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R.M.F.C. on 'Club Hits': "I'm Not 17 Anymore and I Think I've Figured Out How to Make Better And Less Derivative Music Since I Started"

R.M.F.C. was the first Australian punk band I got into, over that strange pandemic summer of 2020, when my sister and I would blast "Reader" and "Racer" while failing to skateboard in the church parking lot on our street. Meanwhile, on the complete opposite side of the globe, Buz Clatworthy was the one working tirelessly on that music, which started as a teenage bedroom project and has since morphed into something much larger. November's Club Hits (Urge/Anti-Fade), his first LP, is a swift 13 tracks that culminate individualized passion and community engagement into a rock 'n' roller's sweetest dream. I caught up with Clatworthy to talk about the album's synthesis, eschewing egg punk, and the band's imminent takeover of the U.S.A. 

Photo by Michael Vasila

What have you been up to lately? What have you been listening to, reading, or spending a lot of time doing?

Buz Clatworthy: I've been listening to the My Bloody Valentine's 1988-1991 EPs and rare tracks compilation a lot. When I was younger I thought MBV were lame, but now I think they're really cool. I've also been listening to David Bowie's Earthling, lots of Arthur Russell, and Koro's 700 Club 7". 

Club Hits is your first LP, how was the approach here different than with your previous releases?

I used to write and record things with pretty minimal effort and just blow the input levels out but I tried to write better riffs, lyrics, and recorded everything like Phil Spector this time. Most of the songs have two separate drum takes panned either side, six guitar tracks playing mostly the same thing with other instruments layered on top of that for more texture. Lots and lots of layers. I also made a point of making it not sound like egg punk. 

I read that you had a tough time recording your vocals throughout the album. Have you been more confident with your voice since performing the songs live?

Yeah I don't like recording vocals cause it's my own voice and not the voice of an instrument. I've found myself to be a lot more critical of imperfections in the vocals than I am of any other part of the recordings. I can't see myself growing much more confident with vocals but every rose has its thorn. 

A lot of the songs on Club Hits flow perfectly into one another particularly with "Spectrum" transitioning into "Sterile Century." How careful were you with arranging the tracklisting across the album?

I had the idea to make them flow into each other when we started playing them with the live band. Those two songs in particular were just too short, so it's awkward to play them and stop in between so we made them join together. They're also in the same key and tempo so it worked well. 

Photo by Kelli Blackmore

Let’s dive into some of the songs here. What can you tell me about the making of "Access," which was the first preview to the new album.

I made the main riff on "Access" accidentally after I watched the Mdou Moctar KEXP performance on YouTube and I was trying to figure out how to play guitar like that. The rest was just built around that riff. 

What’s the story behind "The Web"?

"The Web" is about when a fly flies into a spider's web and gets stuck in it and becomes a delicious meal for the spider. It's also about self-sabotage which somebody close to me was struggling with a lot at the time I made the song so I took inspiration from that too. 

There's a sense of self-awareness across the 13 tracks and I think that's best displayed on the closer "Rock Tune." What was the vision behind this song?

"Rock Tune" was originally me just trying to rip off The Fall's "Garden" or "Wings." The lyrics are kind of an amalgamation of the themes covered in the rest of the songs on the album. It wasn't initially intended to be an R.M.F.C. song, but it developed into what I thought would be a good closer for the album. 

Is there a song on the record that means the most to you (and why)? 

"Harmless Activity" because I like the big melody part at the end. 

The physical release has really beautiful artwork from both Oscar Sulich and Ian Teeple, both of whom you've worked with in the past. How do you connect your sound to a visual style?

I just make the sounds I like and choose the visuals I like. 

Photos by Kelli Blackmore

You've been putting out music as R.M.F.C. since 2018! How have things evolved since then? What’s still the same?

Yeah it's really weird to think it's been almost six years now. I'm not 17 anymore and I think I've figured out how to make better and less derivative music since I started. I'm still using mostly the same equipment to record and still doing it myself and still getting really scared that the songs I've made are so widely available for anybody to listen to and judge. 

How are things down in the Sydney scene? Anything new we should be looking out for?

New band KX Aminal, I heard a preview of some new G2G recordings which sound incredible, the next installment in the Grossman / Morris-Smith project, etc. etc. etc. Lots to look forward to this year. 

What's next for R.M.F.C.? 

I'm currently writing and recording some songs for a new 7" that will be out when we come to the states later this year. 

What would you think about us starting a Rock Music Fan Club Fan Club (R.M.F.C.F.C)?

I would really like that.

Club Hits is out now on Anti Fade and Urge Records.


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