Much like the name Psychedelic Porn Crumpets itself, a "whatchamacallit" is best described as a inharmonious clusterf*** of randomness that serves no discernable purpose, but is often pretty great when taken as the sum of its parts. So, it stands to reason that after bringing the music world to a standstill with their epic two-part High Visceral project, the Perth quintet would reinvent themselves with a kaleidoscopic rollercoaster of musical mayhem in the aptly titled And Now For The Whatchamacallit.

From grungy dance-punk and sweaty electro beats to raw, Hendrix-esque fretboard rippage, the record is – as one might logically deduce – a little bit all over the shop. But such is where its beauty lies; it's a record that demands repeat listenings, as each winding, polarising playthough offers wild new directions and tasty little tidbits to explore. It's a record that best stands comparison to your wildest night of kick-ons – fitting, then, that it starts with a track called "Are You Keen For Kick-Ons?"

Yes, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. Yes the f*** we are.

Our designated driver for the night is lead vocalist and guitarist Jack McEwan. He's off to a terrible start when we kick off our kick-ons, because he comes to us from the morning after a stonking big show in Dublin, where he's "so hungover that I can't feel anything anymore!" Thankfully, this is not McEwan's first rodeo – ours, however, has just begun...


Going from High Visceral into the age of the Whatchamacallit, how did you want to kick Psychedelic Porn Crumpets into the next level, so to speak, or build upon what you’d established creatively in the past?
I suppose we wanted to get more deep with our songwriting. I like having like a nice, clean, finished album, rather than lots of five-minute jam pieces, or these segue bits that didn’t really make sense. We wanted to write the tightest album possible. There was originally a concept – it was going to be like a 1940s, Punch And Judy, English village, fake kind of Kinks sound. And then it all sort of jumped around and changed, and at one point I was like, “What would it be like to go from the very start of music, all the way to the future?” But I would need to do a PhD for that – I'm definitely underprepared for that level of conceptualism [laughs]. And we just went down this spiral of writing songs that all had concepts of their own, and as it progressed, it just felt like this crazy kind of circus with no conductor at the helm. All the animals are there – there’s a painted elephant on a tightrope, for sure – and it all just felt like a bit of a ‘whatchamacallit’. It’s enjoyable, but you have no idea where it’s going to go, or where it’s come from. But I feel like it’s a good listen!

Was the way the album flowed from cover to cover something you found particularly important in the creative process?
Oh, definitely! That is like the whole thing – I mean, we could write as many songs as we want, but we didn’t want this record to just be a collection of songs. We thought a lot about all of the songs that would make it on there, and how we were going to connect everything, through to the last minute. When we were writing the album, we'd have gaps where we had to be like, "Alright, we need something between this track and this track" – once you've got the start of a track and the end of one, it almost becomes a puzzle where you've gotta fit all the gaps in. You're almost predicting what kind of genre or what kind of style it should be, rather than try to figure it out afterwards when you're mixing it all around. If we go for something weird and jazzy on one track, and then have a bit of rock on another one, we'll try to build things and push things up to fill the gap between them. And that just makes the whole album one solid piece, rather than ten really different sounding songs.

One of the most interesting songs on the record is the instrumental track “Digital Hunger”, which plays around with a lot of really cool production techniques and this slick, clean guitar noodling. How does a song like that come about?
Danny was in the studio recording the drums for all the other songs that were written, and he was just nailing them all. I thought a lot of the songs were in 4/4, but apparently they’re not, and I was like, “Oh, alright.” So I kind of wanted to throw something challenging at him. It started off as a bit of a joke, just to see if he could actually pull a hit. And he did! He nailed it completely! And then at the end of the track, it transitions perfectly into “Dezi’s Adventure" – we put the sound of a fire burning at the end of "Digital Hunger", and that turns perfectly into this vinyl crackle, which then segues you off somewhere else. So I was like, “We’ve gotta leave it in!” It kind of makes the album, as well. It's just that extra kind of quirk, where you’re like, “I did not expect that!” But it still sits nicely on it with those weird, transposed guitars and that kind of futuristic jazzy, digital sound.

