Interview with Silverchair 3/30/99...at Slims in San Francisco SilverChair.. Ben Gillies plays Drums, CHRIS JOANNOU Bass... Daniel Johns ...Vocals , Guitars
ROCK: Your new release, "Neon Ballroom" has a lot of powerful musical arrangements. How did this come about?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): It was actually Daniel's idea to have extra strings and stuff on the album. It happened after we recorded the album, it wasn't planned. We added it after we recorded the album. While the strings were planned, it turned out kind of big and powerful.
ROCK: How long did it take to make "Neon Ballroom"?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): I think about 4 weeks to record and then another 4 weeks to mix. The reason it took longer than the other two was there was more stuff to record and more stuff to fix.
ROCK: I read somewhere that your music was done in a loft, in a garage setting?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): Usually, we did the rough arrangements in a loft where we practiced, and then we went to a rehearsal studio where we did a production, then cut away and sift through the songs, add things and take things away, and then record it.
ROCK: When you started to make this album did you keep to the original format from the beginning?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): Daniel actually came up with the new idea of the album, because while he did the writing and stuff, Chris and I took full advantage of the time off and went surfing and had fun basically.
ROCK: How did David Hefgott come into this album?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): It was just an idea to have a really manic and crazy piano part on "Emotional Sickness" and it was actually our managers idea to get David Hefgott. There was a bit of a short list to choose from and we came up with David. We didn't really think he was going to do it. He did some of his stuff. We asked him if he had ever played any rock before and he said "no".
ROCK: You're adding someone on your tour to do the organ and synthesizer arrangements?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): Yeah, his name is Sam Holloway. He plays the keyboards on the road for us and he plays all the string parts and he plays all the piano and organ parts. He also does sampling, little noises like the album.
ROCK: Was he also on the recording with you?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): No. We didn't really think about getting keyboardist until after we finished recording. We actually went into a rehearsal studio and auditioned about seven or eight players and he was the best one of all.
ROCK: Can you tell your fans what help's you to excel musically, or enhance your playing?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): Not really. I guess just practice and I think being in a band at such an early age, that you got used to playing and being a team player, rather than just playing at home by yourself all the time or soloing, and not really getting used to playing with other guys.
ROCK: Do you think people have passed the stage of judging you by your age?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): I definitely think that people had kind of forgotten about the age thing. We get asked about our age now, what was it like when you were younger. I actually think it is an advantage being younger band, because I think we have the experience that most bands have in their early 20's or 30's. We have our experience now, plus we have all those years ahead of us.
ROCK: Do you think your music has changed since the last two albums?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): Definitely. I think each album we have really taken a really big show. From "Frog Stomp" to "Freak Show", like I basically personally think "Freak Show" was a good album, and this album is a really a huge step again. It's really different.
ROCK: Are you playing any of the big venues?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): Pretty small. We are going to come back pretty soon and do shows. This tour is just to get out there and let everyone know hadn't vanished off the face of the earth.
ROCK: Do you have a Favorite song on this Album?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): I like all of them, there is not particular one that is better than the other one.
ROCK: I detect a hint of a little anger in the song " Anthem for the year 2000" , is there a reason this ?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): It was actually Daniel's idea behind that, it was kind of political, being from Australia, there was a political party that wanted to put restrictions on young people, people under l8. They tried to give them the curfew, so that every night they had to be home by a certain time. So, basically, that song is all about that that he is rebelling about.
ROCK: The song "Spawn", seems to have that Metallica/heavy metal sound to it.
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): It is a different heavy song, I guess you could call it; but you can't really define it or put a category on it.
ROCK: What Drummers has influenced you?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. I used to listen to Led Zeppelin at a pretty young age, I think I started listening to them when I was l0 or 11, an age to be influenced.
ROCK: Is "Ana's Song" and "Miss You Love ", were they about relationships?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): "Ana's Song" was about anorexia and anxiety, and "Miss You Love" was more about not finding love or not wanting love.
Rock: How is the music scene in Australia ?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): Australia is really good. The music scene is really healthy and there are lots of new bands coming out. It's not just one star, it's kind of like the in thing.
ROCK: What do you feel about putting labels on particular band's sound, names like punk and alternative?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): I think you can put labels on different sounds of music. That's all the bands play, they don't try anything else, they don't try and lay other sorts of music, that's what we try to do differently on this album. We try to do stuff we hadn't done before, just to make it more enjoyable and to do something different, and also so we don't get pigeonholed, because we don't want people to think Silverchair is only a rock band you know. We would rather people think Silverchair plays different stuff.
ROCK: You only have a couple days left of this tour, are you going to England or Europe after this?
SILVERCHAIR (BEN): Yeah. We have two more dates of this tour, and then we go to Europe and we will do four or five more weeks.
................................................................................................. By Randy Cohen
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