Hot Tubs Time Machine’s new album Double Tubble

Original photo by Simon Fazio. Handmade mixed-media by B.

Hot Tubs are back with their sophomore album, Double Tubble! Duo Marcus Rechsteiner (UV Race) and Daniel ‘Tubs’ Twomey (Deaf Wish) bring the goods gifting us a brilliant collection of songs with a cool sonic architecture, courtesy of Tubs, that is creative and varied. Marcus’ lyrics are hilarious, thoughtful and deep at the same time, while his delivery unique— no one else could do it like he does. Gimmie chatted with Hot Tubs to explore one of the funnest records of the year.

DANIEL We just got these today! [holds up their new record Double Tubble]. Marcus just drew on the first one.

That’s awesome! It’s so cool Marcus is hand-drawing a unique picture on each album cover.

D: It’s a good idea at the moment, we’ll see how we feel after 300 of them [laughs]. People at shows will be able to pick which one they’d like. 

Where’d the title of the album Double Tubble come from?

D: It popped into my head. There was confusion about it. I said we should call it Double Tubble and Marcus said we should call our second album Double Tubble. I thought, ‘Great! This is the second album.’ But, Marcus considers this the first album because the other self-titled one wasn’t properly released.

MARCUS: There was a tape but not an LP.

D: Marcus got surprised when I was telling a group of people it was Double Tubble

M: I thought Double Tubble was going to be the actual second LP. It’s a good name! The first album was recorded in secret, as in, I was doing the vocals and he recorded it and it didn’t feel like the usual process. It got released and nobody really picked it up and then Al [Montford] did a tape and radio stations started picking it up. It was all during Covid. We never really launched it. Because it wasn’t going through the regular process, for me it wasn’t a release… but it is.

All the songs on the first album are really great, so it totally has to count for something!

D: Totally! 

I used to get called ‘Double Trouble’ all the time; I have a twin brother. It’s something that’s always been floating around in my head. People would say it when we walked into the room.

M: It made me think of that song that came out with the Power Rangers movie. [Starts singing ‘Trouble’ by Shampoo] Uh oh we’re in trouble. Something’s come along / And it’s burst our bubble / Yeah yeah. Uh oh we’re in trouble. It’s a hit!

That song was fun! I know that when you do vocals sometimes you get nervous. Was it like that for this recording?

M: He [Dan] held my hand this time [laughs]. Last time it was like, ‘Surprise! You’ve done it.’ This time we recorded vocals at the State Library of Victoria, which is cool cos they’ve got these booths with expensive equipment. You can record podcasts there or interview someone. Because Tubs is a member, we could go there and use it. You get it for free.

D: You get a two hour slot and you can’t book back-to-back ones.

M: You can go under someone else’s name. He could book two and then I could book two.

D: We did two sessions, but most of it was done in one. We just went in to see what would happen. I just sat and laughed the whole time while Marcus delivered vocals. A lot are the first take.

What’s one of your favourite lyrics of Marcus’ on this record?

D: I love the line: what is even zitar? It’s a line from A1 Bakery. 

It’s a controversial lyric from ‘Ned Kelly’ but he says: Protestant pigs. 

M: I thought that maybe I shouldn’t keep that.

D: We figured it was alright because he’s in character [laughs].

M: It’s almost like I’m doing a radio play, you know, like War Of The Worlds

D: It’s like a radio drama. I think we should do a whole album of it one day [laughs].

M: It’s very Monty Python [laughs]. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

What weird instruments did you use on this album?

M: A tiny guitar. It was donated to his school and it’s really abrasive [laughs] and obnoxious, but it’s really cool.

The music comes before lyrics?

D: Yep. I’ll cook them up at home and present them to Marcus. I love that because, you have know idea which direction it’s going. I hear what it’s gonna be about, like A1 Bakery, and I’ll think, ‘Oh, I worked a long time on this.’ He’ll start singing and I’ll be like, ‘Of course it’s about A1 Bakery.’

Do the lyrics just come to you Marcus or do write stuff down sometimes and keep it for when you might need it? I know on the first album a lot of the song ideas came from conversations you’d hear people have.

M: It’s still like that. He’ll bring me a song and I’ll say that I have an idea from a misheard conversation. 

D: Often Marcus will chew through the lyrics that he has written down a third of the way into the take and then it goes wherever it goes [laughs].

M: A lot of time it’s a topic. I’ll ask him if a particular topic is ok and he’ll go, Yep.’ Especially recording Double Tubble he prodded me a bit more like, ‘And then what happened?’ to help me get more out of it. 

