An Interview with Jack McEwan of the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Recently, we caught up with Jack McEwan of the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. Among other things, we touch on how the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are kicking off 2022, the band’s stunning new record, and a whole lot more.

If you would like to learn more about the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, the link to their webpage is here. Once you’ve checked that out, dig into this interview with Jack. Cheers.

Anthony:
Hello, Jack! Great to have you here today. How are you doing? I’ve heard there was some flooding going on over there in Australia so I hope everything is fine with you.

Jack:
I’m doing great! How about you? Yes, all the flooding is over on the eastern side and we’re over on the west side of Australia. It hasn’t rained since yesterday, but the floods have been hectic. It’s just northern New South Wales, which is like the Sydney area. But it’s been pretty catastrophic. IT was horrible, like a lot of people’s studios, homes, and everything was just absolutely wrecked by the flood. I think a lot of people try to do a lot of what they can to help out there. It’s just pretty much the same place where they had the bush fires like two years ago, so the cause for concern is the global warming issues over here.

Anthony:
When did you start working on Night Gnomes? Were you working on it at the same time as Shyga! The Sunlight Mound?

Jack:
Yeah, pretty much. That was around the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. We just got back from a big tour of about six months in America and Europe, and I think we went to Japan. It was pretty much from July to the beginning of December. So, there was a lot to sort of play around with, and I think I wrote a good fifty or sixty tracks for Shyga. I wanted to put some of the ones that didn’t make it onto Shyga onto Night Gnomes, so there was a lot of trying to rewrite and make them more interesting. They were always meant to be two different records, with Night Gnomes being a bit darker while Shyga is like the happy kind of thing, and a bit prettier.

Anthony:
Would you describe Night Gnomes as a continuation or its own entity?

Jack:
Yeah, I think you’d be able to tell that there are similarities in writing styles. And I think maybe in ten years, if we do something completely different, they’ll be like, “Wow, that sounds pretty close together.”

Anthony:
Is it safe to say that Night Gnomes is a product of the pandemic?

Jack:
Well, yes and no. It’s definitely a product of isolation, but I suppose that’s up to what your brain can come up with on your own thing. There are definitely darker moments in it, but I think it’s more a product of change. I think that’s maybe a better way of trying to put it.

Anthony:
I like how each song has its own tone, melodies, and soundscapes. How did you bring the album to this level of cohesion?

Jack:
Oh, man, I think there were a lot of bits and pieces where I was like, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Honestly, I scrapped half the record and then got together another couple of big pieces. I think it was as soon as one song sounded like another one, I had to choose which to keep. If the drumbeat of one song is the same drumbeat as another track, one of them is going to go. It had to be something that I felt changed, moved, and carried on, while still having that same emotion throughout the tracks.

Anthony:
With this album, how important is it for the listener to listen to the songs in order rather than on shuffle?

Jack:
I think the order makes a lot more sense when it’s together because of the weight and balance of getting into the last bit. Writing the album was a bit more delicate. I think there were a few bits where I was trying to lull the listener into something to make something else more pretty, or make something else more impactful.

Anthony:
Walk me through the recording process, Jack. This was laid down in your home studio, right?

Jack:
It’s not too much of a home studio. It’s just the Apollo Twin interface, and then two monitors. I think the next part of our chapter is trying to get better equipment. We’re still running through these very visceral days of recording.

Anthony:
Were your previous albums recorded at home as well, or did you have studio time for your other ones?

Jack:
We’ve only ever done drums in a studio. The first one we did in a barn, and between various houses. They were still pretty much DIY home jobs. I think that’s the part that a lot of people liked, and now we’re getting in this space where I think we’ve got better recording at home so that it doesn’t sound like an amateur studio. We’re almost in a really weird position where it’s we either go into a studio, and do it properly, or go back to sounding like we did it in our bedroom. [Laughs].

A lot of the tones were from guitar and a lot of DIY stuff, and all were manipulated in Ableton. The guitar tones are from this guitar rig I have here. I use a lot of pitch shifting where I try to get these high guitar frequencies that I’ve found I enjoy listening to. They can be a bit harsh at times, but they can be pretty too. I haven’t heard anything like that, and I want to try and get a glitch pedal to replicate it when we play live. Other than that, I think a few more warm amp tones throughout the record, just so it gives it a bit more of a live feeling rather than a digital one. I think back to our roots elements when we begin, and then figure out ways to go forward. Every record we’re learning.

