Silverchair’s Daniel Johns has released his first new material since the band’s split over a year ago, when they first indicated the frontman was “creating a film soundtrack and working on other musical projects,” in the form of a new piece of music composed for an upcoming advert for Qantas.
The Age reports that the airline company, who have endeavoured to support musicians in the past, commissioned Johns to pen a replacement for their long-running ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ advertising campaign.
In a press release from Qantas, they say Johns agreed to the deal to write his first commercial work as he was “really into the idea of creating a piece of music that represented Australia”. The result is the wordless ‘Atlas’, which features Johns cooing over a bed of symphonic strings and orchestra as well as electronic flourishes and grand piano.
‘Atlas’ is closer in spirit to the cinematic arrangements of 2002’s Diorama than it is 2007’s ‘Straight Lines’, and will soundtrack an upcoming television commercial that, in Qantas’ words, “takes the viewer on an aerial tour canvassing scenes of Australians going about their everyday activities and ends with a portrait of the faces, supporting the narrative ‘Australians fly for many different reasons, we fly for one, you’re the reason we fly.”
A promotional video for the advert featuring Johns recording with the Australian Chamber Orchestra features the songwriter’s narration, “In the last days of May 2012, a group of highly talented musicians assembled in Sydney,” he says, before remarking he was first approached about the assignment with a brief; “I’d never had a brief before so that was interesting.”
“I wanted it to sound big, something special,” Johns said of his new work, “it was a conscious effort to create a good piece of music and not just a jingle. I’ve also wanted to work with the Australian Chamber Orchestra for a long time now so it was great to finally be able to do that.”
Lewis Pullen, executive manager of Qantas marketing, said “I Still Call Australia Home” was a “quasi-national anthem” and would continue to be used for special events, such as the upcoming London Olympics; but that Daniel Johns’ ‘Atlas’ would be the company’s new theme soundtrack.
You can view the promo and hear ‘Atlas’ in the video below: