R.M.F.C.’s Buz Clatworthy: “Most of my favourite music was made by people who didn’t really know how to play”

Original photo: Alex Wall. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

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. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

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. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

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. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

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. 

Art by Ian Teeple.

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 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

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. 

R.M.F.C.’s Access 7” is out now on Anti Fade Records – get it HERE and in the US find it via Feel it Records. Follow @r.m.f.c.fanclub and @antifaderecords + R. M. F. C. On bandcamp.

1-800-Mikey: “I encourage everyone to stay true to who they are”

Original photo courtesy of Mikey. Handmade collage by B.

We love 1-800-Mikey the lo-fi bedroom garage punk project of Eora/Sydney musician Michael Barker, who also plays in the live line-ups of R.M.F.C. and Gee Tee. Latest album Plushy is “for all the cuties”, sunny, full of infectious hooks and features Kel from Gee Tee and Tee Vee Repairman (Ishka) sharing drumming duties. If you want an album to make you smile and brighten your day—this is it! We spoke to Mikey and got an insight into his super kawaii world.

How did you discover music?

MIKEY: I was initially introduced to music by my dad. As a young boy he would always be buying CDs and would crank rock n roll and blues through the sound system he had. Once I was a bit older the internet was my gateway to music. That’s when it took over my life. 

Youre from a musical family, your dad sang in a band in the 60s; tell us about that. A couple of years back you came across photos of him singing in Chile, right?

M: Yea, that’s right! My mother and I were cleaning the garage out and she handed me these photos of my dad when he was about 18. I had no idea that he was in a band and so I was literally speechless seeing these photos for the first time. I really wish I knew more about this, he passed away when I was in high school, but it’s really awesome to know that were more similar than I thought.     

When did you first start making music? Who or what initially encouraged you to give it a go yourself?

M: I started making music in 2014 when I was in year 11. I started to get into garage rock and I found this band called Surf Curse on Bandcamp, which then led me to find the lead singers solo project Tele/visions which is now more commonly known as Current Joys. I was absolutely obsessed with Nick Rattigan and he did everything at home with whatever he had lying around. This convinced me if he could do it then I could as well. From there I started to find more artists with the same ethos and thanks to Bandcamp I found further inspiration from Frankie Cosmos, Alex G and Porches who all did it themselves. 

You have a prized possession in an original art work drawn and painted by outsider, lo-fi musician Daniel Johnston; is he an inspiration for you? I feel 1-800-Mikey has some of the innocence, charm and playful qualities that DJ has?

M: Yes absolutely! I’m so grateful to own one of his drawings and I have to thank my partner who got it for my birthday. He is a massive inspiration, especially how his family didn’t approve of him being an artist, that really hit home. His story is really special and it makes me so happy knowing he just went for it because he loved it. His work definitely seeps through my creative process, I really love his honesty and simplicity. He’s an absolute legend. RIP Daniel ❤ 

Have you always lived in Eora/Sydney? How did you find your local music scene? When you were under 18 it was hard for you to find shows to go to, so you and your friends would have house shows or warehouse shows, didn’t you?

M: Yea, I’ve always lived in western Sydney my whole life and it was very hard finding a scene not living close to the city. I found that I never sat comfortably within a scene until just recently. It felt like I was jumping around scenes when I was younger which wasn’t bad at the time but it feels really nice to know I have a family and am part of a community now. The first show I played was a gig at my mother’s house in Blacktown. It was heaps random and we had friends from high school come around. Shortly after I played a show at the MCA for an all ages event where I met more people who would then introduce me to other warehouse/house shows happening in the inner west. To be honest, there weren’t to many DIY shows, but when they did happen it was super exciting, even still to this day.

What are the local bands you super love?

M: Two underrated bands in Sydney that I love to death are Shady Nasty and Cakewalk. Shady Nasty have been around for ages and they sound completely different to everything else that’s happening. They have gone through many different sounds and I love it all, especially their punk stuff. Definitely keep your ears and eyes out for Shady Nasty. Cakewalk is also another band I love who are super low-key and barely play any shows. They are another super interesting band who are doing something different who I encourage everyone to go and check out. 

