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"Everyone else communicates with words. I can’t. I use music.”
Daniel Johns was ‘silent’ for 8 years but today he announced that his long awaited album will be called TALK. People can hear it from May 22. TALK will be launched with two special shows at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on May 28 and 29 as part of the Vivid Festival. In the meantime there’s an uplifting and uptempo love song … “Cool On Fire” … co-written and produced by Lorde/Jarryd James collaborator Joel Little. That new single is released today.
During those long, silent years there was lots of speculation about what Daniel was doing. The enigmatic singer/songwriter removed himself from the radar. Rumours were rife.
“Some of the rumours were probably true”, he chuckles. Which ones? “Well, anyone who wants to listen to the new songs will figure it out pretty quick. It’s been an interesting ride."
TALK tells that story in a brand new way. Gone are the big guitars and roaring rock vocals; in their place, urban beats and aching falsetto croons. Dollops of lush R’n’B are laced with cruisy electro flavours and some dark glitchy bedroom production touches to create a stylish take on modern soul.
Asked to explain this Bowie-esque genre hopping and he eventually says, “music’s the best way I know to express how I think and feel but over time you don’t think and feel all the same things in the same ways, so the music has to change.”
The eclectic mix of sounds and styles on the new album reflect the array of collaborators that Daniel brought on board including Joel Little, Melbourne underground duo Damn Moroda, influential writer/producer Louis School, Presets main man Julian Hamilton, and local hip hop icons Styalz and M-Phazes.
Aptly enough the first songs to be lifted from “Talk” have already provoked mountains of online chatter. For every music lover excited to hear radically different work by Daniel there are a couple of others 'trolling' him for not endlessly churning out the same sounds since his mid-teens.
“I’ve always felt like most people hate everything I do but thankfully there’s always been an enthusiastic minority who seem to ‘get' it. That’s fine with me. Anything that appeals to everyone tends to suck anyway.”
“What’s funny is that when Silverchair released “frogstomp" most people went out of the way to tell me how much it sucked. Then when we made “Diorama” a few years later everyone started telling me how I should go back to making “frogstomp”. I guess now I’ll be told to go back and make “Diorama” again!”
"That was part of why I picked the album title too by the way. I don’t really care what most people think. Let them talk."
SEE DANIEL'S FIRST LIVE SHOWS AT THIS YEAR'S VIVID LIVE
WHEN: Thursday May 28 & Friday May 29
WHERE: SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, Concert Hall
TICKETS ON SALE NOW: from $59+bf
BOOKINGS: vividlive.sydneyoperahouse.com or 02 9250 7777