we haven’t got a manager convincing us otherwise… I don’t know, we just want to get everything out there. We don’t really have a timeframe, either. I think there’s more of a plan in place now but when we were starting off it was like, if we’ve got music let’s put it out.

Luke: It’s like, why would you bottleneck the process? If you’re doing enough stuff, you don’t want to be stopping that flow. [To Jack] You’re writing so many songs, it’s just gonna block up and then you’re suddenly stuck with stuff you’ve had for like three years.

Jack: And also you don’t want to milk it, you want to put it out and see how it goes and then you can keep writing new material and not get bored of playing the old stuff.

Luke: King Gizzard did more anyway.

Happy: So what is your process like for songwriting? Do you collaborate a lot?

Jack: I think we collab. On the last album there were certain songs that we collaborated on and there are some songs that maybe I’ll write at home and everyone nit-picks and changes. But there’s certain tracks – on the second album I’d say Gurzle was the focus of the album. We all wrote that song, it took like four or five months to finally finish writing one song, so that was like a really long process but we were all happy with it. Then I wrote a couple of tracks based on that style. I think probably half the album was collab and then I’ll go ahead and write some tunes.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Happy: Do you plan to do that in the future? Write one song and then build the album around it?

Jack: It kind of themes the album a bit more, I reckon. Because you don’t want to put a bunch of country music and then have this metal song, because it’s going to sound weird. I think now, we’re building a studio, so what we’ll do is record all our jams. We were talking before that we want to do, for the next album, a concept album. This is completely just what we said the other day so it’s not gonna happen, but it’ll be cool if we had four ideas or main song ideas that we made two or three songs from.

So the album will be in… I dare say quarters, which is exactly what King Gizzard did. We’re just a King Gizzard cover band [laughs]. Rather than writing ten tracks, we’ve done that – there’s part one, there’s part two, here’s some B-sides. Now it would be cool if we could really theme in on four ideas and do them really well and elaborate on them rather than be like “here’s another ten singles”. If you have an idea you kind of want to dive in as far as that can possibly go.

Happy: Tell me more about the studio you’re building – why build your own place and not just use somewhere else?

Luke: It’s probably cheaper than going to a studio.

Jack: And it’s also like, there’s no time frame. In a studio you’re paying thousands of dollars to work there for a week and then you might not even be happy with the final product and you’re like “Fuck, I’ve now got to fork out more money, we’re over budget, they don’t have time free until six months away”, you know what I mean? But if you’ve got your own studio, you’re literally timeless to make anything. And we’re spending money on our future as well if that makes sense, so you’re investing in the band as well as not just someone else’s studio. But we’re obviously going to be starting from little experience. Hopefully that will build as the band builds. It’s a little adventure, it’s fun.

Happy: You guys run your own label as well – What Reality? Records – what was the inspiration behind that?

Jack: Same kind of reason, isn’t it?

Luke: If you’re a band putting out records independently, it’s good to have some sort of umbrella to put things under. If you ever want to kind of expand on that you can create your own culture from that. The initial thing was distribution really for the records and everything, but eventually we want to sign people and expand, start to bring people into the same kind of world.

Jack: It’s also the same thing with the studio. It will build as big as the band builds. That way we can be fully independent, recording all our songs in the studio we built and then releasing on the label we created. That way, you’re not just working on someone else’s momentum. If the band does well, it just seems like a nice in-house project we’re working on that are only our terms. It seems like the future of what most people are doing these days. Just because the music industry took a big hit, there’s not that much funding and you get caught in all these loops and traps, and they might give you a good initial budget but you’ll be touring and paying them off. This way it’s like, if we don’t make money we don’t make money, sweet. We’ve only lost out money, we don’t owe anybody else an arm and a leg to pay them off.

Luke: It’s also a lot easier now to do things independently.

Jack: Oh, the internet makes it so much easier. You don’t really make money on music which is weird, it’s all about live shows. But the vinyl resurgence is just great, that is sort of funding most of it. So if we can be a band that can just stay in our niche and we’re not gonna sell a million CDs in JB Hi Fi, we don’t want to be that, which a label would probably try and do.

Happy: Let’s talk a bit about Perth. There’s been a huge wave of artist from Perth over the past few years and the Perth music scene seems to be killing it at the moment. What’s happening in Perth?

Lukes: Everyone asks what they’re feeding us.

Happy: What’s in the water in Perth?

Jack: There’s a documentary, isn’t there? It’s called There’s Something in the Water and it was made in the 90s or the 00s and at the time there was a huge resurgence of Perth bands like The Sleepy Jackson and a bunch of other bands. So I think it’s always had its own good scene. It’s because it costs a fortune to go anywhere and play. So for us to come over to Sydney and do a show or to Melbourne and do a show, you’ve got to really be ready and prepared to lose money. You’re never going to make money straight off touring because you’ve got to get the word out.

Luke: You work harder at home before you move out.