Photo courtesy of Mikey.

Youve previously been in bands Bleeding Knees Club, Wax Witches, Neighbourhood Void and Dying Adolescence; can you tell us a little about your experience in each?

M: Dying Adolescence was my first project which I started in high school. This was my bedroom pop project and kind of like a diary where I wrote and recorded everything. 

Neighbourhood Void was the sister band to Dying Adolescence and that is led by Gio. I did some of the writing and recording here and there for NV but it was mainly Gio’s project. 

I played lead guitar in Wax Witches and Bleeding Knees Club and it was thanks to these two bands I got to play heaps of shows and tour Australia straight out of high school. I cant thank Alex enough for giving me the opportunity to do that. 

Your album Please Be Kind for previous project Dying Adolescence was about all the things that affected you and that you experienced in adolescence. 1-800-Mikey is your next musical chapter. Whats the new album Plushy about? Tell us about the writing process. It seems as though cute (kawaii)is a theme running throughout? 

M: I wanted to do something fun and less serious with 1-800-Mikey. The new album Plushy is a collection of everything I love since childhood and its nothing too serious. I really like all things cute and kawaii, so it made sense to me to make an album with these themes.  

What inspired the song Plushythat the album is titled after?

M: I guess I’ve heard lots of other songs based upon different perspectives from the songwriter and so I wanted to give it a go. During the time of writing, I was obsessed with claw machines which led me to the idea. I thought it would be cool to write a song from the perspective of a plush toy. I was surrounded by plushys from all the winnings I made from claw machines. After writing the song, I thought it would be the album title as it draws a clear line from the EP I did with the song claw machine. 

Song Pressureis about working 9 to 5; what do you do for a day job? Do you find it a challenge to work a day job and play music? 

M: I currently work at Relationships Australia as a Client Services Officer. I’m on the phones all day and I help people book in counselling or mediation when they are seeking support. I have always worked at a call centre which made me name the project 1-800-Mikey. I sometimes find it difficult working full time and playing music but my colleagues and managers find it really cool so they are heaps supportive and flexible about the whole thing. 

One of our favourite songs on the record is Snoopy; whats your connection to Charles M. Schulzs loveable cartoon beagle?

M: Oh man Snooooopy <3. My mother loves Snoopy. She would always get me Peanuts pyjamas, t-shirts and toys as a kid. He’s an absolute cutie and I wish Snoopy was mine. 

Kel from Gee Tee plays drums on five of the tracks and Tee Vee Repairman (Ishka) plays drums on two; what does each of their styles add to the songs? How do they differ?

M: Both of them are killer drummers. I’d say they are both quite similar but Kel’s got more of that budget home-style sound while Ishka’s got more of a tight garage sound. I reckon Kel adds more of a groove to the songs while Ishka drives the songs forward. Both of them are amazing and I thank them for helping me ❤ 

What was the recording process for the album? Kel lent you a 4-track, right? What was the setup for recording?

M: Kel lent me a 4-track in 2020 to record the EP. I’ve never recorded to tape before so it was a new way to get obsessed with recording again. After finishing the EP I got myself a 4-track for Christmas. The general setup is to record everything on tape then bounce it to GarageBand and complete the song there. It really makes recording drums a breeze. 

Who’s in the 1-800-Mikey live band?

M: At the moment the live band consists of Kel, Buz and Rohan. Kel is Gee Tee, Buz is RMFC and Rohan plays in a Grindcore and Hardcore band called Maggot Cave and Seethin. They are all sweethearts and I’m super lucky to have them in the live band.

On your Insta a few months back you sang your first song in Japanese Iggy Pop Fanclubby Number Girl; what inspired it?

M: Ahhh yes, I got obsessed with Number Girl and the lead singer’s second project Zazen Boys. I find that I get obsessed with different pockets of music around the world and so I wanted to little Insta cover. I’ve never sang in another language and I really love the melody to that Number Girl song so I gave it a go. It’s also motivating to see another Asian make rock music. Shutoku Mukai looks like a normal and nerdy guy and that is very relatable, which is heaps nice. 

