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.

Naarm/Melbourne’s Hot Tubs Time Machine: “I laugh ‘til my face is sore.”

Photo: Arthur Twomey. Handmade collage by B.

Marcus Rechsteiner (The UV Race, Luxury) and Daniel Twomey (Deaf Wish, Lower Plenty) have gotten together and made an album under the name, Hot Tubs Time Machine. It’s a delightful bare-bones jaunt of minimal bass, 808 beats, layers of synth, bright guitar and percussion, soundtrack-ing Marcus’ engaging, humorous and very relatable stories taken from his daily, that give us an insight into his world. We interviewed Daniel to get a look into the making of Hot Tubs…

Hot Tubs… is yourself and Marcus from The UV Race; how did you both first meet? What were your initial impressions?

DANIEL: I first saw The UV Race at the Tote for Deaf Wish’s 7-inch launch in 2008. I thought Marcus was a loose unit. He won me over when he sang about M*A*S*H. We were always on the periphery of each other’s lives but I didn’t really get to know him very well.

What sparked the idea for you guys to start working together on this project?

DANIEL: A couple of years ago Marcus and his mate Brent were looking for a drummer and asked Mitch Marks to join them the same week that I suggested to Mitch that we might start something with me on guitar. So instead of getting a drummer, they got me tagging along. I suggested I play bass cos there was nothing else left. Mitch didn’t stick around but I did. It was a really fruitful and joyous six months of making music with Brent and Marcus in a group called Luxury with Steph Hughes joining us on drums. When the first lockdown happened last year Brent (who is from the States) was on a visa run to New Zealand so got stuck there. Not the worst place in the world to ride out the pandemic but Marcus and I were gutted. We miss him a lot.

So, late last year, Blonde Revolver asked us to play a show with them and Marcus suggested we do it as a duo. “But we can’t play any Luxury songs” he said. “We’ll write all new stuff”. So that was the brief. “Daniel, write a set of songs in two weeks and I’ll sing on them.” And that is an accurate description of the process. I write a bass line, put together the beats on an 808. Add layers of keyboard or guitar or percussion. Marcus waltzes in and tells a story over the top and I laugh ‘til my face is sore.

What inspired the name?

DANIEL: Marcus called me Tubs. He called me Tubs for about a year. One day I called him and he answers “Hot Tubs Time Machine.” Three weeks later we need a band name. Two months later it’s on an album cover. It’s a funny old world.

What was the first song you wrote for Hot Tubs? What’s the story behind it?

DANIEL: ‘Pants Off O’Clock’ came first. Marcus had been talking to a friend about that moment that the door shuts and you can leave the shackles of pants behind. They had been reflecting on the extended hours Pants Off O’Clock was experiencing due to lockdown. Pants Off O’Clock around the clock.

What kinds of other things inspire this collection of tunes? We love that each song tells a very relatable story, like ‘Southern Hemisphere Christmas’ and ‘No Thanks, Google Maps’.

How were the vocals recorded? They’re so honest and have such a purity and charm in delivery.

DANIEL: Marcus has spoken to me about how anxious he gets about recording vocals so I knew that I had to create the right environment for him. Recording everything as I went meant that the only thing missing fourteen days after I started working on the songs were the vocals so, I was so keen to get some in the can. I recorded the first lot of vocals on the sly. When I was setting everything up at rehearsal, I ran the microphone through the laptop without telling Marcus. A good chunk of the vocals are from that session. Marcus singing away with no idea the red light was on, sometimes it was the first time he had tried singing on a tune. On those takes you can even hear the rest of the music reverberating around the music room we were jamming in because I couldn’t really put headphones on him without him catching in. So then at the end of all the songs I broke the news to him. “Congratulations Marcus, the vocals are recorded!”

Of course, some needed re-recording so when Marcus arrived a couple of hours early for our annual steak night – long story – I casually suggested he have another crack at the vocals. I purposely set myself up facing away from Marcus – so that he didn’t have the pressure of someone watching him, but set him up behind me – so he could see me laughing at all of the words. Apparently, that is how Stanley Kubrick directed Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove. He got the camera rolling, made sure Sellers could see the effect he was having on him and proceeded to roll around on the floor laughing. So that’s what I did.