A lot of it is stream of conciseness, my brain just goes and I see what he reacts to or when we’re playing live what people react to. Everyone is different. I could say one joke and I think it’s funny and then it falls flat and another time people will think it’s hilarious.

D: It’s amazing… we played two gigs this weekend past and played the same song, and you’re kind of bracing for people to react the same way, but then you get nothing [laughs].

M: Or something resonates with someone. You might just make a throw away line, like in our ‘Southern Christmas Hemisphere’ song there’s a line about Paddle Pops. I said that my favourite flavour is Rainbow, which is caramel. After we play a guy came up to us and was like, ‘I didn’t know Rainbow Paddle Pop was caramel flavour!’ 

D: We’re an educational band.

M: I was like, ‘That was two minutes ago, it must have really stuck with you!’ That’s what he took out if it.

D: There hasn’t really been anything I would say not to sing about topic.

M: He has told me not to do a song critiquing the art world, cos that’s too close to his heart.

D: [Laughs].

That’s a song I would love to hear!

D: It’s true, I did turn down that one. 

M: I just find it pretentious, but he studied art and understands it.

D: It’ll have to be a solo project.

M: Yeah, my dis project when I’m bitter about Hot Tubs.

D: [Laughs].

Let’s talk about the songs on the album. You mentioned the song ‘Ned Kelly’; where did that idea spark from?

D: We were playing in Beechworth [Ned Kelly spent time in Beechworth Prison]. Marcus said, ‘We better play a song called Ned Kelly.’ When I first made it, I didn’t think that we were going into the outback with bushrangers, it’s quite jarring really. It was quite a departure from what I thought it was going to be. 

M: A few times I’ve felt comfortable just freestyling on a song. We’re both open to just see how it goes. Our friend, Tim Stratton, runs a pub in Melbourne that we played at..

D: Some things stick, so we keep doing it. 

M: We were only going to do that Strat song called ‘All The Drinks’ once and then his friends came along to our next gig and told us to play the song, so we had to bring it out again. Sometimes we think songs will be a one-off, limited edition, that we’ll only do it once. I like that because every gig is different. 

The song ‘Ned Kelly’ has its own legs, we did it once in Beechworth and it just kept going.

We noticed that some of the songs you played at Nag Nag Nag that we’d never heard before are on this record, like ‘Gig Face’.

M: People resonate with that song. It’s one of those things that I think people haven’t used that term before. I hadn’t heard it before, I just came up with it. As soon as you say it people know what it is – Gig Face is someone that you always see at gigs. Everyone can have their own interpretation of what that means.

D: When we first started playing it, there’s this breakdown bit where Marcus will be like, ‘And now I want you to look at someone across the room, there might be a Gig Face in the room, why don’t you move towards them, this is an opportunity to say hi.’

M: You know how they do that thing at church, they want you to say hello to the person next to you.

D: You see some people turn their heads and be like, ‘Yes! This is my chance to say hello to that person.’ But then sometimes the other person will be like [turns head the other way] ‘You’re not a Gig Face to me.’ [laughs].

Another lyric we love is from ‘Kickin Goals’ and goes: I can’t run in real life but I can run in FIFIA.

M: I’ve been trying to run, I can jog. That’s why people like video games; you can’t go shooting people on the street but you can in Call Of Duty. Escapism, that’s what that song is about.

Tell us about ‘Street Fighter Man’; did you grow up playing Street Fighter?

M: That’s an experience that I had at a caravan park when I was six or seven. My dad didn’t like caravans so he didn’t come with us, but my uncle, his older brother had one at this park on the Mornington Peninsula. It was the start of school holidays so we we were there for a week. It was awesome, they had a video game arcade. I wanted to play Street Fighter and this other kid wanted to play Street Fighter, so we ended up fighting each other over it. It happened before I even realised it was happening. We pushed each other and other boys gathered around. It was weird.

D: That song is all of Marcus’ recollections about the Peninsula. We did it really late in the recording session. I was like, ‘Just sing about whatever’ and Marcus told me he’d just been down at the Peninsula, so he sang about it. We get people coming up to us wanting to talk about Street Fighter, we don’t really know that much about it [laughs]. 

M: I guess, you kind of would get that feeling about the Gold Coast, it’s beautiful but people ruin it, everyone ruins it. It’s the same with the Mornington Peninsula, everybody wants to enjoy it at the same time, so everybody ruins each others experience. Everyone is annoyed at everyone else but not themselves [laughs]. That’s what that song is about, you try to go down there to have a good time and you want to just be there by yourself, but everybody else is there and you get frustrated. 