You look like you had a lot of fun making the video for Claw Machine; what was one of the most fun or funny things that happened making it?

M: Yea, that was a really spontaneous one. Me and my long time friend Gio went into the city on a Thursday night to film a music video at the claw machines in Chinatown. The idea was that I’d leave with heaps of plushys as I would always win a couple. But this time around, I went in and I won nothing which was pretty funny as Gio didn’t believe I was heaps good at the claw. Also, the shop owner wasn’t impressed with us filming there after an hour or two. She asked if we wanted to continue filming that we would have to pay her. By this point we had enough footage so we bounced. 

Youve recently joined the live lineup of R.M.F.C. playing a 12-string guitar; whats the best thing about being part of R.M.F.C.?

M: I’ve never played 12-string before so that’s been very exciting. I’m very honoured to be able to play in Buz’s band. I think the best thing about being a part of R.M.F.C. is that I can pick Buz’s brain when learning his songs. It’s very inspiring to see how he writes songs and composes melodies. 

What’s next in the pipeline for you creatively? 

M: I’m definitely gonna have a little break while Gee Tee and R.M.F.C. are getting busy. I’ll be writing songs again soon, so keep an eye out. Also, I might be joining another band, which will be a secret for now. 

Anything else youd like to share with us?

M: I encourage everyone to stay true to who they are and do what they believe is right. Love Mikey.

1-800-Mikey is out now get it HERE. Follow @1800mikey.

gimmie zine issue 4

It’s here! Our biggest Gimmie yet! Issue 4. Two covers to choose from!

We chat in-depth with Tessa & Alda from D-beat band Jalang! They’ve released Australia’s best hardcore record this year. We explore the album themes: politics, religion, feminism and queer rights in South East Asia and beyond. A really important chat.

Gareth Liddiard from Tropical Fuck Storm speaks about new album ‘Deep States’, songwriting, creativity, fanboying and collecting weird shit.

R.M.F.C.’s Buz Clatworthy talks, a new album in the works, lockdown being a creativity dampener, finding inspiration in films and friends.

We yarn with Emma Donovan and The Putbacks. New record ‘Under These Streets’ draws on soul, R&B, funk and the protest music of Indigenous Australia—a dynamic portrait of Blak pain and joy in all its complexities.

Amyl and the Sniffers’ Amy Taylor and Bryce Wilson check-in to tell us about their new album’s journey, experiencing depression, keeping busy and the power of music.

French duo Heimat play off-kilter experimental-pop with folklore influence, cinematic-like soundscapes, and vocals in multiple languages. A chat on experimentation.

Old Home vocalist Dylan Sparks gives us a peek into their visceral performance poetry coupled with spontaneous musical composition.

We speak with Louisiana band Spllit just days after a hurricane hit their area. We adore their lo-fi weirdness. Next level music.

70’s acid-folk legend Howard Eynon has had a storied life: appearing in films including Mad Max, supporting Hunter S Thompson’s tour; performing in theatre. Recently, he’s been working on music with Zak Olsen. A brilliant chat.

Julian Teakle of The Native Cats and Rough Skies Records selects some of his favourite tracks for us.

52 pages. A4 size. Limited Edition. 

Get it: gimmiezine.bandcamp.com

U.S.A. pressing coming via totalpunkrecords.com

Billy From Sydney Weirdo-Punk Band Research Reactor Corp: “A theme we talk about is nuclear war, without us being a fucking crust band”

Original photo by Timothy Williams. Handmade collage by B.

Research Reactor Corp. play super fun, goofy, cartoonish, weirdo-punk. We spoke with the Reactor’s Billy and he gave us the goss on a new RRC record, a new band called Mainframe, his new label, a new G.T.R.R.C release and more.  

BILLY: I’m just playing with two naughty kittens in my lounge room right now.

What are their names?

BILLY: We got them two weeks ago, we thought it would be a good time to adopt them. One looks like a sweet potato so we just call him Sweetie or Spudboy. The other one we called Dee Dee, lil’ Dee Dee Ramone.

That’s my favourite Ramone.

