Now on the Sunshine Coast, Sawrey and Lopez got the call that Spotify needed âfield bootsâ for the project. In March of this year, they found themselves walking through Johns’ house in Newcastle.
While Spotify said unspecified “business arrangements” were part of the final process, Sawrey said that for Johns the motivation was “always art driven.” (In a press release, Johns said he was happy to be involved with the podcast because “the only way to get my art heard to people is through ships like this because I don’t want to play it. on the scene”.)
âHe tells us he has three albums in the bank, ready to release, so you get a little preview with the music that’s in the podcast,â says Sawrey. âIt’s his motivation, he wants to release his music. He wants people to hear him and connect with him.
The intimate medium, so far removed from the mainstream press processes that burned him down in the past, likely offered Johns some compelling solace as well.
âThe podcast is a much less combative medium than television,â says Sawrey. âWith television you can see the person, you can judge them. But with audio, you tend to hear someone like they’re sitting next to you, so it’s a much more emotional medium.
The second episode of the podcast, released Wednesday, highlights the incredible access Johns gave the couple, with scenes spent in his childhood bedroom leafing through his teenage diaries (the one moment that gives Johns a break is when he comes across an old love letter from Imbruglia).
âWe were looking at that time when he was really hiding in his bedroom, because the fame was so intense and he was going through a lot with his sanity and his battle with anorexia,â says Sawrey.
“[The bedroom] was a time capsule, her mom didn’t change a thing. We spent quite a bit of time in there, and he really opened up to Frank and me because it brought him back to this free space of what he was going through at the time.
In its first two episodes, the podcast has already produced some gripping emotional moments. A conversation with longtime friend, musician Paul Mac, in which the couple recall the public bullying, whistling, and treatment of the ‘big poppy’ that Johns took on top of Silverchair finds the singer in the process of choking, a physical reaction to the recalled trauma.
âHaving some of his closest friends over to this stuff was really helpful in dealing with him,â says Sawrey.
âIt was a lot of overwhelming – he’s been in a lot of therapy – but I think it helped him figure out what happened in a certain way, like going through it step by step and having it said to people: “And then what happened? ‘”
The visits also unearthed some surprises.
âHe’s really funny,â Sawrey said. âVery disarming. He uses humor to take the tension away. He actually makes a lot of jokes, and that’s mainly because he’s a little anxious. But he watches a lot of comedy. He loves Dave Chappelle.
In the wake of the #FreeBritney movement, there has been a cultural reexamination of how the media and tabloids reacted to the celebrity scandal in the dawn of the early 2000s online. Who is Daniel Johns?, with her topic’s raw discussion of her celebrity-induced alienation and mental health issues at the time, feels part of the same conversation.
âThis is something Frank brought up very early on, as Daniel Johns is Britney from Australia,â says Sawrey.
âWe want people to feel that experience, because we’re trying to take them on this roller coaster like, you’ve come out of the dark and suddenly you open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Madison Square Garden. Like, that’s crazy.
Sawrey suggests that the rise of social media, where “we all got a little taste of what it’s like to put ourselves on a platform,” has created more empathy for what reality looks like. of fame.
âBack then it was like, ‘Oh they’re on TV, they’re famous, they’re killing him, they’re fine’ – you haven’t seen the negative, bubbling undercurrent that goes with that. wave. And so it’s understandable that Dan doesn’t really like being in public anymore, it makes sense.
Sawrey says, even with the new sensibility surrounding his wrestling, it’s unlikely that Johns – who appeared both comfortable and upbeat during an interview with The project‘s Carrie Bickmore earlier this week – will suddenly welcome the media shine.
âWe talked to him a bit about it. Frank kind of told him, you know, ‘I think it’s going to be easier than before,’ âSawrey said of Johns’ public comeback. âBut he’s not necessarily online a whole lot so it’s been hard for him to figure out that times have changed a bit.
âI mean, he can feel it when he’s at Newcastle, he can feel that people are cooler and nicer to him now. But I think it might take him a while.
Given the decade spent in relative loneliness, Johns’ story prematurely feels like a pop culture tragedy, the kind of heavy-handed fable that evokes the struggles of stars like Britney, Michael, Whitney, and more. But is there a happy ending to the podcast?
âI think he’s in a great place, he told us he’s in the best place he’s ever been,â Sawrey said.
âI think he had to work on a lot of things to figure out who he was after Silverchair and what kind of music he wants to do and how he wants to move forward, and I think it took a little while. But I think he’s in a great place, and I think Australia is ready to hear some of his new music.
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