PAUL MAC Extended Holiday


After flying under the radar for almost 10 years, Paul Mac has returned with his newest album, Holiday From Me. GABBI JOHNSTON reports.

Since the release of his album, Panic Room, in 2005, Paul Mac – Australian electronic pop musician, singer-songwriter and producer – has spent the decade touring, DJing, writing and collaborating on the way to some of his best music yet. 


However, he has also spent a lot of his time over that period assisting with other people’s music as well. `The Sydneysider has taken a particular interest in composing music for theatre and film scores, including for Kath And Kimderella. He’s also toured through Europe with his underground project, Stereogamous, and worked with huge Aussie pop names like Kylie Minogue and Sia.


It seems a long time since the release of Panic Room, yet Mac began the early stages of Holiday From Me way back while he was recording and touring with Daniel Johns as The Dissociatives. After putting together musical sketches in tour buses and hotel rooms, he started looking for people to collaborate with and began to record demos.


“I ask people that I really like to help out,” Mac says of his creative process. “Sometimes I come up with a really good verse but no chorus yet, or a good chorus but no verse, so I just invite people I really like to get involved … I guess I don’t work with people I don’t like, or people I think are fake. So I kind of adore everybody on the album because I really believe in them as musicians.”


Mac describes the album as very “break up-y”, as he explored ways to express how he felt about his own break-up during the early stages of the record. When talking to a friend one day, he found himself still hung up on his ex-boyfriend – to which his friend replied, ‘Why are you so upset? He’s just an idiot’. With that conversation in mind, Mac later met up with Megan Washington and said, ‘Okay, let’s write a song called Idiot’.”

Later on came the suggestion Mac collaborate with Kira Puru. After going to one of her shows, Mac invited her to record a song, and then another. “I really loved meeting Kira Puru, and now that we’re doing shows together, it’s been really cool to get to know her,” says Mac. “She’s really fresh.”


Mac’s collaboration with Brendan Maclean, meanwhile, came about in a more 21st century manner. After meeting on Twitter and catching up for a beer, the two started hanging out and recording demos. One day, while former Faker frontman, Nathan Hudson, was also in town, the trio decided to write a “gay duet” based on the first night you meet someone at a pub and all the dumb questions you ask them. It’s called Frequently Asked Questions.

“It’s like trying different singers, different songs and different angles,” says Mac. “So this album is way more pumping, way more electronic and techy, but it’s still got my thing over the top.”


Yet the question remains: why did we have to wait 10 years before Mac finally released his next album? “You know, I’m such a perfectionist,” he says. “I thought it was finished four years ago, but then I was like, ‘Nah, nah, I’m gonna keep going’.


Then two years ago I thought it was finished, then finally this time around I thought, ‘Yeah. I wouldn’t change a note now’. It’s cool, I really love this album. It’s just Paul Mac.”