Paul Mac

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Paul Mac
Refer to caption
Paul Mac, Sydney Harbour, January 2012
Background information
Birth name Paul Francis McDermott
Born (1965-09-17) 17 September 1965 (age 52)
Sydney, Australia
Genres Electropop, electronica
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Piano, keyboards, samples
Years active 1986–present
Labels Second Nature, Volition, Interdance, Prozaac, Shock, Eleven, EMI
Associated acts The Lab, Smash Mac Mac, Itch-E and Scratch-E, Boo Boo and Mace!, Boo Boo Mace & Nutcase, The Dissociatives, Silverchair

Paul Francis McDermott (born 17 September 1965), who performs as Paul Mac, is an Australian electropop musician, singer-songwriter, producer and music re-mixer. He was classically trained at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Mac has formed various bands including Smash Mac Mac (1986–88), The Lab (1989–1998), Itch-E and Scratch-E (1991–present), Boo Boo Mace & Nutcase (1996–98), and The Dissociatives (2003–2005). Mac has released two solo albums, 3000 Feet High (6 August 2001) and Panic Room (17 October 2005) – both appeared in the top 40 on the ARIA Albums Chart.

At the ARIA Music Awards of 2002 Mac won 'Best Dance Release' for 3000 Feet High and was nominated for 'Best Male Artist' and 'Engineer of the Year'. In June 2001 he issued his highest charting single, "Just the Thing", which featured lead vocals by Peta Morris. It reached No. 17 on the ARIA Singles Chart and at the APRA Music Awards of 2002 it won 'Most Performed Dance Work'.

Mac played with Severed Heads. He was also a touring member of Silverchair as well as recording piano parts for their album, Young Modern (March 2007), having worked with frontman Daniel Johns as The Dissociatives previously. He has provided remixes for Silverchair, Powderfinger, The Mark of Cain, Grinspoon, The Cruel Sea, INXS and Placebo. Mac has worked on soundtracks for Baz Luhrmann and on the films Head On and Sample People. He was the musical director on the Australian TV show, Good News Week, and composed music for ABC-TV including The Afternoon Show, EC Plays Lift Off and TVTV.


Mac was born on 17 September 1965.[1][2] He is the youngest of seven children and grew up in a strict Catholic family in Sydney.[2] As a teenager Mac played hymns on the organ at his local church, including for weddings and funerals.[3] He later described himself as "the worst Virgo, ex-Catholic you've ever met".[2] He is a classically trained graduate from Sydney Conservatorium of Music, as a Bachelor of Music Education.[2][4] In the mid-1980s he was a member of Smash Mac Mac, which were an art noise band covering Talking Heads material – Mac introduced drum machines and electronic elements.[5][6] In 1987 they issued the album, Chapter One: Light on the Silo.[7] In 1989 Mac formed the synthpop, electronica group The Lab in Sydney with Yolanda Podolski on lead vocals, and Warwick Hornby (aka Warwick Factor) on vocals and bass guitar. The group signed with rooArt, which released their two extended plays, Ultra (1992) and Terminal (1993). They moved to BMG and issued their debut album, Labyrinth, in 1997. The group disbanded the following year.

1991-1997: Itch-E and Scratch-E[edit]

In 1991, Mac formed a side-project, Itch-E and Scratch-E, with fellow Sydney-based electronica artist, Andy Rantzen of the group, Pelican Daughters.[5][8] Both provided keyboards and samplers.[8] Itch-E and Scratch-E became their main focus with the success of their debut album, Itch-E Kitch-E Koo (1993), and its related single, "Sweetness and Light" (1994). At the ARIA Music Awards of 1995 the single won Best Dance Release.[8] During his acceptance speech Mac controversially declared, "We'd like to thank all of Sydney's ecstasy dealers, without whom this award would not be possible".[9] One of the sponsors of the ceremony was the National Drug Offensive, which withdrew their support. In 2005, Mac explained that he did not expect to win and so had not prepared a speech.[9] The group often includes Sherriff Lindo for live performances.[8] From 1996 to 1998, Mac and Rantzen also performed as Boo Boo and Mace!, and with Lindo aboard they worked as Boo Boo Mace 'n' Nutcase.[5][8]

1997-2000: work with Silverchair, Paul Mac Presents SnapShots and I Can't Believe It's Not Rock[edit]

In 1997, Mac remixed the single, "Freak", from Australian post-grunge band Silverchair's second album, Freak Show. The track was issued in April as a B-side of their second single from that album, "Abuse Me".

