We’re excited about the new R.M.F.C. 7” Access! Its addictive, energetic garage rock jangle with anarcho-punk drumming, and infectious melody. The combination is dizzying and sees R.M.F.C.’s sound transcend influences and fast track into a fervent lane of its own. The addition of 12-string guitar into the band giving us a fuller sound. Buz’s songwriting has taken leaps and bounds from first release Hive. This taster of things to come has us waiting with bated breath for the full-length album set for release in 2023.
Whenever we see you play live, we’re always in awe of how great everything sounds. Playing the drums while singing isn’t an easy thing to do; what was it like for you when you started doing it? What helped you get better at it?
BUZ CLATWORTHY: It was difficult at first when the original live band formed but I’ve always found it way harder to play guitar or bass and sing than I have drums; drums have always been my main instrument. I think it’s maybe something to do with the way my brain works that drums just make more sense to me, but in saying that I’ve never gotten very deep into the technical side of things, my style of playing is very simple and straightforward.
Aside from naturally getting better at it by repetition, I’ve got some little cheats to make it easier like adding breaks in the drums when I structure new songs. My drumming & singing role in the live setting definitely had a part in informing how I wrote the newer songs. I think the very blocky/rhythmic phrasing of my words also helps a lot cause it slots in with what my limbs are doing on the kit.
Are there any drummers, vocalists or songwriters that you’re inspired by? What do you appreciate about their style?
BC: Stephen Morris of Warsaw/Joy Division/New Order, Laurence Tolhurst from The Cure and whoever drummed on the first Gang Of Four album. Those three all have a similar snappy drum sound & semi-robotic feel and were big inspirations in my formative years style-wise. As most R.M.F.C. songs are built around bass lines, Klaudia Schiff from Kleenex/Liliput and Peter Hook from Warsaw/Joy Division/New Order are very important songwriting inspirations. I love their use of the bass as a leading instrument, the bass lines are what make most of my favourite tracks by those bands.
I was talking with Kel from Gee Tee the other day and he mentioned that when you look back on your earlier releases you can really hear some of your influences coming through. You’ve been writing and making a new R.M.F.C. album; were you mindful of influences coming through for this one? How do you feel your sound had developed for those earlier releases?
BC: Yeah, being mindful of influences coming through is always something I keep in the back of my head when I’m writing/recording songs. There are definitely still subconscious attempts here and there to sound like whatever I’m enjoying listening to at the time but I always maintain a conscious effort to just sound like R.M.F.C. It’s usually more an attempt to replicate what I enjoy about the actual sonic aspect of older bands I like now.
For the earlier releases, I never thought anyone would care much for what I put out and I just wanted to make what I thought was cool at the time. When I listen to the Hive 1 & 2 releases now I just hear 17 year old me trying to sound like Jay Reatard and The Coneheads and that’s basically what it is, I was obsessed with bands like that.
Kel and I were also talking about how everyone in you guys’ friend group are great song writers and supportive of each other’s work. He mentioned that you don’t record at your house, but you go back to your parent’s place in Ulladulla; where to my knowledge all off your stuff’s been recorded? Why do like to there to record?
BC: On one hand it’s just hard to find a good spot in Sydney to record let alone somewhere consistent to leave your stuff set up but I also feel like that room has become kind of an integral part of R.M.F.C in a way, It would feel weird not recording there for this band. It’s good having that space down there to visit and have nothing to do but make demos or record songs. It’s all set up in my old bedroom so when I go down to record I’m spending the majority of my time in that space and don’t really have to think about anything else. Once I finish the album recordings I think I’ll bring my recording desk up to Sydney and set up in my room so I can make demos and focus on something different for a while.
Last we spoke, you told us that you were finding inspiration to write a little harder than usual because you hadn’t been able to travel as much and hang out with your friends because of the pandemic and it’s lockdowns. Has that changed?
BC: Yeah that’s definitely no longer an issue but since moving away from home and not having my recording setup I’ve found it just as difficult to make songs as I was during that stint. With R.M.F.C being a solo thing I find it so much easier to develop song ideas when I have my recording desk on hand to place the different parts together and make necessary adjustments, It’s a good writing tool.