I’m a disability support worker and I took someone down there and we were on a pier, there was this teenage boy on an electric scooter hooning up and down. People had young kids and babies and were like, ‘Slow down, slow down, it’s dangerous!’ Teenagers will be teenagers and be jerks, but the vehicles just change, right? Electric scooters weren’t electric about 20 years ago. They were both trying to enjoy the same spot but they had different ways of going about it and different priorities. Pretty much every tourist place is like that. 

What can you tell us about the song ‘Sizzler’?

[Both laugh]. 

M I went to Ballarat, which is an old gold mining town a bit outside of Melbourne near a place called Sovereign Hill. They have one of the only Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat restaurants in Victoria, if not Australia; there’s not many left. I went and it got me thinking about the 1990s, my parents never really took us to restaurants except for special occasions. Dad was a tight ass so we always ate at home; now I see kids and babies at cafes. Going to a restaurant used to be a real treat. Going to all-you-can eat at Pizza Hut, that was the highlight of my year sometimes.

D: We really bonded over it. Our family went to Sizzler, another all-you-can-eat place. They had one on Bell Street for a while, we went there so many times [laughs]. We’d stay for hours and ate as much as we could. 

M: A few years ago, my friend told me about this Smorgy’s place that had a volcano. Dan’s brother worked there. We bonded over this… I told him that I took a friend there that was really into architecture, Andrew from Constant Mongrel and Taco Leg. He’s an architect, he heard they put up this volcano. It was kind of closed down then, but I took him. [Looks at Dan] Your brother used to put the stuff in the volcano?

D: Yeah. You work your way up. You start as a dish pig and then you get to be the guy that puts the smoke in the smoke machine in the volcano. They’d go into the volcano and smoke ciggies on their break [laughs]. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

The next song on the album is ‘Property Game’.

D: I gave Marcus a song to sing on and he had just bought a unit. He was always going to sing about the unit. 

M: We played our first gig with Blonde Revolver and then we thought, ‘Should we keep going?’ We thought, ‘Yeah.’ And I bought a place in April last year. I was driving here when the real estate man called me and told me that I got the place.

D: It’s funny, the way a crowd receives that song is so dependent on…

M: Their age!

D: If you play it to an older crowd they are like, ‘Yes!’ There was a guy at a gig we played once and he had to be a real estate agent because no-one would have got into that song more [laughs].  We’ll play it to a younger crowd and they’re like [folds arms], ‘Why would we care?’

M: I feel like they judge me like, ‘Jerk! You bought a place, you’re part of the problem.’ [laughs]. 

The crowd reaction to you guys at Nag Nag Nag was great, people seemed really amazed.

M: Greg really looked after us at Nag Nag Nag.

Yeah, he’s super lovely. We’ll be at Nag Nag Nag next year and we’ll be at Jerkfest again in Melbourne too.

M: We might be in France when Jerkfest is on.

D: We’re going to France. We don’t know where we’re playing yet, but we know that we’re doing it.

M: It’s getting done! There’s only two of us and we don’t spend much band many, we don’t have rehearsals costs. We can hop in a car and just hang out.

It’ll be the first time Hot Tubs have played overseas?

D: Yeah.

M: UV Race toured America twice and Europe once. Deaf Wish did a fair amount of touring too. It’s going to be fun just hanging out for two weeks, eating cheese and croissants. 

So lovely! I’ve been seeing all the instagram stories that Exek have been posting on their European tour and it looks like such a nice time. I love the European way of eating.

D: It’s going to be great. The two of us love getting up early on tour and checking out places wherever we are. With just two of us it’ll be different from previous tours, you don’t have to wait for five people to have a shower.

M: Yeah, and there’s always someone that’s hungover and grumpy. 

D: That’ll just be me [laughs]. 

M: Sometimes. You know how I said we didn’t really launch our other album? Well, we did. We played four gigs. We busked on Bourke Street. I’ve always wanted to play Bourke Street, because I’ve seen the buskers there and I’ve thought, ‘I can do a better job then that.’ I was telling Tubs that we should try and make enough money for our breakfast. Europe is the best for town squares, we can just go there and try and busk for 20 mins.

D: Part of our setup is just going to be a simple busking setup.

M: I can sing with a megaphone. We can try and make 10 Euros for our breakfast and then go to the next city. 