Where or how do you think your best song writing ideas come to you?

DANIEL: Marcus says they are usually from conversation. He’ll be talking to someone or himself and thinks “that would be a good idea for a song”.

What do you personally get from creating stuff?

DANIEL: The second lockdown last year was hard. Everyone you speak to experienced it so differently but myself, I really struggled and I know that for Marcus it was even harder. When he asked me if I thought it was possible to pull a set together, I knew how good it was going to be for his mental health. There was no way I was going to say no. I did it for my brain too. I love a project, one with a deadline is even better. Stretching out of my comfort zone and playing a synth for many of the parts was such a satisfying puzzle to enter into. Knowing I only had seven days left and five songs to go was thrilling. Four days left and three songs to go. Two days left and one song to go. The finish line. For me personally, creating this particular stuff was a very enjoyable, liberating process that resulted in a really great gift for a good friend. Watching Marcus sing on the songs and get a kick out performing them a week later was so rewarding. His enthusiasm is painted in bright colours on his sleeves.

Cover Art by Evelyn Nora Hanley

What was one of the most fun moments you had while making the Hot Tubs… album?

DANIEL: I had a silent partner helping me on all of the music. Over the two weeks that I was writing the material, my twin brother was in quarantine. First in a hospital in Bangkok, then in a little place in Vientiane, Laos. He had some recording equipment and instruments with him so he could work on music while he waited the days away so I started hitting him up regularly for ‘bits’ for songs. We spoke every day, multiple times these calls were some of the highlights of the whole process. His whole world was a hospital room for a patch and So the two of us just fell into these songs together. We locked into the twin zone. He served up some very funny shit that didn’t make the record – and some that did. I am still recovering from his bass solo for Hot Tubs Time Machine Theme. Left on the cutting room floor because the world just wasn’t ready.

What’s next for you guys? Will you be playing live shows?

DANIEL: Yes! Sunday the 28th of February we are playing our album launch. A roving, pop-up, public transport powered, guest spot extravaganza. Over the day we will play three busking sets at different locations. Each with a different guest joining us for our set:

  • Bourke St Mall 1pm with my daughter Hetty.
  • Edinburgh Gardens 3pm with Pam, the music teacher at the school I work at.
  • Under the High St Bridge, Merri Ck 4:30pm with Sleeper & Snake.
  • At 6:30pm they will all join us on stage at Avalon Bar.

Please check out: HOT TUBS TIME MACHINE on bandcamp. All profits from album sales go to Djirra in Abbotsford. “Djirra is a place where culture is shared and celebrated, and where practical support is available to all Aboriginal women and particularly to Aboriginal people who are currently experiencing family violence or have in the past.”

The UV Race’s Marcus Rechsteiner: “I just take my clothes off”

Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

Melbourne band The UV Race bring a lot of fun and joy to people’s lives with their humorous, clever, raw punk rock. Vocalist Marcus Rechsteiner is a sweetheart and as genuine as they come. We chatted with him on the one year anniversary of their LP Made In China (out on Aarght! Records).

How’s your day been?

MARCUS RECHSTEINER: Good. I’ve been at work.

What do you do for work?

MR: I work with people with disabilities.

Nice. How did you get into that line of work?

MR: A long time ago I started volunteering.

What inspired you to do that?

MR: Because I had no work [laughs]. I had a family friend that was teaching music at a disability organisation in Warragul where I grew up. I volunteered. She ran music classes and was paid, I just volunteered. Then I started volunteering at the local pool helping people go swimming and then the organisation that used the pool, I started working for them.

So now you get paid!

MR: Yeah [laughs]. It’s really good.

How have you been going with everything that’s happening right now in the world with the lockdowns and isolation?

MR: I’m getting used to it. I was looking forward to some things that can’t happen now but health is more important. I was going to go see Eddy Current [Suppression Ring] and I was going to go to Jerkfest; hopefully they can happen at a later date.

Is there anything that you do when you’re feeling stressed or down or overwhelmed to cheer yourself up?

MR: [Laughs] Not really, I just talk to friends or watch TV. I live by myself so it’s nice having my own space.

