Daniel Speaks
Big Hit Magazine

"After the Freak Show tour, we were expecting to have a break, but after two weeks I felt really uncomfortable not writing music," explains silverchair frontman Daniel Johns. "So I moved out of home and lived in this houseand wrote heaps of songs, and before I knew it, we were recording." And so silverchair's third album, Neon Ballroom was born.

"I moved out with the intention of writing heaps of music," says Dan. "But because I'd built it up so much, I had performance anxiety and couldn't think of anything. So I was just sitting in this room in front of a fire writing poems every night. I wrote about 150 poems, then got what I thought were the most captivating words and stuck them together. With the last two albums, the lyrics are really straightforward and powerful, but with this album I wanted to do something totally different."

Although he was happy with the new tunes once he'd finished them, Daniel was still reluctant to show bandmates Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou. "I was really nervous. I didn't know whether or not to keep them and do a solo album or whether to show them," he laughs. "I thought they'd go, 'What the #$!% is that?!'. I thought Ben would be like, 'No man, metal! We want metal!'. So I went in there and showed them - and they were really into it."

While Daniel was writing songs, Ben and Chris made the most of their time off. "I went to the beach and went camping," says Chris. "I had a blast for six months." Ben did the same. "I surfed, hung out with mates, went out -- anything fun," he says. Feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, it was time to get down to business. "We rehearsed the new album in my garage," says Ben. "It's called The Loft and it's above the garage. It's a soundproof room, and we've written and rehearsed all three albums there. It's a pretty famous little spot, actually."

Neon Ballroom has been described as silverchair's new sound, using plenty of electronic and classical instruments, but there are other factors which make the album different. "We're different people than we were a few years ago," Chris says. "These days we do things like a normal band, we don't have any other things tied into it, like school. It's a full-time occupation." And how will the fans take the new silverchair? "Our fans are really loyal," says Ben. "If we make a change, they're like, 'Oh cool!' and go with the flow, which is really good."

But what's the deal with the title? "We wanted a title that was both old and new," Daniel explains. "Neon is a very futuristic looking thing. Although it's quite old, it was perceived as being very futuristic when it first came out. And a ballroom is very old- sounding."

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