In 1998, Mac released a four-track EP, Paul Mac Presents Snapshots, on Interdance Records. It featured guest vocals by Stephen Allkins on "Ooh I Love Your (Disco)", Infusion on "Loco", Phil Smart on "Basic Boom" and Abel El Toro on "All Systems Are Go".[10] Mac again worked with Silverchair's Daniel Johns as an alternative rock duo to release a five-track extended play, I Can't Believe It's Not Rock (2000).[5]

2001-2005: 3000 Feet High, The Dissociatives and Panic Room[edit]

On 6 August 2001, Mac issued his debut solo album, 3000 Feet High, which peaked in the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[11] Australian music journalist, Ed Nimmervoll, felt the album was an "emotional journey" where "[t]hroughout, the dancefloor taunts us like a temptress, determined to lure us into her arms, but we're torn between her charms and the inner us which the dance beats may drown out".[4] The lead single, "Just the Thing" (June 2001), reached No. 17 on the ARIA Singles Chart and featured lead vocals by Peta Morris.[11] In December 2001 he performed at Homebake on the Big Top stage. At the APRA Music Awards of 2002 "Just the Thing" won 'Most Performed Dance Work' and was nominated for 'Most Performed Australian Work'.[12][13] In January 2002, and again in 2006, Mac appeared at Splendour in the Grass. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2002 Mac won 'Best Dance Release' for 3000 Feet High and was nominated for 'Best Male Artist' and 'Engineer of the Year'.[14]

Mac and Johns co-wrote the music for Love Is a Four Letter Word (2001) episode 13, "Split".[15] In mid-2003, the Mac and Johns formed another alternative rock group, The Dissociatives, which issued their debut album of the same name in April 2004.[16][17] Their first live show was in Hobart in June of that year.[6] Mac explained his motivation, "As music narrows out into increasingly smaller genres, it's important to bring the fun of making music back into play. Not following any predetermined rules and making the most honest beautiful music we could is fun".[6] At the ARIA Music Awards of 2004 Mac and Johns were nominated for 'Producer of the Year' for the album.[18]

Mac's second album, Panic Room, appeared on 17 October 2005, and reached the top 40.[11] Johns had advised Mac to "follow your dreams regardless of what outside fashion is saying you should be doing".[19] Vocals are variously supplied by Morris, Sarah McLeod, Luke Steele, Abby Dobson (ex-Leonardo's Bride), Lenka, and Ngaiire.[19] Mac explained seeing Joseph, on TV in August 2004, "I was watching the episode of [Australian Idol] when she got kicked out and I thought 'who is this girl, she is fantastic'... I tracked her down and gave her a call. It turned out great. I am just really happy with the whole album".[20] For Silverchair's 2007 album, Young Modern, Mac supplied piano and toured with the group providing keyboards and piano on stage.[21]

2008-2014: soundtracks, remixes and touring[edit]

In 2008, Mac provided the music for a one-man comedy play, Possessed, performed by Frank Woodley.[22] In March that year, he supplied the theme song, "The Only One" for the feature film, Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger, with three versions on the soundtrack: one had vocals by Bertie Blackman, another by Sydney Children's Choir and one was an instrumental.[23] He formed a production duo, Stereogamous, with Jonny Seymour (aka DJ Seymour Butz), in 2010 they worked on LCD Soundsystem's single, "I Can Change", from their album, This Is Happening.[24][25] They have also remixed "Cupid Boy" for Kylie Minogue and "Bring Night" for Sia Furler.[24] In 2011 they worked on George Michael's track, "Every Other Lover in the World".[24] Mac co-wrote "I Don't Care What You Say" with its performer Anthony Callea and Cindy Ryan (of Stella One Eleven); it was released in February 2012 by Callea on his seven-track EP, Last to Go, which was co-produced by Mac.[26] On 6 September, the feature film, Kath & Kimderella, premiered with Mac's musical score.[27]

2015-present: Holiday From Me[edit]

On 22 January 2015, Mac announced the forthcoming release of his third studio album, titled Holiday From Me. It will feature Megan Washington, Brendan Maclean, Dave Mason and Nathan Hudson on vocals.[28]