I love the energy that a lot of these songs have – it’s like you’ve taken tracks that should be really chill and lowkey, and just stabbed them in the chest with a shot of adrenaline. What made you guys want to go a bit harder and faster with the guitars?
I think we're just more confident playing that stuff onstage. It's a bit harder to play on the more delicate side, y'know? We've sort of gotten used to doing that, but when you're starting off on the guitar, you're just like, "Hell yeah, I'm gonna turn my amp up and hide behind this wall of noise!” And I don't know, when I listen to songs on other albums, I instinctively gravitate more towards those really heavy and raw guitar tones. So we've always tried to emulate that, and make the Porn Crumpets version of a really heavy song. And now that we’ve got another guitar player in the live band, when we’re writing, we're not thinking about these songs as though they have to be played by four peole. I’ll write a song and be like, “Alright, maybe we need eight people in the band for this one, and then an orchestra on top, or someone on a Wurlitzer for 40 seconds straight." We're just aiming to write good songs, rather than think about how we'll play them live.

Do you remember what guitars you were playing in the studio for this record?
I used a Jazzmaster. I've been playing the Jazzmaster for years. I did most of the record through a DI as well, so there was a lot more post-production with the guitars. I liked doing that – you just end up with more time to work on the frequencies afterwards and change around ideas, and if you don't like a part, it's easier to redo it at home with the DI rather than go back into the studio. I know I sound like an amateur trying to talk about it – you make these bedroom-produced albums, and someone who's 20 years your superior goes, "Why's it sould like that?" And you're like, "Oh God, I don't know what I'm doing!" But honestly, it's just a different way of doing things. It gives me a lot more freedom to write as much music as possible without having a budget. I was using the guitar to work around a lot of those sounds that sound like synths – I transposed all the guitars up so that I could play around with them a lot. There's one violin on “Fields, Woods, Time”, but then everything else is just guitars, manipulated to f*** them up as much as possible and get some really interesting sounds out of them. Take a riff, transpose it 24 steps up, slap a reverb and delay on it, reverse it, and you get this organ-like 'grang!'

It shows the innate versatility of the guitar as a tool for expression. There's no limitation to what you can do with the when you’re willing to experiment.
Exactly. Especially with the software that’s available now! Some absolute monster on guitar probably wouldn’t like it, and it’s sort of against the grain of the bastion of guitar players, if you know what I mean – there's people out there who are like, “You can’t do that!” But if you’re just mucking around with [the guitar] and you’re having fun, then it doesn't really matter what they say. A song is just a collection of noises, after all. It doesn’t really matter if those noises come from the guitar, either – but that’s obviously what I learned to play, so I’m stuck to it... And my fingers can’t move quickly enough for the piano. It hurts my thumbs! 

So what is it about the Jazzmaster that just makes your heart skip a beat?
It’s just got such a warm low-end to it. I’ve tried lots of other guitars that sit too high or have too much treble, but the Jazzmaster just felt so diverse and sat so comfortably with my style of playing. I came from playing the bass guitar, and when I'm recording projects at home, I’ll usually start with the bass. As I got deeper into the Porn Crumpets and that project really started to pick up, I was swapping over to the guitar a lot more. But I’ve still got that love for the riff, I suppose, rather than chord-based music – so when I'm playing the Jazzmaster, I chuck on some real heavy-gauge strings, and then I’ve got that kind of 'bass mode' initiated, and then I’ll just kind of go from there.

And Now For The Whatchamacallit is out now via What Reality
Pick it up: Webstore | JB HiFi | Sanity | AmazonApple Music | Google Play | Spotify

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Tour Dates

Wednesday June 12th - Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide SA
Thursday June 13th - The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Friday June 14th - The Croxton, Melbourne VIC
Saturday June 15th - Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW
Friday June 21st - Astor, Perth WA

Tickets on sale via psychedelicporncrumpets.com