BILLY: Mine too, he was bad arse! He’s the only one that had an offshoot hip-hop record. He’s the coolest Ramone, which is a big call. Johnny is a big Conservative and I’m not too into that.

We got that Dee Dee King record as a wedding present. I walked down the aisle at our wedding to the Ramones.

BILLY: That’s awesome! I just love how his vocals are just so rat shit on it [does a Dee Dee impression] I’m Dee Dee Ramone! [laughs]. He sounds like a frog or something.

What have you been up to today?

BILLY: I am lucky enough to still have a fulltime job. I’m a screen printer and in a team of three people. I’ve been printing hi-vis vests for a supermarket all day that say: stand 1.5 meters back. Exciting stuff! [laughs]. Apart from not being able to go to shows, which is driving me insane, because of all this COVID stuff… I’m ADHD, I don’t really like sitting around too much and I’m going a little bit stir-crazy in my house. I have two little cute kittens running around and a girlfriend I live with so things are good. It would be a real lonely time for a lot of people, it’s a weird time to be alive!

We’ve been doing the Zoom thing, which is pretty funny. We’ve been playing this game called Quiplash which is kind of like Cards Against Humanity. Kel who does Gee Tee lives on my block and he has been the guy organising that and streaming it off his computer, it’s pretty funny. I’ve just been checking in with everyone. It was my thirtieth birthday on the 10th of April. R.M.F.C. and Gee Tee were going to play in my lounge room but we had to call it off. I had an ice-cream cake delivered, that was pretty bad arse. Other than that I didn’t do too much.

All live photos by Timothy Williams; courtesy of RRC.

How’s it feel to be thirty?

BILLY: Kind of exactly the same! I feel like a big giant baby! I feel like I’m fifteen. It’s not the end of the world [laughs]. In the two days leading up to it I was like, oh cool, I’m a real adult now! I said that when I turned twenty as well though [laughs]. I still feel like a big kid.

Totally know them feels dude! I’m still sitting on my floor listening to records, doing interviews and making zines, the same thing I was doing when I was fifteen.

BILLY: That’s bad arse! My friend Sam just moved house and he found a skate punk zine we did when we were fifteen called, World Up My Arse. We interviewed some power-violence bands off MySpace [laughs]. We only printed like ten copies and gave a couple away. It was pretty fucking cool, I can’t believe he kept it.

Nice! I have boxes of zines, I’ve been collecting them for around twenty years.

BILLY: I have a lot as well. I’ve just moved into a bigger place than I was in, I live in Petersham in Sydney’s Inner West. My zines are all in boxes too, some are at my parents’ house. I have every one of those Distort zines that DX does periodically. I have a lot of graffiti ones as well, I was into that for a bit.

Same! I was really into graffiti and hip-hop as a kid. You were born in Sydney?

BILLY: I was born in Manly Hospital in Sydney in 1990. I grew up on the north side of Sydney in a place called Narrabeen. When I was eight, I moved to the Gold Coast of all places for my stepdad’s work and was there for a couple of years and then came back to Sydney. No matter where I’ve visited in the world, I always say that Sydney is my home and it’s great to come back to. I have lots of time for Sydney! I don’t know why grumps in Melbourne always go “Yuck! You’re from Sydney?!” It’s weird. I was born and bred in Sydney.

What made you want to play music?

BILLY: It’s a weird one for a kid, but I think the first CD I got was the South Park Chef Aid one. I remember thinking it was so funny because they were singing about balls! [laughs]. My dad has always been into music and goes to gigs, he grew up seeing bands like The Riptides, The Scientists and stuff like that. I was lucky enough to have a dad that had a pretty decent record collection. It’s a bit disappointing that he kind of sold his record collection about fifteen years ago to go on a trip to Europe, so I missed out on that.

I got a Limp Biscuit CD… and the first CD I bought with my own money other than the South Park one was Elvis Costello; my dad drilled stuff like that into me. Then I got into NOFX and things just went from there. Music is the only thing I’ve ever really given a shit about, besides my family, and maybe skateboarding at some points in my life. I just spend all of my money on records and sit in my house listening to them. My friends and I constantly send music to each other too.

