PRIOR to Motor Ace's reunion tour last autumn there were no expectations that the shows would extend beyond four old friends enjoying each other's company and the music which propelled them to the top of the ARIA charts in 2002.
However, slowly the old creative engines began to spark again in the Melbourne indie band.
In November Patrick Robertson (vocals/guitar), Damian Costin (drums), Matt Balfe (bass), and Dave Ong (guitar) spent two days recording a new track. If the song sees the light of day it would be Motor Ace's first new material since their third album Animal in 2005, which was released just four months before they disbanded for 13 years.
"In a lot of ways we're playing better than we ever have," Robertson says. "We're maybe not as agile as we used to be, but in some ways there's a bit more maturity in the ideas.
"We're just feeling it out, but we'll go back in and do a couple more tracks to see if there's something worth putting out there.
"We're certainly not putting out music to relaunch the career as such. It's just if there's something musically interesting there and has real inherit value. An album is such a daunting prospect."
In the early 2000s Motor Ace appeared poised to crack the top echelon of Australian rock bands.
Their debut album Five Star Laundry peaked at No.4 on the ARIA charts in 2001 and produced Triple J Hottest 100 entries American Shoes, Hey Driver and Death Defy. The latter also gave the band mainstream exposure when it featured on hit TV show The Secret Life Of Us.
Then in 2002 Motor Ace released their No.1 album Shoot This, which showcased a lusher and more melodic production inspired by Britpop bands like Oasis.
The singles Carry On and Keeping Secrets both cracked the ARIA top 30.
From the outside Motor Ace appeared to be flying. However, Robertson was struggling under the weight of his own ambitions.
"It's hard to imagine when you're younger that if it all falls apart that you'll be OK and there's a good life beyond it," he says.
"I was too worried that if we didn't nail it that I'd be forced into doing something I didn't want to do. It's a very young idea of life."
By the time Motor Ace released their third album Animal, Robertson realised the band didn't have a "great amount of gas in the tank."
"Musically I felt like we didn't have a strong direction," he says. "I know the last record was extremely different to the first record and I didn't have a clear vision on where I wanted to take it."
Years away from Motor Ace and music have helped Robertson appreciate the old songs, and in particular, his bandmates. Rehearsing and playing with Costin, Ong and Balfe again has brought him the greatest joy.
"In a lot of ways post the band I'm happier in my life than I was at the time," he says. "I do regret not enjoying that period for what it was. In hindsight I'd love to go back and do that all again. In some ways doing this reunion has helped minimise some of those regrets, to an extent, as we're getting to enjoy it."
Motor Ace play 48 Watt Street, Newcastle (January 25); Bundy Hall, Sale (January 26); Coopers Alehouse, Adelaide (February 21) and Dunsborough Tavern (February 22).