Personal life[edit]

In October 2004, Mac was living in Eriskineville.[29] Mac is openly gay, in 2007 he reminisced about his first attendance at Sydney's Mardi Gras in the 1980s, "I can't remember who the act even was – it was a long time ago ... I wasn't really out – actually, I wasn't out at all. I just ended up at the party and I remember realising that there was this whole world out there that I felt really proud to be a part of. There was such a sense of wonder".[30]



Extended plays[edit]

  • 1998 Paul Mac Presents Snapshots Interdance Records


  • "Heatseeking Pleasure Machine" featuring Tex Perkins (26 February 2001)
  • "Just The Thing" featuring Peta Morris (4 June 2001) AUS No. 17[11]
  • "The Sound of Breaking Up" featuring Peta Morris (29 October 2001) AUS No. 25[11]
  • "Gonna Miss You" featuring Abby Dobson (18 March 2002)
  • "Stay" featuring Jacqui Hunt (5 August 2002)
  • "Sunshine Eyes" (single, 25 September 2005) AUS No. 27[11]
  • "It's Not Me, It's You" featuring Ngaiire (Airplay Promo Only – B-side on "Love Declaration")
  • "Love Declaration" featuring Aaradhna (11 March 2006) AUS No. 31[11]
  • "The Only One" featuring Bertie Blackman (radio promo single, February 2008)
  • "State Of War" (February 2015)

Production work and other credits[edit]


  1. ^ "'Sunshine Eyes' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Brandle, Lars (16 July 2010). "Paul Mac: Return of the Mac". The Music Network (Peer Group Media). Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Mac, Paul. "Mac, Paul". Trove. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Nimmervoll, Ed (20 August 2001). "Paulmac – 3000 Feet High". Howlspace. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d McGregor, Paul. "About Paul Mac". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Zuel, Bernard (18 June 2004). "Two Men and a Baby". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Kingsmill, Richard (22 November 2001). "Music Specials: Paul Mac". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e McFarlane, 'Itch-E & Scratch-E' entry. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  9. ^ a b Jenkins, Jeff; Meldrum, Ian (2007). Molly Meldrum Presents 50 Years of Rock in Australia. Melbourne, Vic: Wilkinson Publishing. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1. 
  10. ^ Paul Mac Presents Snapshots (Media notes). Paul Mac. Interdance Records. 1998. ID 008. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Hung, Steffen. "Discography Paul Mac". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "Nominations 2002". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "2002 Winners – APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "ARIA Awards – History: Winners by Year 2002: 16th Annual ARIA Awards". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  15. ^ Zuk, Tim (24 April 2001). "Love Is a Four Letter Word: Episode Guide: 'Split' Episode 13". Australian Television. Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  16. ^ Richard, Kingsmill (29 November 2000). "Daniel Johns of Silverchair Speaks to Richard Kingsmill". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "The Dissociatives". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 2 April 2004. Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "ARIA Awards – History: Winners by Year 2004: 18th Annual ARIA Awards". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  19. ^ a b Murfett, Andrew (14 November 2005). "The Paul Mac Experience". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "Paul Mac Hates Celebrity Status". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Australian Associated Press (AAP). 23 November 2005. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  21. ^ "Paul Mac > Credits". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  22. ^ Roberts, Jo (20 February 2008). "Whatever Possessed Them..." The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  23. ^ "Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger" (PDF) (Press release). Tama Films Production. 20 March 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  24. ^ a b c Cashmere, Paul (31 March 2011). "George Michael Records New Song with Paul Mac". Undercover (Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman). Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  25. ^ "Stereogamous Remix LCD". The Music Network (Peer Group Media). 18 June 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  26. ^ Cashmere, Paul (5 March 2012). "Anthony Callea Works with Paul Mac on New EP". Noise11 (Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman). Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  27. ^ Lehman, Megan (6 September 2012). "Kath & Kimderella: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Lynne Segall (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  28. ^ "Paul Mac Unveils New Album Details". 22 January 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  29. ^ Sams, Christine (12 October 2004). "Band on the Run ... to the Inner West". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  30. ^ Taylor, Christian (19 February 2007). "Paul Mac in the Manic Room". SameSame. Sound Alliance. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 

External links[edit]