Even as a little kid I loved music, my mum always tells this story of when I used to put on ‘Cake’ which is a Crowded House song—I fucking hate Crowded House as an adult!

When did you first start making your own music?

BILLY: I did the whole booking in the music room in high school thing and tried to rip off bad hardcore bands when I was fifteen. My uncle is a professional soloist drummer so I was lucky enough to have the hook up for cheap drum equipment. I started playing drums when I was ten. As soon as I was fifteen I worked out that I don’t want to play drums in a hardcore band or a punk band because it’s too tiring, you have to bring gear!—I know that’s lazy though [laughs]. I played in some really cringe-y garage and hardcore bands in high school that didn’t make it past playing a few shows at youth centres.

I didn’t really play music for a while and then with the Research Reactor stuff… Ishka the other dude that does it, it’s just him and I, we make all the stuff and then do it as a live band. We have an LP coming out E.T.T. [Erste Theke Tontrager] in Europe and Televised Suicide is doing it in Australia soon; we’ve got it all mocked up and the tracks are done… it just depends how long it’s all going to take with all the pressing plants being blocked up because of Coronavirus.

What’s it going to be called?

BILLY: The Collected Findings Of The Research Reactor Corp. It’s basically our first two tapes and then a couple of new songs. Ishka who I make the music with, it’s just us doing it in our bedrooms, all home recording stuff. He’s a wizard at that stuff, I fucking suck at it! He plays in a thousand bands: Set-Top Box, all of the recordings are just him; Satanic Togas, all of the recordings are just him; on the last Gee Tee Chromo-zone record he does half of everything on the recording. Ishka is a big ol’ powerhouse! He’s awesome, he’s such an inspiring dude. It’s so cool that he is one of my best mates and that I get to make music with him.

I saw his band the Satanic Togas play, I had heard them online but didn’t know anything about the guys. They blew my mind and straight after the set I walked right up to Ishka and was like “Hey man, that was awesome! I’d be willing to beat money that you’re into The Gories and The Mummies” and he was like “Whoa! Shit! They’re my favourite bands!” We exchanged numbers and found out that we both wrote graffiti and were familiar with each other’s words and stuff. It turned out that he was living in the same suburb that I was working in, so we just started hanging out together. We just get in the lab, smoke some reefer and see what happens [laughs]. It’s super funny!

The first Research Reactor tape, the first song on it, Ishka just recorded everything and I basically just one-shotted the vocals! It’s good ‘cause we’re into a lot of similar music, we see eye-to-eye. It just works. If Ishka has a day off and feels like making a song, he’ll send me the recording, a demo, while I’m at work and I might duck off to the bathroom and think of a cool line or idea for the song and just jot down notes in my phone. When I get home I’ll write the song and Ishka is a five minute walk away so I’ll go around and record it. He’ll then do some mixing on it and we’ll take it to practice or to the band and put it on our Facebook chat and ask them if they like it and we all just learn to do it as a live band from there. It’s a cool way of doing it. The new LP we have coming out, the two new songs on there are written with everyone playing on it; it takes longer to record that way though.

What are the new songs about?

BILLY: [Laughs] Well, one of them, it’s actually a bit of a debate, I wanted to call the new song ‘Frog Willy’ or ‘Frog Penis’ but it has no relevance to the lyrics whatsoever! I think it’s ended up being called ‘Shock Treatment’ and it’s about eating heaps of eels until you explode and sticking a fork into an electrical outlet and basically zapping your brain.

What inspired that?

BILLY: [Laughs] We’re definitely a goofy band! Which I guess it’s why it’s so fun to write and play the stuff. Obviously we take a lot of influence from Devo and The Screamers. Without trying to be too much of a theme band and flog a dead horse with the same idea all the time, initially we thought we’ll create a story for it and pretend it’s a corporation. A theme we talk about is nuclear war, without us being a fucking crust band, we’re more like ‘The googles do nothing!’ off The Simpsons [laughs]. We’re like a goofy the-world-is-ending-but-who-cares thing. It’s like we’re a cartoon or like Toxic Avenger or [Class Of] Nuke ‘Em High! We’ll see a scene of like a guy’s face melting and think it would be funny and use it like, oh your boss’ face is melting because you threw a chemical on them, and we’ll run with that and write a whole song about it [laughs].