When we did it in Bourke Street, these guys wanted to give us a couple of bucks, but we weren’t actually busking. When Tubs was talking to this guy about his setup, he said to the busker, ‘I don’t want to make any money.’ The busker was like, ‘You don’t want to make any money?! Why are you doing this for?’

D: It was like sacrilege amongst buskers [laughs]. 

M: [Laughs] Is there any other reason to busk?

What’s another interesting place Hot Tubs has played?

M: We played a school fete. It was awesome!

D: It was great!

M: Luxury, the band Hot Tubs came out of…

D: Luxury was with our friend Brett.

M: We had a song called ‘Box Maze’. It’s a thing they do at the fete where they get all of these boxes and make a maze. His [Dan’s] primary school is in a pretty well to do area, there’s lots of architect and engineer dads, and one day they engineered it too hard, kids got stuck. I wrote this song about it. He said, ‘We’re playing the school fete, we have to do ‘Box Maze’.

When we did that first gig with Blonde Revolver, they asked if Luxury could play but we couldn’t because Brett is such an influential, important part of that band we didn’t feel like we could do it without him [he went overseas]. Because we were doing the fete though, we had to do ‘Box Maze.’ One of the teachers, Terry, who is also a musician, joined in. The kids absolutely loved it, they’re like, ‘I know the box maze, I went in it!’

D: The parents were a crowd that got into ‘Property Game’ [laughs].

M: We also played a live talk show. They had a house band and I went on too early. Tubs was told off for me, like she didn’t tell me off. I realised afterwards that the house band was like [sings] ‘Hot Tubs Time Maaaaachine’ but a really funk version. I was just standing there and thinking, ok finish up. They went on for about a minute [sings] ‘Hot Tuuuubs! Hot Tubsssss Time Maaaaachine!’ Then Tubs got on stage and it was a whole awkward thing. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

D: That was a fun show!

M: It was cool because everyone was sitting down in silence. They were so well-behaved. There was no talking, usually there’s murmuring in crowds. You could hear a pin drop. There was this one woman with a really loud laugh, she was just like, ‘Blaaaaah haaha’ [laughs]. I was like, ‘Yeah! Someone’s loving it!’

D: A month ago we played a Spoilsport Records showcase at Thornbury Bowls Club. We were a late addition. Sam asked us to do the soundtrack for pass the parcel. That was another odd one.

M: It was 30 second snippets. He snuck in ‘Love is In The Air’. I’ve told him I don’t want to do that and he just put it at the end. There was a hundred people doing pass the parcel! It was massive. When we did it everyone simultaneously just went into the middle. The circle just went in and everyone was like ‘Love is in the air!’ I was like, ‘Ok, we’re doing it.’

D: It was beautiful. 

M: I’m warming up to it.

D: I’ve always got covers I want to do but it’s always hard to talk Marcus into them. He’s got his unique way of doing vocals.

M: I just find it hard to learn other people’s lyrics. I have a slight learning disorder, so I’m very verbally focused. A lot of people write lyrics differently to how I do. My brain just wants to go that way and their lyrics are usually the other direction. It’s a lot of work and I’m kind of lazy about it. We’ll have to learn a Serge Gainsbourg song for France. 

Let’s talk about your song ‘Lunch Envy’.

M: Another food song. It’s about my workmates judging what I eat for lunch.

D: So many people can relate to it. You’re sitting in the lunch room and people go…

M: ‘What have you got?’ and ‘Oh, you’re being good today’ – that’s my least favourite comment ever. It’s like you don’t see what I eat for breakfast or dinner. A chocolate bar for breakfast, you would judge me about that. The same people that say you’re being good, are the ones who’ll rock up at 8 o’clock with a Red Bull and ciggie (the Tradie’s breakfast of champions).

We love the video you did for ‘Street Fighter Man’. We were excited to see it on Rage.

D: Thanks. It’s been played a bunch of times. We have one for ‘A1 Bakery’ coming out by the time this interview comes out. It’s shaky, wobbly handicam -style.

M: But, very charming.

D: We’re doing one for ‘All The Drinks’ as well.

M: He wants to go all arty!

D: I played the ‘Street Fighter Man’ clip to the kids at the primary school. They were like, ‘How are you small?’

M: Tubs edited the clip and the one for ‘A1 Bakery’. It’s made on the cheap just using his time. 

D: The invoice is coming!

M: I’m waiting.

[Both laugh].

Hot Tubs Time Machine’s Double Tubble our now on Spoilsport Records available digitally, on vinyl and cassette (US via Trouble In Mind Records). Hot Tubs’ Bandcamp. Hot Tubs on Insta @hot_tubs_time_machine.

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