Anthony:
What were some of your main influences while writing Night Gnomes?

Jack:
I’m writing a record at the moment and it definitely has Oasis vibes. I went through a big phase where I was cranking Prodigy and then I listened to a lot of Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band and their record, which was unbelievable. I was “Ah, that’s amazing!” I think I just scrapped everything after that and restarted but I usually do go back to the old bits and pieces. I do like Radiohead, and I’d say Night Gnomes has Kid A kind of vibes to it, but that’s just me wanting it to sound like that.

Anthony:
What’s the psychedelic rock scene like over there in Australia? It’s slowly but surely making its way back here in the states.

Jack:
It’s been steady over the last decade. New bands are coming out every year who seem to get on the festival scene and do well. Ever since Tame Impala and King Gizzard blew up, there’s been some excellent bands on the local scene. Recently, we’ve got this band called The Lazy Eyes, who are great. They’re blowing up massively. They write some nice and interesting sort of Beatles-esque kind of tracks. Their music has got quite an upbeat, happy vibe that is really hard to write. It’s hard making major chords sound interesting, and fun again, but they do it in such a delicate way, that it seems almost childlike. He’s got a very angelic voice, which is sick.

Anthony:
Is it hard to stay relevant while conforming to the industry standard vs what you want to do?

Jack:
That’s the fucking million-dollar question right there. If I did what I want, I’d be writing a bunch of weird blips and bleeps, and it would all just be white noise, and I’d be like, “That’s it, that’s what I enjoy.” Honestly, the songs would go on for like twenty minutes. [Laughs]. Sometimes you have to cut it down and then sometimes people go, “Oh, we need to check for radio,” so it’s like you have this radio thing in mind. I think with this next record, I’m not listening to anybody about how our songs should go. There are tracks on Night Gnomes that I think came out naturally from that form of writing where you went from ten minutes, down to seven, down to five, and so on. Now everything sits around three minutes and you sort of think, “I don’t know…maybe that’s what people like listening to.” That’s the length of music that you get out there. I think because we haven’t played live, or done a tour in like two and a half years, and with the songs being a product of our little studio, I suppose some of them will sound good live.

Anthony:
From your infancy as a musician, what did the progression from where you started to where you now look like?

Jack:
It all pretty much started with my dad. He brought a guitar down from the attic and he taught us how to use the record player, and I would put it on all the time. At the time, the only album we listened to was Van Halen’s 1984. We played the album a lot. There weren’t many singles, so you’d have to listen to the whole record, but we loved “Jump.” There would be a lot of Sabbath. We loved Zepplin and The Beatles. I think from there, I remember the first time I managed to play “Smoke on the Water,” and I was like, “Like that was unbelievable.” From there, I was like, “Alright, what can I learn that’s a bit more intricate and what can I do?” And then I started learning a lot of White Stripe’s riffs, and it took off from there. Then I got into the whole Prog-Rock thing with The Mars Volta and more. Present-day, I am sort of in a mode now where it’s not too much about technical ability. Now it’s more if I discover something cool, I then decide if that’s something I’d want to look into adding to my own music.

Anthony:
You said you were working on something else for the future. Is that anything you can talk about now or is it too early?

Jack:
It’s in its infancy. It’s just a little project I’ve been working on with an old housemate. He’s in a band called Great Gable. We’re just good mates. We’ve been writing Oasis-style songs, crossed with Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear, and others. It’s just a bit of fun. I like writing those sorts of songs, and I can’t really bring them into Porn Crumpets.

Anthony:
Last one, Jack. You’re currently touring Australia right now and then you come over to the US, right? Tell us about the tour, and what’s next.

Jack:
Yeah, we’ve got Australia now, and I think at the end of June, or the beginning of July we’ll be in the US. I think there might be a few things that have been tweaked because of COVID restrictions, which wouldn’t allow us to leave the country. We’ve been stuck here but the borders are starting to open up now, so we’ll be able to tour more freely going forward.

Interested in learning more about the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets? Hit the link below:

Be sure to check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/a-m-radio-archives/

About Post Author

Anthony Montalbano

Anthony Montalbano grew up in New York and North Carolina. Anthony is a baker by day and a contributor to the Vinyl Writer cause by night. With a passion for podcasts, Pop Punk, video games, and more, Anthony brings a unique and fresh perspective to the team. Anthony's column is a catch-all for the things he loves most, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
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