We take little shreds, little elements of bands we like and make it our own. Me and Ishka are big fans of a lot of the goofy stuff coming out of the Midwest of America. The Coneheads are obviously a big one or CCTV or Goldman Sex Batalion, Big Zit, a lot of the bands that Mat Williams and Mark Winter from Coneheads are associated with. We just make music we like and it turns out we like goofy, silly music [laughs].

It’s nice that people come and watch us play but I think we’re more outskirt-ish in comparison to your bigger Sydney punk and hardcore bands. I love cranky punk and hardcore but it all just seems a bit serious, a whole bunch of people standing around in a room with their arms crossed looking pissed off is just really weird! It’s nice that people just come to our shows and just dance and be a goofball. We’re lucky that all of our best friends play in bands and they are all such cool people like Gee Tee and R.M.F.C., ‘Togas, Set-top Box. I find it really flattering when people say we’re all “the weirder Sydney punk bands”. I feel like no one from Sydney ever says that though…

That’s so often the case with a lot of bands, they’re unappreciated in their own town or country but people in other places, people all over the world super dig them! Look at a band like King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, they play sold out huge shows all over the world and then they’ll play somewhere here in Australia and sometimes don’t fill the room.

BILLY: 100%! I didn’t realise how huge they were until recently, it’s mental. Now days you can just get in contact with pretty much anyone, you just DM their Instagram. I try to get a conversation rolling with bands overseas that I’m listening to. It’s cool that a lot of Midwest American goofy bands and the guys from R.I.P. Records and Lumpy Records know who we are.

We were supposed to be touring America, Gee Tee and R.M.F.C. were too, on a touring festival that was meant to happen – I think it still will down the track – in July with a lot of our favourite bands but the big Corona did a big shit on that! I guess it just gives us time to hang at home and record. I have a full band room set up in my house at the moment. I’m trying to teach myself how to play the drums fast again, I’m sloppy as at that right now.

We’ve been doing an “email band” like if you know someone that has a home recording set-up, even if it’s someone overseas, you just message and send each other bits of songs for the other to do stuff over. We’ve been doing that and so have some of our friends which is pretty of the time. We just did four songs with this guy Sean Albert from the Midwest who plays in bands like Skull Cult, QQQL and Dummy. We want to put it out as a 7”. We did a new band with that guy with me singing. It’s pretty fun!

Cool. Do you have a name?

BILLY: Yeah, Mainframe. Hackin’ the mainframe! [laughs]. We’ll probably put it online soon. We still have to do synths on one track. It’s just me, Ishka and Sean.

What’s it sounding like?

BILLY: I’ve played it to a couple of people and they said it’s kind of fast Gee Tee, which isn’t much of a stretch. Sean is a fucking drum machine wizard! He’s so good at getting drum fills in, kind of like that guy from Urochromes. He’s a drum machine Don! I don’t know how he does all the crazy shit.

We had a 7” come out on Goodbye Boozy from Italy in February at the start of the year.

That was the split with The Freakees?

BILLY: Yeah! In the same drop of 7”s that he did, Belly Jelly had a 7” we really dug, there’s a Nervous Eaters cover on the 7” that was fucking awesome! I followed him on Instagram and because we can’t really play shows now, I thought let’s just hit him up. He sent us two tracks the next day and then two days later he sent another two. Just on the cusp of all this Covid stuff happening Ishka came over with all this recording stuff. It’s sounding really good. We’ve actually been pretty fucking productive lately.

We do this thing called G.T.R.R.C. where we do all of these goofy covers, it’s half of Gee Tee and half of Research Reactor. We put out a tape about a year ago on Warttmann Inc. and now we’ve just recorded the second one. I’ve done vocals for three covers on it but it’s kind of turned into a comp[ilation] now. Adam Ritchie of Drunk Mums, Grotto and Pissfart Records did a couple of covers, so did Drew Owens from Sick Thoughts, Kel Gee Tee did vocals on some and Jake from Drunk Mums did some too.

What were some of the covers?