What have you been watching lately?

MR: I don’t have any internet so it’s just free-to-air TV. I usually just watch 7Mate or Channel 9 has their own version of 7Mate. I like car shows and American Pickers.

Recently, you came back to Instagram after a break; what made you take a break in the first place?

MR: I had it around 2011 and there was a lot of sepia-toned photos at the time and people going crazy on the filters and felt it was a bit misleading. People would take photos of that day and then putting the sepia-tone on it so it looked like the photo was thirty years old! It really annoyed me but apparently that was just a craze at the time and only lasted a few months and then went on to something else. It really annoyed me at the time though so I got off it. I felt all the filters are misleading, like Photoshopping photos, which some people love; I don’t like it.

With all this staying at home and no gigs one of my bandmates in Luxury asked me to get it so we can do a live performance, which hasn’t happened yet. I mainly got it to do performances on it. [You can follow Marcus here].

Is having connection with people a reason you like being in a band?

MR: It’s a great way to meet people, yeah. I got friends all over the world and that’s through music. It’s a really good icebreaker, you play a gig and then people come up and talk to you after, whereas if I just went into a bar or a gig without playing,= I find it a lot harder to connect with people. It’s a great way to get to know people. Most of my friends are in Melbourne that I met from music.

How did you first start singing?

MR: [Laughs] Well I can’t play any instruments so that was the only option I had really. Al [Montfort] and I went to high school together, we grew up together and have known each other for about twenty years. We were in the same class in Year 7 to Year 12, we started high school together in 1999. He was always into music, he was into pop punk music and I got into it as well. He started playing in Straightjacket Nation when he was 17. We had always talked about being in a band together but it didn’t really happen until 2007.

Is there an instrument you wish you could play?

MR: A guitar is pretty cool [laughs]. Doing a mad solo would be pretty fun! There’s not really something I wish I could play. If you have an instrument and sing it’s hard and when I sing I like to put a lot into dancing and interaction—I feel that’s my instrument. It also always lets my bandmates focus on their thing while I’m doing my thing out the front. It works out well. I’ve just been trying to learn how to play a washboard. Jake Ausmuteants-and-lots-of-other-bands gave it to me a couple of weeks ago! I’m planning on doing a country band with a friend of mine so I’ve been practising the washboard, it keeps me entertained.

That’s awesome! I remember when I was a little kid and I’d go visit my grandma and she had a washboard in her laundry room that she actually used to wash clothes with like in olden times!

MR: [Laughs]. That’s awesome!

Before UV Race how did you express yourself creatively?

MR: I probably didn’t. I didn’t realise how important it was until I joined the band and I really enjoyed it. If we haven’t played for a month or two, I’d be really keen to get on stage and express myself, it’s a good release. I don’t think I would have ever been in a band if it wasn’t for being friends with Al. None of my family are really into music. Our friendship has really brought that out for me.

Awww that’s so lovely. Do you ever feel nervous before you play?

MR: I just get excited now! When I first started I was pretty nervous. At our third show we had James [Vinciguerra] from Total Control drumming ‘cause Dan [Stewart] was bringing out bands and doing stuff with another band at the time. When James drummed for us he was drumming faster than Dan usually would, I was shaking my head not very happy, and people in the crowd said they were having a great time and loved it but they could tell I wasn’t into it because I kept shaking my head. I was like, ah, ok, I have to hide my emotions a little bit more. Even if I’m not feeling the best I try not to let on because I’ve had experience where I’ve watched other bands and you can see someone is in a down mood and you’re enjoying the music but they’re bringing you down. Most of the time I’m having a good time anyway.

Do you ever find it hard to hide your emotions? You seem like a real honest, wear your heart-on-your-sleeve kind of guy.

MR: I am! I try channelling what I’m feeling into the performance and get it out on stage. When I first started… I don’t want to say I went over the top but, I guess I didn’t really know what I was feeling at the time; now that I’m a bit older I can actually recognise my emotions and be a bit more in check with them.

So maybe you’ll do more dancing on stage to get things out?

MR: Yeah! Or sing a bit harder [laughs].