We love that you’ve been taking your time with the album: things more often than not, turn out better when you don’t force them and allow the songs to unfold in their own time. Has there been a turning point moment during your album’s creation were songs and the process has started to progress quicker for you?
BC: There hasn’t necessarily been any specific turning point where things have progressed quicker. It seems to come in waves, I’ll have an off period where it feels like nothing is working out and then I’ll have a wave of productivity and get a bunch done. Everything’s pretty much written now it’s just a matter of finding time to go down and record the songs and getting them right.
You’ve just released a new 7” on Anti Fade Records – Access/Air Conditioning; what made you choose these two songs? How do you feel they compliment each other?
BC: I basically chose ‘Access’ cause I felt it was the best song to have as a standalone release out of what I already had recorded, I have other songs I maybe like more but they just seem to work better in the company of the rest of the album.
I mainly chose to cover ‘Air Conditioning’ (by UK post-punks The Lillettes) for the B-side cause I just really like that song but it also has that “human condition” phrase in it. I use the same phrase in two other songs that will be on the album which gives this 7″ an extra little connection. The two songs complimenting each other wasn’t necessarily a consideration but I think they work together as a good representation of where I want to go with the band.
We love ‘Access’ and remember seeing you play it live when we saw you earlier in the year; is it challenging for you to get a song you’re used to playing live recorded the way you’d like?
BC: Every new song starts with a demo or final recording that I take to the band to learn so it’s usually the other way around, but the way I heard and thought about ‘Access’ definitely changed during the period between making the initial demo and making the final recording. I don’t think this is necessarily because I was used to playing it live but it took a while to get the final recording to sound right, I don’t think anything could make the process harder than I already make it for myself.
What was the idea behind the 7” art?
BC: I pretty much just gave Ian [Teeple] a bunch of Wire 7″ covers for reference and we went back and forth with ideas. I was very pedantic with this design suggesting adjustments etc. which probably annoyed Ian but he was very patient and I think we both really like how the artwork turned out, I’ve had lots of good feedback on it too. Thank you Ian! ❤
You told us about the recent Other, Like Me: The Oral History of COUM Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle documentary. Thanks! What’s something, in relation to creativity or performance, that you took away from watching it?
BC:I really liked the emphasis they placed on the idea that you don’t actually need any form of training to make successful new radical music or art. I did music through to my final year in high school and while I did enjoy aspects of it, for the most part it contradicted what I felt music should be, so that resonated with me. Most of my favourite music was made by people who didn’t really know how to play/had a very basic level of knowledge and skill in regards to their instruments and TG’s influence was probably instrumental in the existence of a lot of those projects.
I also really like how a lot of what COUM did wasn’t intended to be art, rather just something that existed and didn’t have to mean anything.
What’s something that you’ve been interested in and getting into lately?
BC: Angelica from G2g/Wanderlust got me onto this duo called Lives Of Angels who I’ve been obsessed with. I’ve also been listening to a lot of country music lately. My friend showed me this Numero Group compilation called Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music. Lots of great tracks on it that all sorta came in the wake of the first Flying Burrito Brothers album, shout out to Dyl Scott <3. I’ve also been loving Operating Theatre/Roger Doyle. I heard their track ‘Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth’ on a radio show playlist Ian Teeple did recently and have been really enjoying exploring their catalogue. It’s so good having lots of friends to share music with
Is there anyone you know that’s working on, or created something really cool, that you’d like to shout out?
BC: Ian is currently working on the second Silicone Prairie album, I’ve heard it in its current form and it’s very very good. What The Toads have so far for a release they’re doing next year is also very very good. Carnations from Sydney should have a release out soon which I’m super keen to hear. Aside from that there are a bunch of friends working on things I’ve seen/heard that I’m very excited about and would like to shout out, but cannot share. 2023 is shaping up to be a good year for the underground.
What’s the rest of the year looking like for you?
BC: I’ve made some time here and there over the next couple of months to finally finish recording the new album. R.M.F.C has a few shows coming up, playing with the Ramones and The Prize at the Lansdowne on the 28th of October which is very exciting. We also have an exciting show coming up in Naarm/Melbourne in November.