BILLY: One of them was ‘Job’ by The Nubs and I did ‘Trapped In The City’ by Bad Times, a band Jay Reatard sung in. I thought they were both appropriate covers to do given the times. It sounds a bit farfetched but I kind of want to cover ‘Karma Chameleon’ by Culture Club at some point. In our live set we used to cover ‘Rock & Roll Don’t Come from New York’ by The Gizmos and ‘I Don’t Know What To Do Do’ by Devo; we had those cover in our set because we didn’t have enough of our own songs at the time. I’d love to cover – sorry for biting this off you Drew Owens, he’s doing in on the G.T.R.R.C comp – ‘Killer On the Loose’ by Thin Lizzy. I love Thin Lizzy a lot, they’re the most bad arse rock n roll band going!

Is there anything else that you’re working on?

BILLY: I’m setting up my own little label at the moment it’s called, Computer Human Records. I’m about to pay for my first vinyl release. I’m putting out a 7” by a band called Snooper that are from Nashville, they’re relatively new but if you like Devo, CCTV or Landline or Pscience you might like them.

That sounds totally up my alley!

BILLY: Cool. They only have a couple of songs online. Blair the singer is a school teacher and she’s really great at video editing. She has a real wild style where she makes everything look like a children’s show or like Pee Wee’s Playhouse!

Also, we’re on a 4-way split 7” with Nick Normal, he recently just toured Europe and Lassie was his backing band. The split is months away though!

Please check out: RESEARCH REACTOR CORP at Warttmann Inc. RRC on Instagram.

R.M.F.C.’s Buz Clatworthy: “Trying to find a balance between my place in the dumb social hierarchy and my individuality which I’ve always strongly valued”

Handmade collage by B.

From his bedroom in a town on Australia’s East Coast called Ulladulla, Buz Clatworthy, creates some of the coolest lo-fi garage punk around. At seventeen he released two brilliant record’s Hive Mind Volumes 1 & 2 plus a split 7” with Set-top Box and later this year he’s set to release another 7” on one of our favourite labels, Anti Fade. We interviewed Buz yesterday about all this and more.

How did you first discover music?

BUZ CLATWORTHY: I first discovered music through my dad who always had something playing on the stereo at home. I recently watched Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels for the first time and realised a fair few of the songs on rotation during my childhood came from that soundtrack which is mostly really good. Dad also played a key role in my discovery and interest in playing instruments from sitting in the shed and watching him play guitar when I was little.

You started out playing drums; what inspired you to take them up?

BC: Funny story: I took guitar lessons for a short period of time while I was in primary school and my guitar teacher had a drum kit set up in the room where he did his lessons. When I tried playing it I just found it heaps easier and it felt more natural to play than guitar at the time so my Mum bought me a pink ‘70s Mapex drum kit which I still have. I eventually lost interest until Dune Rats came to town when I was 11 (before they got famous and started sounding like Smash Mouth). I was one of about 15 people watching and after their set the drummer BC [Michael Marks] gave me a jumper and a shirt which I would go on to wear every day for the next year or so. BC really encouraged me to pick up drumming again & here we are 7 years later, Dune Rats sound like Smash Mouth and I have a band called Rock Music Fan Club.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

We really admire the fact that you write, record and do everything yourself; how did you get started?

BC: I got started when my Mum bought me a little Tascam digital recording desk and a couple mics two/three years ago. I didn’t do much with it until I saw Gee Tee and Concrete Lawn at a tiny DIY venue in Marrickville called Monster Mouse, later called 96 Tears (R.I.P), I think it was one of Concrete Lawn’s first shows. That show opened my eyes to the idea that maybe I could do it too.

I live in a conservative but relatively nice coastal town called Ulladulla about 3.5 hours from Sydney and there are no good venues or bands here + no one was interested in what I wanted to do at the time so I sorta had to do it by myself.

Are there any challenges doing things this way?

