"I Can't Believe It's Not Rock" is an EP that happened by accident.

It contains five songs that were written and recorded at home by Daniel Johns and Paul Mac entirely for their own amusement. Only when the tracks had been completed did the two musicians begin to contemplate sharing their work with other people.

The pair come from very different backgrounds - Daniel from multiplatinum rockers silverchair (www.chairpage.com), Paul from seminal dance acts like Itch-E and Scratch-E - but they have been friends for years. The two first met back in 1997 when Paul remixed silverchair's "Freak". Later that year he appeared onstage with the band in Sydney as guest DJ and in 1998 he contributed some keyboard stuff to their album "Neon Ballroom".

Earlier this year, with silverchair taking a break, Daniel went up to Paul's house in the Blue Mountains for a weekend's R&R and the pair recorded a song called "Rain" in his home studio. Daniel had already been working on the piece but Paul contributed a lot of additional dynamics to it - creating a distinctive moody hybrid of the pair's diverse musical influences. Both of them really enjoyed the experience but at the time they had no intention of ever playing their sprawling creation to anybody else.

Some months later Paul travelled to Newcastle to help Daniel install his eight track home studio. This time the pair created two songs together from scratch. The lilting "Home" was recorded completely live in one take with the multifaceted "Staging A Traffic Jam" evolving over a couple of days. As with "Rain", these tracks illustrate the disparate backgrounds of their creators. At the time these recordings were little more than an enjoyable experiment but in the weeks that followed the pair both realised that they were really happy with the fruits of their casual labour. They felt that they had hit upon a sound which was creatively different from anything either of them had achieved before.

Consequently they got together one more time and recorded the mellow instrumental "3" and the hard edged "Take Her Out" - creating two even more extreme bookends for the evolving project.

It was only then that Daniel and Paul had their first conversations about possibly releasing these five songs, somehow, some way, somewhere. They kicked around several names for the project including "The Agoraphobic Laptops" and "Scrum" before settling upon the suitably self effacing monicker, "I Can't Believe It's Not Rock".

"When we were making this music we never thought anybody else would ever hear it. It was just stuff we were doing for ourselves", explains Paul Mac. "Once it was done though we liked how it had turned out so we started talking about releasing it even though, as the name suggests, it probably isn't what people expect from either of us."

When both Johns and Mac signed to their manager's new record label, Eleven: a music company, the idea was hatched to release "I Can't Believe It's Not Rock" online. The five songs will be streamed for free from the website icantbelieveitsnotrock.com and will be downloadable for a small charge from December 1, 2000. A very limited number of CD's will also be available for mail order to ensure broader access for fans. More details about this mail order will be posted on the duo's website once the downloads are posted.

Says Daniel Johns: "I had a lot of fun making this music with Paul and I'm really proud of how it sounds but it's obviously not going to appeal to everybody. We were both concerned that if we released this CD in the usual way some people would have the wrong sort of expectations. It's a different sort of project so it makes sense to release it in a different sort of way."

There are no plans for "I Can't Believe It's Not Rock" to tour although the pair has taped a guest appearance for the forthcoming ABC TV program "Love Is A Four Letter Word" which will air in 2001.

As for future recordings by this accidental duo who knows?

"We never actually intended to make this EP", explains Daniel Johns, "at the moment we don't intend to make another one either so maybe that means it's possible."

 

icbinr@elevenmusic.com