I’ve heard you have a good memory; do you remember what happened one year ago today?

MR: Hmmm….. [laughs] no.

You released your Made In China LP!

MR: Nah, I didn’t remember, that’s crazy! I didn’t even realise that. That record had been recorded three or four years before that. When it finally came out I kind of felt disconnected from it. Not in a bad way though, it was just strange that it was finally out. We’ve slowed down a bit though with bandmates having babies and us all being in our thirties now. It’s crazy it’s been one year since it came out!

What do you remember from recording it?

MR: Not a whole heap [laughs]. We had a few people we did the recording with, we recorded it with a guy called Texas Tom and then Mikey [Young] did some stuff and Al. I don’t particularly like recording that much, I find it a bit hard. I don’t really focus that much, like my memory doesn’t focus that much.

You like playing live better?

MR: Oh much more! Yes! I find it a lot easier when people are in front of me and I’m on a stage. When it’s just me and I have to nail every word in the right spot, I just don’t really enjoy it that much.

Is there any songs on the album that are significant for you?

MR: ‘Belfast Belle’ [‘Irish Girl’] that was about my girlfriend at the time, we’re not together anymore. It’s the first and only proper love song that I’ve done in The UV Race.

I really like the song ‘Fairly Free’ that’s one of my favourite songs. Al and I wrote that together. It’s kind of about having a good time, you always know that it’s either going to end or you’re still constrained by society’s perception of things and how you really need to act; you could be getting a bit loose but you know there could be consequences down the track. It’s basically about how no one can ever truly be free, that doesn’t really exist.

What’s the song ‘Why Die’ about?

MR: I actually forget that song [laughs]. A few people have mentioned that song to me and I try to place it but I totally lose it. I think I know it, I actually really struggle with that one.

What’s your favourite songs to play live?

MR: I really like ‘Raw Balls’! I like ‘I’m A Pig’ too and ‘Burn That Cat’. I like our songs with lots of energy.

I haven’t got to see you play live yet but from what I’ve heard and seen in videos online, UV Race shows can get pretty wild and people come to shows wanting to see you go crazy; do you always give them what they want or sometimes want to do something else?

MR: Usually, it depends on how hot the room is. If it’s really hot I just take my clothes off [laughs]. Sometimes it’s hard though because if you’ve done something in the past people expect that. It also depends on how the crowd are, if they get into it, I get into it more. I find that when we play places outside of Melbourne like say in Brisbane, people get a little crazier there because they don’t have as many opportunities. Even in Sydney people get into it more. I feel like Melbourne is a little spoilt sometimes, because of how many bands and venues there are.

So getting naked on stage is a comfort thing ‘cause a room is too hot?

MR: [Laughs] Sometimes. Sometimes it’s an attention thing too.

You wear some pretty cool costumes too?

MR: I haven’t worn too many lately though, I haven’t been that organised. I used to have friends that would make me some. I want to get back into wearing them. Last year we had a spy themed gig, but I couldn’t find any spy outfits. I wanted to be Austin Powers but I couldn’t find any outfits big enough for me so I ended up going as the wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage! Everyone was wearing berets and trenchcoats and I’m in this jacket with crazy threads on it and wearing a cowboy hat—that was fun!

All photos courtesy of The UV Race Facebook.

Who are the musicians you admire?

MR: I really like Dee Dee Ramone because he was the coolest Ramone, he was the cheeky one. I like the brats! I like Ol’ Dirty Bastard, I feel he’s the best of the Wu-Tang Clan, he makes sense but he doesn’t make any sense [laughs]. We he raps he kind of makes sense but it doesn’t, he does it really well. I don’t have many others.

Do you have a favourite UV Race-related story?

MR: Ummm… there’s one I can tell you but you probably shouldn’t put it in the interview [laughs]. I love it but it’s a little bit wrong, I’ll tell you though… [Marcus tells me but I’m not publishing it to respect his wishes].

I read somewhere that you did a show in conjunction with an art gallery exhibition and the theme was ‘time’ and you sang songs about time like Cindy Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’?

