If you had to name just one band that this year has made you miss witnessing on the live stage, it would have to be Western Australia’s Psychedelic Porn Crumpets.

Arguably one of the most impressive bands you’ll see on a live stage anywhere, the group have been hard at work dishing out blistering tracks at every turn. Earlier this month, they emerged from lockdowns armed with ‘Mr. Prism’, their first new track since the release of ‘Mundungus’ last year.

As singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jack McEwan explained at the time, the new tune was inspired by a rather rough experience while on the road.

“After our last tour of Europe I had a plethora of reasons to see a doctor,” McEwan explained. “First, he thought I had tonsillitis, so prescribed me penicillin, which didn’t help at all. I did Falls Festival over New Year’s and barely got through – turns out I had pneumonia.

“I was pushing through on all sorts of meds until someone offered me the HMS Hunter.S alternative and I realised no matter how I’d ever be, I could never turn one down. Mr. Prism (my sickly fun-fuelled fiend of an alter-ego) was born.”

The end result was a majestic piece of four-minute rock that captures the group doing exactly what they do best – melting faces on and off the stage.

While it remains to be seen whether or not we’ll be receiving new music in the near future, the group are however set to hit the road again soon, performing a run of socially-distanced WA shows next month, before joining Ocean Alley on their Aussie tour next year.

To celebrate the release of the new single and the upcoming shows, McEwan spoke to Tone Deaf about the creation of the track, the events of 2020, and the return to playing live shows.

Check out ‘Mr. Prism’ by Psychedelic Porn Crumpets:

Click to play videoPlay

TD: ‘Mr. Prism’ is the first song folks have heard from the group since ‘Mundungus’, is this one you’ve been sitting on for a little while?

Not really, I’ve got a habit of working on a song or album right up to the point of release. We had to keep pushing the release date back ’cause I kept tweaking drum parts, bass notes, and guitar textures way past the original deadline. I still wouldn’t mind sorting out the low bass frequency a bit more but even in COVID times the clock hands wind.

TD: It’s been getting rave reviews across the board, but how have fans been enjoying the new single?

Yeah it’s nice to see it being received well. I’ve had messages from old school friends I’d presumed thought I was dead, so that was a treat. It’s reassuring to release something a bit different from our older sound and still get a warm response, really excited to show everyone the new album.

TD: The story behind the track is an interesting one, with the track’s origins lying in a bout of pneumonia. Rarely do people get ill and turn it into an amazing track. At what point of the process you’d hit upon something worthy of writing a song about?

Haha, I think it was because I was ill for well over a month, I felt this sickly gravity stopping me from drinking or seeing anyone. So when I felt like I was on the mend my taste buds started firing on all cylinders, my lungs were clean and I had a bit of zest in my walk, that adrenaline boost of overcoming a lengthy illness felt like such a euphoria it translated well into an upbeat ’70s rock track.

TD: It’s a blistering piece of, as the group’s name suggests, psych-rock, but I’d love to know whether there’s any particular influences you draw upon when putting together a track like this?

Yeah, definitely. We spent most of last year touring so you get pretty used to the van life, after a couple of months everyone’s stumped with what to play on the old stereo system so it starts becoming a mini challenge to entertain a bunch of people with new music.

After a while we always found our way back to the classics; T-Rex, Norton Gavin, David Bowie, ELO [Electric Light Orchestra], CSNY [Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young], The Kinks. It feels like those bands still translate well today, we wanted to emulate those times with some upbeat shuffles of our own and ‘Mr. Prism’ felt like a good single to showcase the rest of the record.

Check out ‘Mundungus’:

Click to play videoPlay

TD: The track describes ‘Mr. Prism’ as an alter-ego of yourself, though to see the band perform live, you seem almost like another person onstage as well. Is ‘Mr. Prism’ the only song we’ll see about your alter egos, or will we one day hear a track about your onstage persona as well?

Oh for sure, I genuinely feel like my life’s a nightmarish performance art piece but only the younger version of me realises. I’m too caught up now, I’ve stained my reality with this nonsense.

TD: Likewise, the song has to be one of a very select few that namecheck Alexander Fleming. Are there any other historical figures you’re hoping to honour in future songs?

Yeah I’ve got a track about cleaning our house for a rent inspection that references Edwin Beard Budding who invented the lawnmower. I don’t know why, I think I just enjoy hearing lyrics with a bit of research in them.

TD: The songwriting process began at your own home, but when did you find the time to record this one? Was it done before the world shut down back in March?

I think I was working on the riff around January but didn’t start writing the song until late March. I was pretty deep in a NIN [Nine Inch Nails] phase before that, trying to make chaotically heavy industrial metal so ‘Prism’ was a huge shift in direction, but a refreshing one.

TD: Incidentally, how have the events of 2020 impacted both yourself and the plans of the band this year?

Honestly it’s been amazing, I’ve had the time to record at home, free of deadlines and just flow creatively without restrictions. We had to cancel a bunch of international tours which sucked but I’m glad I’ve put the down time to good use.

That said, we can’t wait to get out and tour again, we’ve got our shows & then the Ocean Alley run here in Feb/March so hopefully that goes ahead and then off to the UK/Europe again from May onward, I think!

TD: Thankfully, restrictions have been easing up in WA enough to allow the group to hit the stage once again. How excited is the group to get back into it?  

Extremely, I can’t wait to play some new tracks and spill a pint down the back of my amp.

Check out ‘Bill’s Mandolin’ by Psychedelic Porn Crumpets:

Click to play videoPlay

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets’ ‘Mr. Prism’ Tour

Friday, September 11th
Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, WA

Saturday, September 12th
Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA

Friday, September 18th
Badlands, Perth, WA

Tickets on sale now through the band’s website

Ocean Alley Australian Tour 2021

With special guests Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Dulcie

Saturday, February 6th, 2021 (Sold Out)
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, NSW

Sunday, February 7th, 2021
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, NSW (All Ages)

Friday, February 12th, 2021 (Sold Out)
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, February 13th, 2021
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD (All Ages)

Friday, March 5th, 2021
Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA (18+)

Friday, March 12th, 2021
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA (All Ages)

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021
Melbourne Arena, Melbourne, VIC (All Ages)

Tickets available through the band’s website