Jack: It feels like going to another country. Perth is its own isolated city where people go and watch music. Pubs are built for live music, it’s not like “We’ve got a band room in the back”. It is the main attraction. People go out, have a beer, watch a band.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Luke: There was this really good interview with Nick Allbrook, he was talking about how, but he was saying like you’re kind of lucky in Perth because you’re kind of ignorant to what’s out there. In places like Sydney or Melbourne there’s a lot more pubs and the scene’s bigger. I think people feel daunted. If you were going to be a painter and you grew up in France or something you’ve got thousands of years of art history and that would be quite daunting. But in Perth you’re kind of ignorant to what’s out there, so you feel like your own microcosm is all there is. And you’re like “no one is doing this music” and there’s this real…

Jack: Freedom?

Luke: Yeah freedom, but also having that ignorance too. It is bliss because you don’t feel overwhelmed by the music industry or overwhelmed by the scale of everything.

Jack: And you don’t get a lot of international artists coming over and playing in Perth. Here you may be competing with Thee Oh Sees or someone on a Tuesday night, or Blondie could come, just a big band that could take away from your gig. We’re pretty lucky that on a Saturday night –

Luke: Most nights…

Jack: There’s nothing on. So people are like “Let’s go see Crumpets” or go watch the new band because they’ve got a buzz about them rather than “Radiohead are in town”, so that’s always good as well. There’s a demand for it and people always want to go and see live music still. Plus it’s hot, everyone likes beer.

Luke: Plus it’s not so spread out. There are only certain places you can go to. Sydney for me, I would have been so lost. I can’t even get a coffee in Sydney, but Perth is so small that there’s destination venues. All those bands that got massive like Tame and Pond all played in the same venues we played in. It’s like a little system that happens.

Happy: Jack I was reading an interview where you described Buzz as “Wes Anderson mixed… with Tarantino”.

Jack: [Laughs] Maybe, sounds like it.

Happy: Does film inspire your music at all?

Jack: I reckon, definitely. [Turns to band] Weren’t we talking about this? We’re a flavour band, if that makes sense. Well I think we are, hopefully. When you listen to it you’re like “That sounds like…” I used to put the directors as the song descriptions on Soundcloud, so I’d be like “This is… Edgar Wright”, it has that kind of cut, choppy weird bit or it might be a bit humorous. There was a Paul Thomas Anderson track, or Lars von Trier. I think they definitely crossover, like visual and sound. What we were talking about yesterday? But yeah, definitely, in answer to your question.

Happy: I read that you guys have an idea for a space opera?

Jack: Oh man, this was ages ago.

Luke: It’s because in interviews you just say random shit and you never do it.

Jack: We always have random ideas coming up. But we wanted to work on a space opera because my friend Michael is a playwright and we wanted to do something for Fringe. We wanted to do a space opera where this little robot goes through a beacon, the Earth has died, and now it’s retelling the story of what Earth was. So it’s billions of years in the future and it’s this little robot sending robot voice signals about how he’s finding bits and pieces. I think it would be pretty cool. I would have loads of fun writing that and it would be like The Mighty Boosh, so it would be a weird play with shitty props and then the music would just change throughout.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Happy: Is it something you’re working on or just something you threw around one day?

Danny: We’re constantly brainstorming. We have thousands of ideas, especially on tour, just talking about the stuff we want to do. Most of it doesn’t happen, but it could at some point.

Jack: I think because we’re independent it’s like, as much work as we do is how big or successful the band will be. At the moment, all of us I’d say this is our first thought and thing we want to do. Which is great because it’s not like we’re going on tour and then I’ve got to go back to work and I’ve got my brain occupied on something else. I think all of us are stoked that we’ve been given this chance and now we don’t want to let the ticket slip so we’re like “Sweet, let’s throw everything into it”. Let’s get weird, write down every idea, get creative, and the music is like a side product really. It’s definitely the first thing we want to get good but we always talk about how we can get our stage production good, or our lighting, the other aspects of the band as well. It’s definitely something we’re keen to build our little world around.

Happy: Speaking of stage productions, you guys are supporting Royal Blood this month and you’re playing Groovin the Moo soon too – how are you approaching bigger shows?

Luke: Like a big pub.

Jack: Like a big pub, that’s it!

Happy: Is it best to not think of it differently?

Luke: I think you’ve got to put the level of importance on it, and we’ve planned for it, but in terms of mentally preparing?

Danny: I think it’ll be good for us to see how Royal Blood do it and then go do it more like that. Even they’re doing that at the same time as well, when they played with Foo Fighters… constantly trying to make it a better experience.

Jack: I think mentally we have definitely stepped up. Everything has stepped up this tour. We’re thinking about everything more, so…

Luke: There’s less room for error.

Jack: Yeah that’s it. You don’t want to fuck up to that many people. At a pub gig, people might just be there to go out for a drink, but you’re playing a stadium show and no one just rocks up to a stadium show. So they’re generally paying money to see entertainment and you’re the entertainment, so we’ve definitely stepped it up. There’s so much room to step up – it never feels like “This is the best we can be”. It always feels like we’re ten percent of what the band can be. As we progress, the place we want to be progresses as well. We’re always chasing a goal that’s endless, which is sweet.

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May 17, 2018