BC: The way my recording set up works I have to record all the tracks from the very beginning of the recording to avoid having to line the individual tracks up later when mixing which is hard to get right and makes the process heaps less efficient. This is annoying when you wanna record parts that come later in a song or if you nail a track but then fuck it up toward the end and have to start again. I also don’t like playing to a metronome and can’t figure it out on my recording desk anyway so I have to memorise the song and record drums first while I play through the song in my head. Apart from that, and Brinley who plays bass in my live band getting all the praise for the basslines I write L, I enjoy doing it alone.

Can you remember the first song you ever wrote? What was it about?

BC: I think the first actual song I ever wrote was “Hive” which is on the first tape I did under R.M.F.C. It’s basically about the hive mentality in high school which I was having trouble dealing with at the time trying to find a balance between my place in the dumb social hierarchy and my individuality which I’ve always strongly valued.

Can you tell us a little bit about your songwriting process?

BC: I usually start with a bassline I’m happy with and build from there. Once I’ve figured out what I wanna do for the verse and chorus on all the instruments I record a demo and figure out what needs changing etc. I usually write the lyrics after when I’m happy with the instrumental except for sometimes when I’ve been playing cod mobile late at night and the free drug that is sleep deprivation gives me an idea for a cool chorus which I then sing into my phone to remember it.

Do you see any reoccurring themes in your work?

BC: There is definitely a reoccurring theme throughout Hive Volumes 1 & 2 ‘cause I was going for a concept album sorta thing. Pretty much all of those songs follow similar themes regarding the hive mentality in different branches of western society. These themes still play on my mind a lot but I’m steering away from that and exploring different themes and ideas in new R.M.F.C songs.

Where do you have your best ideas?

BC: In my room between 12am and 2am after a nice COD [Call Of Duty] mobile session. If anyone reading this plays COD mobile add me on there, my name is: megapiss2001

In January you released the Racer R​.​M​.​F​.​C / Set​-​top Box split 7” on Goodbye Boozy Records. I know you’ve been a fan of Set-top for ages; you covered their song “Worker” on the split; what made you choose this track?

BC: Aside from it being one of my favourite Set-top Box songs I just felt like that song worked best for the R.M.F.C sound and I liked the way it sounded with double time drums.

Set-top chose your song “Television” to cover on the split; can you tell us about this song?

BC: Television was sort of a last minute song that I wrote before the “dead line” for the Hive Vol. 1 release and I think it ended up being the best on that EP and one of the better songs I’ve released so far. I think it was a subconscious attempt at ripping off Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon” which I actually didn’t realise until a DJ played it before our set at the Lansdowne one time and Television was first on the set list.

You have a 7” coming out on Anti Fade records in June; what can you tell me about it? What inspired the songs on it?

BC: The A side is one of my favourite R.M.F.C songs. The lyrics in it are pretty strongly informed by a concept that I found to be helpful in a book I read a few years ago based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The idea is basically to think about and remind ourselves of death on a daily basis in order to normalise and accept it given that death itself is inevitable for all beings. For most of us that have grown up in western society, death is something that has been ingrained in our minds as something to avoid the thought of at all costs which can be very detrimental to our grieving process and ability to accept the loss of someone we love. I recently lost a second uncle to cancer after losing another from the same disease 4/5 years ago, losing them definitely inspired that song.

I have to ask you, as we LOVE dogs here at Gimmie zine; on R.M.F.C’s Hive Vol. 2 album cover, who’s the dog?

BC: That’s my second oldest dog Dorje he’s a “Poomba”.

We always love finding new music too; what have you been listening to lately?

BC: Lately I’ve been really into the solo catalogue of Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt who both played in Soft Machine. Ayers’ best work is sorta spaced out and hidden between his albums from 1969 through to around 1976 whereas I think Robert Wyatt really used all his best juice on his 1985 album Old Rottenhat. I’ve also been really enjoying Snakefinger’s album Greener Postures (I thank Brinley for that). Billy Gardner (Anti Fade Records) showed me Chrome during our last Melbourne visit and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. Their album Red Exposure rules.

Lastly, what’s something you’d like everyone to know about R.M.F.C?

BC: I’m famous!

Vid by VOGELS VIDEO check out more Australian underground vids here.

Please check out: R.M.F.C. Anti Fade Records (Australia). Erste Theke Tontraeger (Germany).