MR: Guy Blackman and I did a duo together, it was called Guy & Marcus Blackman Experimentation Project. Joel from Liquid Architecture was doing this thing where he did this bus thing where he got a group of people out to a gallery. Part of that was to do with the concept of time and doing karaoke on the bus so that’s what I did.

I know The UV Race always like to challenge yourselves creatively; are you working on anything now?

MR: Not as we speak. We’re still trying to finish the sequel to The UV Race movie. We’re trying to get that done and record the soundtrack for that. We still have some songs we need to record for that.

How’s it all going?

MR: [Laughs] Slow. We’re not spending that much time together though. It’ll get done. It was filmed a fair while ago. The sequel is a bit crazier because it’s set in space. The first one is kind of like Blues Brothers, I’m trying to get the band back together after blowing our recording money gambling. We break up and it’s set five years after that where I’m trying to get everyone back together but they’re doing different things. In the sequel we’re in space and crazy space stuff happens. [Laughs] It’ll be fun to see the final product.

I can’t wait to hear the music that will accompany you guys in space.

MR: It’s a bit more synth-y as you would expect.

Do you have a dream project you’d like to bring to fruition one day?

MR: [Laughs] No, not really. I’m doing what I like at the moment.

You mentioned the country project…

MR: That’s a bit of fun with my friend Eileen. I’m in another band called, Luxury.

What’s Luxury sound like?

MR: [Laughs] It’s hard to describe. It’s a bit rocky and bluesy. Lots of guitar solos. It’s fun and upbeat. It’s humorous, I sing about not typical subjects; we have a song about ghost love, we have a song about Narwhal the whale. It’s a little bit sillier.

What do you get from songwriting?

MR: Self-expression, expressing how I feel. I love making people laugh and people think. I like to think that I have a different way of writing lyrics to how other people do, I like sharing that with people.

How do you write? Do you have a notebook to write down ideas?

MR: Sometimes. Mostly I use an iPhone now and put it in my notes, that way I can copy and paste to and send it to everyone else.

What’s the last song you wrote?

MR: Some stuff for the country project I’m doing. I haven’t written much UV stuff lately. A song I wrote for Luxury recently is a song ‘Single And Eating Pringles’ about not wanting to change and to make myself more available… I could lose weight but then I could eat Pringles, so I chose the Pringles [laughs].

What’s one of your favourite things to do?

MR: I like going on adventures with friends. I like doing things I’ve never done before or going to places I never have before. I love to travel, that’s probably my favourite thing to do.

Where was the last place you went before everything got locked down?

MR: I went with a friend and her son to a billy cart race! That was fun. That was in the Dandenong, they shut off the main street and kids raced their billy carts down there.

That’s pretty cool. Did you ever do stuff like that when you were a kid?

MR: I grew up on a farm. I had “paddock bombs” and motorbikes when I was a teenager and used to muck around with my friends. I had a pretty adventurous childhood doing things with my dad on the farm.

What was it like growing up in the country?

MR: It was good, I liked it a lot!

How do you find it when you go to the city being in an urban environment?

MR: Right now I live in the middle of the ‘burbs because Melbourne is so big. I live 45 minutes from the city but an hour from where I grew up in Warragul. I have to get out into the countryside every couple of weeks just to recharge. I just have to see green grass, I don’t like starring at buildings all year round.

Do you ever find you get too much stimulation being in the city?

MR: Sometimes. I usually try to find a quiet spot. I have a bar I go to in the city that my friends work at that can be quite quiet, it’s pretty chill. You can find places that aren’t so busy.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

MR: I have another story I could tell you that you can print that’s UV Race-related. In 2011 UV Race was touring on the Big Day Out festival. We were on a side-stage called Lilypad, they’d have weird entertainment and bands play.  They had an area where there were inflatable pools setup and there was a rainbow archway, we were all hanging out in the pool and the singer for Rammstein walks up and we’re like, “Come in the pool! Come in the pool!” [laughs]. He looks at us and says [Marcus puts of a German accent] “Maybe later” and he hit the rainbow archway with his hand and he walked off. That’s one of my favourite stories. They were scary! They were very intimidating.

Vid by Tim O’Driscoll.

Please check out: THE UV RACE. The UV Race on Facebook. Made In China via Aarght Records.