Interview with Daniel Johns

(Hitkrant Magazine)

Daniel: 'Ben and I started making music like, halfway the first year of high school. Then we asked Chris to join us. We wrote some songs and did covers and stuff. And then we signed in for a demo competition, and we won that one, we didn’t expect that and we got offered a record deal. And that’s it really...'

Does Daniel remember the day he wrote Tomorrow?

Daniel: ‘Yeah, kinda...It all started when we all jamming around, we were hassling a little with a few ideas and then I came with an idea that eventually resulted in Tomorrow. Ben wanted to make a song of it. So I said : "Okay". Then we wrote some lyrics on it and that was it.’

What kind of town is Newcastle?

Daniel: ‘Newcastle is an industrial/beach town. On the one side you have industry and on the other side mor the beach kind of thing. We live on the beach side and there isn’t much to do. If you can’t surf and you don’t have a driver’s license there’s actually nothing to do at all [laughs]. So I thought: "I could just as well start a band." ‘Cause i could already play an instrument. At school I first learned to play the violin and after that the trumpet. I was about eight years old then. I just wanted to do something with music, becaue I loved music and the violin was the only available instrument [laughs]. First I played violin for a year, then three years trumpet and eventually I got a guitar, four years ago. I heard a Black Sabbath song on the radio, and I loved the guitar solo so I thought: "I’m gonna buy a guitar". So I went to buy a guitar for eighty bucks. The cheapest one I could find. The first year it didn’t really went allright, a few chords, that was it. After that I practiced classical guitar and I taught myself the rest. And that was it really...’

Daniel (about Ben): ‘When we were like eight, nine years old we were singing little rap songs together. And one day I was at Ben’s and I took a guitar, Ben was sitting behind his drums and we went jamming. And after a while we said to each other: ‘We need to have a bassist. Then we asked Chris to join us, ‘cause he already was a friend.’

Daniel (about their name) : ‘silverchair sounded better than Innnocent Criminals [laughs]. It actually went like this: we were at school and Ben said he didn’t like Nirvana so much. Then one of our friends said: You should listen to Sliver. So he wanted to request Sliver for himslef on the radio. And I wanted to request a song of an Australian group, Berlin Chair. We told Chris to write Sliver Chair, but he wrote it as Silver Chair. Then we thought: That’s a good name. That’s how it went.’

Daniel didn’t remember his first performance. But he did remember the first time he was on a stage. ‘I sang with my face to the right side of the stage. I felt really excited so I didn’t dare looking at the crowd.’

Now they are playing for 15,000 people. ‘That’s right. But I don’t know, I rather play in small clubs. It’s just more intense.’

Are you happy with your situation now?

Daniel: ‘Yeah..kinda. Some is good, some is bad. I don’t know, standing on a stage is way cool, but some other things are not so cool: the travelling, and you don’t have a lot of spare time. People mostly think it’s only laughing and stuff like that, but that’s only ten percent. And the rest is working and stuff. We’re going to record an album in July. That’ll come out in September. We’re going to do some shows, and we go to school for a while. That’s about it [laughs].

He doesn’t know what he wants to be later. Daniel: ‘No idea. I don’t really care. When I was very small I wanted to be a rugby-player. Not anymore now. Now I don’t really care. ‘

‘Now you are a musician.’

Daniel: ‘I guess. Not a very good one, but you’re right, I am one.’ ‘W don’t see ourselves as really succesful. There are a lot opf bands who sell a hell of a lot more albums. If you think you’re really cool, better than anyone else, everybody will hate you. And if you act like a normal boy who just happens to be in a band, that’s much better. So I’ll just hang on to that.’

Daniel (about being a rockstar): ‘We don’t see ourselves as real rockstars. We see ourselves as very normal boys from Newcastle who just happen to be in a band. That’s it really.’

[Thanks to Charlotte for the transcript.]