Paul Mac is one of the leading figures in Australian electronic music. He is a songwriter, a musician and a producer. A Sydney Conservatorium of Music graduate & multi ARIA Award winner for his work with Itch-E & Scratch-E and his own solo work. He’s also received Australian Dance Music Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Dance and Producer Of The Year, an APRA Award, MTV Award and named Dance Artist Of The Year three times in Rolling Stone’s Readers Poll.
We asked him a few questions about his music and his views about classical music.
What did you study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and why did you choose to study it?
I studied the piano as a major for my Bachelor Of Music Education. I just wanted to learn as much as I could about music so I went to the Con to do that. I didn’t want to be a teacher but it was the course I got into and it was handy to fall back on.
Do you still listen to classical music?
A little bit. I’m mainly into minimalists and occasionally go to a classical concert or Opera. What gets me most excited is “contemporary” stuff. The last concert that blew my head open was a John Cage retrospective.
What classical music do you mainly listen to?
Anything released by Kronos Quartet, or written by Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, a bit of Messiaen, Beethoven and lots of film scores.
How does your classical training influence your musical creations in other genres?
On every level – for ear training, structure, composition, arranging, and then practical staff like voice leading, scoring and editing. It effects everything.
Do you make any ‘classical’ music yourself?
I just did my 3rd film score, so that incorporates a lot more classical influences and use of a string section which is always fun.
Do you think classical music is still relevant today?
As relevant as it has been since the invention of recording (see David Byrne’s How Music Works book). I’m glad it’s there, I love discovering new music, and as I get older I appreciate different genres like Opera. I’m also working out “why” different music occurred as I read more about history and it all starts to “fit” better together.
What do you think are the obstacles preventing newcomers from exploring classical music (if any)?
Knowing where to start. Most of the music and genres that I love now, I discovered when I was studying at the Con. It’s expensive, but so is a pop concert. It can be intimidating if you don’t know what you are looking for, but a lot of music companies are getting better at marketing to newbies which is a good thing.
- Writing, recording producing The Dissociatives album with Daniel Johns
- “Sweetness & Light” by Itch-E & Scratch-E
- my solo album “3000 Feet High“
Follow Paul Mac on Twitter @thepaulmac